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Bebop Spoken There

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Jazz In The Afternoon @ Cullercoats

Iain MacAulay ( trombone, piano & vocals ), Brian Chester ( trombone & piano ), Derek Fleck ( clarinet, tenor saxophone & banjo ), Mike Durham ( trumpet & vocals ), John Hallam ( double bass & sousaphone ), Jim McKeown (drums ) + Theresa McMullen ( vocals ), Roy Gibson ( piano ) & Doris Fenn ( banjo ). The north east jazz riviera basked in sunshine throughout the holiday weekend and Monday lunchtime served up some sizzling good time jazz to a standing room only audience at the Crescent Club. Two or three of the band donned Hawaiian - style shirts for the occasion (perhaps they were suffering from heat stroke) and kicked off with Iain MacAulay taking the vocal duties on ''I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby''. Clarence Williams' ''Royal Garden Blues'' followed by ''Buddy Bolden's Blues'' set the standard for an afternoon of choice material. An instrumental version of ''Ain't Mishehavin''' set me thinking...had I ever heard the tune without the lyrics? ''Happy Birthday'' was a surprise inclusion. Dedicated to Alice - Derek Fleck's other half - it was met with approval by all. Mr.Fleck took the opportunity to steal a kiss! The first set highlight - ''Trog's Blues'' featured Fleck on clarinet in a duo with pianist Brian Chester. Fleck achieved a quite wonderful vibrato; Chester contributed a chiming effect which could be said to have been of the baroque. Perfect. The tempo increased with a rousing version of ''St. Louis' Blues'' - Fleck switching to tenor sax and Chester cranking it up with a bootin' Hammond solo (Gerry Richardson or Jimmy McGriff would have been proud!). ''Hiawatha'' brought the first set to a close. The interval allowed for another thirst - quenching pint of Guinness, the purchase of a par for the course losing raffle ticket and a bit crack. The great Theresa McMullen opened the second set accompanied by Roy Gibson at the piano, with bass and drum stalwarts Hallam and McKeown in support, singing a beautifully - paced ''East of the Sun''. The boys in the band, having returned from proping up the bar, launched into ''Savoy Blues'' with Chester and MacAulay switching roles. Chester demonstrated his infectious, bustling trombone style and MacAulay can certainly play the piano. Guest trumpeter Mike Durham blew some top stuff on ''Bad Penny Blues'' together with Chester, Hallam and McKeown. Doris Fenn sat in on ''Lady Be Good'' alongside fellow banjoist Fleck, Chester and MacAulay played 'bones and John Hallam produced, as if out of thin air, the monster that is the sousaphone (had this creature just escaped from the Blue Reef Aquarium along the coast?). Mr.MacAulay said, to much hilarity, that Marshall Walker, the band's erstwhile drummer, referred to the sousaphone as Hallam's ''fart - o - phone ''! All said and done ''Lady Be Good'' is a good tune ! ''Basin Street Blues'' was a good ensemble piece with Roy Gibson back at the keyboard. The entertainment concluded with ''Enjoy Yourself ''. All present did just that. Russell

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