INTERVIEW: Get ready for Sunshine with the Jive Aces

Millennium Forum, 4th November

Above, The Jive Aces accept their award for Best Band at the Boisedale Music Awards from the legendary Jules Holland.

Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival favourites The Jive Aces return to the city again next month for another night high energy feel good music as part of their UK tour.

The English band will play four dates in Northern Ireland which begins on 1st November, including the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine, Strule Arts Centre in Omagh, The Old Courthouse in Antrim, before finishing their tour here in the city at the Millennium Forum on Sunday, 4th November.

Known for their vibrant attire and high energy performances, their musical style is as eclectic as their suits, a mix of Americana, Blues, Jazz, and Rockabilly.

Since forming in 1989, the Jive Aces have entertained audiences throughout the world and were previous winners of BBC TV's Opportunity Knocks and also made it through to the semi-finals of ITV’s Britain's Got Talent in 2012.

Consisting of Ian Clarkson, Ken Smith, Vince Hurley, Peter Howell, John Fordham and Alex Douglas, the six-piece have become known as the ‘UK's number one Jive and Swing band’.

Ahead of next month’s performance at the Forum, we caught up with frontman Ian and started by finding out how The Jive Aces began.

“Myself and Pete the drummer were at school together and the year we left school we met John and Ken at a Jive club in Essex near London's East End” explained Ian.

“We started a band and used to go busking in town centres. It was the street entertaining that taught us about showmanship. From there we started getting lots of gigs and work.

“We loved the upbeat style of Jive - somewhere between Jazz and Rock ‘n’ Roll - and we wanted to spread that happy colorful style around the world. We decided there was enough doom and gloom about in the news etc, so we thought let's cheer everyone up.”

Britain’s Got Talent is now in it’s thirteenth year and has become the nation’s most loved talent contest. The guys appeared in Season six of the hit TV show, making it through to the semi-finals. The show itself was eventually won by dancing dog act Ashleigh and Pudsey.

“It was a very interesting experience” said Ian when speaking about his time on the show. “We put a grumpy Simon Cowell in a good mood and made him smile, if you can do that you can do anything” laughs Ian. “We were seen by over 20 million viewers and it opened us up to a much larger audience. Although our music video, Bring Me Sunshine has also taken us all over the world from Russia to Morocco."

With so many highlights throughout their career, I thought I would put the frontman on the spot and find out which stands out most. “Hmm gosh, there are so many memorable moments” admitted Ian. “One would be headlining at the Royal Albert Hall and turning it into a swing dance, but recently we won Best Band in the Boisedale Music Awards presented by legend Jules Holland and he even jumped up to jam a Boogie Woogie with us.”

Although the guys have toured internationally throughout the years with more than 30 countries having experienced the Jive Aces, Ian revealed that Derry is up there with the best of them. “Seriously, Ireland is one of our favorite places and Derry is definitely one of our favorite cities” revealed Ian.

“The people are so friendly and there is so much music and culture. Otherwise Italy is a fave of the band and the American audiences are wonderful. We tour there twice a year.

“It'll be great to see all our Derry friends and we are excited to be bringing a special show that people won't have seen before and fitting for the size of the venue.”

Ian revealed what local audiences can expect to experience on the night. “There will be the usual suspects, us boys in yellow, plus the lovely Lottie on baritone saxophone, plus the Satin Dollz” said Ian

“The Dollz are a troup of gorgeous vintage showgirls who sing and tap dance. They're amazing and when we tested the show at the Edinburgh Fringe we sold out and got a five star review. There's going to be fun and glamour.

“The show sort of builds until at the end it’s like an organized riot” laughs Ian. “But the professor's Fish Fingers piano extravaganza is a favorite plus the aforementioned Bring Me Sunshine always gets the crowd joining in and on their feet”

And any new releases on the cards? “Of course, but they're a bit hush hush at the moment” said a secretive Ian.

“We have just released Volume 2 of our two volume Diggin the Roots CDs ‘Hot Jazz’. We recorded the two albums to celebrate our 21 years as the same line up. Both albums are also available on vinyl which is exciting. I've always wanted to bring vinyl back and people love it.”

Be sure to catch the UK's No.1 Jive & Swing band when they come to town next month, for an evening of live music to remember at the Millennium Forum - Sunday 4th November. Tickets here


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