2023-24 Concert Reviews

Joe Stilgoe on the Steinway

From the opening bars of  Cole Porter’s ‘All the things you are’, it was clear that the audience was in for a very special evening. The venue was the Maidment Auditorium at Shrewsbury School and the musicians were the Joe Stilgoe Trio. The versatile Mr. Stilgoe is a pianist, singer, songwriter and a theatrical entertainer.

Joe’s roots are firmly based in jazz - but with a lot added! He has a phenomenal technique which is matched by his colleagues Tom Farmer on bass and  Ben Reynolds on drums. 

Joe Stilgoe has real affection for Cole Porter and the other writers of the great American song book; as he said, each generation has its unique way of interpreting their work. They also played a Joni Mitchell song and a medley of Sondheim compositions, all played with an endless energy and subtlety and intensity which never deserted them.

Nostalgia played its part in the second half with Joe’s granny being fondly remembered for her beautiful music box which played Schumann’s Traumerie, a few bars of which Joe played at the end of a medley. They looked back on the era of black and white movies and played some numbers associated with Fred Astaire; this gave drummer Ben Reynolds the chance to show why he is the most musical of drummers. There was no room for the audience dancing, so Ben did a brilliant imitation of tap dancing on the drums. Incredible!

The capacity audience was spellbound; my neighbour whispered, "That man has complete control of his keyboard and his audience." How true!

Shropshire Music Trust must be delighted by the success of this event. It’s an excellent example of the season’s programme, presenting a wide range of musical styles.

 Andrew Petch

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