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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Spats Langham and Friends - Threkeld. September 7.

Thomas "Spats" Langham (gtr/bjo/vcl); John Hallam clt/ten); Roy Cansdale (bs); Paul Adams (dms).
With the sad demise of the Saville and Trinity still on its summer break, we were in need of a jazz session to recharge our batteries for the hard winter ahead and what could be better than a 1920's hot jazz night? Our thanks to Barbara Hallam for the mail shot (sign up now!) that introduced us to Threlkeld.
The Lakes' weather did its best to make us turn back, but jazz fans are hardy fools, we surfed down the A66 then swam the carpark into the "Horse & Farrier" for a very enjoyable top up before venturing back into the rain to join the "locals" in the village hall.
The evening was arranged by Paul and Linda at "Lake" who had brought along a suitable selection of CD's to whet our appetite with the promise from Paul of another fifty thousand in the warehouse should we feel the need to "splash out" - an appropriate thought!
On to the music - and what music it was too! The evening was kick-started with Spats on banjo and vocal in Fats Wallers' Ain't Misbehavin'; then into the instrumental Christopher Columbus with Spats switching to guitar and John on clarinet wowing the audience. Next up was a Django Rheinhardt number Out of Nowhere with Spats in fine form on guitar and John adding his subtle tenor sax to perfection. Crazy Rhythm was up next, with Spats switching to banjo and John on sax; followed by Harry Reser's Pickings. Last before a much needed break to wind down was Duke's It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing - what better title to sum up this quartet?
Though, as always, the front line - Spats and John - take the limelight, we should always remember it's the added rhythm section that gives us the full sound, and Roy and Paul were on good form.
Our second half kicked off with Louis Armstrong's Swing That Music - and boy did they! Then followed Exactly Like You. Spats kept us guessing with his vocal from the 1928 Blackbird show, which was revealed as I Can't Give You Anything But Love.
Uptempo again now, to Running Wild with Spats on banjo and featuring John on clarinet. Spats then calmed us down with an Eddie Lang guitar solo April Showers, easy to see why Spats is such a fan of Mr Lang...
Back to Fats Waller and Keepin' Out of Mischief Now, then a tune associated with Coleman Hawkins - Body and Soul.
Any evening in the company of Spats cannot be fulfilled without a Ukulele Ike number and we were not disappointed with Gershwin's Lady Be Good to soothe us.
Sadly our evening of virtuoso jazz was over all too soon, but we went out on a high, with Dinah showcasing the bands talents with Spats on banjo and John on sax.
Our loud applause drew an extra, the beautiful vocal and banjo rendition of I'll See You in my Dreams leaving us all to depart whistling as we headed out into a surprisingly dry night....the weather gods too had enjoyed a marvelous evening of top class 1920's swing..........well done guys!
Were we mad to travel from Newcastle to near Keswick on such an awful evening ? Not at all.....we'd have been mad not to go, its well worth travelling a few extra miles to be entertained in such a fine manner. On to Lockerbie Jazz festival next.........
Ray Robson

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