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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.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas at the Black Swan with the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band. Dec 16










(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Mike Tilley)
We Three Kings heralded a night of swinging big band jazz, and what a night! The first of two sold out nights, the dynamic Strictly Smokin’ Big Band dazzled from the off with the audience there to enjoy themselves. Power, precision, all sections firing, this was the way to open the show! Tenor men Paul Gowland and Jamie Toms introduced themselves, Pav Jedrzejewski similarly made his presence felt with the first of several fine guitar solos, as did multi-reeds virtuoso Steve Summers opening on alto.
Tyneside’s jazz fans look forward to these now annual nights at the Black Swan for many weeks if not months and they have yet to be disappointed. The band in sober lounge suits, vocalist Alice Grace looking sensational in a red evening gown, the first set started at the appointed hour, this is how to put on a show! Ms Grace’s fellow vocalist – F’reez – sang Moondance (sounding better than ever), followed by a duet with Alice on Baby, It’s Cold Outside. The audience loved it, the applause said it all. Alice has a high class pedigree… the National Youth Jazz Orchestra no less. She brought along a NYJO chart – Heat of the Moment – which went down a treat. F’reez delivered on Gambling Man Blues and Alice melted/broke hearts telling us My Heart Belongs to Daddy (featuring a three-flute intro).
 
Don’t Think Twice (comp B Dylan) featured Alice (Maggie Bell recorded a fine version) once more, then the band played some jazz – Benny Golson’s Whisper Not; Gowland on tenor, MD Michael Lamb on muted trumpet, a measured Toms (tenor) and more from the consistently good, no, make that excellent, Steve Summers. The first set closer – Grass is Greener – heard more from F’reez and Jedrzejewski, and the ensemble in wild abandon.
This being that time of year – Bah humbug time – the set list included plenty of seasonal tunes. Only a curmudgeon could take issue, and he – they’re always of the male variety – didn’t. Perhaps he wasn’t present, sitting at home, more like, the miserable so and so. As the Christmas classics came thick and fast, the applause kept pace; Joy to the World then Hark the Herald Angels Sing, the fabulous Alice singing Winter Wonderland, a birthday dedication to the forever young Sylvia with Alice singing I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm. Altoists Steve Summers and Keith Robinson fought it out on I’ve Got Christmas (fours, then twos) and Kieran Parnaby, trombone, pulled no punches on Little Drummer Boy, thus encouraging Pete Tanton to do likewise before bassist Michael Whent stepped forward, taking the rhythm section with him. Drummer Steve Wall, depping for regular sticksman Guy Swinton, did a grand job, on top of things all night, most impressive. No Christmas gig is complete without Santa Baby. Alice Grace (in a second set change of wardrobe) wowed the on-side crowd, and sure enough, an encore (two of them!) sent the full house on its way without a care in the world. The Strictly Smokin’ Big Band has a large, loyal following. You can join the party at Hoochie Coochie on December 29th.
Russell.
Michael Lamb, Pete Tanton, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (trumpets); Kieran Parnaby, David Barnes, Tom Dowling, John Flood (trombones); Paul Gowland, Jamie Toms, Steve Summers, Keith Robinson, Laurie Rangecroft (reeds); Graham Don (piano); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Michael Whent (bass); Steve Wall (drums); Alice Grace (vocals) & F’reez (vocals)

1 comment :

jacqueline said...

Fabulous Saturday night Christmas set.....

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