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Bebop Spoken There

Art Hirahara: "Playing with people is the most important thing to me, and not playing with people is torture." - (DownBeat August, 2020)

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11,763 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 903 of them this year alone and, so far, 40 this month (August 10).

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August

Tuesday 11: Happy Birthday Dave Hignett & Peter King (80).

Thursday 13: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Monday, April 07, 2014

GIJF Day Three. In the Spirit of Duke - Jacqui Dankworth, and Charlie Wood, SNJO. April 6

Jacqui Dankworth (vcl); Charlie Wood (vcl/pno).
SNJO: Tommy Smith, Martin Kershaw, Ru Pattison, Conrad Wisznewski, Allon Beauvoisin (reeds); Tom Walsh, Tom MacNiven, Lorne Cowieson, Cameron Jay (tpts); Phil O'Malley, Chris Grieve, Michael Owers (tmbs); Brian Kellock (pno); Calum Gourley; Alyn Cosker (dms).
Alyn Shipton had a pre-concert on-stage talk with Tommy Smith which provided an informative introduction as to what was to come. Shipton is an expert interviewer and Smith a fluent subject. It was excellent.
In The Spirit of Duke had been performed at Durham's Gala Theatre last year and it was very good then. Would it stand up to a second hearing? Would the band be as good without Ryan Quigley?
The answer to both questions was an emphatic yes.
To start at the end - Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue. The number that set the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival alight and revitalised Ellington's career. Originally Paul Gonsalves blew 27 choruses but tonight surely Tommy Smith played many more! He swung like no tenorman I've ever heard swing. Bar after bar, phrase after phrase, chorus after chorus, the momentum was there he was in overdrive, man and instrument as one. The cows had long come home but Smith was over the hills and faraway. The applause was tumultuous this had been special and it wasn't over yet. Tom Walsh came down front for the Cat Anderson screamers at the end and I swear the roof of Sage Gateshead ended up somewhere over the rainbow! Ryan who...?
Earlier we'd heard a well-tempered mix of Ellingtonia. The blend of the saxes on Le Sucrier Velours - sweet without being sugary, Ru Pattison's alto - how can one so young get the sound and feel of Johnny Hodges? - Brian Kellock on piano, Alyn Cosker's drumming, everybody, the plaudits number beyond infinity.
The concert had opened with a duo set from Jacqui Dankworth and husband Charlie Wood. Jacqui I knew was in good voice from the afternoon performance but Charlie Wood was a new name to me.
The duo gelled and the songwriting side of Duke has rarely been bettered. Particularly interesting was the merging of Solitude and Take the A Train. Wood's vocal bass lines to In a Mellow Tone were also effective.
Next year's Festival is pencilled in for April 10/11/12.
Can't wait! However, before then, down the road at Darlington Forum, we have the Darlington Jazz Festival on April 26/27
Lance.

2 comments :

Hugh said...

"Facile" subject - did you mean that?

Lance said...

Fluent is better! Thank you for pointing that out - by that stage I was was quite facile myself!

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