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HIGH STANDARDS is a quartet of recently retired business folk living in South West London, who share a common love of Jazz Standards. We are all accomplished amateur Jazz and Rock musicians, each with more than 20 years playing experience. We all listen regularly to ‘live’ jazz but feel that, all too frequently, it becomes inaccessible and technical losing the essential links to the great music of the first half of the 20th century with its wonderful melodies, superb lyrics and memorable rhythms.
Playing a “Jazz Standard” had become a cliché for something less than real Jazz!! If a standard is played it is often ‘cleverly’ bent so far as to be nearly unrecognisable; it is all too often used as a platform for the performers to demonstrate their virtuosity rather than to communicate the inherent appeal of the song itself. Bebop, Fusion, Free and other forms of Jazz all have their place and the art form continuously evolves with the younger generations ... but many audiences just want to listen to great tunes that they know being played with affection and polish. That is what HIGH STANDARDS sets out to do.
We have now been playing together for some time and have assembled a repertoire of over 100 classic jazz standards which we really like. We regularly do gigs and functions in the Richmond & Kew area. We would like to think that audiences will know or at least recognise most of what we play and we have tried to arrange each song in a way that shows it off to best advantage. If audiences leave saying “I had forgotten how wonderful these tunes were ....”, then we will have succeeded!
The band is a ‘core’ quartet of a lead clarinet and a rhythm section of piano, bass and drums. We have a number of associate singers and horn players who occasionally work with us ... but to do so they must be as passionate as we are about the Jazz Standards!