“Inspired by New York’s Jazz for Obama gig in 2012, more than 30 UK jazz luminaries, including Courtney Pine, Liane Carroll, Arun Ghosh and Andy Sheppard, assembled to wave the flag for Labour’s campaign. As on the Obama show, the music was mainly the message, though politicians John Prescott and Rachel Reeves did step up for a little pep-talking, and a few musicians took hazy shots at explaining how jazz and Labour were coming from the same place.
But since the onrush of history ensures that nobody knows exactly what jazz is, or the 2015 Labour party either, the most uplifting moments came from the deepest roots of both. Sharing, tolerance and internationalism informed singer Vimala Rowe’s quietly wrenching account of the anti-racist classic Strange Fruit – with the Cafe Society band – and Arun Ghosh’s swerve from The Red Flag into Bengali jazz-funk. In his cheerleading finale, Pine observed that, in jazz and life, “we can only do this together”.“