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Monday November 23

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Monday, July 07, 2014

Swing City Trio with Colin Aitchison & Franco Valussi @ Blaydon Jazz Club. July 6

Roly Veitch (guitar & vocals), Steve Andrews (tenor saxophone), Roy Cansdale (double bass), Colin Aitchison (trumpet & vocals) & Franco Valussi (clarinet) + Kenny Sugawara (banjo)
(Review by Russell/photo courtesy of Colin Aitchison).
On a warm summer’s evening Blaydon Jazz Club hosted an international all star session. The Black Bull on Bridge Street welcomed musicians from all four corners of the world. The Swing City Trio (hailing from Tyneside, Cumbria and Gloucestershire) were joined by friends from Hong Kong, Italy and Japan.
Blaydon Jazz Club added an extra date to the July schedule to secure an appearance from ex-pat trumpeter Colin Aitchison. The Hong Kong-resident Geordie bon viveur arranged a week’s worth of gigs at watering holes on his old stomping ground. He brought with him two musician friends from Kowloon – Franco Valussi (clarinet) and Kenny Sugawara (banjo). 
A good crowd filled the lounge at the Black Bull, keen with anticipation. Swing was on the menu and the all stars opened with Rosetta. Valussi took a first solo. Wow! A good decision to be at Blaydon! Swing City’s tenor man Steve Andrews cast an admiring glance at Valussi’s clarinet (a seriously expensive model, apparently) as liquid gold notes poured forth. Originally from Trieste, Italy, Valussi went on to enthrall the audience with his superb playing, tune after tune. Aitchison sang Ain’t Misbehavin’ and blew the first of many top flight solos as Valussi played more great clarinet and Blaydon’s main man Roly Veitch stepped out of the shadows (metaphorically that is, he remained seated). Veitch, a student of the swing era, performed with minimal amplification, as did his rhythm strings partner Roy Cansdale (double bass). The frontline didn’t require amplification, all three possessing and projecting a big sound.
I Saw Stars (Veitch vocals), Memories of You, On the Sunny Side of the Street, the choice material seemingly endless. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (‘in the right key’ quipped Andrews) heard Aitchison with plunger mute. Andrews was in fine form as jester (the one about Alzheimer’s at a Penrith filling station, then the one about the Y reg Corsa) and as tenor saxophonist. A fabulous player. Kenny Sugawara, a banjo player from Japan has been resident in Hong Hong for thirty years and leads the Hot Chop Suey Jazz Band. He joined the Blaydon party to play a couple of tunes and stayed on to play a couple more, to the delight of the audience. When You’re Smiling (Mr Sugawara did) showed the man from the Land of the Rising Sun could play. Mr B.Bennett is, no doubt, in the woodshed sharpening his chops in advance of welcoming Mr Sugawara later this week to the Vieux Carré Jazzmen’s regular sessions.
Struttin’ With Some Barbecue. Was that Satchmo or Colin Aitchison? One and the same such is the Kowloon Geordie’s love of the trumpet and vocal style of the man. Royal Garden Blues capped a grand night at the Black Bull. It isn’t often that you hear such fine musicians from all corners of the globe in Blaydon. Next time you’re in Hong Kong look up Colin and the boys at Ned Kelly’s Last Stand. You’re guaranteed Jazz, Blues and Booze, so says the t-shirt. Bring one home with you as a souvenir and proudly wear it at Blaydon Jazz Club.
The next concert at the Black Bull features Zoe Gilby. Tyneside’s international star vocalist will be working with Andy Champion, Mark Williams and Richard Brown.
Make a date in the diary – Sunday 20 July, 8:00 pm.         
Russell.

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