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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Noel Dennis & Dean Stockdale @ The Jazz Café. Oct 10

Noel Dennis (trumpet & flugelhorn) & Dean Stockdale (piano)
(Review by Russell)
A first duo gig for Noel Dennis and Dean Stockdale. You’d never have guessed. It takes the talents of two first class musicians to make it work and this Jazz Café meeting was a major success. Hailing from the Deep South (the Tees Delta region) Dennis, trumpet and flugelhorn, and pianist Stockdale, performed as if they were long-time musical associates.
Beautiful Love, Tom Harrell’s Moon Alley, There is No Greater Love. Three immaculate tunes to begin the evening’s entertainment. Noel Dennis’ tone, clarity and unfailing taste are the hallmarks of his superbly crafted solos; an innate sense of construction, inventive, free-flowing ideas. Dean Stockdale at the house upright responded to every nuance, twist and surprise, and reminded the Jazz Café audience of his own creative abilities playing a number of outstanding solos.
Mingus’ Nostalgia in Times Square, Round Midnight and, as Dennis rightly suggested, an apposite Autumn Leaves (the trumpeter with Harmon mute on the latter) enthralled a Pink Lane audience oblivious to partying rugby fans on the streets of Newcastle. An interested listener took the opportunity to talk all things brass with Dennis during the interval, some recharged a glass, some turned their attention to a yet-to-be-solved broadsheet crossword.
A Stockdale arrangement of Joyspring began the second set where the first left off – class playing, the duo’s listening ear, relaxing into one another’s company. Love for Sale heard two marvellous solos – take it as read, throughout the evening all solos were marvellous!
A ballad is another of Dennis’ strengths (his occasional small combo gigs with Blaydon’s Roly Veitch set the standard) and Everything Happens to Me illustrated the point. Having stated that all the solos were marvellous – and to reiterate, they were – Blue Monk really did feature outstanding solos from Dennis and Stockdale, pianist Stockdale dazzling with walking bass lines, stride patterns, the lot. Stella by Starlight never fails, and to close out a most enjoyable set, the duo of Dennis and Stockdale left us with Au Privave.
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Earlier, at the Vermont Hotel, Ruth Lambert and Stuart Collingwood entertained rugby fans. Scots, of the kilted variety, were in post match party mode. Painted faces, hangovers guaranteed, the Songbook master class, for the most part, passed them by. Lambert sang, perched on a high stool. Collingwood accompanied at the piano. Summertime, Stella by Starlight, The Shadow of Your Smile, a smattering of applause from some, appreciated by your BSH correspondent for sure. Tunes ranged from Stormy Weather to Sunnyside of the Street (a fair summation of the weather of late) as a prior engagement approached (a Jazz Café gig). Vermont Hotel gigs are well worth catching. Free admission Fridays at 4:30pm Saturdays at 7:00pm and two o’clock Sundays.                
Russell.           

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