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Bebop Spoken There

Dayna Stephens: "I always tell them [students] there will never be anyone who will play it [EWI] as technically proficient as this cat [Michael Brecker] did." - (JazzTimes June 2019).

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Today Tuesday June 25

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jam Session - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, 59 Westgate Rd., Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel. 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. Free. Trio Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Durham Alumni Big Band with Al Wood @ Ushaw Durham Jazz Festival. August 27

 (Review by Russell).
The first jazz festival to be held in Durham’s Ushaw College couldn’t possibly omit the county’s finest big band from the programme. A Saturday afternoon slot in the magnificent surroundings of the circa 1808 Exhibition Hall attracted a large crowd eager to hear the award-winning band. An indication of the commitment of band members was that few deps were required on this August bank holiday weekend. Guest MD Al Wood was booked to work with the band and two star names were to sit-in.
An ensemble with exceptional soloists in the ranks, the Alumni presented a balanced set of tunes. Star tenor soloist Alex Baker featured on several numbers including Al Wood’s Over the Top with the band in fine form, and a magnificent Lady Day. Veteran trombone man Terry ‘Smokin’ Spitfire’ O’Hern grabbed a solo on I Love Paris and Ian Robinson’s flugelhorn solo on Black Orpheus (arr. Phil Steel) deservedly met with applause.

MD Wood took five leaving the Alumni to tackle James Hamilton’s Back on Your Heads with several soloists standing up – Baker (tenor), Jonny Dunn (trumpet), Steve McGarvie (another Smokin’ Spitfire!) blowing alto, and ’bone man O’Hern. The sections never fail to deliver the goods: the all-star trumpets led by young Tom Hill (grandfather Mick sat in the section to keep an eye on the young whippersnapper!), the ace trombones and a hard to beat reeds’ section, not forgetting the best big band rhythm section around - Edis, Amy Baker and Stephen Fletcher.

A bonus for the audience (and band) was an unannounced appearance of Alan Barnes and Bruce Adams. Arriving at Ushaw in good time the duo sat in on a couple of numbers with  the Alumni ahead of their advertised festival engagements. Barnes’ Side Steppin’  with A. Barnes on alto and Barnes and Bruce Adams playing I Love You set things up nicely for a rip-roaring Be-Bop Charlie featuring guests AB and BA and depping pianist (and festival director) Paul Edis, and typically rousing alto once more from McGarvie.
Al Wood, on alto, closed the show with Bernie’s Tune. Mr Wood is an institution in these parts. A life-long educator and first class multi-instrumentalist to boot, Wood has inspired countless young musicians, long may he continue to do so.          
Russell.
Al Wood (MD, alto & baritone saxophones); Alex Baker (tenor saxophone), Dan Johnson (tenor saxophone), Steve McGarvie (alto & soprano saxophones), Danielle Drew (alto saxophone), Omar Shade (baritone saxophone); Shaune Eland (trumpet), Jonny Dunn (trumpet), Tom Hill (trumpet), Ian Robinson (trumpet), Mick Hill (trumpet); Andrew Kirtley (trombone), Alastair Wood (trombone), Terry O’Hern (trombone), David Hamilton (bass trombone); Paul Edis (piano), Amy Baker (bass), Stephen Fletcher (drums) + Alan Barnes (alto saxophone) & Bruce Adams (trumpet & flugelhorn).
Band photo courtesy of John Marlor.
Alex Baker photo courtesy of Eric Robertson.
Al Wood photo courtesy of Gordon Carlton.

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