JazzLive Reviews

Cafe Society Swing: A True Story returns to London

Score: 8/10

The wrong place for the right people: Cafe Society Swing is where it all began. Opened in New York in 1938, it was the first racially desegregated club in the city, also known for its left-wing politics and strivings towards racial equality. To say that Billie Holiday performed her first live version of Strange Fruit there would be enough, without considering that until its demise in 1948, it played host to myriad jazz musicians such as Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Lena Horne and Coleman Hawkins

Songwriter, musician and London Jazz Festival producer Alex Webb and West End producer Simon Green take on stage at the Leicester Square Theatre a well-structured, entertaining and compelling show on the story behind the Cafe Society Swing, availing themselves of immensely talented musicians such as Ciyo Brown and Vimala Rowe for the execution of “sacred” pieces that require quite an amount of courage to perform, also featuring the experience of West End acclaimed actor Gareth Snook.

Closing with the touching, perfect rendition of Holiday’s Strange Fruit by Vimala Rowe, this show is a refreshing blast of great jazz music played through a script that tells an essential part of the history of 20th century America.

The show will be running at Leicester Square Theatre in London on June 18, 20 and 21. 

Complete Set List:

Cafe Society
Roll ‘Em Pete
What A Little Moonlight Can Do/All Of Me
Stormy Weather/Where Or When
Wild Women Don’t Get The Blues/Rock Me
One Meat Ball
Rockin’ Chair
Stlin Wasn’t Stallin’
Closing Time
I Left My Baby
Wrong Place, Right People
Parlez Moi D’amour
Lord Randall
Red Scare
What Is This Thing Called Love?
Lush Life
Too Hot For Words
The Investigator’s Song
Hurry On Down
Strange Fruit

Gessica Puglielli

Visual/Web Designer, Digital Marketing Strategist born in Lecce (Italy), I currently live in London. Between 1998 and 2005 I collaborated with Michael Jackson’s staff and in 2000 I had a meeting with the man himself. I founded Rebel Rebel in 2013 and so far it has been an exciting journey. Some of my favourite artists include Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Skunk Anansie, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Archive, Kraftwerk, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Anthony & The Johnsons, Gazpacho, The Maccabees, Led Zeppelin, Brian Eno, Beethoven, Bjork, Steve Wonder and many others. I feel a deep connection to animals and Mother Nature, which led me to choose a vegan lifestyle. I like playing electric guitar, photography, cinema, art, entertainment, travelling, playing tennis and browsing London.