Blue Flamingo Entertainments

Music Joke


London Jazz Festival: Top Picks

Blue Flamingo London jazz Festival 2014 Freddie Gavita, London City Big Band Sam Leak George Crowley Trisch Clowes Stoop Quintet Zoe Rahman Alice Zawadzki Soweto Kinch The Dixie Ticklers Ezra Collective Led Bib

We can’t get to them all – but here are our picks, based on those we know/have seen live.  There’s going to be so much greatness going on!

Sat 15th Nov, FREDDIE GAVITA, St John’s Downshire Hill, 19:30. Read our review here.  MORE

Sun 16th Nov, LONDON CITY BIG BAND, Spice of Life, 13:30. MORE

Sun 16th Nov, SAM LEAK BIG BAND, Spice of Life, 20:00. MORE

Mon 17th Nov, GEORGE CROWLEY‘S CAN OF WORMS,  The Oxford, 21:00. MORE

Tues 18th Nov, TRISH CLOWES & GUY BARKER w/ BBC CO, Southbank Centre/QE Hall, 19:30. MORE

Weds 19th Nov, STOOP QUINTET, Southbank Centre/Front Room, 18:00. Read our feature here. MORE

Weds 19th Nov, JESSIE BANNISTER & ZOE RAHMAN, PizzaExpress Jazz Club, 20:30. MORE

Weds 19th Nov, ALICE ZAWADZKI, Royal Albert Hall/Elgar Room, 21:45. Read our review hereMORE

Thurs 20th Nov, SOWETO KINCH, 606 Club, 20:30. MORE

Thurs 20th Nov, THE DIXIE TICKLERS, The Golden Hinde, 20:30. MORE

Fri 21st Nov, EZRA COLLECTIVE, Southbank Centre/Front Room, 17:30. MORE

Sat 22nd Nov, LED BIB, Vortex, 20:30. MORE




Reflections on the Brighton Bomb

~ Personal post from Leah Thomas, MD at Blue Flamingo.  LT does not have a personal blog, hence posting here. ~

October 12th 2014 marks 30 years since the Brighton Bomb, when the IRA blew up the Grand Hotel (Brighton) where the Conservative Party Conference members were staying.

As director of Press and Communications for the Conservative Party and Conference Producer, my father (Harvey Thomas) was in room 729, the room above the bomb.   At 2:55 am, he flew up one floor, and down ‘three and a bit’ floors.  He landed on a steel girder, and was buried under ten tonnes of rubble, rescued by tremendous firemen at 5:35 am.

He survived with scratches and bruises, had six baths at the hospital, never went into shock, and continued as normal at the conference.

Five people lost their lives that day, and Norman and Margaret Tebbit and John Wakeman were terribly injured.

Recently, for an upcoming BBC programme, I met the fireman who rescued my father.  They went beyond the call of duty, risking their own lives.  I owe them so much.

L-R: Ken Towner (he physically dragged  my  Father out from rubble) Father, Me, Fred Bishop (shift supervisor, rescue co-ordinator), Mick Ayling (heard my father's shout for help so rescue could begin)

L-R: Ken Towner (he physically dragged my Father out from rubble) Father, Me, Fred Bishop (shift supervisor, rescue co-ordinator), Mick Ayling (heard my father’s shout for help so rescue could begin)

We are a strong Christian family, believing in Christ’s death and resurrection and the forgiveness of our sins.  My father was convicted to write to Pat Magee, the bomber, telling him he had forgiven him for what he did.  This lead to a remarkable relationship, and we would now call him a family friend.  He is one of the most quietly academic men I’ve ever met.  Whilst I do not condone his actions, it has been interesting to learn of the troubles, and to see different perspectives.  Pat now works in reconciliation work.

Family Thomas in full on Tory mode. L-R: Marlies Thomas, Lani Charlwood, Harvey Thomas, Leah Thomas

Family Thomas in full on Tory mode. L-R: Marlies Thomas, Lani Charlwood, Harvey Thomas, Leah Thomas


I was born 6 days later, and made the front page of The Times.  There had been so much hurt, the media were looking for a ‘happy’ story.

The Times, Saturday October 20th 1984

The Times, Saturday October 20th 1984


This ‘story’ is a very normal part of my life.  The only thing that really makes this real for me (I am an eternal optimist) is seeing the footage (below) of my father being dragged out of the rubble.  I am incredibly thankful for the firemen who rescued my father, the policemen, the hospital staff.  Without them we would not be the family we are today, and we are a very tight unit.




