Re-printed from Maggie’s Blue Suede News

Who is the best jive and swing band in the World ? That could be the focus of a very interesting debate; as far as the UK is concerned my vote would go to the Jive Aces. But here’s a much, much easier question – who are the best jive and swing band in Russian and Eastern Europe ? The simple answer is – the Coral Reefs. Or in Russian, that translates into “Coralaviye Reefiy.

The location for their concert on 18th August, “Grand Bourbon Street”, is one of the best music and rock’n’roll venues in Moscow. And as you can guess from the name one of their specialities is a huge choice of whiskies at the bar, at low prices !

The Reefs are an 8 piece outfit. The line-up features keyboards, lead guitar, bass guitar, trumpet, trombone, saxophone and drums. Their leader is the singer Kirill Sukhomlikov. Kirill has huge presence on stage; not only his voice, but he generates a lot of charisma. He studied acting at University and this is reflected in his stage performance; he puts on a real show. Plus it’s always a pleasure to jive dance with his wife at their concerts ! She’s a dance graduate from University and her dancing reflects it.

Like the Jive Aces they are not 100% pure rock’n’roll, but have very strong rock’n’roll influences in their music. The band composes many of it’s own songs. The main composer of their tunes is the keyboard player Mikhail Deryabin. The inspiration for coming up with most of the lyrics is Kirill. Mikhail assures everyone he hears the new tunes in his sleep and then writes down the music for them when he wakes up ! In any event the end result really works – their musical compositions are of exceptional quality. Their set mixes their own material with their interpretation of existing musical standards.

They perform both in English and Russian, depending on what it is their singing. Their own compositions are also either in Russian or English. My favourites from their own songs at the gig on the night were “Simply Winter”, “Midnight fate”, “That day” and “Eyes of night lamps”, a mixture of fast and slow numbers. Of the existing standards, I think I was most impressed with their versions of “Speedy Gonzales”, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ “ and “Americano”: all done in the Reefs’ inimitable rockin’ style. Smokin’ !

And here’s a special attraction the Reefs possess: Their bassist Eleanora Hayrapetyan, a relatively recent acquisition to the band, not only plays exceptionally well but she’s absolutely stunning to look at ! Makes me wish I was 30 years younger :)) And that’s saying something in Russia: From my own experience working in other countries like the USA, Russian women are definitely the most beautiful in the world. Sorry all you British ladies but it’s true !

The band are friends of mine and it’s always a pleasure to co-operate with them at their gigs. I usually start their concerts with a dance master class and the band comes on stage immediately following the class. As they are friends, I hope they won’t mind me including the following musician jokes ……..

What’s the first thing a musician says at work?
“Would you like fries with that?”

Why do musicians have to be awake by six o’clock?
Because most shops close by six thirty.

Have a look and listen to the Reefs yourselves and see what you think ! Go to http://www.rify.ru/video.html

Thankyou to the Coral Reefs for a great night at Grand Bourbon Street; hot jive, swing and rock’n’roll from the best band of the genre in Russia !

Richard Hume