Live reviews

Ernest Ranglin plus support @ De Montfort Hall, Leicester

...and so let the good times roll...

Ernest Ranglin, an artist your Dad may be more familiar with, is a Jazz Musician of 70 years, 56 of those in the presence his guitar, so when asked if I'd like to attend a rare performance, to be honest I hadn't a clue of the performer, but I thought "why not, beats chasing the rain clouds".

So upon arriving I was a little embarrassed that the show was already 15 minutes into the performance, and being a seated affair I almost felt like apologising for the fact as I found my way to the best vantage point. But to be quite honest so absorbed were the audience, I don't think they would have noticed even had I been wearing a pink bowler. As explained, I was a novice when it came to tonight's artist and the ticket I was clutching gave me no clue, other than to throw confusion into the 'hat' by also mentioning that he was to be joined by that ever famous of groups, 'Support'! So it was a process of elimination when these performers greeted me, by the fact none of them looked a day over 35. This group of musicians were providing accompaniment of a Ska/Reggae crossover, performing 'classic' tunes and re-workings', with vocals provided by their drummer, a slight chap with the confidence and spirit of a professional compare. And so a set where time seemed to slip past ran for what must've been a further 45 minutes, before they bid their farewells, not without first advertising the fact they were from Leicester and could be caught at the Counting House, Freeman Common on August the 16th. But who were they? This was something that seemed to be lost in the rush for the bar, however it was at this very bar that upon talking to a member of their brass section I learnt that their name was El Pussycat Ska.

So suitably watered, when the call came we made our way back to the auditorium for the pinnacle of tonight's entertainment and I have to say this was somewhat like greeting your grand father and Norman Wisdom, so bizarre and entertaining was the performance. An obviously elderly gentleman, evident by his silver topping, took up position centre stage. Clutching a rather expensive steel strung acoustic instrument of his choice, Ernest proceeded to 'wow' those who were here to bear witness, with a set full of expert six-string mastery. Whilst at others he would 'play' on his increasing years when he forgetful introduced the members of his group.

Perhaps the most endearing part to Ernest Ranglin's set to night was his obvious satisfaction at being allowed to perform the music he held so dear, and upon leaving the stage for the first time commented on how much of "...an honor" it had been. But not lost for an encore Ernest returned, only to ask the audience if they were "...sure you want me to make all this noise again?", it was only too evident the reply he would get, "...well if you insist."

Ernest Ranglin, born in Robin's Hall, Jamaica and with more than 5 decades as a jazz guitarist behind him, took full opportunity of the acoustic environment offered by De Montfort Hall tonight. Promoted himself and his latest album 'Gotcha!', to a more than accepting crowd on a wet summer's evening in Leicester.

Nick James

de montfort hall


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