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Bebop Spoken There

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Gala Big Band @ St. Cuthbert’s Parish Centre, Crook. June 9.

(Review by Jerry E [Apologies again: I do not have a full list of the musicians for tonight] )
After The Early Bird Band, Crook welcomed back the Gala Big Band (or a slightly slimmed version of it – slim enough to photograph without going panoramic!) for a familiar and thoroughly enjoyable set consisting of 9 tunes with a solo piano “interlude” by the MD towards the end of the evening.
The Power of Love opened proceedings with the full-blast band lifting the rafters of the old school-room which now houses the Parish Centre. For health and safety reasons it’s just as well this was the “slimmed” band! The Coast, an Edis original in bossa nova style (jointly inspired by Jobim and Tynemouth) lowered the volume but not the tone!
Embraceable You, more dance-band than bossa but equally melodic, featured Steve Williams (one of the few names I did catch) on saxophone. Googling that title proved pleasantly distracting – listening to Billie Holiday on YouTube and, from another web page, trying to visualise an early Broadway performance: music by George, lyrics by Ira, choreography by Fred Astaire and singing and dancing by Ginger Rogers in her prime. Was that a Golden Age?
Next was Catch as Catch Can which I have described elsewhere as frenetic though frenzied or frantic might equally apply such is its pace and complexity. Suffice to say the band wrestled it into submission!
When All Is Said and Done calmed the mood and showed why members of Jambone (the youth band fronted by Edis) decided, by way of an acronym, that this should be dubbed “way sad”.
The band’s drummer, Alex Kennedy (caught that name too!) then provided vocals on Moondance while the band played his own arrangement of the music. There being a percussionist available tonight, Crook missed out on the rarely witnessed sight of Edis on the drums but I think even he might concede that it sounded better that way!
The band then took a breather while Edis performed the 1920’s popular song later “owned” by Satchmo, When You’re Smiling. Presumably his own arrangement – it was certainly not as I have heard the song before and was typical of his dissection/exploration on his CD’s of familiar tunes such as Country Gardens, Skye Boat Song, Greensleves and Bring Me Sunshine. Here, in contrast to the band’s opening number, you could hear a pin drop.
Out came the spangly bowlers in the trumpet section for Moonlight Serenade then it was Ellington’s moody Come Sunday featuring another of the saxes (sorry, missed that one!) and then testing the rafters again with One O’Clock Jump. All thoroughly enjoyable stuff.
After the applause, Roger, one of the centre’s organisers, thanked and praised Paul Edis for his work bringing jazz to venues such as Crook, Ushaw, The Gala, The Lit & Phil, so that people can enjoy live music. I wholeheartedly endorse all that and would add my own two penn’orth: his achievement bringing people the opportunity to play jazz (like this community band, like Early Bird, Jazz Attack and Jambone) is so important to the future enjoyment of those audiences and to the flourishing of jazz in the region.
Jerry

1 comment :

Steve T said...

Both bands sounding great.

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