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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Monastery of Sound: Early Bird Band @ Ushaw Durham Jazz Festival. August 27

(Review by Steve T).
Young Russell had realised he’d bitten off more than he could chew so my meagre reviewing duties had doubled. Then they doubled again. Oh, and can you also just do…
A few empty seats for the Northern Monkey Brass Band, on with their closing number - Jackson Fives’ I Want You Back - when I stuck my head in the door, but about sixty, which still looks pretty good in this theatre.

It actually highlighted a potential problem that, if the theatre was sold out and everybody wanted to head for the lounge for Zoe, and I’d strongly recommend they should, we’d have to remove the furniture to get them all in.
Early Bird Band
Saturday morning brought a good turnout, and not just the usual family and friends. Depping for Whiplash McKellar (sunning himself, and presumably Jazzing himself, in California) is never going to be a breeze but Rory Gardener, a very different drummer with different interests and influences, does a fine job, giving it crash, bang, wallop every chance he gets.
Edgy Dan Lawrence was solid on bass, as always, alongside FDT brandishing his new Custom Shop Gibson on its first outing. The revelation was Ben Lawrence, depping for Dr Phil, reading the piano parts but leaving the horn section – James Metcalf (trumpet), Andrew Hedges (trombone), Lord Paul (alto, flute) - ever so slightly under strength.
No originals this time and no Little Sunflower, but Blue Bossa, Au Privave, Manteca, Ladybird and So What, alto taking the famous Paul Chambers bass line which I would have preferred to go either to Dan or to Francis who played it to great effect with the Gala Big Band; but a tiny quibble.   
Not a vintage performance but they’re their own biggest critics, and the audience were more than satisfied.
Steve T.
Early Bird Band 
James Metcalf (trumpet), Andrew Hedges (trombone), Francis Tulip (guitar), Ben Lawrence (piano), Dan Lawrence (bass), Rory Gardener (drums) + Paul Edis (MD, alto saxophone & clarinet).

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