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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Harvey: "The exciting day arrived and we [as under age school boys] snuck into the [pub's] rehearsal room, sat awkwardly to attention on hard chairs in a row facing the band and heard our first - very loud - live jazz. What an occasion that was - we even drank beer because we understood that's what jazz people did and that's what the band were drinking." - (Just Jazz June 2020)

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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.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

John Wilson Orchestra: That's Entertainment - A Tribute to the Golden Age of the MGM Musicals. Sage Gateshead

(Review by Lance)
This afternoon we abandoned the jazz hat and, instead, stepped out in top hat, white tie and tails - figuratively speaking. John Wilson and his huge orchestra - I lost count - presented That's Entertainment - A Tribute to the Golden Age of the MGM Musicals.
And what a tribute it was by an orchestra totally attuned to the task in hand. The Overture comprised a medley of songs from several of those glorious films whose heyday ran from the 1930s through to the 1950s and, in the process, set the scene for the two vocalists Anna Jane Casey and Matt Ford.
Cole Porter's Stereophonic Sound (Silk Stockings) made for an amusing (lyric-wise) opener by the duo, followed by Ford's sensitive interpretation of The Girl Next Door (Meet me in St. Louis). Casey, looking ravishingly thin in a tight red gown, sang Lady is a Tramp (Pal Joey) and Judy Garland's version of You Made me Love You/Dear Mr. Gable (Broadway Rhythm of 1938). Ford returned to join Casey for We're a Couple of Swells (Easter Parade), the orchestra played a sensuous version of Dancing in the Dark (The Bandwagon) before the two singers sang the song that reputedly has the longest ever title - How Could You Believe me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been a Liar All my Life? (Royal Wedding).
Casey wrapped the set up with I Got Rhythm (Girl Crazy) which featured a lot of  fine playing from the various sections - the violins being particularly impressive.
Everyone was beaming (apart from the couple next to us who seemed to begrudge standing up to let us past!) it had been an absolute delight and there was more to come.
The duo made a brief appearance during the overture to the second set with a quick half chorus of Singing in the Rain (picture of same name), Ford sang You Were Meant For me (Singing in the Rain), Casey - now in a shimmering light coloured gown - gave us Love (Ziegfield Follies) and Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine (Showboat).
The orchestra returned to Cole Porter for a medley from High Society with Ford singing I Love You Samantha from the same show and a trumpet player whose name I didn't catch doing the Satchmo bit
Then a real show-stopper from Casey - Thanks a Lot But no Thanks (It's Always Fair Weather - sung in the film by Dolores Gray).
Gershwin's ballet suite from an American in Paris brought things to an official close but as always there was an encore and today it was Everybody Sing (Broadway Melody 1938).
And everybody was singing as they left (apart from the miserable gits sitting next to us. It had been a joyous afternoon and if I'd been able to get a  ticket I'd have done it all again in the evening. But, of course, the evening performance was sold out which was how the afternoon performance came about in the first place.
Yes, as I said, a joyous occasion. However, as so often happens, one discovers that joyousness is not infinite...
The Quaylink bus, normally a dependable mode of transport, turned up half an hour late causing problems for those with trains to catch from Newcastle.
Lance.
PS: In case anyone doesn't know it already, the scores were taken down and transcribed note for note by John Wilson, the originals having been destroyed when the heyday was over!

3 comments :

Liz said...

how come you write such a great review when all I could see was the occasional sight of that special pen?Yes a truly wonderful show, world class I would say, my fave was "Dancing in the Dark"and thanks Lance and friends for making this such a super afternoon...despite the late bus and missed train!Liz

Alphafemale (on Twitter) said...

the trumpet player is the lovely Mike Lovatt :-)

Liz said...

and what a pedigree he has!!

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