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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.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Darlington Jazz Festival. Sunday Evening Part Two April 27

(Review by Russell (AKA Tolstoy).
The weekend’s finale featured the Al Wood Nine. Multi instrumentalist Al Wood (trumpet, flugelhorn, alto & soprano saxophones) always puts on a good show. Bebop Spoken Here last heard him at the Cluny in Newcastle, for this Darlington engagement the veteran Yorkshireman brought his A-team with him.
 The band: Al Wood, Jim Corry (alto & soprano saxophones), James Russell (alto & baritone saxophones), Stuart MacDonald (tenor and bass saxophones), Sam Thornton (baritone saxophone & vocals), Graham Hearn (piano), Gary Jackson (double bass) & Bob Howard (drums) + Ernie Jackson (percussion)
Benny Carter’s Come On Over opened the first set with Simon Kaylor soloing on tenor and Jim Corry on alto. Corry’s altoist band mate James Russell took a phenomenal solo on Bernie’s Tune. This was going to be some night! Pianist Graham Hearn, heard recently up the road at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle, played beautifully on Rodgers and Hart’s Spring Is Here (Not in Darlington quipped Wood). The multi instrumental talents of the frontline were first demonstrated when Corry switched to soprano on I’m Always Chasing Rainbows. Flight of the Foo Birds featured Wood on alto with sensitive support from pianist Hearn. The set’s closing number will live long in the memory. A big band aficionado had earlier commented that he was pleased to see drummer Bob Howard in the band. Dizzy’s The Champ featured a drum solo to end all drum solos. The frontline cleared the stage as Howard gave an outstanding display. It was the closing number but it was only the end of the first set! 
During the interval one aspiring young drummer was introduced to Mr Howard…they talked drums. Aim for the stars, Howard did and he is up there with the best of them! Nat Adderley’s Work Song opened the second set. Double bassist Gary Jackson - great sound, great technique - grabbed a solo before the altoists (Corry and Russell) traded fours, fast and furious, then faster and ever more furious! Wow! Simon Kaylor featured once more on Stella By Starlight, initially at a slow tempo then up to race speed. It worked. Tenor man Stuart MacDonald (he made Johnny Griffin sound pedestrian) picked up his ton weight bass saxophone - great sound, great technique - to lead the parade on Struttin’ With Some Barbecue (arr. Hearn), Sam Thornton (baritone) followed with his own cast iron sound. A number from Phil Wood’s A Btrazilian Affair concluded matters with solo after solo drawing huge applause. Veteran drummer Ernie Jackson joined the party as guest percussionist. Quite a finale!
The 2014 edition off the Darlington Jazz Festival could only be described as a resounding success. The event is a considerable undertaking and it couldn’t work without the support of many individuals and organisations. Some of those - apologies for those omitted, it is a long list! - include Creative Darlington, Darlington Borough Council, Darlington For Culture, Darlington Jazz Club and the Musicians’ Union. The festival directors - Kirsty Dunn and Shaune Eland - the festival fundraiser (essential!) Kathryn Shaw, Head of Steam staff, staff at the Forum and last but by no means least, the innumerable band of volunteer workers. These are the unsung stars of the event. Many of them are young musicians giving freely of their time. They staff the door, sell raffle tickets, act as stage crew and do the behind the scenes donkey work. See you at the 2015 Darlington Jazz Festival, the Friendly Jazz Festival.          
Russell.

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