Kenny Ball joins forces

Jive Aces - Kenny Ball and Ian Clarkson.
Jive Aces - Kenny Ball and Ian Clarkson.

Jazz Meets Jive when Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen join forces with The Jive Aces at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre on Sunday, January 15 at 7pm.

East Grinstead-based Ian Clarkson, of The Jive Aces, is promising it will be a very happy meeting indeed.

“I don’t know what you would call it, but it is great fun. They are a fun band; we are a fun band; it works really well. Jazz and jive fit together a lot better than you might think. Jive is actually jazz-based music.

“We have worked with Kenny quite a few times. It started because he was doing like an anniversary concert and he had a few different guests. We were guests of his and we enjoyed it so much that he said ‘We should take this on the road!’

“We do the first set and then he does the second set and then we come back.”

The Jive Aces are recognised as UK’s top jive and swing band. They have performed at thousands of festivals, theatres and events throughout the UK, Europe and USA, as well as Japan, Israel and the Caribbean - 30 countries in all.

Their hallmark is their high-energy jump jive music (the sound where swing meets rock ‘n’ roll) and their spectacular stage show.

They combine a mixture of fresh arrangements of swing/Jive/R&B classics - songs made famous by such greats as Louis Prima, Cab Calloway, Bobby Darin, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Big Joe Turner and Sammy Davis Jnr - along with a selection of swinging originals taken from their studio albums.

The Jive Aces have worked with many of the top names in the business, including John Travolta, Status Quo, Isaac Hayes, Van Morrison, Count Basie Orchestra, Keely Smith, Priscilla Presley, Buddy Greco, Kirstie Allie, Kenny Ball, Chuck Berry, Tony Christie and Lee Evans to name just a few.

They’ve not long been back from the States: “We have an office in East Grinstead, but we are usually based in a van travelling around the world.”

Sometimes it’s glamorous, sometimes it’s less so. It certainly brings the contrasts. Their three weeks in the States saw them kick off with some recording in LA and then they travelled up to northern California (“Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Santa Something Else” etc) before heading back across the country to Washington DC for a couple of dates in a city with a big jive scene.

After that it was back to LA and then straight back to a B&B in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight: “The Isle of Wight is exciting too,” Ian insists. “You get hot chocolate and cookies. Sorry, I mean biscuits!”