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HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE BICKERSTAFF, BECCY OWEN, REMI HARRIS & GWILYM SIMCOCK

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jazz Orchestra in an Afternoon - The Sage, Gateshead.

Approx. line-up; 1 x clt, 3 x sop, 5 x alt, 2 x ten, 2 x bar, 2 x tpt, 1 x tmb, 1 x vln, 1 x mand, 2 x bs, 3 x gtr, 1 x dms, 2 x pno, 3 x vcls.
Given the above line-up (approx 28 + M.D. Claude Werner) 'Doc the Violin' wasn't far wrong when he said, at rehearsal, 'it's like emptying a bucket of mice and expecting them all to run in the same direction.'
Substitute musicians for mice and the analogy still stands.
The rehearsal began in the usual chaotic fashion as the conductor attempted to get the musicians into line - the starter in the Grand National has similar problems - but eventually a seating arrangement was worked out and it was game on.
Claude's composition, "Big Ben", was the afternoon's focal point and the task was simple, whip it into a listenable state by 5:00 pm ready for a concert at 6:00 pm.
Dedicated to his friend, colleague and pianist Ben Gilbert - shortly to depart for points south - such was the strength of the piece that, in truth, it was worthy of a performance by VOTNJO rather than the assembled crew of disparate players. However, one cuts ones cloth as the saying goes and it is to Claude's credit and patience that, after 3 blistering hours of rehearsal he was able to mould it into a presentable whole.
That the public performance in Hall 2 of the Sage perhaps wasn't quite as tight as the workshop session 'below stairs' where the band was set up in closer proximity of each other did nothing to detract from the day as a whole and all concerned found it an inspirational experience.
As possibly the most disparate of the 'disparate players' I say 'Thank you Claude and good luck Ben.' More here from 'Double Dave'.
Lance.
PS: In the jam that followed Claude proved that he is more than just a compositional master but also a superb tenor sax and no mean pianist.

2 comments :

Russell said...

Hi Lance

The performance of 'Big Ben' and the jam session were well worth attending. Claude Werner himself, with typical self-deprecation, dismissed the composition as being unlikely ever to be heard again. I think another airing would be a great idea! The jam session produced some highlights; the 'house' band - Ben Gilbert,Mick Shoulder,David Carnegie and Werner were top-drawer. The sitters-in of note,to these ears at least,were the Budvivarians, trombonist Joe (an ex-Budvivarian I believe),Nicola on baritone and for the last number a female vocalist - I didn't catch her name - singing 'Summertime'.I'd love to hear her sing some other tunes.I wonder...could Dave Weisser offer an invitation? Claude's tenor playing was absolutely top-class.

Russell

Double Dave said...

It was wonderful to be part of this event. I was struck by how much love was in the air. Many people there had been inspired by Ben and Claude and really wanted to say thank you in the best way they could - by playing music.
There's more on my blog http://thatsabigguitar.blogspot.com/

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