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Friday, January 20, 2012

A Tribute to Mike Gilby (take 2) Corner House, Newcastle.

ZOE GILBY TRIO: Zoe Gilby (vocals); Mark Williams (guitar); Andy Champion (bass).
JAZZ SPIRIT REVISITED: Graeme Wilson (saxes); Graham Hardy (trumpet & flugel horn); Stu Collingwood (keyboards); Andy Champion (bass); Scotty Adair (drums).
CUSTOMS HOUSE BIG BAND: Leader Peter Morgan.
Tonight was an outstanding tribute to Mike Gilby - a horn player I now feel that I really knew ; because there he was, on an easel, his trumpet playing portrait - see photo - giving us the feeling that Mike was in the line-up with each band, taking solos and still inspiring his fellow players to great heights of jazz improvisation. 
After assuring us that her dad ironically hated jazz singers, especially those who scat, Zoe opened with the beautifully timed, My Heart Belongs to Daddy and left us with Mike's absolute life's-for-living philosophy, suggesting in the words and music of Dave Frischberg that if you get too hung up on over-cautious health regimes, you may's well Forget about Living (you might as well be dead). She also reminded us that her dad was a prolific band arranger with his heavily stacked Rhomboid table of beautifully penned scores, but the hankies really came out for the song she sang by her daddy's dying bedside, a soft and smoky One for my Baby - what a way to go!  
Meanwhile Jazz Spirit Revisited didn't disappoint, with all ears and eyes especially on Graham Hardy's haunting solos on Mike's flugel horn given to him by Hilary (Gilby) - Mike was his teacher and mentor. Graeme Wilson's tenor gave us the bold spirit of Sid Warren, who's wife Frances was known to have quipped, "I hate these tunes that go on for a fortnight - listen, they've forgotten what they were playing!" 
Stu Collingwood and Andy C seemed even more inspired than usual in the jazz spirits of Tommy Weatherly and Bob Nixon - some stunning solo work, and of course the one surviving member, Mike's old friend Scotty Adair, gave the drum performance of a lifetime to hold it all together. Not sure about that story about Zoe sitting naked on his knee mind!
And so the Customs House Big Band moved the furniture for the finale and placed Mike behind the trombones - well he wouldn't want to be in front! We were told that Mike had joined the band 13 years ago bringing both his great musicianship and 'withering wit'. They opened with just such a witty Mike Gilby arrangement with his slightly adjusted title, Monkey Suckle Rose, which allegedly has connotations beyond my ken!? Further witty and clever Gilby arrangements of Stardust and My Foolish Heart followed with a perfectly rousing encore - High Maintenance. This was an uplifting performance with a special mention for solos from Jill Brett on alto sax. 
Then as the crowd - the place was absolutely packed - faded away, all but for the voice of the man in the pink jacket, Jazz North East with Paul Bream as MC, could feel proud of their putting together such a warm and well organised tribute to such a celebrated horn player and arranger. All musicians played for free and the money raised goes to R.N.L.I. (Royal National Lifeboat Institution).
George M    



Lance said...

Yes it was a good night - I'm sure it was appreciated by the family.

George Milburn said...

Just for the record: I've since been told that Graham Hardy was not a pupil of Mike's but it can be safely said that Mike Gilby was his mentor!

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