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In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

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Today

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, June 10, 2017

Young, Gifted and Back (In Crook). The Early Bird Band @ St. Cuthbert’s Parish Centre, Crook. Friday June 9.

Paul Edis (flute, saxophone, MD); Ben Lawrence (piano); James Metcalf (trumpet); Alex Thompson (alto); Matthew Downey (guitar); Alex Shipsey (bass guitar); Matthew MacKellar (drums).
(Review by Jerry E)
Young? “Average age 15?” suggested the MD. This seemed to ruffle the feathers of band members and after much head-scratching and mental maths they came up with “about 17”. I still think that’s young to have built up so much experience and to perform jazz live with such maturity. This stems from the excellent rapport between band members and their MD, who invariably treats them like fellow professionals rather than young tyros. Age established, they launched into I’ll Remember April on which James Metcalf soloed impressively as did everyone else (if you count trading fours) apart from the guitarists whose opportunities soon came with Matthew Downey taking the lead on Nature Boy ditto Alex Shipsey’s bass on So What?
Gifted? After the tight ensemble playing and the aforementioned solos in the first four numbers (Eddie Vinson’s Four was the other) no-one can question the talent. MD, Edis, takes it as read, preparing them “in true jazz style” with “very little direction” allowing them to spread their wings which they did on “the band’s anthem”, Lady Bird. All were flying now, having really relaxed into the gig.
Blue Bossa followed and was, briefly, my favourite tune of the set with appealing harmonies from the combination of flute, alto and trumpet. I say “briefly” because it was swiftly ousted by the next-but-one tune, the set-closer Blues Walk. Yardbird Suite, the penultimate number, was mighty good as well with Alex Thompson impressive on alto (not for the first time this evening!).
Blues Walk illustrated the adaptability of the musicians, performed as it was with “a bit of a New Orleans thing going on”. There were duelling saxophones, a section where keys, guitars and drums went silent leaving just the horns centre stage and more fours with Matthew MacKellar reminding us again how much Bebop readers’ loss will be Berklee’s gain! Adaptability was seen too when the guitarists and Ben Lawrence (excellent contributions all night) slotted straight into the big band set which followed the interval.
All in all, an excellent set, well received.
Jerry.

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