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COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Tale of the Unexpected. Nick Gill's Byzantines @ Saville Exchange, North Shields.

Nick Gill (pno/vcl), Jake Gill (gtr/6 str.bjo/vcl), Debbie Arthurs (dms/vcl), James Evans (clt/alt/vcl), Pete Morgan (bs). I went to this gig, last night, not knowing what to expect or, to be more accurate, expecting a conventional classic jazz type outfit. All the musicians are very established players on the classic jazz circuit with the possible exception of young Jake Gill – a talented player and a name to watch out for. Imagine my surprise when I encountered an evening of mostly original music – songs at that, on varying topics loosely in a 20s era, Temperance Seven, Bonzo Dog, early dance band , varsity ball sort of vein. There were a few items from the familiar repertoire – "Dr Jazz" (a tour de force from Evans on alto plus his unmiked vocal), "High Society" (Evans, now on clarinet, playing the obligatory solo), "Dinah" (with period vocal and Djangoesque solo from Gill) but, apart from some novelty piano rag solo pieces from Nick in the break, all of the rest was original material. Mostly composed by Nick Gill but with a couple of songs written by his associates. Songs ranged from nostalgic, haunting –"The Station", to varsity ball "Do the Yak", novelty "Mr Exstein’s X Ray Ears" to macabre "Angel (of death)". Material wide ranging in subject matter and feel, albeit within the general style as outlined above. Nick Gill snr is a fine ragtime/stride pianist, nephew Jake plays good 6 string banjo and Django inspired guitar – and both also sing nicely in that early dance band, light vocal style. Debbie Arthurs is now a hugely popular figure on the trad circuit – neat, swinging drums plus delightful, youthful vocals. Check out her own band ‘Sweet Rhythm’ or her work with players such as Spats Langham. James Evans is a virtuoso clarinet/alto player with a fast growing reputation. He has fluent, immaculate technique – a top drawer player in his chosen idiom. Surprise band member was Pete Morgan on bass. A fine player with a ‘modern’ style that has seen him play with such as Don Rendell, Tony Lee and many visiting American soloists. Great walking bass plus nice Slam Stewart type solos too. All in all, an enjoyable and very intriguing evening. Hats off to Nick Gill and the gang for resolutely doing something so ‘out of the ordinary’.
Roly. (Photo of James Evans taken earlier in the week at Abersoch by John Taylor - Lance)

1 comment :

MikeD said...

Thanks Roly, glad you enjoyed the concert. A lot is talked about the need to encourage young(er) musicians, so a shame that more of the Saville Exchange regulars didn't turn out for this one. Ah well, a promoter's life is never an easy one! Lots more adventurous traditional jazz in just three weeks at the Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival (includind Debbie's Sweet Rhythm) with 30 bands and 152 musicians from 10 different countries, so let's hope that one is a sell-out!

MikeD

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