Kinderjazz is the Christobel Llewellyn founded the band together with her partner David Llewellyn as a means for young children to learn about music and instruments used in a jazz orchestra. Originally, Kinderjazz started as a 10 piece but after a chance meeting at Billy Hyde’s music store in Sydney with Latin Percussionist Aykho Akhrif, the band soon added an eleventh musician on Congas. Aykho has inspired many Latin charts for the band with five of these being named after him. The twelfth member was a second trumpet, Liz Geyer who decided to go solo shortly after joining, making way for Tom McElvogue to replace her.

They have opened Manly Jazz Festival in 1998, and since then, have performed at the Sydney Opera House, Daring Harbour, the Teddy Bear’s Picnic at Parramatta Stadium, to more than 10,000 families, Carols in the Domain 2000 on Channel 7, Stadium Australia and many major venues around Australia. Kinderjazz was booked in 2008 by the Sydney Opera House to perform 30 concerts as part of the Baby Proms Programme. These concerts were so well attended the band reached a global following with families coming from America and Europe to see them live in concert. Whether you’re looking for ways to stimulate a developing young mind, you’d like to introduce children to the pleasures of music, or you just want your kids to have FUN, you’ll find Kinderjazz’s collection of blues, latin, ragtime, jazz, and swing music is perfect for girls and boys under the age of 12. “Arabella” kicks things off and I’m not all that thrilled but by the time it’s over I’m not only thrilled I had to listen again. I’m going to review this as a listener entertained, because that’s what I was. To go into it as if I know the first thing about jazz music or even the particulars of The Teddy Bears Picnic, wouldn’t be right for me. But I did learn myself from the tales at the end of the disc. I just like the music and that’s why I rate this high, and I’m going to give my point of view from that perspective, straight forward. After the first track I know I’m interested. So, “The Teddy Bears Picnic” is placed early in the track list. This is a fine tuned rendition, played very well, and it goes down as one of the best even though it’s an instrumental. But it’s not the only one, and there two on the CD that are fantastic. “In The Micro Aykho” is all over the place but it’s only one thing about it. It serves its purpose and is done as well as anything, the next person’s cup of tea or not. I was on the fence until the third listen, so it won be over by then. But I have to admit I wanted to skip to the next track before it was over the first time. Glad I didn’t. But with “Razzmatazz” there is a lot more to chew on as they go all out talking the Kinderjazz line and talking it well. This serves as a sort of anthem for them in the midst of a theatrical showing and it’s well placed. I just like to hear them bleed off their own enthusiasm and throw the energy around, it’s contagious. It keeps going with every bit and piece complimenting each other. Like with “Do The Latin Alphabet” with its peak powers, really taking everything over the top. I can see how jazz loving parents and students would love this. In fact it’s something any would around the world. I love this as much as the two instrumentals any day, rating them all as my favorites. As I’m saying, if you love jazz this is for you but it’s for anyone who can appreciate music. “Homework Blues” is where it all comes full circle and the musical inspiration comes home to rest, as it pushes the extra mile and gets all the credit because that is what doing your homework brings. The sax comes drifting in with just the right symbol work and you know this is going to be breezy, and then two things happen. The first being a lovely vocal, the second being a male heckling voice. Then it goes into a big band swing thing, going on about not having homework, so not having the blues. This is where the child and the parent could be one in the same, depending on how you interpret it. But if you don’t get all deep about it, you get another light treat with this, as it bubbles along nicely. It’s an extraordinary affair. But with “What’s Cooking Double Booking” I’m completely won over and need not hear another note to give the CD my blessing.

This is pure jazz the way I like it when I hear it, and I listen to anything to mostly hear the purest it has to offer. This is it for me, a great way to keep it altogether for any listener. This goes done in my top three. “Fantabulous” with its high energy but slightly pedestrian delivery doesn’t exactly thrill me but it belongs. And the same goes for “Can’t Stop The Music” because it stops too fast, ironically enough. But other than that they both still belong, as do the two narrative voice pieces at the end, “Potato Salad” and “Signals From Outer Space.” They don’t pop as much, for obvious reasons. The whole family will love this, as long as they love music and jazz in particular, at any playing level.

SP Clarke

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