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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Hoochie Coochie

Michael Lamb (MD), Pete Tanton (tpt), Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (tmpts); Don Fairley, John Flood, Chris Gurgi-Smith, Mark Ferris (tmb); Steve Summers. Niall Armstrong (alt); Paul Gowland, Jamie Toms (ten); Laurie Rangecroft (bar); Marc Joliffe (pno); Pawel Jedzejewski (gtr); Michael Whent (bs); Guy Swinton (dms); Lindsay Hannon. James Hedley (vcl). 
(Review by Lance)
Stan Kenton proclaimed at the end of his recording of Prologue,  "This is an Orchestra!" Michael Lamb would have been equally justified in making a similar proclamation after this afternoon's session at Hoochie Coochie. He didn't need to - the packed bar knew exactly what they'd heard and, if there were any complaints, it was having to wait 3 months for the next one!
In the confined, low-ceilinged venue that is Hoochie, hearing a power house unit like this is the most mind-blowing experience you're ever going to experience outside of ODing on London Pride.
Unbelievable, sitting in the dugout it was, close your eyes and you're at the Reno Club in Kansas City, or maybe the Village Vanguard with Thad and Mel.
Leader Michael Lamb with his full toned Fats/Clifford sound, Pete Tanton, cooler but not frigid, Tenors Gowland and Toms - Basie or Woody would have used them any time. Steve Summers, alto king and a rhythm section to die for.
There were a couple of singers too...
James Hedley Let The Good Times Roll a la Louis Jordan (not Ray Charles) and it set the mood for the best afternoon session for many a 12 bar.
Five Foot Two Eyes of Blue, Big Mama Cass, Lester Leaps In kept things swinging 'til James' returned for The Way You Look Tonight and Beyond the Sea - were there two better gasbook songs ever written? Of course there were, but at this moment in time I can't bring them to mind.
Lindsay enquired as to How High The Moon escaping the Fashion Police en route to stage (only joking kid!).
Her OK You Win was probably the best version ever apart from the Joe Williams original recording. A Tisket a Tasket paid tribute to Ella.
The set concluded with a crazy Caravan and Autumn Leaves - a song for all seasons!
More beers and hellos and handshakes and wondering why there were so many people in the club.
The band's version of Isn't She Lovely? gave an indication but it was the no hold's barred Sweet Georgia Brown that did it for me.
Lindsay sang Angel Eyes, James, It Had To Be You - a most dramatic entrance! - and, it suddenly occurred to me that this was one of the best big band sessions I'd heard since hearing the Buddy Rich Band at Ronnie's a long time ago!
Photos.
Lance.

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