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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Alexander Abdicates - New Century Ragtime Orchestra New Ragtime Kings - Gateshead Old Town Hall

A second full house at Gateshead Old Town Hall for a jazz gig! Admitedly from different ends of the jazz spectrum but both gigs drew upon the basic ingredients of melody, harmony and constructive improvisation - tonight wasn't even the Emperors old clothes! It was jazz entertainment.
The New Century Ragtime Orchestra aren't stand up zillion chorus blowers - their forté is a chorus here and there, a vocal, a syncopated riff and a solid ride out.
Guests Keith Nichols and Nick Ward - his bass drum is about half the diameter of the Tyne Tunnel - were impressive doing Fats Waller pieces but the strength of the band is the band themselves and I think Caroline could have been featured more.
As it was she strutted her vocal chords to great effect on You'd Be Surprised and That's You as well as in duet with Jimmy Mack on After You Get What You Want You Don't Want It
Steve Andrews, as ever, compered in his laconic style but, fortunately, left his verbosity behind for a languorous version of I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You. Steve has the fattest tenor sound I've ever heard - maybe it comes with the territory! Whatever this was good tenor playing.
Keith Stephen too indicated just how good a banjo player he is in his feature number. (Me praising banjo numbers! How good must that have been?)
Check them out - the New Century Ragtime Orchestra could be at a town near you! Overall, an enjoyable evening

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