St Anne’s Church, at the foot of Highgate West Hill, was the delightful backdrop for a celebration of the Genius of Gershwin last weekend.

Part of this year’s Highgate International Chamber Music Festival the programme was packed with the best loved standards from the composer's playbook, as well as a couple of surprises from other musical prodigies.

On stage, with the ridiculously talented clarinettist Julian Bliss, were Martin Shaw (trumpet), Jason Rebello (piano), the lugubrious Ferg Ireland on bass, and the ever-so mellow Ed Richardson behind the drums.

The dreary cold winter afternoon was lifted when they kicked off with the cockle-warming S Wonderful, immediately followed by It Ain’t Necessarily So from Gershwin's 'folk opera' Porgy and Bess.

The first bars elicited a warm murmur of approval from the crowd – not at all misplaced as the sublime plaintive sound of Bliss’s clarinet combined with Shaw’s crystal, evocative trumpet.

The first guest piece was Thelonius Monk’s Epistrophe, giving Shaw’s crisp, expressive compelling trumpet work another chance to dazzle.

The band’s relaxed style and on-stage banter was picked up by the clearly knowledgeable 100 strong audience of all ages, who, throughout the 90 minutes tapped feet, nodded heads and spontaneously applauded the solo spots.

Jason Robello’s piano duet with Bliss in I Loves You porgy, was sad, wistful and brilliant. A little later, the Quintet demonstrated their appetite for improvisation with “a slightly darker version” of Summertime.

Their arrangement of Harold Arlen’s Blues in the Night was sensational – the only advice would be to lose some of the polish and go large on the louche.

Hats off to the festival organisers for their excellent programming. I can't wait for what's in store next year.