Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Concert review: The Jive Aces in Hungary

The Jive Aces are advertising themselves as the UK's #1 swing and jive band but it is not true. They are already much more than that.

It was an honor for me to perform before them on last Saturday and a fantastic experience to attend most of the gigs of their short Hungary tour.

One could also say that as a Hungarian folk singer and dancer, the author of this review doesn't have anything to do with swing, jive, boogie-woogie, rock and roll, but this isn't true either. Recognizing, appreciating and enjoying the highest level professionalism cannot be bound to genres. Therefore, whenever I have an opportunity to meet the Jive Aces, I have great fun and while dancing, I sing I-I-I-I-I ain' got no-body, and Buona sera, signorina, buona sera - forgetting that anything else exist. If I even get a right partner, turning-whirling-somersaulting is no problem.

And the unstoppable flow of spirits, exhilaration, inexhaustible energy, humorous performance on top of super professional handling of instruments are for everybody.

Last weekend I had this all: on Friday, they made the dancers sweat in Budapest, at the birthday party of Oktogon Dance Centre (I couldn't go to this one, having a concert at After Music Club), at Saturday noon they played down by the Danube in Obuda (Old Buda), where they put the boogie and the charleston into the feet of passers-by. As a warm-up for their evening concert, for they were the star guests of 25th International Dixieland Festival in Salgotarjan, Northern Hungary.

I know the boys in the yellow suits for almost 10 years, have seen them performing in many cities of England and the Continent, worked with them every now and then, but haven't seen any show like what they gave here. It was five times as good - if such a thing can be expressed by figures - as their concert at Montreux a couple of years ago.

The audience applauded, laughed, forgot about all the worries in their lives for two hours, several hundreds of people were jumping to Jump Jive An' Wail, and didn't want to let them leave the stage at Midnight. In the foyer, the crowd completely overwhelmed the merch table, so that the new fans could get signatures on their CDs.

One could hear not only one voice saying "This was the best ever concert of my life", "I've been coming to this festival for 20 years but haven't seen anything like this" - different wording, same point.

According to the local Radio Focus "even the old hand public got convinced that it was not an advertisement gimmick to call this year's star performers as world sensation."

Also the jovial gentlemen who was seemingly familiar with with the genre and despite of his age, danced happily next afternoon when the Jive Aces entertained visitors of Polus Shopping Center in Budapest again, put it this way: "This is not only the best swing band of England, but probably the whole world".

Two more big plus points to the band. One: that mind blowing buoyancy and cheerfulness which are trade marks of their performance, are not made up for the sake of the show, the guys are indeed like that. Just an interesting detail to this: without alcohol or any other drugs - it is possible to do so.

They demonstrated their incredible work tempo (300 gigs a year!) in this country too: after all this on Sunday night played for a private party - five concerts in three days.

The other plus point: although the Jive Aces are getting to be called as real world stars, (let's only take this: Chick Corea does not appear on the album of just anyone), the cats are not giddy with success, they are friendly, familiar, human.

Most probably it's not me to judge, but boys, it's time to re-word your slogan!

- Andrea Gerak

This review was published - amongst others - in the most influential Hungarian music portal The Jive Aces Showed in Hungary What Real Swing and Jive Was Like
Photo galery: the Jive Aces at Salgotarjan jazz festival

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