In August 2014, when 57-year-old writer and entertainer Janice Day came to Hay-on-Wye to stay with an old friend for the weekend, she was not expecting to fall head over heels in love.
The renowned jazz pianist, Martin Litton, with whom she had shared the stage 35 years before, remembered her fondly. When he happened to be playing Epsom Jazz Club, her hometown, he rang Janice and asked her to come to the show. That night he suggested she visit him in his cute little cottage in Hay. Being half-Welsh, she was curious to explore the land of her fathers, so she agreed to come for the weekend.
At the time, pushing 60, Janice little thought they would soon marry and start working together again. In fact, she was so confused after the whirlwind weekend in the beautiful Welsh border town, she insisted on a date in London.
“I need to find out exactly what I’ve fallen in love with - you or Hay,” she said.
Pooling their talents to create stunning arrangements, they have developed a winning classic jazz concept. Featuring the best songs from a particular year between the wars they present them in a variety of jazz versions, ranging from Noel Coward through Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee to Chet Baker, Blossom Dearie and beyond.
As one of Britain’s most celebrated jazz pianists, Litton is an internationally renowned musician, arranger and bandleader, who has entertained audiences across the world with his skilful playing. Day is a witty, insightful and entertaining multi-hyphenate, expert in reproducing the vocal styles of the 1920s and ‘30s. With just the right mix of humour, charm and virtuosity the happy couple present a tribute show that delights and entertains audiences everywhere.
This Sunday, October 15, at 3pm, they will be premiering their new show ‘Songs of 1928’ in the famously acoustic venue of St Mary’s Church, Hay-on-Wye HR3 5ED. £15 tickets are available on the door, at The Green Ink Booksellers in Hay and at vintagebythewye.com.