January 21, 2019

Liz Exell

Jazz Herstory Presents… Alexandra Ridout at Poplar Union

The audience entered the room laid out with tables and chairs and  so many listeners commented on the lovely atmosphere they felt as they came in. Sitting attentively with friends and family, the audience clapped and whooped as the band performed for them.

Five friends were evidently on stage, smiling often, comfortable and focused. Each member of the band wrote at least one of the tunes they played together, showing a true collaborative and co-operative attitude to music making. Alexandra took the lead as spokesperson but they all contributed equally to the band in sound, personality and their compositions. Their rhythm section sounded like one unit - tasteful and sympathetic accompanying coupled with virtuosity beyond their years and their solos showed a highly skilled fluency in canonical jazz language. They swung beautifully together, having played as a unit in one way or another for over 6 years, with an the average age of 20, two of the players have not yet left school.

Alexandra finished the gig with two of her compositions, including her commission for jazz herstory which was haunting, lyrical and morose compared to the other tunes played in the evening. Brand new and yet navigated by the band with the fluency and dexterity the audience had been treated to the whole evening with an added layer of sensitivity. A fabulous band and certainly one which will only get better.