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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Ashington Jazz Club. October 1.

(Review by Peter S.)
The October meeting at the AJC was a unique experience as this was the first occasion that a Band as big as this had taken to our stage and floor. It was not easy to accommodate all sections of the band so the front line of 5 saxes and 4 trombones were placed on the dance floor with 4 in the trumpet quartet behind supported by the keyboard. 2 guitars(bass and rhythm) and drum kit. The arrangement displayed the band in an agreeable formation and with the music stands in front and the musicians impeccably dressed, we  looked at a very professional outfit reminiscent of the Bands from the days of Swing.
From the moment that this orchestra exploded with the opening number and throughout the extensive programme, the power of the music and the excitement generated filled the Elephant like no other during the 30+ years of this Jazz Club. The audience was uplifted in applauding every rendition as the diverse program progressed. It was obvious that a considerable amount of planning had gone into the arrangements as the close section harmonies, interspersed with creative improvisation, succeeded in providing the audience with excitement and admiration for this Band.
In the words of the Duke "We loved you madly". The members and welcome visitors demanded more and got a rousing encore. This Smokin' Band  is deserving of a bigger stage and hall where the music would benefit from the dynamics and enhanced acoustics. The Sage or City Hall would be good venues.
Club regulars are indebted to John Taylor whose  hands-on management skills and vision brought this truly wonderful experience to Ashington. I do not wish to name the musicians within the band or the vocalist  as they all performed so well or the extensive programme, nor do I  hesitate to commend the Strictly Smokin' Big Band to all you Jazz lovers out there.
You will not be disappointed for I am amazed that the North East Region can assemble a group of this high quality in our Jazz halls. Get out there and give your support. 
Peter S.
PS: Next Meeting - Wednesday, November 5th at 8.00 p.m. at the Elephant. Admission £5.
Guests will be The Virtuoso Jazz Trio of George MacDonald, James Birkett and  Tony Abell.                                          

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