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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, July 25, 2011

SAGE SUMMERTYNE AMERICANA FESTIVAL 2011

This concert was opened in fine form by The Sage’s home-grown Blues Choir, led by Lindsay Hannon, doing a lively version of Basin Street Blues. They looked impressive in black with some purple and pink hair decorations and hats, standing in three rows across the stage. Songs included 'Tain't What You Do; Ain’t Misbehavin’; Another Man Done Gone; (think that was the title) and Down in the Treme. They did a grand job, together with pianist Alan Law, getting the audience into the Americana mood.
Then came the Soul Rebels Brass Band who hail from Louisiana, two trumpets, sax, trombone, sousaphone and drums and percussion. This band had a generally Cajun sound which I think jazzers would find very appealing. There were few breaks in between numbers, each tune morphing into the next one, with a pleasing, constant fuzzy sort of thump (the sousaphone or a drum?) and the prevailing tinkle of a cymbal, which would be produced by a triangle in Cajun bands. They began with an extended version of Wimoweh, and continued with Night in Tunisia and St James Infirmary. The horns did short effective solos.
They were determined to get audience participation by clapping and waving but I felt they overdid the encouragement somewhat, and I found it a bit off-putting. The band left the stage at what appeared to be the end of the set and some of the audience headed for the bar, and so missed the return of the band and the choir in a final song. But this was a really good set despite these hiccups.
Irma Thomas, Soul Queen on New Orleans, who has won Grammy awards six times, looking really striking in a long yellow dress, took to the stage with her band of seven musicians, two guitars, two keyboards, trumpet, sax, and drums, including congas for good measure. Not sure if I can give her full credit as I’m no expert on Soul music and I must confess that, unlike the audience, I wasn't familiar with her work, but she certainly gave full enthusiastic value for money. Singing for about one and a half hours Ms Thomas let the audience choose most of the numbers and even sang Happy Birthday. She did mostly love songs, including, if I have the titles correct, Love Don’t Change, People Do; If You Want Love Bring it with You; Don’t Make Me Stop Now; Hold Me While I Cry and Breakaway, all sung in a strong earthy voice. I think she would have sung for the rest of the night if it had been possible.
The three events that I’ve been to during this festival have made the definition of ‘Americana’ music somewhat clearer to me, but I’m left wondering how other people would define this term. Any clarification, anyone?
Ann Alex.

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