Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sat 17 Jan
CHILDREN’S JAZZ SHOW
The archetypal image of jazz players in roll-necked shirts bathed in a haze of smoke has no place at Kidsamonium. In fact you’re more likely to find an Elvis impersonator, High Court judge, wannabe pilot and a few giant chickens. What the show does have in common with your average jazz club, however, is the quality of musicianship. Headed by drummer Tom Bancroft (aka The King) the Kidsamonium band has taken freestyle jazz and made it palatable for younger audiences.
‘There’s not really a lot of jazz for kids,’ says Bancroft. ‘So I wanted to do something that presented great musicians and improvisation in a way that adults would enjoy, but kids would feel was directed at them.’ Aimed at ages 6-14, the show starts simply enough, with a few jazzy compositions played on saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, tuba and drums.
But from there, all hell breaks loose. ‘The children really get involved with music making during the show,’ explains Bancroft. ‘There’s no plot as such, instead we take the audience on a musical journey.’ This journey comprises a kazoo call and response, human piano featuring the entire audience, promenade tour of the venue and a percussion jam.
‘The jam gives the show a completely different focus and turns it into a nightclub,’ says Bancroft. ‘Then we get the adults up to dance so the kids can laugh at them.’ All of which causes much hilarity, but Kidsamonium also has a serious job to do – introduce children to the wonders of jazz.
‘Improvised music is really funny and exciting,’ says Bancroft, ‘but because it’s often packaged in an obscure way, people don’t know what’s going on. If they feel relaxed and the sets aren’t too long, kids can understand that jazz musicians do things other musicians don’t – like make music up on the spot. And for me, that’s what’s really exciting about jazz.’