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Bebop Spoken There

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Benny Goodman Story Part 2

An eve of festival (Whitley Bay) presentation at The Sage, Gateshead, this event commemorated the 70th anniversary of the late Benny Goodman's legendary 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. Needless to say, none of the original participants were present; I'm sure they are all dead athough, no doubt someone will point out to me that some obscure sideman is still alive. I doubt if any of tonight's band were born in 1938! Nevertheless, in a near capacity Hall One, the audience made up for it; many of them were old enough to have been at the original concert! Not that this dampened their enthusiasm.
The role of Benny was taken by Matthias Seuffert, a young German clarinetist who handled the note for note recreations with ease. Enrico Tomasso, as Harry James, blew with fire as did Andy Woon (or was it Nathan Bray?) who played Ziggy Elman. Joan Viscant 'did' Martha Tilton and Peggy Lee quite effectively. Martha only died in 2006 so she almost didn't need a dep.
The whole affair was led and narrated from the piano by Keith Nichols.

Now comes the difficult bit. How do you pass judgement on note for note recreations? I'm not going to attempt to; let's just say I enjoyed it for what it was. If I'd wanted twenty-first century, totally(ish), improvised sounds I'd have went down to the Side Cafe and dug Lol Coxhill. I didn't so I got what I paid for.
A piece written and scored for five clarinets by Mattias was the only 'original' played and I enjoyed it as much as the old warhorses.One query; why did The Sage's much vaunted acoustics deaden the brass so much on 'Sing, Sing, Sing'?
Still, it was an enjoyable evening although I won't be getting rid of my original recordings!

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

It's Viskant with a K not Viscant with a C.

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