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Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Val Wiseman - Lady Sings The Blues @ Gala Theatre, Durham. March 27.

Val Wiseman (vcl) w. Digby Fairweather (tpt); Roy Williams (tmb); Julian Marc Stringle (ten/clt); Brian Dee (pno); Len Skeat (bs); Eric Ford (dms).
(Review by Lance)
The auditorium was near full and justifiably so. Whilst few, if any, have equaled the poignancy and emotional content of Billie Holiday in this, the centenary of Lady Day's birth, Val Wiseman came as close as possible without losing her own identity.
The many fine songs included, Ain't Nobody's Business if I doGood Morning Heartache; God Bless the Child; Fine and Mellow; Miss Brown to You; Just one of Those Things; Comes Love; Me, Myself and I; One For my Baby; What a Little Moonlight Can Do; Am I Blue? Loverman - just piano and voice - was spellbinding and a grandiose My Man captivated. 
There were others but, such was the lady's presence, it seemed almost irreverent to take notes!
In between numbers, Val gave us a potted biography of Billie which, whilst it may be familiar to the many old hands in the audience, I'm sure it also inspired other, younger fans, to find out more - both about Billie and Val.
Of course Billie Holiday was ever in the company of great musicians - Buck Clayton, Lester Young, Teddy Wilson and other greats of the swing era - and, needless to say, Val did likewise with the cream of British mainstreamers. 
Digby and Roy we've known for years and they didn't disappoint. Julian Marc Stringle I knew of but this was the first time I'd heard him play and can he play! Great sound on both tenor and clarinet - his shoulder length locks may not have been in keeping with the idiom but his 'licks' certainly were! Come to think of it I remember when Digby too had hair of similar length and Roy actually had hair (I should talk!).
The rhythm section was an object lesson in the art of swinging. Len Skeat, Eric Ford and the legendary Brian Dee combined to make this truly an unforgettable experience.
The only downside - apart from standing on the wrong platform and missing the train - was I inexplicably erased the photos when transferring from camera to PC! These included an excellent one of Val with our own nightingale Olive Rudd and a pub shot of Digby, Roy and Brian.
Sorry guys and dolls!
Lance.

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