Review: Jazzmanix at the Turner Sims, Southampton

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It would be absurd to review a concert from an amateur university choir in the same way as a serious, professional one; whatever the reasons for why we were at at the Turner Sims (I’ve never seen it so crowded), we all knew what to expect. And in that sense, we weren’t disappointed: Jazzmanix clearly succeeded in contenting its audience. Via cheerful pop songs and a few gospel anthems, Jazzmanix seemed focused on spreading as much happiness as possible, and it is undeniable that they managed to do it: at the end of the concert, almost no one wasn’t smiling.

Divided in two different sets, the concert started with a presentation by the president of Jazzmanix, who thanked us for being there and stretched all the effort that a project of the kind needs. I mention this for it is the word that defined the concert, and I guess that Jazzmanix as such: effort, and also hope. Every single one of its members seemed to be trying their hardest, and this was especially notable at the first half of the concert, for it consisted in five different small groups, each one singing a couple of songs. Of these, the most remarkable performances were the arrangement of two modern day classics: Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ and Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. Although all songs were very cheered by the crowd, it was clear that those two songs were the most acclaimed of all.

However, Jazzmanix is, above everything else, a group project, and thus the second half was the pièce de résistance of the evening. Accompanied by a solid band (a typical pop-jazz-whatever ensemble: drums, guitar, bass, keyboard and four winds), the three different musical directors shifted depending on the song. From Queen to Cyndie Lauper, throughout a bluesy gospel song called ‘Spiritual’, which was the peak of the second half, Jazzmanix touched almost every single generic musical style there is but, ironically, jazz (and thrash metal). Of course, this is by no means a reproach: their efforts to be as eclectic as possible are to be praised.

The second half was, then, a very good resume of what Jazzmanix is: catchy tunes and many people singing, for at the second half there were at least forty people on the stage, something very impressive to see. Sadly, despite the members of Jazzmanix reminded the audience again and again that we were not only allowed, but encouraged to dance and sing along, no one stood up and did it. Obviously, this is not their fault, but maybe an encore would have worked to raise the spirit of the crowd. However, this is only a suggestion: Jazzmanix concert was, in general lines, something worth seeing. Their work and their efforts showed us why Jazzmanix is, by far, one of the best well-knowns societies we have here at the university.

You can catch Jazzmanix at their spring concert.

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Second year Philosophy student. Clearly not English.

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