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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.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band @ Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester - June 25

(Review by Russell).
They flew 6000 miles to play two concerts. A capacity audience at this first concert greeted this Los Angeles supergroup with wild applause, all before a note was played. The Wigan International Jazz Festival sought the services of this greatest of big bands for some fifteen years and now, finally, we were about to hear the band live, in concert. Festival Director Ian Darrington introduced the band in simple fashion; Welcome the best big band on the planet.
Cameras flashed as the Big Phat Band strolled onto the stage, the best big band on the planet. MD Gordon Goodwin acknowledged an ecstatic audience as the band’s British premiere began right on time. The eighteen-piece Big Phat Band, comprising of Los Angeles’ A-list film and recording studio session musicians, exuded a casual air, their collective CV simply amazing. Boy, this lot could play!
The ensemble cookin’, the first of a raft of stellar soloists, sauntered to the front of the stage. Tenor saxophonist Brian Scanlon blew into a mic, and blew and blew. This elicited the first of innumerable bursts of applause. Fellow tenor man Kevin Garren followed…anything you can do. Sal Lozano – a Hollywood name, for sure! – tore it up on alto and soprano, and later would feature on a legendary number playing clarinet. Tower of Power energy, a dancing samba, a swinging rhythm section, the Big Phat Band reigns supreme. Goodwin introduced several new numbers, standing in front of the band, moving to a Yamaha grand, then a Yamaha Motif XS8, then out front once more. 

Trombones often take a back seat, not with this band! MD Goodwin brought all four ’bone man out front – Andy Martin, Charlie Morillas, Francisco Torres and bass trombone Craig Gosnell – to joust in a rapid-fire slide exchange. Up top, the trumpet section was having a ball. Goodwin teased the audience: Okay Wayne Bergeron, right? No! Bergeron was nowhere to be seen. Depping for the legendary trumpet ace (‘depping’ is an inadequate term!) on these British dates was recent Royal Academy graduate,  all of twenty-three years of age, Louis Dowdeswell. MD Goodwin could not have been more effusive in praising Dowdeswell for taking on the lead trumpet role, and, let it be known, nailing it. The RNCM audience showed its appreciation, the applause deafening.

Sunset and Vine…evocative isn’t it? Well, Goodwin isn’t enamoured of this particular Los Angeles’ interstate. He’s written a new tune and called it…Sunset and Vine. For the listener, another superb big band chart. The rhythm section, a section to die for, indeed all sections, were all over it. Jamey Tate, reading the parts, smiling, is what you could call a ‘proper’ drummer. One imagines the scene out in LA boasts such talents in numbers. Well, it was a privilege to hear this particular talent. Joey DeLeon, the other half of the percussion unit, is sure to be in demand out on the West Coast. Joey and Jamey were simply outstanding. A new favourite bass player (as of yesterday!) is Kevin Axt. A bass guitarist of taste and facility, equally adept as a double bass player.

Rhapsody in Blue. An old warhorse to some, to Gordon Goodwin a masterpiece, in his opinion, Mr George Gershwin the greatest composer of them all. Sal Lozano’s clarinet soared into the blue sky over LA/Manchester. Goodwin’s interpretation of this timeless composition engendered vociferous applause. The audience couldn’t be more animated, could it?

Hunting Wabbits. Never in a million years did your reviewer think this number would be heard live, right here in our own backyard. June 25, 2017, it happened. The Royal Northern College of Music’s auditorium was packed to the rafters, tonight’s (Monday 26) second performance will, no doubt, be equally thrilling. Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band had one last tune for us. Goodwin suggested he and the band knew one more tune. The Jazz Police. Can you believe it,

 The Jazz Police? Live, right here, on our doorstep! Exhilarating, and, memorably, guitarist Andrew Synowiec tearing it up.  Please note, this evening’s concert sold out several months ago. If you want to catch the band live, next stop Los Angeles. So, this RNCM gig was a good ’un? Aye, not bad, ‘canny good’, as we say here in the north east of England, the land of Bebop Spoken Here.              
Russell.
Gordon Goodwin (MD, piano & tenor sax), Louis Dowdeswell, Bob Summers, Dan Savant, Willie Murillo (trumpets); Brain Scanlon (tenor sax & flute), Jeff Driskill (tenor sax & flute), Sal Lozano (alto sax, soprano sax, flute & clarinet), Kevin Garren (tenor sax & flute), Jay Mason (baritone sax, bass clarinet & flute); Andy Martin, Charlie Morillas, Francisco Torres, Craig Gosnell, (trombones); Andrew Synowiec (guitar); Kevin Axt (double bass & bass guitar); Jamey Tate (drums); Joey DeLeon (percussion)

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