As a group of London lads they were brought together by their love for jive, swing and big band music. Their musical idols included Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima and many more but they found it difficult to find bands that they could ‘swing’ too. The answer was… make their own music and boy did they do it in style.
Originally called Aces of Rhythm they then changed their name to the Emperors of Rhythm and with a large following in London then became the Blues Busters. It was vocalist Ian Clarkson who came up with the name Jive Aces after their first record company wanted a name to put on the disc.
The Jive Aces are led by Ian Clarkson (vocals & trumpet) the other members are Ken Smith (double bass), Vince Hurley (piano), Peter Howell (drums), John Fordham (saxophone) and Alex Douglas (trombone).
They combine fresh arrangements of swing, jive and R&B classics made famous by the likes of Louis Prima, Bobby Darin, Big Joe Turner, Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong among others.
You Tube helped bring their music to a wider audience when, in 2011, the video for their cover of the Morecambe and Wise theme song Bring Me Sunshine, performed in Louis Prima jive style, became a viral hit.
In 2012 they appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and at their audition they performed I Wanna Be Like You, from The Jungle Book, and received a standing ovation. They also impressed the judges with the normally hard to please Simon Cowell singing along and calling them, “Absolutely brilliant.” He also added that they put him in a good mood. They made it through to the live semi-finals and deserved to go further and compete in the final.
Each year they hold their charity festival, ‘Summertime Swing’ in the grounds of Saint Hill Manor in their hometown of East Grinstead and over the previous three years have raised over £17,000 for various charities. The event has been supported by many artists including Kenny Ball, Keely Smith, Chas McDevitt, Acker Bilk and Ray Gelato.
They have released several albums including Jumpin’ With Aces (1992), Our Kinda Jive (1996), Planet Jive (1998), Recipe For Rhythm (2008), Dance All Night (2009) and a tribute to Louis Prima, King Of The Swingers: A Salute To Louis Prima along with a couple of EPs, It’s Skiffle Time (2011) and Christmas Is Where You (2013).
They produce great videos and among these are La Dolce Vita (which featured a tribute to the Anita Ekberg fountain scene from the Frederico Felini film of the same name), Nothin's Too Good For My Baby (featuring Rebecca Grant), the aforementioned Bring Me Sunshine and an excellent parody of Meghan Trainor's hit All About The Bass, recorded as All About The Bing, a tribute to crooner Bing Crosby.
The title track opens the CD and is a song by the English musical comedy performer Vivian Ellis and writer Cliford Grey for their 1929 musical Mr Cinders.
Having already recorded I Wanna Be Like You they turn to another Jungle Book classic with Bear Necessities. Written by Terry Gilkyson for the 1967 animated film and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Like I Wanna Be Like You, the Jive Aces take the song and make it their own.
They turn to the Nat King Cole songbook for the Bert Kampfert and Milt Gabler composition L-O-V-E and the popular standard Smile. Based on an instrumental by Charlie Chaplin, and featured in his 1936 movie Modern Times, lyrics were added by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons in 1954 and Nat King Cole charted with his cover of the song.
Boogie Woogie Country Girl was originally a hit for Big Joe Turner, one of the Jive Aces early influences.
Sang by cockney Alfred P. Doolittle, dustman and father of Eliza Doolittle, in My Fair Lady, Get Me To The Church On Time was written by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner in the 1950s and has been a popular song in the years that followed.
In The Mood is one of the most recognizable and popular big band songs. Recorded by the Glen Miller Orchestra it was a #1 hit in America. Written by Tin Pan Alley composers Joe Garland and Andy Razaf it was based on a song called Tar Paper Stomp which was recorded in 1930 by Joseph ‘Wingy’ Manone, a bandleader from New Orleans.
They are joined on this track by The Satin Dollz, an American girl vocal group who have brought the music of the forties to audiences all over the world. They have worked with the Jive Aces on record and in concert, including their recent US tour.
Self-penned songs include Lovin' Life, I Like To Eat, The Simple Things, I'll Answer Your Call and my personal favourite, La Dolce Vita, which all fit in well with the other tracks and make for an enjoyable album that will have you tapping our feet and, if space permits, up and dancing.
Their shows are high energy with their bright stage suits, wild show and irresistible charm and, of course, their sheer professionalism. If you attend one of their shows you are sure to spend all your time on your feet. Every show is guaranteed to go with a swing!
If you have not listened or watched The Jive Aces then head over to You Tube, visit their website (www.jiveaces.com) and pick up their albums... you won't be disappointed!