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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Frank Brooker @ Blaydon Jazz Club.

Frank Brooker (ten/clt/vcl); James Birkett (gtr); Mick Shoulder (bs); John Hirst (dms). + Bradley Johnston (gtr).
Sonnymoon for Two set the mood for this gentle romp down the centre of the jazz stream. with Brooker and Birkett proving the perfect foil for each other swinging along nicely through a latin tinged Out of Nowhere, There Will Never Be Another You, The Nearness of You and Swingin' The Berries the Emmett Berry tune that Berry recorded with Guy Lafitte back in the '50s. At one time it was the most requested tune on one of the BBC jazz programmes or so the late Alex Roberts once told me.
Mention of Lafitte is apt as Brooker is stylistically akin to the late French tenor man with his biggish sound and effortless swing.
Veteran campaigner that he is Brooker sailed through the changes as did Birkett who, tonight, was awesome.
After Hank Mobley's This I Dig of You brought the first set to a close Birkett remained on stage for a couple of duo numbers with Bradley Johnston one of his 16 year old students. I'd heard the duo at this year's Sage Festival so knew it would be good and it was! Spain, in fact, was sensational! Watch out for this young man.
Back to the main event and Broadway and Satin Doll as a Bossa kept things alive. Mick Shoulder soloed well and kept things anchored whilst John Hirst - inscrutable to the nth degree - played with taste and technique using mainly brushes.
There was more but the number 11 bus takes no prisoners so I had to reluctantly depart.
On the bus there was a party going on but I was about 50 years outside the age limit...
It had been a good night and even the walk from the Metro station in the precipitive downpour failed to dampen my spirits.

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