Grappelli And Friends
The following write-up was written at one of Earl's earlier Jazz performances, alongside some very distinguished company.
Earl Okin is Britain's answer to Woody Allen - or as near as the most restrained temperament of these islands allows. Diffident, bespectacled, neat in the English rather than the American high-school sense, constantrly aware that the light at the end of the tunnel could be that of an approaching train, he holds the audience in his hand and glances at them sideways as though surprised to find them there.
He sings, plays the guitar, scatters delayed-action throwaway lines about the stage, provides his own trumpet accompaniment by mouth alone and breaks off to give a witty, iullustrated account of stride piano...and who else could get an entire audience to join in with their own mouth-made jazz-trumpet riffs?
He achieved all this - diffidently - at a concert at St. John's, Smith Square (London), alongside such stars as Stephane Grappelli, Adelaide Hall and Larry Adler, a three-hour concert that culminated in a spell of brilliant improvisation, the entire company skidding round hairpin bends in a medley of popular Jazz classics.