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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

SNJO @ Gala Theatre, Durham - In the Spirit of Duke July 8

Tommy Smith (ten/md); Ru Pattison (alt/sop/clt); Martin Kershaw (alt/clt); Konrad Wiszniewski (alt/ten/clt); Bill Fleming (alt/bar/bs. clt/clt); Ryan Quigley, Cameron Jay, Tom McNiven, Lorrie Cowieson (tpt); Kevin Garrity, Phil O'Malley (tmb); Michael Owers (bs. tmb); Brian Kellock (pno); Calum Gourlay (bs); Alyn Cosker (dms).
(Review by Lance)
I knew what to expect - or at least I thought I did. The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra's CD In the Spirit of Duke has never  been far away from the machine and yet, hearing it live added a new dimension and the richness of the saxes combined with the power of the brass and a tightly knit rhythm section made for a band that ticked all the boxes.
Having said that, I found even the abbreviated version of Rhapsody in Blue still a tad (well several tads) too long. Likewise Tommy Smith's showstopping closer the tenor sax marathon  Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue paying homage to the legendary Newport '56 solo by Paul Gonsalves could also have benefitted from a little more brevity. But these are minor quibbles in an evening that fairly sizzled both musically and weatherwise.
The first set; Black and Tan Fantasy/Creole Love Call - Jack the Bear (featuring Calum Gourlay on bass) - Le Sucrier Velours (gorgeous sax blend) - Daybreak Express (Quigley takes off) - Concerto For Cootie (Tom McNiven as Cootie Williams) - Rhapsody in Blue. Everybody had their say on Rhapsody including Brian Kellock who performed brilliantly all evening.
The queue at the bar was about as long as that queuing at Wimbledon the previous day so Russell and I nipped across the road to "The Duck" which was empty. After a pint of "Cockerhoop" - appropriately named on such an enjoyable evening we got back in time for Kellock to play Kinda Dukish which led into Rockin' in Rhythm with, once more, Quigley flying high.
Ru Pattison came down front for an authentic Johnny Hodges type rendition of Prelude to a Kiss. Last time I heard Ru was on the band's Kenton concert where he played cool modern sounding alto yet here he was in sumptuous Hodges mode!
Sepia Panorama featured Konrad W. Ko Ko, Solitude and Morning Mood and Anitra's Dance both from the Peer Gynt Suite followed, the latter had a tenor blast from the leader as well as displaying his qualities as a raconteur. Mood Indigo, Harlem Airshaft and the rather beautiful Single Petal of a Rose (duet with Kellock and Smith) preceded The Overture from the Nutcracker Suite and finally the inevitable Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which wrapped up what had been a memorable concert.
Lance.

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