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Monday, November 16, 2015

Keith Stephen’s Hot Club Trio with Caroline Irwin @ The Black Bull, Blaydon – Nov 15

Keith Stephen (guitar), Roly Veitch (guitar & vocals), Bruce Rollo (double bass) & Caroline Irwin (vocals & ukulele)
(Review by Russell).
Friends of Blaydon Jazz Club for many a year, Keith Stephen’s Hot Club Trio made a welcome return to the Black Bull. Club regulars made the effort on a surprisingly mild evening for the time of year. The undemonstrative Stephen spoke reluctantly. Caroline Irwin – his other half – cajoled him into making announcements, which he duly did. An unsung guitarist and fine exponent of the Hot Club idiom, Stephen led his trio through two sets of classic material with several vocal numbers from the ‘lovely Caroline’.
Coquette opened the show. Caroline Irwin joined the boys to sing four numbers; Exactly Like You, Dream a Little Dream, Goody Goody and I’m Confessin’. Ms Irwin is an entertainer. She sings well and you get a performance. Flirtatious, Gatsby-era theatricality enlivens the show with the trio’s musicianship clearly evident to those with eyes and ears – a sensory delight.
Rhythm king Roly Veitch took the occasional vocal, the first of the evening being All of Me in typical relaxed fashion. The saucy Ms Irwin did much hoofin’ around on Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian. With ukulele in hand the lyrics passed/passed by the censors, the only thing missing was an Aloha-style garland of flowers!
The undoubted first set highlight was a tremendous take on Limehouse Blues; a Stephen’s solo followed by an energetic contribution from slap bass maestro Bruce Rollo had Black Bull patrons imagining they were in a dimly lit pre-war Parisian night club. Django lives! At its conclusion Stephen enquired: Silly tempo, who set up that one? The culprit lurked in the shadows…one Mr R. Veitch. Hand wringing stuff!
Django’s Swing ’42 resumed hostilities. Irwin intervened with I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby and later on Veitch atoned with a well tempered vocal on Shine. Ms Irwin sang some numbers in French – La Vie en Rose being a fine example of her craft. A good evening’s entertainment concluded with an exhausting Running Wild. Athlete Irwin went for it, running on the spot, running wild.
December at Blaydon Jazz Club features not one but two sessions. Sunday 6th is an extra date presenting the New Century Ragtime Orchestra. The ensemble, perhaps unique in its presentation of the syncopated sounds predating the classic jazz era, will delight its many followers and those hearing the band for the first time will become instant fans. The week before Christmas – Sunday 20th – is party time. The BB Trio with guest Dr James Birkett will provide the musical entertainment and, by tradition, audience members take along an appetising culinary contribution. Savouries and sweets (many home made), always make for a feast sufficient to feed the five thousand.
Russell.                     

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