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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

CD Review: So Many Reasons Gerry Richardson’s Big Idea


Gerry Richardson (keyboards & vocals); Dave Hignett & Mark Webb (trumpets); Garry Linsley (alto & tenor saxophones); Stuart Johnson (tenor & soprano saxophones); Sue Ferris (baritone saxophone & flute); Keith Norris & Rick Taylor (trombones); Rod Sinclair (guitar); Neil Harland (electric bass); Paul Smith (drums); Liz Corney & Lindsay Hannon (backing vocals)
(Review by Russell)
Hammond virtuoso Gerry Richardson has worked in music education for many years and his Big Idea is heard rarely in concert. So Many Reasons is the band’s follow up CD to the live recording Cookin’ at the Cluny. This new release of seven tracks arranged by the bandleader features the addition of versatile bassist Neil Harland and backing vocalists  Lindsay Hannon and Liz Corney. The line-up boasts an array of accomplished soloists and Richardson is more than happy to put them in the spotlight. 
Altoist Garry Linsley steps up on the opening track So Many Reasons to set the tone; soul jazz anchored by Paul Smith’s metronomic drum patterns and the impressive backing vocals of Corney and Hannon. Rick Taylor makes a guest appearance on trombone and contributes some skanking work on Ska Odyssey. Sue Ferris, a fixture in the band’s reed section, impresses as flautist on Song of the Ferris. 
Two covers - Gil Scott-Heron’s Lady Day and John Coltrane and Donald Fagen’s What I Do - have been in the pad for some time and it is good to hear them committed to CD. Tight arrangements highlight excellent ensemble work and concise solo statements (Richardson, Ferris and guitarist Rod Sinclair on the former, Richardson at the piano on the latter). The down beat feel is exemplified on One Door Closes and Another Slams in Your Face with Linsley (alto) and guitarist Sinclair laying down effective solos. The closing number - Between You and Me – features the self-effacing Richardson on Hammond and vocals. The Big Idea CD launch gig at the Sage Gateshead was an unqualified success and fans of the band will need little persuasion that they should obtain a copy of So Many Reasons at the earliest opportunity. So Many Reasons (BIO1) is available from www.gerryrichardson.com  
Russell.

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