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Friday, March 28, 2014

Tyne Valley Big Band & Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Phoenix, Hexham. March 27

(Review by Russell)
Approaching the Phoenix the thought occurred that on walking into the place it could be an audience of one. How wrong could I be? The place was packed! Hexham is the home of the Tyne Valley Big Band. MD Dave Hignett’s commitment to music education is well known throughout the north east and beyond.
The TVBB is a big band – eight trumpets, ten saxophones, four trombones (four, is that all?), piano, guitar, bass and two drummers. The youth band, formed less than two months ago, has been gigging and competed in the recent Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. The sections comprise eleven trumpets, five saxophones, three trombones and a rhythm section of piano, guitar, bass and drums.
The young musicians had their supporters out in force – parents, grandparents, siblings. The set list included stock funk material – Herbie Hancock (Chameleon) and the Hypnotic Brass Band. Hignett encouraged his charges – they could achieve anything – and sprung a surprise on them…You (pointing, smiling)…solo! Nowt like being thrown in the deep end! They survived, they thrived, they heard the applause.
Satin Doll…the young musicians weren’t keen to rehearse it, Hignett persuaded them otherwise. Great stuff! The set closer – Lady Madonna – came too soon but there was much to fit in at this end of term gathering before Hignett and co went out for a curry. The senior band cracked on – Hayburner, Sway, Wonderwall, RESPECT  (soul sister Barbara Hignett, vocals), Pink Panther (theme), Apple Honey. Impressive soloists stepped up with members of the youth band watching on (there time will come) including Andrea DeVere (tenor) and narrowly avoiding a hernia, top C trumpeter Alistair Lord. As a finale Hignett brought the two bands together (all twenty seven million of them) for one last blast. What a blast! Checkout the band’s website for news of up coming gigs www.tynevalleybigband.co.uk                 
Russell.

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