Review: Jazz@John’s

Felicia Lane 5 May 2014

It was initially intended to be a Varsity jazz night featuring CUJO and Oxford’s equivalent OUJO. However, the latest instalment from Jazz@John’s had a last-minute change of plans after Oxford cancelled, but the usual combination of entertaining jazz and cheap cocktails proved to be a winning formula nonetheless.

May Week favourites, The Dixie Six (who had added a bonus saxophone to their group), opened the evening and quickly got the crowd dancing to their upbeat set: the prefect start to an evening away from the stresses of exam term.

CUJO were next on stage, the unexpected cancellation by their Oxford counterparts meaning we were treated to two consecutive sets. Each piece was tight and vocalists Ollie Leapage-Dean and Hetty Gullifer both brought additional energy to the stage, whilst the instrumental solos were equally impressive – my personal favourites being the trombones’ efforts in ‘Just Friends’. A couple of the slower pieces seemed less well-suited to an evening billed as a ‘party event’, but people were appreciative nonetheless, and the crowd remained lively (with dance moves becoming increasingly exuberant as time went on). A sure sign of the night’s success, CUJO seemed to be enjoying themselves too.

Jazz@John’s, often tends to suffer a little from the building’s layout. The scrum around the bar seemed to be slow-moving, especially in the breaks between sets; but the price of drinks made up for the wait and the quality of the music is always reliable. Indeed, although the spotlight was focused on the main stage, Xavier Hetherington held his own in the bar area and provided some calm vocals throughout the evening which contrasted well with the two bands.

All in all, I would recommend making your way to the next Jazz@John’s event but make sure you get there early if Friday’s sell-out is anything to go by!