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Bebop Spoken There

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11,740 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 17 this month (August 4).

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August

Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

THE RIVER CITY JAZZMEN-- REPRINTED FROM JUST JAZZ INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE. Part Two.

It was in fact Gordon Solomon who first coined the nick-name Sting,-- due to Sting’s insistence on wearing a striped yellow and black rugby shirt on stage, making him look like a large wasp! Some years later, around 1980, after he had hit the big time, Sting and the RCJ got together in the recording studios to record a number he had composed called Moon over Bourbon Street. The idea was that it would be one of the tracks on his new LP. However, the powers that be decided that a traditional jazz band sound was not appropriate and the number was recorded again using modem jazz players in the USA, -- a pity for us! It was during 1980 that the band started to tour in Europe, and several trips were made, especially to Holland where they played most of the major festivals and built up a large following. By this time singer Dave Hedley had joined, making the band an eight piece, and his contribution did a great deal for the popularity that they enjoyed at this time. Apart from being a hugely likeable man, Dave’s timing and superb sense of humour, and the fact that his voice was likened by many to the great Jimmy Witherspoon, meant that he was much acclaimed by the audiences. Unfortunately Dave passed away in 2001 and is sadly missed by all his friends. In 1983 the RCJ entered the International Jazz Competition in Breda, Holland and competing against 120 bands from all over the world, including Australia, Argentina and South Africa, was fortunate enough to win the much valued first prize. ln addition, our then clarinetist Stan Martin was awarded the prize for the best individual musician of the festival. These successes did a lot for the profile of the band, and farther offers from abroad and the UK started to appear. The local television station Tyne Tees Television also became interested and several appearances were made, - on one occasion we backed entertainers Dickie Henderson and Maggie Moon in a storming session which carried on long after the cameras had been switched off. The band also found itself in demand when professional musicians were touring the area and needed a backing group, — too many to mention here, the total number exceeds 35, but memorable nights were had with Champion Jack Dupree, Wild Bill Davison, Don Ewell, Doc Cheatham, Big Eye Louis Nelson , Pat Halcox, Roy Williams, John Crocker and many others. Gordon Solomon 2005 (to be continued...)

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