Jason Mackaway

distinctly different

John Williams Jazz

In the words of Barry B. Benson;

“Do you like Jazz”

A few Saturdays ago the Paris Jazz Cat played host to The Incredible Works of John Williams, a gig where John Williams’ music was performed in the style of jazz, arranged by Toshi Clinch.

Having never been to The Paris Jazz Cat before, my expectations were pleasantly exceeded. If you were to imagine how a jazz venue should look, then the Paris Jazz Cat would be exactly what you envision. The room was sold out with young and old to boot, every seat around every table filled. All the standing room taken. The walls and ceiling lined with jazz posters and assorted instruments and velvet curtains clung to walls.

The musical arrangements were full and well thought out, for a 9 piece band they had gorgeous harmonies, soaring solos, and stylistic variety throughout their sets. The overall tone and aesthetic was sonically and visually pleasing, with the cherry on top being songs that everyone knows and loves. Classics such as Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and my personal favourite of John Williams’ soundtracks, Catch Me If You Can. My one and only disappointment from the night was the severe lack of the Cantina Theme, but that is a minor complaint in a sea of positives.

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The most amazing thing about this gig though was not the genre change, or the arrangements, but the fact that the band was compromised of a 50/50 split of professionals and students. Something the audience would have been blissfully unaware of if not noted by the band between songs. The students blended in seamlessly, slotting in perfectly as accompanists, improvising enjoyable solos, and doing an all round bang up job.

Congratulations to Toshi Clinch for putting on an amazing show, for creating amazing arrangements, and for creating a band that allows young musicians a chance to perform in a professional setting, and work with industry professionals and venues from a young age. Congratulations to the students and to the whole band.