IT was definitely an evening of two halves - red hot jazz and sizzling soccer.

England’s final push for World Cup final glory was being played out on big screens in one corner of The Concorde while not far away The Bratislava Hot Serenaders were scoring a huge hit with jazz aficionados .

The 21 piece orchestra took to the field 30 minutes later than the scheduled start so they did not clash with the England game.

The band’s home country of Slovakia has appeared only once in the finals of the FIFA World Cup when they reached the second round.

But when it comes to delivering red hot jazz and swing band music the pitch perfect Hot Serenaders are in a league of their own.

While England was going into extra time this multi-talented outfit was setting The Concorde on fire with its unique interpretation of American music which was all the rage in Europe at the end of the twenties.

They were making a welcome return to Eastleigh as part of a fourth UK tour. They have been playing to packed audiences across the country and have gathered a growing army of fans.

There was a production line of twenties and thirties hits as the ensemble’s crooners, including their manager Milos Stancik, and the enchanting Serenaders Sisters stepped on stage to deliver each number in a captivating style.

Their flawless performance matched their sartorial elegance with the men in their dapper evening suits and black shoes - so shiny that they threatened to blind the audience – and brilliantine glistening in their hair.

And the trio of singing sisters looked very fetching with their roaring twenties style costumes complete with long pearl necklaces.

In close harmony style they huddled around a lone vintage microphone and it sounded as if it was coming straight from the wireless.

After each number they returned to the stage to take a bow. It was a reminder of a genteel age when good manners played such a big part of our lives.

The orchestra was led by brilliant trumpet player Juraj Bartos who introduced each number with witty soundbites.

It was like being taken back to that music rich age of hot jazz and dance music.

The orchestra was spoilt for choice with a repertoire of more than 250 numbers originating from authentic recordings practised from gramophone records collected in their homeland.

They hit the ground running with Fats Waller’s I’m Crazy ‘Bout My Baby and the playlist included classics from the song books of American jazz greats Duke Ellington, Paul Whiteman and George Gershwin.

They flipped back to the magical sounds of the 1930s Cotton Club which started in Harlem during America’s prohibition period and thrown into this intoxicating cocktail were some Slovakian numbers.

Football might not be coming home but, judging from the rapturous applause, Concorde jazz fans will be hoping that the Bratislava Hot Serenaders come back soon.

Duncan Eaton