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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Darlington Jazz Festival. Sunday Afternoon Part One April 27

(Review by Russell (AKA Tolstoy).
Noon in the marquee. The bar open (White Boar Bitter), the Tyne Valley Big Band, all six million of them, on stage ready to go but not before Jazz in My Pants marched in to once more give it a blast. Fantastic. Dave Hignett, the TVBB’s MD, has knocked into shape a cracking band in next to no time. Resplendent in band t-shirts and matching music stands (all six million of them) the orchestra presented a programme ranging from Sweet Georgia Brown to Sway and Mack the Knife (featuring vocalist Barbra Hignett) to Sammy Nestico’s Lonely Street (alto solo from Kelly Rose) to the Pink Panther Theme (hear that triangle!). Our expert triangularist marched New Orleans’ style around the marquee, taking the opportunity on the way to order a pint from the bar at the back of the room without missing a beat! At this point it should be noted that the TVBB enjoys a ‘working relationship’ with the Wylam Brewery but on this occasion it was a case of ‘needs must’. Alistair Lord played the high register stuff in the trumpet section, Andrea DeVere took the big tenor parts and singer Barbra Hignett returned to belt out R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Respect to BH! The TVBB left us with a cookin’ Apple Honey (DeVere solo, rhythm section, ensemble). If anyone had been in a Sunday morning stupour they would certainly have been woken up by the Tyne Valley Big Band.
Festival workers swarmed all over the stage to clear away the big band furniture and set up ready for one of the bands of the moment. The Slowlight Quartet writes and performs original material. Double bassist Ian Paterson’s precise articulation acted as pivot for Tom Quilliams’ towering tenor sax contributions working off the subtle harmonic invention of keyboards man Paul Lorraine. Drummer Jonathan Marriott, a listening drummer, had his ears open to every development, playing the right thing at the right time. The compositions have a discernible Slowlight signature; measured development, unexpected changes, Quilliams’ slow burn, sulphuric attack. The band previewed material from their forthcoming EP including the eponymous In Flight and This Time. An excellent set from the Slowlights, the launch gig is at the Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle on May 25.
Russell.

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