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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Customs House Big Band and Ruth Lambert

When the Customs House Big Band kicked off with "In The Mood" I almost groaned until I remembered the Glenn Miller version as being the first big band disc I ever bought. To complain now would be akin to shooting myself in the foot - I still have the '78' rpm record!
There were other Miller numbers - "American Patrol" and "Tuxedo Junction" - but there were also charts by Bill Holman (The Man I Love), Sammy Nestico, Neal Hefti (Li'l Darlin') and the even more contemporary Gordon Goodwin which made for a well rounded program that was appreciated by a decent sized crowd. The saxes are a nicely balanced section with good soloists in Jill Brett, alto, and tenormen John Hudson and Alan Marshall. Elaine Willis, daughter of guitarist Roy, blew 2nd alto and Chris Kaberry on bari stood in for Christine Atkinson. Gordon Marshall led the trumpets (Ken de Vere, Paul Gledhill, Harry Ruddick Damian Kelly) from the upper slopes of Mount Olympus as well as taking care of the solos. Trombone choruses were shared by Mike Fletcher, Chris Smith (?) Gareth Weaver(?) with MD Peter Morgan filling out the section, when not leading, on bass trombone.
Down in the galley and cooking were Bill Britain (pno), Roy Willis (gtr) - Hi Roy, long time no see - Bill Colledge (bs) and, fresh from driving the jazz-rock trio HCW at the Gateshead Jazz Festival, drummer John Hirst who proved to be equally adept in a swinging big band situation - a true all-rounder.
As if this wasn't enough - we were served up a mouthwatering dessert in the form of Ruth Lambert who positively revelled in having such a big band backing. Her material was perfect. "Always True To You Darling In My Fashion", "Black Coffee", "Almost Like Being In Love", "World On A String", "Hard Hearted Hannah", and an incredible revival of Rosie Clooney's "Mambo Italiano" were just some of the numbers Ruth delighted the audience with before the final "Alright, Okay, You Win" brought the gig to a stomping close. Photos.
Lance.
PS: Don't forget folks, they do it all again on Wednesday (25th) - same time same place.
PPS: The band's excellent CD "Love For Sale" is now on sale for a fiver. It includes vocals by Ruth and is well worth a 'deep sea diver'.
PPPS: And, of course, there's the great CLARE TEAL gig at the Customs House on Thursday.

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