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Bebop Spoken There

Lionel Loueke: "A mistake is just for the moment-make it the best mistake it can be, and that's it" - (JazzTimes, April 2019).

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Today Tuesday April 23

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Budtet - The Fox, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB. Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

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

Friday, September 28, 2018

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ The Millstone - September 27

(Review by Russell)
A final rehearsal session before the band's big day in Greater Manchester. It doesn't come much more prestigious than a Sunday lunchtime engagement at Wigan Jazz Club, a club renowned for its promotion of classic big band jazz. 

This Strictly Smokin' Millstone set was played as if in concert mode, a bit like a Premier League footballer training during the week at match day intensity. The first team, with the exception of a couple of absentees (Alice Grace was on the treatment table), ripped through several of the numbers that will hit Wigan. 

A pint of the world's best beer - Big Lamp's Prince Bishop - at hand, it was standing room only in the upstairs function room as MD Michael Lamb raised his baton. The Girl from Ipanema arranged for big band by local hero Paul Booth with featured solos from Jamie Toms, tenor, and the SSBB's leader, the band was 'strictly smokin''. Mike Abene's Knarf for the '63 Maynard Ferguson band heard first, Keith Robinson's fiery alto sax, and then Pete Tanton's forceful trumpet blast. Abene's arrangement of Benny Golson's Whisper Not for Ferguson's '67 outfit set up solo opportunities for tenor man Paul Gowland, Lamb, trumpet, and Jamie Toms' contrasting, 'no hurry' tenor work. 

No Alice Grace tonight. Our poorly superstar being confined to barracks gave her friend Jennifer Davies a rare opportunity to sing with the band. Mean to Me sang Jen. Hey Alice, you'd better watch out! Only kidding, then again...

Ecaroh - that's Horace Silver, to you - is a winning tune with Pav Jedrzejewski's hypnotic riff echoing through the sections (Lamb, trumpet, Chris Kurgi-Smith, trombone, Robinson, reeds), Wigan will like this one. 

And they'll love Dr Feelgood! Jen knocked 'em for six, a bluesy belter with Pav digging deep and dirty and a collector's item to boot...Gordon Marshall stepping up to the soloist's plate! MD Lamb noted the band's applause (alongside that of the audience) for our depping vocalist: That must have been decent, even the band was clapping!

The London Suite (parts II & III) linked the SSBB's recent Hoochie Coochie gig in that part one of the above suite was heard at Warren T's Pilgrim Street establishment...a circle squared. Steve Summers never delivers anything other than first-rate solos and the band's take on Round Midnight found Summers (later to blow his EWI) in fine form on the alto sax feature.     

Jen Davies returned one more time to send us on our way, and the Strictly Smokin' to Wigan, singing The One I Love Belongs to Sombody Else. A cracking session, Wigan is sure to go well, and in a couple of weeks or so the SSBB will be back on home ground rocking them in the pews at St J's and St B's (that's St James' and St Basil's Church, Fenham, Newcastle). Make a note of the date - Thursday October 18. 

Special mention for Ian Wynd. Last heard with the Strictly Smokin' at the band's 2017 Gosforth Civic Theatre Christmas shows, our depping drummer read some fiendishly difficult parts and made it look easy. Michael Lamb, and the absent Guy Swinton, would be the first to acknowledge Wynd's efforts.  
Russell. 
Strictly Smokin' Big Band: Michael Lamb, MD, Pete Tanton, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (trumpets); Chris Kurgi-Smith, Mark Ferris, Chris Gray, John Flood (trombones); Jamie Toms, Paul Gowland, Steve Summers, Keith Robinson, Laurie Rangecroft (reeds); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Mike Bowman (keyboards); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Ian Wynd (drums); Jennifer Davies (vocals)    


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