Ronnie Scott’s, London
The classical star is a mesmerisingly musical jazz lover
This is far from the first time Nigel Kennedy has performed jazz at Ronnie Scott’s, but there was a big difference on this thrilling first night of a season of eight shows dedicated to the music of George Gershwin. This time there were no electric violins or drums, but only a cello, double bass, and the acoustic guitarists Rolf Bussalb and seven-string innovator Howard Alden.
Cracking gags, clutching a beer, punching fists with his band members, Kennedy was at his most engaging diamond-geezer ease – and the sold-out crowd was reverential when barely audible whistles from his violin’s upper register curled around the silent room, and rapturous when he turned up the heat. “Jewish community, New York energy, jazz, classical” was his crisp tribute to a personal hero as he began his set segueing Gershwin’s I Loves You, Porgy into Bess, You Is My Woman Now.