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Bebop Spoken There

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13,132 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 551 of them this year alone and, so far, 106 this month (April 22).

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April 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at The Holystone.

May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 2: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.
June 7: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. March 15

(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Roly Veitch & Deirdre Grant).
Blaydon Jazz Club at the Black Bull. The Strictly Smokin’ Big Band strolled into town, suited and booted. Small room, big band. The saxophone section assembled on the floor in front of the small stage. Blaydon regulars filed in looking to claim their usual perch. Instrument cases littered the floor and covered table tops as a sound check took place. One sensed this was going to be something special.
Bandleader Michael Lamb led the way with the first solo of the night on Ol’ Man River. The band’s power almost took the breath away, some were stunned. A sensational start. Depping vocalist Paul Skerritt Let the Good Times Roll; style, presence, timing. Gerry Mulligan’s Red Door and Frankie and Johnny and a Trombone Guy worked as swinging big band tunes.
Veronica Lake (aka Lindsay Hannon) confessed: Alright, Okay You Win. Ms Hannon is a natural big band singer. Skerritt took the floor once more to sing Cheek to Cheek (the all-too-small lounge precluded dancing). I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin hip-hop style worked against expectations as the locked-in rhythm section didn’t miss a hip-hop beat. Moondance had Mr Skerritt ‘working the room’ with an easy charm. First set done (numerous top flight solo spots, superb section work), any concerns about the Strictly Smokin’ in the Black Bull’s small lounge had been swept away. Time for a refill before the second set.
The Buddy Rich big band arrangement of Love for Sale knocked ‘em for six (ace solos from Steve Summers, the depping Graham Hardy and Paul Gowland). The trumpet section – Lamb, Hardy. Gordon Marshall and the gum-chewing Dick Stacey – really nailed the intro on Pianitis (thrilling stuff!). Thad Jones’ Us was the stuff of the Monday night blowing big band (close your eyes and you were in NYC). The Strictly Smokin’s Three Tenors, Messrs Summers, Gowland and Jamie Toms stood up and had a blast on Sax Alley. MD Michael Lamb brought along a challenging chart by Tom Garling – Song for A.E.G. – and the boys in the band did splendidly. Think not so much straight ahead big band fare, more Gil Evans. It was, perhaps, the musical highlight of the evening.
The SSBB has many accomplished soloists in its ranks. All shone, with particularly outstanding contributions from Hardy, Graham Don (keyboards), Guy Swinton (drums) and Jamie Toms. The night was an unqualified success. A return visit to Blaydon Jazz Club by the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band should guarantee a full house. Be there.       
Photos
Russell.         
Michael Lamb (MD), Dick Stacey, Graham Hardy & Gordon Marshall (trumpets), Kieran Parnaby, Mark Ferris, Tom Dowling & John Flood (trombones), Paul Gowland (tenor saxophone), Jamie Toms (tenor saxophone), Steve Summers (tenor, alto & soprano saxophones, clarinet), Keith Robinson (alto saxophone), Laurie Rangecroft (baritone saxophone), Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar), Graham Don (keyboards), Michael Whent (bass), Guy Swinton (drums), Lindsay Hannon & Paul Skerritt (vocals)

2 comments :

Patti D. said...

Oh, what a night ... and I missed it!! Sounds absolutely fabulous.

Hugh said...

Nice review, Russell - and neatly sums up the evening.

You forgot one thing though, Steve Summers' flute - I certainly saw it, but I'm not sure I heard it!

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