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Bebop Spoken There

Anat Cohen: "With the tenor, it's so iconic with jazz. With the clarinet, I can improvise, but it doesn't have to be called jazz." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Tuesday June 18

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Lickety Split - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB.Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

River City Jazzmen - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NW. Tel: 01670 813983 (info). 8:00pm. £5.00. (inc raffle). Line-up inc special guest Don Fairley (trombone).

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ The Dolphin Centre, Darlington. September 1


Band leader Dave Kerr, Steve Andrews (tenor saxophone, clarinet & vocals), Gavin Lee (clarinet & tenor saxophone), Alan Marshall (clarinet, alto saxophone & flute), Jim McBriarty (clarinet, alto saxophone & vocals), Graham Hardy (trumpet), Alistair Lord (trumpet), Don Fairley (trombone), Keith Stephen (banjo & guitar), Emma Fisk (violin), Neville Hartley (piano), Phil Rutherford (sousaphone) & Steve Doyle (drums).
(Review by Russell).
Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club has a new home. The closure of Darlington Arts Centre precipitated a move across town to the Dolphin Centre in Horse Market. The Arts Centre was a favourite of many a jazz fan and it remained to be seen how many would  transfer allegiance to the council-run sports centre. A white-walled room, suspended ceiling tiles and windows lacking curtains or blinds made for a functional office setting. High back chairs in rows, one or two tables at the back of the room – one needed somewhere to rest a pint of Guinness – and things were set fair. 
The honour of playing the inaugural gig was bestowed upon the New Century Ragtime Orchestra. Musicians seeking pre-performance lubrication were to be found across the way in the café in a queue with perspiring squash players in need of post-performance lubrication. This was hardly a gin joint – coffees out numbered the hard stuff by a ratio of three to one. 
The penguin-suited mob (violinist Ms Fisk chose to wear a dress) took to the stand on time (professional to the last) for the first of three sets in front of a good turn-out of regulars. The band’s repertoire is drawn from a half century or so of early jazz styles – circa late 1800s to 1930s. The set list balanced rags with small band swing numbers, unearthing along the way some lesser known if not forgotten tunes. Reindeer Rag, Gotta Get a Girl and Chattanooga Stomp set the standard. The latter number featured in the pad for the first time; band leader Dave Kerr clearly delights in finding new material, knocking it into shape, putting it in front of the band and hearing the results of his labours. Vocal numbers were shared between first rate reedsmen Jim McBriarty (Tonight’s My Night with My Baby a highlight) and Steve Andrews (the tongue-twisting Nagasaki a further highlight with some hot tenor and alto thrown in for good measure!). MC Andrews’ insightful introductions and witty asides were in themselves worth the admission money. In introducing the aforementioned Chattanooga Stomp Andrews turned to second trumpet (and first time dep with the band) Alistair Lord to inform him that when the King Oliver Creole Jazz Band recorded the number in the twenties the second trumpet (cornet) was one Louis Armstrong. Andrews said: No pressure then!  Similarly, trumpeter Graham Hardy was teased with this one from Andrews: West End Blues…an iconic number in the history of jazz recorded by the legendary Louis Armstrong. No pressure then!  Much hilarity ensued drawing somewhat nervous smiles from Lord and Hardy. Well, what do you know? Lord and Hardy played knock out trumpet! Later Hardy took on the mantle of Henry Red Allen on Patrol Wagon Blues (arr. McBriarty)….and nailed it! Andrews’ tenor saxophone featured on Some of These Days and in introducing the number he struck a chord with this reviewer. Andrews talked about Coleman Hawkins’ sojourn in Holland during the thirties. The Ramblers, one of Holland’s premier jazz bands of the era invited Hawkins to record a few sides with them. I was familiar with the story having recently purchased a second hand vinyl re-issue on the Jasmine label of  The Hawk in Holland: Coleman Hawkins with the Ramblers. Andrews’ tenor was straight out of the Coleman Hawkins’ school of tenor playing. Excellent stuff! 
The Scott Joplin rag Elite Syncopations illustrated the band’s excellent ensemble work as did the closing number Limehouse Blues (superb tenor from Andrews). 
A review is inevitably selective, omissions an unintended consequence. It would, however, be remiss of me not to mention the virtuoso playing of the string players in the orchestra – violinist Emma Fisk (moonlighting from Djangologie) and Keith Stephen (banjo and guitar). Phil Rutherford’s sousaphone work was exemplary, drummer Steve Doyle played with assurance and last but by no means least, thirty something birthday boy Gavin Lee excelled throughout (as always). 
Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club meets first Saturday in the month (12.30 pm). Next month – October 6th – get along to hear the award winning Edinburgh based Nova Scotia Jazz Band.
Russell.
Russell                         

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