Three of Europe’s top young jazz vocalists – Gwyneth Herbert, Alexander Stewart and Paris-based China Moses (daughter of jazz giant Dee Dee Bridgewater) – star in Jazz at Café Society, a swinging new show about the legendary New York nightclub which promoted racial equality and progressive causes. From 1938 to 1947 Café Society played host to some of the finest musical talent of the 20th century, including Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie and many others.
The irresistible soundtrack for this show comes from the Café Society All Stars – a group drawn from the cream of UK jazz talent, with Rod Youngs (drs), Miles Danso (bs), NYJO alumnus Winston Rollins (tmb), Nathaniel Facey (alto), Frank Griffith (tenor), Sue Richardson (tpt), Jo Caleb (gtr) and music director, and great NYJO supporter, Alex Webb at the piano. Musical highlights include representations of performances by Billie Holiday, Big Joe Turner, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Nellie Lutcher and Lucienne Boyer.
The show, narrated by DJ and BBC Radio presenter Max Reinhardt as club owner Barney Josephson, follows the progress of Café Society from its idealistic Left-wing beginnings, through all its struggles and triumphs, to its eventual demise in the anti-Communist hysteria of the late 1940s, when New York’s powerful press columnists turned against the club as a ‘nest of communists’ and hounded Josephson out of business.
Researched and scripted by Alex Webb with the help of Josephson’s widow, Terry Trilling-Josephson, this is a captivating story of a time when Jewish radicals and Black civil rights activists made common cause, when the American Left was a force to be reckoned with, and when some of the greatest jazz and blues talent that ever lived was just a phone call away.
The Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR, which has established a unique reputation for presenting plays that reflect the cultural diversity of its community, is the ideal home for this production, which has been made possible with the kind support of Eva Schloss.
Jazz at Café Society
Starring Gwyneth Herbert, China Moses, Max Reinhardt and Alexander Stewart
Written and produced by Alex Webb
Monday 16 July – Saturday 21 July 2012
Evening performances at 8pm; Saturday matinee at 3pm
Mon £15 (no concessions), and ‘Early Bird’ tickets at £10
Tues to Thurs & Sat Mat £18 (concessions £15)
Fri & Sat Eves £21 (concessions £18)
Tickets from www.tricycle.co.uk/ Box Office tel 020 7328 1000
Or in person 10am – 9pm Monday – Saturday, 2 – 9pm on Sundays
**** ‘A genuine treat’ – The Times
‘Historically fascinating’ – Jazz UK