Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Pigfoot: from left, Chris Batchelor, Liam Noble, James Allsopp, Paul Clarvis.

Pigfoot play Ellington at Jazz Hastings

Jazz Hastings’ next monthly session on 7 November will resound to some of the most iconic tunes in jazz when the highly entertaining group Pigfoot give their unique take on the music of Duke Ellington, says Julian Norridge.

Taking their name from the Bessie Smith song Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer, the band was formed by Chris Batchelor in 2013 to play classic 1920’s New Orleans material, spontaneously re-invented through the band’s wild musicality and wry humour.

Their inquisitive exploration of repertoire then led them further afield, through a series of gigs entitled Pigfoot Play… Here they extended in all directions, with sets dedicated to opera, Motown, Elvis, Bacharach and the hits of 1972, taking in music by Mozart, Wagner and Richard Strauss along the way.

One critic wrote that their music was “both rowdy and intelligent, sophisticated in its knowing adventurousness but most importantly great fun, albeit in a post modern sort of a way. Nonetheless Pigfoot’s obvious love of their source material shines through, despite the sometimes outrageous musical liberties that they take with it.”

Trumpeter Chris Batchelor, who formed Pigfoot in 2013.

For this session they are presenting a new programme: Pigfoot Play Ellington, an imaginative reworking of a range of Duke Ellington’s iconic compositions, from the early Cotton Club blues material to Swing hits and through to the exotica that was inspired by Ellington’s extensive travels.

The four members of the band – Chris Batchelor on trumpet, James Allsopp on baritone sax, Liam Noble on piano and Paul Clarvis on drums – are all much in demand soloists in their own right.

And they are all devotees of the classic Ellington sound – the muted rasp of trumpeter Cootie Williams, the poised grace of Harry Carney’s baritone, the dense crunch of Duke’s piano voicings and the buoyant bounce of drummer Sonny Greer are all reflected in their engaging and individual approaches.

An entertainingly riotous, swinging, delicate and atmospheric account of Ellington’s legacy is promised.


Pigfoot Play Ellington Jazz Hastings, Tuesday 7 November, East Hastings Sea Angling Association (on the Stade behind the lifeboat station). Doors open 7.45pm for 8.30 start, tickets £15 on the door.



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Posted 17:49 Monday, Oct 30, 2023 In: Music & Sound

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