Something extraordinary happened at the last JAZZ AT THE LIBRARY concert in Thornbury. Drew Jurecka, the astonishing jazz violinist, transformed the Gallery room with its beautiful paintings into an intimate concert hall filled with marvellous sound and music.
The combination of Drew Jurecka on violin, doubling on clarinet, Tom Szczesniak on piano, doubling on accordion and Clark Johnston on double bass was perfect for their up-beat repertoire, played with joy and enthusiasm.
Jurecka paid tribute to the style of jazz created by Stephane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, Joe Venuti and Stuff Smith and showed his classical expertise by playing the Violin Partita No 3 in E major by Johann Sebastian Bach and Hungarian Dance No.5 by Johannes Brahms. It was remarkable how a violin and accordion are able to instill a modern rhythmic feeling into the classic tempo changes of the piece.
His diverse choice of jazz classics ranged from Gershwin’s Lady Be Good and I Got Rhythm to Sweet Georgia Brown, a violin solo of Irving berlin’s Russian Lullaby and a beautiful solo by bassist Clark Johnston of Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II.
On the light side, Drew’s vocal on I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate, a song written about 100 years ago, was so infectious that, well, you just wanted to shimmy…..
Two of Jurecka’s original compositions, On The Roof and Rebecca, had lovely melodies and harmonic lines which easily combined classic and jazz themes.
To comment on the instrument he is playing on, Jurecka pointed out that it is not a vintage edition, but a violin made by local instrument maker, Mark Schnurr who resides in Flesherton. As Mark was present, he received due recognition and applause.
The standing ovation by the appreciative audience prompted the encore of Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust, a fitting closing for the sublime performance.
What was so special that evening was that the audience became part of the magic with the unspoken communication and conversation between the musicians. A memorable evening indeed.