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Sunday, January 19, 2020


(Pic by Val Bottomley)

Highly recommended for anyone who is in the mood for an evening of wonderful music performed with great flair and skill. (Review by Keith Millar)

It is party time down at the Rhumbelow Theatre where Durban’s pre-eminent jazz ensemble, Platform Jazz, is blowing away the cobwebs and kicking off the new year with a marvellous new show called The Great Gatsby Party.

This fabulous band has been entertaining audiences for over 30 years and they certainly know how to get the juices flowing and feet stomping as they belt out a whole host of jazz favourites with consummate skill and panache.

The show kicks off with a trio of ragtime hits with Twelfth Street Rag, Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag and Irvin Berlin’s Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

They are then joined by popular vocalist Shelly McLean for Can’t Help Loving That Man Of Mine from the musical Showboat. Shelly, in fact, plays rather a large part in the programme as she also sings Fats Waller’s Ain’t Misbehavin, the Nina Simone version of My Baby Just Cares For Me and the jazz standard Mack The Knife in the first half.

In the second half, she contributes with George Gershwin’s S’Wonderful, Dixieland versions of the Disney hits You’ve Got A Friend In Me from Toy Story and the Bare Necessities from Jungle Book. She also does the Nat King Cole hit Its Almost Like Being in Love, a soulful version of Georgia On My Mind and a Dixie style version of Meghan Trainor’s It’s All About The Bass, which also features double bassist Andreas Kappen.

Back to the first half. We also, amongst others, hear the band perform Livery Stable Blues with the brass section providing animal noises, Royal Garden Blues, the popular sing-along Minnie The Moocher and Chicago.

The rhythm section of the band which includes the internationally-recognised Melvin Peters on keyboard, Bruce Baker on drums and Andreas Kappen on bass are joined by Jeff Robinson on sax to form a quartet for Fats Waller’s Jitterbug Waltz and in the second half, George Gershwin’s Someone to Watch Over Me which they poignantly dedicated to South African guitar legend Steve Fataar who sadly passed away this week-end.

(Left: Jeff Robinson in the number dedicated to the late Steve Fataar. Pic by Val Bottomley)

After interval, drummer Bruce Baker showed off his considerable skills in Louis Prima’s Sing Sing Sing while the band shone with Duke Ellington’s Caravan and Hello Dolly.

New boy in Platform Jazz, Andrea “The Italian Stallion” Bolloco, whose day job is Principal Trombonist for the KZN Philharmonic, showed how his instrument should be played with Ory’s Creole Trombone.

Platform Jazz was founded and is astutely led by KZNPO trumpeter Cathy Peacock. Along with the musicians already mentioned, she is joined by the excellent Kirsten Sayers on clarinet.

The Great Gatsby Party is brought to a close with a rousing version of Glen Miller’s In the Mood and that is certainly how the audience felt after this very enjoyable, feel good, production. Highly recommended for anyone who is in the mood for an evening of wonderful music performed with great flair and skill.

The Great Gatsby Party has a performance this afternoon at Rhumbelow Durban and runs again next weekend until January 26 with performances on Friday and Saturdays at 20h00 and Sundays at 14h00. Venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner)

Tickets R160 (R140 pensioners and students with a valid student card and tables of eight or more). Discounts apply 1st weekend ONLY.

Take along food picnic baskets. Braais will be available, and food is available to purchase at the venue. There is limited secure parking and booking is essential. A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Durban is situated at 42 Cunningham Road off Bartle Road in Umbilo.

Booking is through Computicket or contact Roland on 082 499 8636, email (also for block bookings of 8 or more R130 pp) or visit – Keith Millar