Christmas will ring to a different tune this year when traditional carols are given a jazz-tinged makeover in one of Coventry’s oldest buildings.
“Cool Yule” will blend ancient and modern themes in a special performance at St Mary’s Guildhall on December 5th.
American expatriate musician Tom Clarke-Hill promises jazzy interpretations of seasonal favourites plus a selection of tunes made famous by the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ).
Playing bass, Tom leads a strong line-up which includes Nat Steele on vibraphone, Al Gurr (keyboards) and Nick Millward (drums).
Together they echo the MJQ’s cool group sound which built a huge following from the 1950s through to the 1990s.
Event organiser Ivor Lee believes that blending old and new, both in musical choice and performance setting, will help to raise awareness of jazz as a worthwhile live music experience.
Earlier this year he put the spotlight on young local talent, hiring St Mary’s Guildhall for the first time as a showcase venue for the Coventry Youth Jazz Orchestra.
“Cool Yule” is the follow-up, again supported by the Umbrella Club, a local arts group, through the Terry Watson Legacy Trust.
“I want to see jazz become more popular, particularly with young people, and this is one way of stimulating interest”, says Ivor.
“Perhaps others will pick up on the idea of presenting new music in old settings. We’ve shown that it can work in Coventry and there are lots of under-utilised historic buildings around the country where similar events could be staged”.
Before the “Cool Yule” session begins there will be a more traditional performance of carols by Godiva Brass in the Guildhall Courtyard at 7pm.
Tickets for the event cost £10, including interval refreshments, and can be purchased from Coventry Tourist Information at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum or the Teddy Bears & Dolls Houses in Medieval Spon Street.