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Monday, August 08, 2011

Jazz Action @ The Stockton Weekender. August 7th - Part one.

The Georgian Theatre in Stockton once again hosted the Jazz Action showcase running from noon 'til late.
Teesside trumpeter Noel Dennis blew the first note of the day to signal a set of top class Blue Note inspired jazz. Trombone ace Chris Hibbard, the advertised attraction with Dennis' band, wasn't available yet his absence didn't detract from the performance. Tunes by Wayne Shorter, Tom Harrell and Woody Shaw were given due respect and solos flowed from Dennis, guitarist Mark Williams and Andy Champion (double bass).
A quick turnaround and Saxophonics took to the stage. Given that there wasn't much of a hiatus the quartet started, rather ironically, with Mike Mower's Hiatus. Tenor player Graeme Wilson brought a couple of tunes to the table and we feasted (and supped) on Street of Furs and Stranded at the Wine Bar. Wilson and fellow reedsmen Niall Armstrong (baritone sax), Steve Summers (tenor & alto saxes) and Keith Robinson (alto & soprano saxes) executed immaculate close harmony ensemble work throughout and were a joy to listen to.
Jazz Action workshops are a feature of the Stockton music scene and following months of hard work aspiring musicians are given the chance to perform to an attentive public each year at the Stockton Weekender. This year the talented students - collectively known as Milestones - the Next Step - faced the challenge of original material thrown at them by tutors Graham Hardy (trumpet) and Andy Champion (double bass). Hardy's Blue Dragon opened with a free-ish section and featured a mature, measured contribution from a very young looking and talented guitarist. Caroline Bagley, once a student of these sessions and now very much a role model tutor herself played some killer alto and her frontline partners, two altoists, got stuck in to the material. Bass and percussion did the business with kit player Tom Chapman destined to go far. Bassist Andy Champion was commissioned to write a suite for the occasion and the ensemble passed with flying colours. (See comments for full personnel).
Russell.
There will be more postings from Russell on this mammoth occasion over the next few days.

1 comment :

Adrian/Russell said...

Milestones - The Next Step consisted of :
Graham Hardy trumpet
Caroline Bagley saxophone
Mark Jackson piano
Andy Champion double bass
Caitilin Hepworth saxophone
Susie Roberts saxophone
Alex Sheerer bass guitar
Katie Lamb drums
Tom Chapman perc
Andy Sheerer guitar
Jack Bartley guitar.

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