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COVID-19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

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.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Darlington Jazz Festival. April 25: Bruce Adams & Al Wood with the Durham Alumni Big Band + Durham County Youth Big Band

(Review by Russell).
The Central Hall in the Dolphin Centre has been described as a palais de danse. Built on civic pride, ornate chandeliers illuminate the grand setting as concertgoers ascend the red carpeted staircase. Function suite tables dressed in linen table cloths, flowers decorating a candlelit scene. A posh ‘do’? Nothing of the sort, this was a big band session Darlington-style!
All seats (265 of them) were sold. The Durham County Youth Big Band opened the show with a Matt Roberts’ arrangement of Mercy! Mercy! Mercy! The young musicians on the stage won applause for each and every solo effort. An abundance of talented, enthusiastic musicians were heard in all sections of the band. A Sammy Nestico arrangement of Satin Doll held no fears and a rousing St Louis Blues got the audience going. The band played This Can’t Be Love a matter of three weeks after seeing the parts for the first time at one of its regular rehearsal nights. This public premiere on such an auspicious occasion could have fallen apart but the Durham County Youth Big Band rose to the task in fine style.
The Durham County Alumni Big Band is the band to which many of the youthful players will undoubtedly graduate. The senior band took to the stage in ‘black tie’ attire. The two guest artists working with the band – Bruce Adams and Al Wood – were similarly booted and suited. Al Wood, multi instrumentalist and life-long educator put the band through its paces, expecting the best and that’s what he got. So many highlights; Alex Baker on Lady Day (magisterial), Neal Hefti’s Cute featuring Stephen Fletcher’s fine brushwork, pianist
Dean ‘Basie’ Stockdale spot-on with All of Me and Hank Mobley’s Funk in Deep Freeze putting the rhythm section to work with Adams and Wood. Trumpeter Jonny Dunn made his way down to the front of stage to give it a blast on Take the A Train. A blast!
Of course the star guests stepped-up. A Marty Paich arrangement of Bernie’s Tune heard Al wood at his best on alto. Bruce Adams played trumpet and flugelhorn. On the latter he impressed with a powerful solo on Black Orpheus and an exquisite Moonlight in Vermont in contrast to his trumpet excursions. Now, these were something else! The decibel count rose on Once I Had a Secret Love (rattling the chandeliers) and superb stratospheric work on At Last (metaphorically) brought the house down. Two numbers made the night. First, trumpeter Matthew Robinson joined Adams to play What’s New? Nerves of steel, young Robinson did himself proud. Mr Adams shook hands with Mr. Robinson - that says it all. Finally, trumpeter Tom Hill had the task of standing toe to toe with Adams on Memoiries of You. Adams played impossibly high stuff. Would the young man be able to respond? A heart-stopping moment…then Hill nailed it! Adams, impressed, shot for the stars. Could Hill do it again? You bet! The two of them went way beyond the stars time and again. A handshake. You wouldn’t believe the applause. For the first and only time during the evening Adams spoke to the audience. He said the future of jazz was in safe hands with young musicians of this calibre snapping at his heels. A grand night, grand surroundings, Darlington Jazz Festival just gets better and better.   
Russell.

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