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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Steve Waterman, Issie Barratt & the VOTNJO. Sunderland Campus.

Steve Waterman, John Evans, Matt Roberts, Gordon Marshall, Graham Hardy (tpts). John Milgate, Chris Hibbard, K.Norris, Alan Bravey (tmbs). James Russell, Andy Bennett, Lew Watson, Rod Mason, Bill Sneddon (saxes). Paul Edis (kybds). Ken Marley (bs). Adrian Tilbrook (dms). Issie Barratt & John Warren (conductor, composer, arranger etc.)
The cop-out would be for me to refer you to last November's review of the band when the major work, "Noneffency" was premiered. On that occasion I ran out of superlatives. Fortunately, tonight, I discovered a new superlative - Steve Waterman. As featured guest artist, Steve rubber-stamped his credentials to walk tall amongst the British trumpet hierarchy.
It was a dazzling display, effortlessly paintstripping the ceiling, then a few bars later, creating a tapestry of delicate pastels.
This was musical poetry of the highest order and deserving of a bigger audience.
Kenton's band used to play a piece entitled "Concerto To End All Concertos" and "Noneffency" is worthy of being subtitled as such. Okay, I know that technically speaking it isn't a concerto but it certainly feels like one and if anybody ever does write the definitive jazz concerto then surely it will be Issie Barratt.
Or John Warren.
John's own pieces also brought the best out of the orchestra with each of the saxes having at least one moment of glory.
And it's not over yet! Tomorrow night, at the Side Café, down on Newcastle's Quayside, Steve Waterman plays a quartet gig with tonight's rhythm section of Paul, Ken and Adrian. Then on Thursday, at the Corner House in the Heaton District of Newcastle it's the Indo-Jazz group Free Spirits with Lew Watson, who played out of his skull tonight, on tenor and soprano.
Prior to the VOTNJO gig I caught a number from one of the prizewinning bands - the Leeds Coll of Music outfit. Phew! Playing a 5-4-5-4 formation and bringing on Mick Donnelly from the judges bench on tenor the young players lost nothing by comparision with their peers. The future is in safe hands with these boys and girls who hit just the right groove with ultra precise section work - they were worthy winners.
Lance

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