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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.
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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Durham University Big Band @ Darlington Jazz Club. January 25

Dan Garel , Felicity Evans (alt);  Matt McKernan , John Somerton(ten); Naomi Tansey (bar); Noah Lawrence, Sam Clark, Rasmus Borowski, Charles Price (tpt);
Nat Jackson, Chris Jones (MD), Joshua Harper, Luke Bentley (tmb); Matt Jacobs (pno); Ollie Farley (gtr); Jonathan Berry (bs); Tristan Bacon (dms); Laura Paul,Will Lavelle (vcl).
(Review by Russell)
Two big occasions are on the horizon for Durham University Big Band – a showcase gig at the Pizza Express, Dean Street, London and the little matter of the defence of their title at the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. Darlington Jazz Club extended an invitation to the band to make a first appearance at the Forum Music Centre and it was duly accepted.
The Forum’s main hall was two thirds full as the orchestra took to the stage right on time. Apple Honey set the pace and it didn’t slacken. A Reuben Fowler number featured one of the band’s two vocalists; Laura Paul sang brilliantly (voice as orchestral instrument, left-field Norma Winstone). Without doubt Ms Paul is an early front runner in Bebop Spoken Here’s Performance of the Year category!  JJ Wheeler’s Homage – to namesake Kenny Wheeler – reaffirmed the band’s welcome move from standard swing material (top-flight piano and soprano sax solos). Homage (the band’s Durham Distillery Composition Prize entry) was something of a run-through as the band will effectively premiere it at the Pizza Express on February 15.
The interval: crisis – no cask ale! A bottle of Brown Ale the best on offer. The raffle (a tasty looking Anita O’Day CD went elsewhere), a bit crack and the second set opened in frightening style with Whiplash! Thankfully Fletcher (JK Simmons) wasn’t lurking in the shadows threatening to unleash his chilling one-liner Not quite my tempo. The Durham musicians have been well-schooled – tempo, sections, soloists, material. The band’s ace rhythm section didn’t miss a trick (excellent guitar and piano solos, Ollie Farley and Matthew Jacobs), brass and reeds flourished freeing soloists to do their thing notably Dan Garel (alto and soprano). The band’s thing was ‘jazz plus’. The ‘plus’ being hip-hop (J Dilla), nu-soul (the brilliant Laura Paul) and a challenging chart from the pen of Darcy James Argue. And then there was Ben Cottrell’s arrangement of Radiohead’s 15 Step.
A varied programme – The Lady is a Tramp featured the band’s other singer Will Lavelle – with the emphasis on the contemporary was commendable. The Durham University Big Band knows what it’s doing. Will it have the courage to present an all-contemporary set at the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival? One way to find out…get along to one of the best events of the year (March 6-8) at North Shore, Charles Street, Sunderland. There is ample parking, St Peter’s Metro station is five minutes’ walk, so put the dates in that new diary. If the Durham guys don’t win on the day (Saturday 7 March) you must be there to hear the band that dethrones them because they will be something special.      
Russell.   

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