The much in demand Jive Aces guarantee a swinging evening at Bangkok's International Festival of Dance and Music
I’VE JUST WATCHED the Jive Aces’ “Bring Me Sunshine” music video, adding another “view” to the more than two million already accumulated, and now I can’t stop smiling. It’s become my replacement for Thai sweets and Italian espresso. I’m counting the days to their Thailand debut at Bangkok’s 16th International Festival of Dance and Music.
“Our music has become even more positive and ‘playful’,” bandleader Ian Clarkson tells me as he looks back over their 25 years together.
“Although our main influences have remained the same, as we’ve been exposed to a wider and more eclectic sphere of music, we’ve naturally added more depth to our repertoire. Yet, at the same time, our sound and style have come together, and I believe we now have our own definitive Jive Aces sound and style.”
That particular sound and style – in which swing meets rock ’n’ roll amid high energy and unique humour – have greatly affected audiences in almost 40 countries, including music meccas like Glastonbury and Montreux.
There was one particular evening in London when Zeynep Ozlem Bas caught the bug. The former Bangkok resident who used to run the Festival of Dance and Music and whose company now represents the Jive Aces overseas says he’s usually too shy and reserved to be found dancing in public, except maybe at weddings. “But when I heard the Jive Aces the very first time, all that shyness disappeared. All I could think was, ‘Oh, I want to dance!’ They had a ‘wow’ effect on me from the very first moment.”
Asked why the Aces are so popular in Britain and why calls from overseas are increasing, Baz says they’re “genuinely great musicians”. “They have great communication skills and harmony, arising from being great friends and working together with fantastic synergy.
“They truly love what they do. They have so much fun onstage. Their joy and energy become infectious. You cannot be indifferent, neutral or unresponsive to their music – you just have a great time.”
“We love the music,” Clarkson confirms. “We really enjoy performing and we love our audience and meeting different people and like to connect with them. So, from the intimate atmosphere of Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club to the large scope of the Royal Albert Hall, we still just enjoy ourselves and so does the audience.
“People are very different from country to country and they all have their own ways of showing appreciation, but music is an international language. We love to travel and spread happiness – hence our song ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ and the music video.”
The multiple-award-winning video has been watched on YouTube more than two million times. “A doctor even prescribed it for a patient!” Baz says.
Clarkson guarantees a few surprises in Bangkok (“Writing new songs is important to keep this music fresh”) and advises, “Be prepared to have a good time!” The trip to Thailand is “a dream comes true”.
“We were once eating in a lovely Thai restaurant in England and spoke to the family who ran the place. They told us all about Thailand and that their King was a musician and loved jazz and they kindly loaned us a big book about Thailand to read. We were all intrigued by this and ever since then have wanted to visit and play for the Thai people.”
However, Bas wonders, “Is Bangkok ready to be taken by surprise by these men in yellow suits?”
Bangkok’s 16th International Festival of Dance and Music is made possible by the support of Bangkok Bank, the Crown Property Bureau, BMW, B Grimm Group, Bangkok Hospital, the Dusit Thani Bangkok, Indorama Ventures, Nation Multimedia, Beiersdorf, PTT Group, Singha Corp, Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Culture.
BRING US SUNSHINE
- The Jive Aces perform at 7.30pm on September 26 at the Thailand Cultural Centre. Seats cost Bt800 to Bt2,000 at ThaiTicketMajor.
- For more details, visit www.BangkokFestivals.com, www.Facebook.com/BangkoksInternationalFestivalOfDanceMusic and www.JiveAces.com.