Review: Alice Zawadzki at Jazz at the Crypt

Alice zawadzki the crypt alex roth tom mccredie blue flamingo wedding band pete le


It was so exciting finally to see Alice Zawadzki and her band live and with the packed crowd at The Crypt, Camberwell this Saturday, South London was excited too.

Zawadzki is utterly captivating in every part of her performance.  She can tell a story with her eyes alone, so when you add her voice, violin and the band you are willingly transported to another place.

Much of the music came from her recent album China Lane, starting the evening with its lead song Ring of Fire.  Next up was Indome Para Marsilia, beguiling in its haunting beginnings, juxtaposed with pure groove.  She sung masterfully in Ladino, and throughout the evening managed to sing in English, Swedish and Polish as well.

Zawadzki then moved on to Trochę Mitośći which was our favourite: texturally and harmonically it could be a Lied of the classical world. A song known to Zawadzki from her great aunt in Poland, it tells of a woman wanting the man with beautiful dark eyes.  Zawadzki has a voice with many colours in it, folk, jazz, soul to name but a few, and here she starts with a sound clearly evoking the 1950s.   Trochę Mitośći  then morphs into a beautifully rhapsodic duet for violin and guitar.   Who even knew this sound was possible.

Cellist Shirley Smart guested in a number of tunes, including a new song Superior Virtue.  The song was a duet for Zawadski and Smart, and demonstrated gifted use of narrative and musical story-telling techniques.

In You as Man the strength of each individual band member was evident.  Pete Lee on keys/synth put the Radiophonic Workshop to shame with his epic mastery of the Prophet 12. Alex Roth destroyed it with his solo there too.  As did Tom McCredie.  It’s a frankly ridiculous band.  This is not to omit drummer Jon Scott. He was on it all night, and owned Cat, a song about ‘the soul of a cat getting into the body of a woman’.

She’s just totally on it all. At ease. It is a band that works well together, they know where to leave space for each other, where to sit.  It’s a band that’s just right.

There are many more words we could write. But if words were adequate we wouldn’t have the music.  You have to go and hear her. There is no genre that isn’t covered. In fact. Forget genre. She is her own new genre.

We’ve now downloaded the album, which you can do here. Naughty us. We really should have done it much earlier.

Her next live dates can be seen here. Please go check her and her band out.


Vocals, violin & compositions: Alice Zawadzki

Bass: Tom McCredie

Guitar: Alex Roth

Kit: Jon Scott

Cello: Shirley Smart

Piano & Synth: Pete Lee

Set 1

1. Ring of Fire (Zawadzki) ‘The magic and wonder of being being a teenager drunk on cider’

2. Indome Para Marsilia (trad. Sephardic arr Alex Roth, sung in Ladino) ‘A song about a girl flung far away from her homeland, wondering what the world will bring’

3. Trochę Mitośći ‘A Little Love’ (trad. Polish) ‘A lady who falls in love with a man with deep dark eyes. Sung by my great aunt Anna Borey Protassewicz during the fifties in Poland. She recorded loads of songs with the Radio Orchestra in Bydgoszcz and I transcribed with one off an old vinyl of hers and rearranged it.’

4. Dicho Me Habian Dicho (trad. Sephardic, sung in Ladino)  ‘From the fifteenth centure, a time when Jews were expelled from Spain, a song of a girl worried nobody will marry her because of her skin colour’

5. Low Sun; Lovely Pink Light (Zawadzki) ‘A song of sunrise in Denmark’

Set 2

1. Cat (Zawadzki) ‘the soul of a cat getting into the body of a woman and influencing her affections’

2. Uti Mitt Hjärta ‘In my Heart’ (Kraya, arr Zawadzki, Swedish) ‘inside your heart I see your happiness. Within my body I feel your love’

3. Superior Virtue (Zawadzki) ‘How an unfulfilled love is ever the more romantic because it was never acted upon’

4. You as a man and I as a women (Zawadzki)  ‘When you think it’s over and you’re not quite sure if you can keep going’

5. You Can Leave Your Hat On (Etta James)

6. I’m Gonna Leave You Where I Met You (Rudy Stephenson/Nina Simon).