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Bansko Jazz 2011 – The Jive Aces

March 12, 2012 by · No comments

Interview by Dessislava Berndt with The Jive Aces

Jazz Festival Bansko

The International Jazz Festival in Bansko is one of the biggest summer musical events in Bulgaria and one of the foremost international cultural happenings on the Balkans.

Since its foundation in 1998 the festival has been held every year from August 8th to 13th in the small town of Bansko. The concerts are free for the public.

Traditionally, the programme features styles and groups representing almost all jazz trends. During the festival week jazz is also played on various smaller stages in the large resort complexes and restaurants.

Today we would like to present you The Jive Aces, who played this summer at the XIV International Jazz Festival in Bansko.

Recently, I met the UK’s top Jive & Swing band Jive Aces for the second time before their gig in the East Wintergarden of Canary Wharf, London. It was the Vintage Nights Week in the Vintage Dance Club there.

Photo: desenze

Ian Clarkson, the band leader had kindly answered my questions.

Ian, how was Bansko Jazz 2011?

Bansko was really great. It was our first time there. I had no idea that people knew that kind of music and that it would be so popular. That was very nice.


Photos: desenze

How came the invitation for the festival?

Dr. Iliev contacted us. He was interested because of our video “Bring me sunshine” and when we arrived to Bansko his daughter sang the song in English and later also with us on stage.

Photo: desenze

What impression did you get of the country and the people?

Unfortunately, we stayed not too long in Bansko. We arrived the day before the gig. The day after the gig we went to the festival in Nis, Serbia. Bansko was really nice. Everybody was very friendly. We were expected and get a lovely meal. The atmosphere was nice and there were a lot of English people that was unexpected for us. So we had two audiences.

Photo: Jive Aces

We saw you in Bansko climbing up the stage. Did you plan it? It that a part of your program?

We do crazy things if it is possible. Just for fun. We often climb up or jump on tables, dance with the people. Some of this is spontaneous some of them is planned because it was funny.

Photo: Jive Aces

Photos: desenze

What was the most surprising experience for you playing there?

Bansko was different from other places and festivals. The people are very warm and the atmosphere very nice. The people seemed to know our music that was very surprising. They were singing the words of the songs. There were also a lot of people dancing.

Would you like to come again to Bulgaria?

Absolutely and we hope to come soon, maybe next year.

Would you please tell us something about your current and future projects?

We have a lot of big concerts in England the whole year. We are doing quite often Ronnie Scott’s e.g. this Sunday. It is good because it is always sold out. In April we will play there again. Some English people who were also in Bansko came to see us there.

We will go to France, to Ireland and to the Riverboat Jazz Festival, Silkeborg in Denmark and to Las Vegas in April.

The Jive Aces are:
Ian Clarkson – Vocals & Trumpet
Ken Smith – Double Bass
Vince Hurley – Piano
Peter Howell – Drums
John Fordham – Saxophone
Alex Douglas – Trombone

The Jive Aces are one of the hardest-working bands in show business today, performing over 300 shows a year in so far over 25 different countries.

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 superb 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.

Their wild, high-energy floorshow became their trademark and people of all ages came to see the lively band give them what they wanted – pure entertainment.

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