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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.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Frank Brooker, Anne DeVere & Bill Harper @ Blaydon Jazz Club

Anne DeVere (vcl), Frank Brooker (ten/clt), Bill Harper (pno), Andy Champion (bs), Roly Veitch (gtr), Bill Shield (dms). + Zoe Gilby (vcl).
This was the night of 1000 delights - well perhaps not quite 1000 but certainly a good few.
Frank Brooker on tenor got things rolling with a booting "Indian Summer" then followed up with Zoot Sims' "Red Door". Frank hangs his hat around the modern end of mainstream - blows straight down the middle, no frills, every note counts: a joy to listen to.
Likewise Bill Harper, Roly and Bill Shield. All three have mastered the art of accompaniment and soloing and they did it well. However, without taking anything away from anyone, for me, Andy Champion's bass solo on "Red Door" was just about as good as it gets. Im-press-ive!
Next up to the plate was Anne DeVere, like Bill Harper, a firm favourite at Blaydon before they tunnelled out of England.
"Spring is Here" cool, laid back and perfectly pitched. A James Taylor song that I didn't know - "Don't Let Me Be Lonely" - full of anguish and heartache and beauty. Finally a Frishberg - "One Little Taste" such a dark sided lyric - it's about an alcoholic.
Frank returned, switching from tenor to clarinet for BG's "Seven Come Eleven" and Barney Bigard's "A Lull at Dawn". Great clarinet sound.
The set finished with Frank back on tenor for Benny Carter's "Only Trust Your Heart."
Time to buy raffle tickets from the irrepressible Ernie and to do a bit networking with Derrick Cogger, down from Belford, Cathy and John from Ryton, Norma from Riding Mill, Scotty Adair, Hil and John - seems like everyone was there including Zoe Gilby.
Raffle prizes distributed, the second set kicked off with Frank playing 'Trane's "Impressions". How many guys do you know these days who are playing Benny Goodman on clarinet one minute and Coltrane on tenor the next? Roly also played a nice chorus or two here as he did on the next number...
"Easy Living" - has there ever been a better ballad for tenor? Frank did it justice bringing to mind the classic version by Wardell Gray.
Zoe, who was once mentored by Anne, stamped her brand on "I'm Beginning to See the Light". It's highly stylised and I don't think anyone but Zoe could pull it off. Frank also had moments on this one. "One Note Samba" was another typical Z that she put over with class.
Talking class - Anne Devere simply oozes it and her "It's Morning" made more than the singer 'dewy-eyed'. When Anne admitted she was emoting at the memory of departed pussy cats it drew a big 'aah'.
"Whisper Not" had good solos all round whilst "Don't Explain" saw Frank playing the blues. Russell thought this to be Anne's best number even though her voice was, by her own admission, becoming a little frayed around the edges. I thought it added to the ambience and I think I agree with him.
Finally "Forget About Living" with it's slightly risque lyric.
A truly enjoyable night.
Next week: Roy Williams & John Hallam.
Lance.

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