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5* review of Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Live with performance making top 10 of the year

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady review – dancers take the audience with them on a wild jazz ride

Shoreditch Town Hall, London

The slinky grooves of Charles Mingus animate the expressive dancers of Clod Ensemble, who sweep up the crowd in a joyful celebration of movement

Lyndsey Winship - The Guardian

Sun 12 Nov 2023

“It’s not about what it looks like, it’s about what it feels like,” says our MC for the night, Chloe Carterr. And what does it feel like? It feels great.

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is the landmark 1963 album by jazz bassist/composer Charles Mingus. Mingus always intended it to be danced to, but at the time it never was. That was an irresistible invitation to performance company Clod Ensemble, who hatched the idea of a live show where everyone – audience included – is invited to “let the music move through you”.

Peter Edwards, musical director of the Nu Civilisation Orchestra, has transcribed the whole score by ear, and his band play with spirit (although the venue’s high, arched ceiling means the sound is muddier than ideal). First we warm up with three short pieces (by Edwards, Romarna Campbell and Clod Ensemble’s Paul Clark) and then on to Mingus’ masterpiece. They all work roughly the same way: a company of dancers lead the way, setting up a groove. The audience can join them on the floor (but they don’t have to – no pressure); we fall into a circle while dancers take solos, then everyone floods on to the floor with joyous faces....

Click here to read Lyndsey Winship's full review in the Guardian

The Performance also made it to The Guardian's top ten performances for 2023


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