All Souls Church lunchtime jazz

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Jazz afficionados, and anyone else who values fine local music-making, can enjoy a lunchtime recital next Wednesday September 9 at All Souls Church in Susans Road, when John and Anna Purcell entertain.

The father and daughter duo – on grand piano and vocals respectively – will run through an attractive repertoire including jazz standards such as Fever and Lullaby of Birdland, as well as some of John’s own compositions.

The breezy, engaging Purcell style will ensure that you leave with your feet tapping all the way home, or back to the office (writes Herald reviewer Kevin Anderson).

John is much more than a musician. Arriving in Eastbourne as a (very young) teacher back in the Seventies, he nominally earned his salary teaching Classics, while actually inducting Eastbourne’s youth into the joys of jazz, founding a succession of student jazz and rock bands, at the then Eastbourne Grammar School and subsequently at the Sixth Form College and Sussex Downs College.

Dozens of instrumentalists and singers will have learned to jam, riff and syncopate under John Purcell’s direction.

One of his former students, well-known local drum teacher Steve Huxley, still plays percussion in John’s current musical incarnation – Con Brio. The band plays a range of gigs at local venues, and its recent summer season included two concerts at the Gournay-en-Bray musical festival in Normandy.

Local audiences can next hear Con Brio’s on Saturday October 3 at the Star Inn at Waldron.

And, not to be overlooked in a Purcell household which is virtually an arts centre in its own right, John’s wife Jan is a founder member of Eastbourne’s highly regarded Renaissance Singers, while their son Stephen is director of the Pantaloons Theatre Company, which tours nationally and has brought shows to both the Underground Theatre and the Devonshire Park.

The Pantaloons are next in town on h October, with Macbeth, at the Undergound.

Next Wednesday, though, it just John and Anna who entertain. The All Souls concert begins at 1.00pm and admission is free.