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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Hoochie Coochie

Jamie Toms, Matthew Forster (alt); Paul Gowland, James Trippett (ten); Laurie Rangecroft (bar); Gordon Marshall', Michael Lamb, Joe Taylor, Tom Hill (tpt); Mark Ferris,  Alex Leathard, Don Fairley, Mr John Flood (tmb); Chris Finch (pno); Pawel (Pav) Jedrzejewski (gtr); Michael Whent (gtr); Guy Swinton (dms); Steph Adams, James Hedley (vcl). + Daniel Johnson (gtr) on Diggin' on James Brown.
The beauty of Hoochie Coochie's Thursday night sessions is the infinite variety offered week by week. Tonight saw the début of the Strictly Smokin' boys (and girl) who lifted the roof off with a timely and varied selection of big band numbers. Not ground-breaking stuff by any means but tried and tested scores that showed both soloists and sections off to advantage.
Steph Adams got the show on the road with a Nelson Riddle-like arrangement of I've Got You Under My Skin. She sounded a little nervous on this one - a feeling that vanished as the night went on.
The band scorched some earth on Hay Burner, Thad Jones' Big Dipper and the perennial arrangement of Love For Sale. Solos from Leader Lamb, Paul Gowland, Joe Taylor, Jamie Toms and Chris Finch (who has been known to contribute to these pages) kept the pot boiling.
Steph returned for a rousing Straighten Up and Fly Right - no hesitancy on this one - the girl had done what the title implied and was soaring. Gordon Marshall was up there with her.
Lamb featured himself on Summertime soloing with a delicately muted, economical selection of notes.
Avenue C took the Basie classic on a whirlwind ride before Steph returned for Orange Coloured Sky. I've loved this number since I first heard it by Nat Cole and the girl and the band did it justice.
"Boy" singer James Hedley did The Mood I'm In - a nice jazz waltz - and Bublé's It's A New Day.
These were but a few of the highlights - to list them all would take ten pages! Diggin' on James Brown had some funky guitar from Daniel Johnson. Easy Street was cool and relaxed with a nice piano intro from Chris,
I Won't Dance had the vocalists duetting as they had at GIJF whilst Moanin' with some high note work from Hill - not Mick but his grandson Tom - solos from Gowland (outstanding all evening), Lamb, Chris and Pav hit the right groove.
My apologies for not mentioning everyone - the altos and second tenor had some good blasts as did the trombones and the packed Hoochie crowd loved it.
Nice one.
Lance.
Learn more about the band at www.strictly-smokin.co.uk. 

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