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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.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival Day Two - Afternoon

Bohem Ragtime Jazz Band (Hungary)
Andy Schumm's Bixologists (USA/UK)
Keith Stephen's Hot Club Trio with Caroline Irwin (UK)
Keith Nichols & Martin Litton - Ragtime Piano Summit (UK)
Day two of the festival saw many a bleary eye (mine included) around noon at the Village Hotel. Nice weather once again, it was a bit of a shame to head indoors to hear the jazz in the Sunset Cafe. Hungarian outfit, the Bohem Ragtime Jazz Band, held court to another sizeable audience. Led by pianist/violinist Tamas Itzes the band moved effortlessly through a wide ranging repertoire including Jelly Roll Morton.
A swift exit was necessary to get to Kelly's Stables to catch Andy Schumm's Bixologists. American cornetist Schumm is a Bix devotee. He was in the company of his fellow Americans Josh Duffee and Paul Asaro. Drummer Duffee looks the part - slicked-back hair and all - and Asaro is a student of early jazz piano styles. On this gig they were joined by the UK's Norman Field (reeds) and Paul Munnery (trombone) together with guitarist/banjoist Jacob Ulberger. Andy Schumm's cornet, to my ears, sounded remarkably like his idol. Good to listen to, make sure you catch them next time.
Down at the One-Cent Club it was standing room only to hear the north east's superb Keith Stephen's Hot Club Trio with Caroline Irwin. Hot Club-style certainly but with many more strings to their bow (or should that be ukulele?). Guitarist, banjo player, ukulele man and occcasional, indeed I suspect reluctant, vocalist, Keith Stephen is a master of early jazz guitar styles. He is much in demand in other ensembles as is rhythm guitarist and vocalist Roly Veitch. Veitch in partnership with jovial double bassist Bruce Rollo supplied a cast-iron rhythmic foundation for Stephen to do his dazzling stuff (principally on guitar).
Enter Caroline Irwin. Petite, yet big on personality, she is quite captivating, performing all sorts - What a Wonderful World to Somewhere Over... FIRE! PLEASE LEAVE THE BUILDING. FIRE! PLEASE LEAVE THE BUILDING. The hotel's fire alarm system activated just as our Ukulele Girl was taking on Judy Garland. Undaunted, the band reassembled outside in the carpark and as the saying goes 'The Show Must Go On' and it did. An impromptu couple of numbers including Stupid Cupid was met with roars of approval. Worryingly there was no sign of the fire brigade. Fortunately it was a false alarm.
We returned to the One-Cent and took up where we left off...Somewhere Over the Rainbow - fantastic! Not exactly jazz? Who cares? This was great stuff. Hear them next time they play anywhere near you and you won't be disappointed.
Staying on in the One-Cent the closing performance of the afternoon was a Ragtime Piano Summit meeting of the great Keith Nichols and the equally great Martin Litton. This was a most entertaining history of ragtime piano. Nichols and Litton are top class exponents of the form, taking time to place composer and tune in context and their playing, from Twelfth Street Rag to Maple Leaf Rag, was that of virtuosi. This was an afternoon of varied, top class jazz. More to come.
Russell.

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