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Bebop Spoken There

Branford Marsalis: "You talk to the old guys about it [52nd St.], and they say the music part was great. Every other aspect of it [pay, hours, conditions] sucked" - (DownBeat, May 2019).

Archive

Today Sunday April 21

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. Free.

Blues

Beefy La Slap - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 3:00pm. Free.

Alex Fawcett Band - Tyne Bar, Maling St., Newcastle NE6 1LP. Tel: 0191 265 2550. 4:00pm. Free

Evening

Jazz

East Coast Jazz - Exchange, Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1SE. Tel: 0191 258 4111. 6:00pm. Free. Monthly jam session.

Swing Manouche - Black Bull, Bridge St., Blaydon NE21 4JJ. Tel: 0191 414 2846. 7:30pm. £7.00. Blaydon Jazz Club. Note new, regular start time.

Blues

Sour Mash Trio - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mark Nightingale w. Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Sage Gateshead - Feb. 23.

Michael Lamb and the SSBB think big when they book a guest artist. Over the last few years, the Roll of Honour has included Bruce Adams, Alan Barnes, Paul Booth, Joe Stilgoe and many others. All have one thing in common - master practitioners of their art and their chosen instrument. Last night was no exception. In Mark Nightingale, we have a trombone titan who delighted the three-tier-full Sage 2 audience.

The opener, Home Groan, had Steve Summers on alto reminding us that there was more than one superstar on the bill - there were 18. In fact, there would have been 19 if F'reez hadn't been left out in the cold - boom! boom!

Enter Mark Nightingale. Don't Mention the Blues, the title inspired by Fawlty Towers, had the main man blowing low down and dirty whilst on Detour Ahead the tone was pure and clear with a cadenza played with such dexterity that trombone players in the audience were recognisable by their dropped jaws. A special mention also for the sax section chorus on the former number which was a masterclass in phrasing and intonation.
A SSBB show invariably includes showstoppers by Alice Grace - named after two princesses quipped Mark. 'Jeepers Creepers!' I exclaimed when the First Lady appeared in a stunning figure-hugging grey gown and, lo and behold, she sang that very song! Cole Porter's You're the Top complete with an additional verse mentioning Lester Young and Art Tatum's left hand followed and the audience agreed with the sentiments expressed by the song title although, in fairness, the vocal mic channel could have done with an extra half a turn.

A band number - Film Noir Part One was very appropriate as I'm currently re-reading Mickey Spillane's The Long Wait which is as noir as they come and, before you sneer, I also read Shakespeare but I prefer Spillane as there's less sex and violence in his stories!
I digress. Film Noir Part One is a fast number that relates to car chases and shootouts. Drama too - it's a trombone feature and Mark Nightingale wasn't around - who will bite the bullet? Chris Kurji-Smith steps up to the plate and doesn't let the home team down.

Mark Nightingale returned to close the first set with a Michael Lamb arrangement of Out of Nowhere - once more the saxes shine - and Nica's Dream told us, if anyone was in doubt, that this was the real deal.

In the bar, where judgment is passed, the verdict was unanimous - great band, great singer and great trombone player. Can't wait for the second set.

Point of Departure featured a blistering solo by leader Lamb, a super sop. solo by Summers and some driving drumming by Swinton.

Nightingale returned for I'm Old Fashioned which wasn't old fashioned at all and a John Dankworth arrangement of Moon Valley that had Dave Kerridge popping up from the trenches for a fine solo. Mark stayed on board for our dual princess' version of Mad About the Boy. Jamie Toms, who reminds me of the young Stan Getz, soloed on It Was a Very Good Year and it was a very good pair of tunes vocal-wise - the mic. levels having been adjusted.

And so the evening drew to a close with the illustrious guest trombonist taking us out on Whisper Not and I Concentrate on You. Such an evening couldn't end without an encore which, on this occasion, turned out to be an original dedicated to Benny Goodman - Mr BG.  

I mentioned earlier that I read Shakespeare and what could be more relevant to this concert than these two lines from the St. Crispin's Day speech (Henry V):

And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here.
Lance.


Trombone – Mark Nightingale
Vocals – Alice Grace
Saxophones – Steve Summers & Keith Robinson (Al), Jamie Toms & Dave Kerridge (Tn), Laurie Rangecroft (Bar)
Trumpets – Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey, Pete Tanton, Michael Lamb
Trombones – Kieran Parnaby, Mark Ferris, Chris Kurji-Smith, John Flood
Piano – Graham Don
Guitar – Pawel Jedrzejewski
Bass – Michael Whent
Kit – Guy Swinton

1 comment :

Keith Robinson (on F/b) said...

Thanks Lance for your continued support of the band and your kind, eloquent words.
We all had a great time on stage.

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