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Bebop Spoken There

Avishai Cohen (trumpet): "This is my main thing right now: Live in the here and now, take things one day at a time. I'm stopping everything I can, and stripping everything to the bone. I'm spending a lot of time listening to music, playing, going for walks, enjoying my kids." - (DownBeat June 2020).

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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.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sarah Ellen Hughes @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant. A Game of Two Halves

Sarah Ellen Hughes (vcl), Rick Simpson (pno), Gavin Barrass (bs), Darren Altman (dms).
Having had a slight involvement in bringing this gig about it was with a mixture of eager anticipation and a small degree of trepidation that I arrived at the popular Jesmond restaurant. It was raining but the welcome from management and staff was as warm as ever.
There were six of us in our party and all were here on my recommendation. No pressure.
We studied the menu; deciding on a starter. The popular choice was Dandelion & Bacon Salad with Shallots and Crispy Hen's Eggs but I decided to take a chance on the Watermelon & Feta Salad with Heritage Tomatoes and Pumpkin Seeds. It was delicious. My friends assured me the Dandelion dish also reached epicurean heights.
On stage, Sarah was Taking a Chance on Love - a more challenging gamble than Watermelon and Feta Salad or even the Dandelions but, nevertheless, one that worked despite her being grossly under-miked. This was a problem throughout the first session and we didn't hear the girl at her triumphant best until the second set.
However, there was still plenty of good numbers but you had to listen extra intently. Who would have ever guessed they would hear Too Young To Go Steady at a jazz gig? The last time I heard it it was sung by Ruby Murray in the film It's Great To Be Young (in fairness it must be pointed out that Humph did play on the soundtrack of that film so maybe it isn't that far-fetched!
What Sarah did was to remind us that it is still a good tune. We also discovered that Rick Simpson is one of the most sympathetic accompanists around.
Lady Be Good, Corcovado, Get Out of Town and You Go To My Head were okay but Sarah was still not being heard to full advantage.
My Char-Grilled Pork Steak with Roasted Radiccio, Pancetta & Balsamic more than made up for any failings in the sound department whilst those at our table who went for Tempura of Plaice Fillets with Lemon Mayonaise & Crisp Salad had satisfying grins on their faces.
The set finished with Carole King's You've got a Friend - an indication of things to come.
During the intermission, perhaps all concerned had O.D-ed on Banana Cake with Rum Caramel & Chantilly Cream and who would blame them? Whatever, the second set was a whole new ballgame (sorry ballgames are a sore subject unless you're a cricket or a tennis fan) and we heard the Sarah Ellen Hughes we'd come to hear.
The volume was turned up with just a touch of reverb added and a cracking and original take on Ain't Misbehavin' got the show back on the road.
I relaxed.
We'll Be Together Again, I Concentrate on You and a tremendous version of They All Laughed.
Sarah takes risks and mostly they come off. I've Never Been In Love Before - really great song from Guys and Dolls - Shiny Stockings a la Ella, Wave, Georgia and Bye Bye Blackbird - all expertly and attractively delivered.
This last number was indeed bye bye and we sat back and sighed with delight after what had been a most enjoyable evening.
Not that this was a one girl show. As well as his simpatico accompaniments Rick Simpson played some dazzling solos - he's a guy to look out for. Gavin Barras, the perfect rock for some of Sarah's voice/bass moments. Gavin went for it in his solos.
On drums, Darren Altman had the most amazing solo using mainly the cymbals on a Jobim tune - You Never Come To Me - imaginative.
Catch the show at Bishop Auckland Town Hall tomorrow (Tuesday June 29.)
Lance.

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