QUEEN'S FESTIVAL, BELFAST

(Jazz at 'The Harp')


...Earl Okin was on cracking form. Using a mixture of material from his acclaimed one-man show 'Hoagy' together with other material, he gave an evening of high-class entertainment. His between-song banter had people crying with laughter and the famous trumpet-impressions received spontaneous applause every time he used them.

Earl's ability to change the mood without losing the thread of the performance was brilliant. Because they have so many good 'home-made' artistes, if you don't measure up, a Belfast audience will talk right through your set. While Earl was on, you couldn't hear a sound from the crowd and it was no real surprize when one encore wasn't going to be enough.

When called back a second time, Earl played a gentle Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn number to close the evening; the perfect end to a perfect performance.

Only the best is good enough for Belfast. How long is it going to be before England (not to mention the rest of the world) wakes up to the fact that they have one of the best on their doorstep.

Grahame Morrison.