FRINGE REVIEW – The Jive Aces, Celebrating the Music of Louis Prima & Keely Smith


25-28 Aug, 2000 (2200) @ City Edinburgh

As August comes to a close, awards are distributed, flyers are swept away and the students remove their makeup and head back to university, it’s good to end on a high note.
Which is why you should make your way to City Edinburgh posthaste to catch the short run of the Jive Aces. Resplendent in yellow zoot suits, this sextet radiate energy and positivity (which they, according to their website and flyers handed out after the show, attribute to their adherence to Scientology).
2010 would have been Louis Prima’s 100th birthday so this show is an affectionate tribute to that great man and his wife and musical partner, Keely Smith. Most of the songs were performed by Prima, but a few have a more tenuous link and the band have “Prima-rised” them – a process that works surprisingly well with everything from “Singing in the Rain” to “Bring Me Sunshine”. Their energetic rendition of “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” seems to get the entire venue on its feet.
The Jive Aces have obviously been at this awhile and their performance is polished and professional, but without sacrificing soul in the process. Their onstage antics as well as their musical ability mean they are hugely charismatic performers and consummate showmen. Extra spectacle is provided by the swing dancers who are in abundant attendance and make the most of the rather small dance floor provided.
As much as the audience enjoy all this, the undoubted highlight of the evening is the encore. With some coaxing, the Jive Aces are joined by Keely Smith herself for a duet on “That Ol’ Black Magic”. It is indeed a magic moment, and the perfect note on which to close the Fringe.

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