George Melly and the Digby Fairweather Half-Dozen

Norwich Playhouse

Norwich Playhouse

Digby and his band have become regular favourites at the Playhouse in recent years. Fresh from their latest stint at Ronnie Scott's jazz club in London,

this time round the half dozen might just as well refer to the number of honours the band picked up at this year's British Jazz Awards.

Playing exuberant and joyful jazz, they run through a repertoire of the likes of Fats Waller, Gershwin and Bessie Smith with seemingly effortless skill making the audience feel as though we have just walked in on a private jamming session.


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By contrast, the special guest on Saturday evening could not be more theatrical. Aged 80, George Melly shuffles onstage dressed in a green velour caftan and a tiger print stetson, topped off with the old eye patch.

It's as though the love child of Quentin Crisp and Shirley Bassey just appeared. But the voice is pure New Orleans and he rasps through the numbers with real energy and feeling.

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He smokes and drinks onstage, tells the odd rude joke and lifts an evening of good music into real entertainment.

This is British jazz at the top of its game, coupled with a legendary eccentric who still knows what to do with a great tune.

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