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Bebop Spoken There

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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, August 22, 2009

Fenner Sisters Blitz Durham

(l-r) Grace, Kay and Jill Fenner.
The Market Square is awash with GIs & Marines, Gobs & Tommy's, Waafs & Wrens. Jeeps and armoured vehicles are parked. A guy with three stripes on his arm is brandishing a Bren Gun. There's even a couple of SS men goosestepping to the music. The only person missing is Hitler.
On the Town Hall steps - The Fenner Sisters, resplendent in number one Waac uniform, are "In The Mood".
Grace, Kay and Jill have got the Andrews Sisters down to a fine art. I'm sure that Patti, the only surviving sister (aged 91) would approve.
The harmonies are right on and the moves straight out of "Stage Door Canteen."
"Straighten Up and Fly Right", "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", complete with verse, "Apple Blossom Time" and, of course, "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" are spot on with the originals.
And it isn't only Patti, Maxene and Laverne who inspire the girls; they also put in a good word for arguably the greatest of all the girl groups - the Boswell Sisters - with "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter".
Nostalgia? Of course it is and tell me what's wrong with that?
The superb backing tracks, by the Dave Connolly Big Band, could have came straight from Dorsey or Miller whilst there's more than a hint of Benny in the clarinet solos and Harry in the trumpet licks.
The 30 minute set whizzs by like a Spitfire or a Hurricane off to notch up a few Messerschmidt's. So authentic is it all I'm half-expecting the air raid sirens to go off.
The Ministry of Misinformation (local website) announced that the jitterbugging jamborees stomped off at 13:15 & 14:45 respectively when in actual fact the times were 12:30 & 14:30 - an earlier show had already taken place at 11:30.
Fortunately, my driver, after seeing my pass (bus) had got me there in time for the 12:30 landing.
A great day and not even a Doodlebug to mar the proceedings.
Can't wait to catch then again - these gals must be the best thing to come out of Sedgefield. Check them out on Myspace.
Lance. (The last of the few).

6 comments :

Grace Fenner said...

Hello Lance

Thanks so much for the lovely article! Was nice to meet you on Saturday - hope to see you again soon!

Grace (the one with the dark hair in the middle!)

Scott said...

thanks lance for the great review you gave my mam's (grace) group's gig at durham market place.

was just wondering out of interest if you've heard any of drummer seb rochford's polar bear. they're a really interesting new jazz group from london.

all the best,
scott

Lance said...

Hi Scott - yeah the Fenners are great. I caught Polar Bear at The Cluny in Newcastle a couple of years back and I must confess they were a bit too contemporary for my taste. However, the audience, many of whom were my age (think Methuselah), loved them so maybe next time round I'll appreciate them more.

Jim said...

A day to remember, the sparkling Fenner Sisters with Dave Connoly's backing tracks saw to that.
Nostalgia has never been so good. When is the next party Durham? Soon we hope!
Valerie, Jimmy and Jane.

Scott said...

I saw Polar Bear at the Cluny it was actually October last year, was a good night. Hope you like em more the next time round!

Jeannie said...

Your mam thinks you're great as well! lol

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