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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Darlington Jazz Festival. Sunday Afternoon Interlude. April 27

(Review by Russell (AKA Tolstoy).
A key component of the Darlington Jazz Festival is the community involvement of musicians, tutors, volunteer workers and audience (in some cases they are all of these things). This year Matt Roberts (trumpet) acted as the festival’s Jazz Educator in Residence. A local lad made good, it is wonderful to see Roberts return and as they say, ‘put something back’. 
A natural communicator, engaging with all, he conducted a workshop earlier in the weekend and on this Sunday afternoon assembled his students on the step of a station footbridge (an exhibit in the Head of Steam Museum) to perform a few train-related numbers. At the top of the stairs, partly hidden from view, the rhythm section (Tom Curry, guitar, a workshop student elevated to the role of tutor!, Amy Baker (bass) and drummer Stephen Fletcher) provided the security blanket. The student players on the steps below framed by vintage station signs rescued from a skip (This platform for Seaton Carew). The frontline tutors - Roberts, Alex Baker (tenor), Johnny Dunn (flugel) and Chris Hibbard (trombone) - listened to and played with the ensemble on Blue Train, My Little Suede Shoes, Night Train and Take the A Train. Students ranged in age from, perhaps, ten year olds to a 86 years old piano player exercising his arm for the first time as a trombonist! Big names make festivals, they are the attraction, but make no mistake, this student assembly (an essential element of the festival) made the day. 
Russell.

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