• Miles Hedley

BUTTERFLY’S WING at Blackheath Halls


The children of jazz legends who choose to follow in their parents’ footsteps have to face a lifetime of comparisons, often to their disadvantage. But that hasn’t stopped Jacqui Dankworth and Christian Garrick – and judging by their dazzling appearance at Blackheath Halls, they needn’t ever have worried. Jacqui has inherited the unique voice of her mum Cleo Laine and the musical insights of her saxophonist dad John Dankworth. And Christian’s amazing skills as a violinist are clearly born of the virtuosity of his jazz pianist father Michael Garrick. Add to this the prodigious talents of pianist and composer David Gordon and bassist Oli Hayhurst and their gig as Butterfly’s Wing was of the highest order. Not only did they perform a string of great songs from their new album Le Depart they also let rip with swinging covers, including tunes by Bud Powell and a hauntingly lovely take on Kurt Weill’s September Song which I reckon rivals the version recorded by jazz goddess Ella Fitzgerald. They also had a neat line in wit and whimsy, with a self-penned number about ducks and one called The Alchemist & The Catflap that featured one of the best miaows I’ve ever heard. The fun was the ideal counterpoint to the ballads which Dankworth sang so beautifully and which brought out the very best in her bandmates. And it helped to give their programme a perfect balance of emotion, virtuosity and sheer entertainment.

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