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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.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Funny Valentine by Mike Maran. Chet Baker lives and dies at Live Theatre, Newcastle

Mike Maran (narrator/playwright), Colin Steele (tpt), Robert Pettigrew (pno). I saw this same show at Darlington Arts Centre last year – I loved it then and, I prophetically stated that it was ideal for a venue such as Live Theatre. It was – and I think that the near full house this Live Theatre/Jazz North East co-promotion attracted would agree with me! It's a tale of tragedy and pathos yet with a touch of humour. There have been many books written about Chet Baker – this takes the meat out of them all and serves it up well done. You don't have to be a jazzer – although it helps – to enjoy it. The truth is that it is there to be savoured and absorbed even if you've never heard or heard of Chet Baker. Narrator Mike Maran has honed his role to perfection. The pace and precision with which the words and the actions entwine with the music is on a par with the way, in real life, the music of Chet and Gerry Mulligan complemented each other or Colin Steele (left) and Robert Pettigrew (right) did tonight. Close your eyes – you're listening to Chet. Open them and it's Colin. The cool, slight edge to his tone, is magical in its clonic likeness. Behind Colin, Robert Pettigrew played some magical fill-ins. Not just comping but counter melodies that added colour to the ofttimes bleak story line. I asked Robert, afterwards at the bar, why he wasn't better known in the jazz world. He confessed that, whilst jazz is his preferred music, most of his work is in theatre land so – there you go! To sum up, if you weren't there tonight, I feel a little sad for you. However, all is not lost – My Funny Valentine is being performed at the Scarborough Jazz Festival on Sunday September 26 at 7:00pm. Lance.

4 comments :

Hil said...

I thought it a truly memorable evening. The music was so beautiful and thoughtfully performed it brought a tear to my eye on more than one occasion.

If you get the opportunity to see "My Funny Valentine" please do so.

A great big thank you to "Live Theatre" and Paul Bream, for allowing us lucky, fortunate people the privilege of sharing this magical experience.

P.S. I adore Italy and was amazed to hear the name of Lucca,(one of the places Chet was imprisoned) a walled city in Tuscany which I visited 2 yrs ago (on my own) Its a beautiful place which I fell immediately in love with.
oh! Hilary what a silly old sentimental fool you are.:o)

cptfinch said...

loved it. The narrator was funny and entertaining. I learned more about the great Chet from this.

Ann Alex said...

Lance Liddle, Theatre Critic (better than some of them in the newspapers!) Ann Alex

Lance said...

Nice comment Hilary - I know what you mean about the emotional aspect of the music.
Just one point though and I am sure Paul Bream will concur. The production was presented by Jazz North East (a team of which PB is a part of) and Live Theatre.

Thank you Ann - may I quote you on my CV when I send it off to The Sunday Times?

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