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Monday, March 05, 2012

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. Saturday March 3. Part One

North Shore, Sunderland was the place to be this weekend for lovers of the big band. Under the stewardship of Bill Watson, the festival, now in its ninth year, was the biggest,  most far reaching and best yet. Big Band aficionado Tony Eales informed Bebop Spoken Here that the Friday evening launch was a great success with a good crowd in to hear  alto saxophonist  Paul Jones (BBC Big Band) and Musicians Unlimited’s MD Mick Donnelly (tenor saxophone) in the company of an all-star rhythm section of Colin Haikney (keyboards), Neil Harland (double bass) and Adrian Tilbrook (drums). The quintet was augmented by the specially assembled Festival Big Band and serving to illustrate the growing reach of the event there was a set by the University of Warwick Big Band
Saturday morning saw the start of the competition element of the event. The Youth section opened with the Gateshead based Paraffernalia (MD David Blakey). The band’s set was topped and tailed by two competition staples The Chicken and Birdland. 
Durham County Youth Big Band (MD Shaun Eland) followed and brought in a cracking trumpet section. Northumberland Youth Jazz Orchestra (MD Dave Hignett) included the Young Blood Brass Band’s Brooklyn in an accomplished performance. 
Festival director Bill Watson took time out to lead the Tees Valley Youth Big Band. The ensemble’s saxophone section caught the ear and Song for an Autumn Day proved to be a highlight. 
The Shelley Music Centre Big Band (MD Jamie O’Brien) were first time participants at Sunderland and made a good impression with a set that included The Chicken and Mas Que Nada
The Humber Delta jazz scene is in good hands with Sean Miller, MD of the Hull Youth Jazz Orchestra. Oliver Nelson’s Stolen Moments featured Danny Barley (trombone) and was a joy to listen to. 
Jamie O’Brien (MD) put in some overtime to lead Kirklees Youth Jazz Orchestra with the saxophone section on top form. 
Festival regulars Doncaster Youth Swing Orchestra (MD John Ellis) were on the Right Track (comp. Jeff Jarvis) and closed the competition with Gordon Goodwin’s arresting Jazz Police
The adjudicators – Paul Jones and Mick Donnelly – deliberated long and hard. Jones and Donnelly decided to present two special awards. Paraffernalia’s drummer Beth Carabine made such a good impression that due recognition was well deserved and Durham County Youth Big Band were commended for their version of Invitation. Kirklees Youth Jazz Orchestra scooped the award for Best Balanced Programme. The Best Section award went to the trombones of the Doncaster Youth Swing Orchestra. Robbie Chapman-Thong (guitar) took the honours for Best Soloist much to the delight of his Durham County Youth Big Band colleagues and Best Band 2012 were Paraffernalia. Prizes were presented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Sunderland University.


Anonymous said...

Dave Mckeague from wilbur's fate here. Well done to Beth on winning the award! I must correct you on her name though, its 'Carabine'! i know as she's one of my students! Awesome blog, keep up the great work and we look forward to seeing you at the next WF gig.

Lance said...

Correction made - Carabine it is.

Russell said...

Thanks for the correction Dave. Are you doing the Wilbur's Fate gig at Hoochie Coochie?


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