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Bebop Spoken There

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COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ray Chester Tribute Concert @ The Customs House June 23.

Don Fairley, Keith Norris, Caroline Norris, Dave Brock, Alan Bravey (tmb); Mark Webb, Graham Hardy, Dave Hignett, Gordon Marshall, Mick Hill (tpt); Steve Summers, John Hudson (ten); Andy Bennett, Kim Webb (alt); Niall Armstrong (bar); Colin Haikney (pno); James Birkett (gtr); Ray Truscott (bs); Stuart Haikney (dms); MIA WEBB (vcl).
(Review by Lance)
They came to praise Caesar not to bury him - to paraphrase The Bard. Caesar, or rather Ray Chester, was very much alive at the Customs House on this very emotional farewell. The bandleader, composer, arranger, trombonist, pianist, trumpet player, teacher and you name it, was here tonight. Here, in the arrangements he wrote, his compositions, and the band he crafted into an award winning outfit. Two hundred of us listened and applauded the music that was laid down. Musically speaking this was a banquet, no dogs dinner this feast!.
In such a star studded ensemble how can you single out individuals? They all played their part.
None more so than Mia Webb who compéred the show with anecdotes and songs.Mia occasionally struggled to keep a dry eye - didn't we all?
Mia also looked sensational in a couple of black sparkly sequined gowns.
Colin Haikney played a blinder on piano and ensured the band picked up the cues.
The trombones - OMG what a task! Ray's trombone stood forlornly, yet shining like a beacon, at the front of the stage. Don Fairley (with the band since its inception in 1966) bravely faced up to the task of taking Ray's place. Ray would have been proud of him maybe saying to the angel Gabriel who was also digging the gig - "Of course he's good after 40 odd years it had to rub off on somebody!"
Keith Norris also had a few moments and all five played a lovely version of My Foolish Heart.
The saxes were on fire - Steve Summers and John Hudson blew great tenor - a score draw. Steve is a doctor. I wish he were my doctor:
"Doctor I'm having trouble with my embouchure. I've been taking Rico number 3s. Do you think I should try Van Doren 2s?"
"I'm giving you a prescription that you must stick to - long notes, arpeggios and Sonny Rollins transcriptions to be taken daily for at least two hours."
Andy Bennett on alto cruised through the parts and blew soprano, flute and clarinet. Niall Armstrong, as ever, the anchor man on baritone and bass clarinet had a Carney-like feature on Naomi - composed by Ray and dedicated to his granddaughter. Mia's daughter Kim didn't solo but played her part(s) in helping the saxes achieve such a full, balanced sound.
The trumpets! The Powerhouse Five - Hardy and Hignett, Mick Hill, Gordon Marshall and Mark Webb - the sky's the limit!
From where I sat down front I couldn't see James Birkett but, fortunately, he could be heard. Truscott on bass and Stuart Haikney on drums - along with Haikney pere on piano gave us a rhythm section to savour.
Too many numbers to list or even highlight however, it would be unfair not to mention Mia's version - á la Lee - of  The Folks Who Live on the Hill. Sung beautifully with the reeds doubling on flute, clarinets and bass clarinet to catch the authenticity of the original - mint!
Sadly this was the last concert ever by the band with the pad being donated to Sage Gateshead where, hopefully, it will be available for reference and to advance the career and development of the next Ray Chester - it may take a while...
Ray's family must be very proud of their dad and we are thankful to them for making a wonderful evening possible. Proceeds from the concert are being donated to St. Benedict's Hospice in Sunderland.
Photos.
Lance.

1 comment :

Unknown said...

Many thanks for that wonderful tribute Lance - it's much appreciated.

Kind Regards

Ian Chester

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