Home General Peter Uppman Quintet with Kelsey Giarola – July 25th, 2020

Peter Uppman Quintet with Kelsey Giarola – July 25th, 2020

JazzKeeper has finally kicked in. (Cue rapturous applause). And yes, live Saturday Night Jazz is back in town. Alive and kicking. Here at the Brisbane Jazz Club.

Tonight, blowing away dem ole Covid-19 Blues, we have the sublimely talented, Peter Uppman Quintet, with Kelsey Giarola…and the kind of performance that the Brisbane Jazz Club was made for!!

The night was Covid-safe, of course. Everyone was appropriately socially distanced, on a cold and wet, wintry Brisbane night. The sort of night that keeps people curled up at home, by an open fire….

But oh, not tonight!!

Nothing was going to dampen the enthusiasm with which this Covid Full House greeted the return of the Jazz. Oh yes. We were all ready to step out. Welcoming the band to the stage. Sharing the love and our gratitude. Applauding every fun-filled moment of the show.

And the band responded with equal enthusiasm. Stepping right up. Getting the show firmly back on the road. Bustin’ dem Blues!!

They were cookin’ from the moment Peter opened the night with, ‘We want you to enjoy yourselves, folks.’

And the recipe?

  1. Take one keyboard player from Gerry and the Pacemakers.
  2. Fold in the two-man Rhythm Section from Galapagos Duck.
  3. Blend with a fine trumpet player and a virtuoso guitarist.
  4. Marinate for a lifetime, in talent and personality.
  5. Garnish with a bubbling vocal duo, up front.
  6. Know your stuff. Know it so well, that you can perform seamlessly, in these Covid times, without a rehearsal. They.Did.Tonight.At.The.BJC.
  7. Top it off with a great set-list of classics and originals.
  8. And serve HOT!!


  1. Peter Uppman on trumpet, flugelhorn and lead vocals.
  2. Kelsey Giarola on lead vocals.
  3. Jose McLaughlin on piano and vocals.
  4. Russell Bayne on guitar.
  5. John Conley on double and electric bass.
  6. Rod Ford on drums and vocals.

The flavour of the night is probably best described by Peter’s introduction to one of the many memorable self-penned songs they performed, ‘It’s a sort of Latin, Reggae, Bossa, Country, Swing thing’. 

Indeed. A perfect description for the feast that they delivered.

There were lashings of personality-filled duets and scats from Peter and Kelsey, laid between stirring solo vocal highlights. There were delicious, blazing solos from all of the musicians.

And there was lots of Swing, including Kelsey’s very non-Nat King Cole version of Nature Boy, Rod’s slow swing version of ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, and Jose’s swing, swing, swingin’ version of the Gerry and the Pacemakers classic, ‘Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying’. (Perhaps they should have done, ‘Girl On A Swing’?)

And in case we missed the message, for dessert, at the opening of the second set, they gave us a scrumptious serving of, ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing, (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)’.

I loved Kelsey and Peter’s ‘Mack The Knife’, a personal favourite of mine…which was given a little extra spice, when they were joined by Rod in a rolling, rollicking group scat.

And they signed off with Minnie Ripperton’s ‘Loving You’; making it a fun finale by inviting random audience members to join in on the high-pitched ah-ah-ooh-ooh-oohs.

What a performance; Kelsey’s voice, the Peter and Kelsey duets, the sublime and skillful solos from each band member, the infectious laughing, dancing and (Covid-safe) Group Hug that was happening on the stage…all made it deserving of more ‘Beautifuls’ than a Donald Trump press conference!!

Thank you, Peter, Kelsey, Jose, Russell, John and Rod for a wonderful, spirit-lifting, Covid-time performance. A night to remember!!

Alan Smith

Brisbane Jazz Club