When “Downton Abbey” becomes Downtown Jazz
To the best of my knowledge, Americans have not yet been treated to “Dancing on the Edge”, the BBC’s latest costume drama. Think “Downton Abbey” goes dancing in Harlem with Jay Gatsby and you are some of the way there.
The five-episode TV series is strange and entertaining, well acted, mysterious and all about class, culture and racism in 1930s Britain. But for music fans, there is more. The series is all about the fictitious Louis Lester Band, a group of jazz men, their suave frontman and two female singers – all black but apparently thriving in decidedly white upper class London.
No point in giving away any of the plot plot but the band does play a lot of music in the series – and it is good. So good, in fact that the BBC has just released a CD and iTunes download. There is also a 7-inch retro vinyl doing the rounds – just like one that features in the show.
The music is swing jazz all mixed up with a bit of blues. Below is the trailer – essentially a video of the band’s “hit” single “Dead of Night Express”. Put this together with Treme and television is definitely looking up.