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Aubrey Logan: "I chose trombone because trombone just kicks my ass, and I needed to do something that was hard" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Friday May 24

Afternoon

Jazz

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Giles Strong Trio - Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. Tel: 03000 269 524. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Evening.

Blues/Soul/Funk

Dave Kelly & Christine Collister - Gala Theatre & Cinema, Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA . Tel: 03000 266 600. 8:00pm. £18.00.

The Hookahs - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

Groove-a-matics - Lindisfarne Club, West St., Wallsend NE28 8LG. Tel: 0191 262 4258. 9:00pm.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ North Shore. March 2, 2013

(Report by Russell).
Saturday at the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival is the day the big boys and girls come out to play. This year’s open section attracted no fewer than ten bands. Ten years ago Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra won the inaugural event and this time round had the (dubious?) distinction of leading off at that well known jazz hour…12 noon. Vocalists were well represented in the band - indeed a feature of this year’s competition was a plethora of very good vocalists throughout the day - and after the opening Flight of the Foo Birds the singers took centre stage. Ella El-Salahi sang, with a real jazz feeling, Cry Me a River followed by Shona Crosson who was plagued by a mic malfunction and to their credit the adjudicators allowed a second take of Why Don’t You Do Right? (well done Shona!). A third Newcastle vocalist - Sreenag Krishamoorthy - cut a suave figure with his performance of Beyond the Sea.
County Durham has an enviable reputation in music education and the Durham Alumni Big Band boasts some of the best players on the scene. Heavyweight composers were in the pad - Dave Holland and Chick Corea - as was County Durham lad Matt Roberts and it was his tune Hymn for Him that featured the excellent Jonny Dunn (trumpet) and Steve McGarvie (reeds) supported by a sympathetic rhythm section (bassist Amy Baker outstanding).
Title holders Durham University Big Band (winners in 2011 and 2012) were up for the hat-trick and submitted an ambitious programme; Stan Sulzmann’s Jack Stix, Sammy Nestico’s Ya Gotta Try Harder and Kenny Wheeler’s Enowena. The Sulzmann number featured trombonist Chris Jones and Luke Steven (drums), the Nestico chart the tenor saxophonists Matt Sulzmann and Duncan Walker and on the quintessential Wheeler composition, the magnificent Beth Aggett (voice).
Big Band Theory from Leeds were new to the competition and something of an unknown quantity. Two Seconds to Midnight (comp. Alan Baylock) with energetic section work marked the band as serious contenders. Baylock’s All the Way featured Benji Powling’s stunning tenor playing, Frank Foster’s classic Shiny Stockings received a respectful reading and it was down to the band’s vocalist Caterina Comeglio to steal the show singing A Tisket, a Tasket.
Competition regulars Lancaster University Jazz Orchestra had some fun with Theme from Naked Gun (think Leslie Nielsen and laugh), Randy Newman’s You’ve Got a Friend in Me and the ever-popular Count Bubba (comp.Gordon Goodwin).
First time visitors Tyne Valley Big Band, led by the indefatigable Dave Hignett, took to the stage in  numbers (massed ranks more like!). Musicians everywhere, this really was a big band! Drawn from the Tyne Valley community, this outfit were out to enjoy themselves. Basie’s Corner Pocket, Sammy Nestico’s Lonely Street, Eric Morales’ Feelin’ the Funk -  good tunes all. Familiar face Alastair Lord nailed the top C stuff in the trumpet section and Andrea De Vere blazed a trail on tenor and alto. To top it off vocalist Barbara Hignett unleashed a killer version of Mack the Knife. Was this Live at the Sands, Las Vegas or the Students’ Union, Sunderland University? No matter where, great stuff! Six bands done, four to go.
Next up Leeds College of Music Big Band, for some, serious challengers to Durham University Big Band’s recent dominance at the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. Their competition entry - an all Maria Schneider programme - no doubt struck fear in the hearts of their rivals. If they could pull this off they were home and dry. Big hitters sat in the sections - the fearless Kim Macari (trumpet), the brilliant Will Howard (tenor), Adam Taylor (guitar) and pianist Oli Cadman (impressive on a recent visit to the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle). Dance You Monster to My Soft Song ticked all the boxes - exemplary ensemble work with a spot-on solo by Adam Taylor. Will Howard’s extended solo on the ballad My Lament will live long in the memory and Gumba Blue boasted killer trumpet from Macari and dazzling piano (Cadman).
Another Yorkshire band followed - Huddersfield University Big Band - and surely had it all to do. A varied programme began with All or Nothing at All with a feature from trumpeter George Green. Mozart’s Symphony No.40 in Gm (arr. Gordon Goodwin) distilled the essence of a big band; the ensemble, listening sections, a simmering, cookin’ rhythm section, switch-back tempi and a crowning clarinet contribution from Chris Jolly. The set concluded with the infectious Brazil anchored by a disciplined trumpet section led by Nathan Blake.
This year’s long distance travellers were Cardiff University Big Band setting off at stupid o’clock (the sort of time any self-respecting student would be arriving home after a half-decent night out). The band arrived on time (just) and proceeded to give a very good account of themselves. Altoist Jack Mcdougal opened on Sussudio, the second number in the book introduced another impressive vocalist - Elise Parish - who sang with some style on Everybody Needs a Best Friend (comp. Seth Macfarlane and Walter Murphy) and Radiohead’s High and Dry closed the set, drawing approval from the many student players of the other bands listening with a beer in hand.
It had been a busy day and it was left to the Customs House Big Band to bring down the curtain. Porter, Strayhorn, Goodwin. You can’t go wrong. Add vocalist Ruth Lambert and you’re onto a winner. Led by Peter Morgan, the band from South Shields never fails to entertain. Love for Sale (tenor solo from Alan Marshall), Take the A Train (strong solo from trumpeter Mick Hill, typically good piano from Bill Brittain) and Gordon Goodwin’s Sing Sang Sung worked as a good blow out number interspersed by Lambert’s fabulous vocals on Teach Me Tonight and Mambo Italiano.
Ten bands, variety, great playing all round, the adjudicators - Paul Jones and Pete Long - were faced with an unenviable task. Deliberations concluded, Bill Watson assembled the cast. Marie Nixon (Chief Executive, Sunderland University Students’ Union) thanked all and sundry, happy to confirm the institution’s continued support for the event. Pete Long offered the adjudicators’ comments on the many performances and the winners were duly announced. Three adjudicators’ additional awards went to:
Caterina Comeglio (vocalist, Big Band Theory), Beth Aggett (voice, Durham University Big Band) and Lancaster University Jazz Orchestra’s drummer Michael Jay. 
Winner Best Balanced Programme: Big Band Theory.
Winner Best Section: Cardiff University Big Band (Brass).
Winner Best Soloist: Matt Sulzmann.
Winner Best Band: Huddersfield University Big Band. So, a busy day, an inspiring day. Congratulations to all. Tomorrow’s competition features school and youth bands. Another grand day is guaranteed. Down beat 11.30.am.
Russell.                       

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