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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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Full House! - Gala Big Band @ Durham Town Hall, Nov. 29.

(Review/photos by Jerry).
Despite “Clodagh” spitting and howling like a banshee outside, the Gala Big Band were welcomed by a full house (120+) and proceeded to blow up a storm of their own! Despite this being, I think, only their third public concert, they entertained the audience so successfully that when the applause had died down their departure into the inhospitable storm (Silver Street was like a wind-tunnel!) was accompanied by much animated chat (“I haven’t seen these before – why have I never seen these before?”) and a protective warm glow inside. Very seasonal!
And there were elements of a Christmas concert here – Ashleigh and Declan (students at the Sage, I believe) sang Baby It’s Cold Outside, the band-leader played Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song, the band (with trumpets very much to the fore) did a beautiful version of In the Bleak Midwinter and Ashleigh returned, accompanied by George on piano, with some sweet vocals on Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Away from the seasonal and into the realms of timeless we had Duke’s A-train, Neal Hefti’s Flight of the Foo Birds, Miller’s In the Mood, Satin Doll, The Pink Panther, All of Me and, in response to shouts of “More, more, more” we had Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. I knew the tune but not the name, Joe Zawinul. You learn something new every day – or every gig, at least.
There were Edis originals, too, such as Straight to the Point, the hectic Narrow Escape and the booming baritone-driven Techtonic. By way of contrast, another original, new to me and quite new to the band, was slow-paced, atmospheric and moving. The people demonstrating round the corner against the proposed closure of the DLI Museum would have endorsed its Last Post - like mood and the sentiments of the title: Too Sad for Words. I think I’ve missed at least two numbers out (must improve my note-taking!) but it can be seen from the titles above that this was a very varied programme. Time, like those Foo Birds, flew.
There were many good solos –with each concert I think the players are becoming confident enough to step into the limelight – and the ensemble playing is really powerful (as you would expect from such a very big band)!
I must apologise for being unable to list all the musicians or attribute the solos, but hats off to all (including the trumpeters with hats ON!). This is one outfit which gets better with every outing, has its eye on the ball at all times, scores at will and has a growing fan-base eager to see more. I wish a certain other team was like that!
For more info on the band check out Gala Big Band on Facebook.
Photos.
Jerry.

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