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Bebop Spoken There

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Big Chris Barber Band @ Alnwick Playhouse - July 22

Chris Barber (Trombone, Vocals); Bob Hunt (Trombone, Trumpet); Mike Henry (Trumpet, Cornet); Peter Rudeforth (Trumpet); Nick White, Trevor Whiting (Saxophones); Bert Brandsma (Clarinet, Tenor Sax); Joe Farler (Banjo, Guitar); Jackie Flavelle (Bass, Bass Guitar); John Watson (Drums).
(Review by George Watt).
From New Orleans styles to Duke Ellington, last night, The Chris Barber Band played with tremendous skill and presentation at the Playhouse in Alnwick. We were treated to classics such as Bourbon Street Parade, A really beautiful rendition of Petite Fleur, by Nick White and a fantastic presentation of The Saints by the whole band. Many more favourites gave a privileged audience a truly memorable evening.
Throughout the performance, Barber frequently shuffled like a ghost across the stage. Was he seeking yet another early exit or was it just an elderly man's urgent needs? But no. Mr Barber's trek had another purpose. He reached his goal in the shape of his bass player. After all, at different ends of the stage, they had not had a chance to chat for some time. Whether seeking a way out or maybe just shepherding his charges, Chris took the opportunity to play a beautiful trombone/bass duet which held us spellbound. Absolutely fantastic.
Barber began his return shuffle to his stage right position - stopping off midway to give some friendly advice to John on drums. The advice worked and John continued to give the performance of his life. The audience and the band too, breathed a sigh of relief as the great man made it “home”. We had willed him on and with tremendous defiance, he never stumbled and remained on his feet to perform like the great man he is. Barber shuffled and mumbled as he always has. Barber excelled and excited as he always did. His trombone playing was beautiful to hear and observe. As always, he mystified us all with his ability to sing with a clear diction only to return to his specially coded mumblings between each number. I had always understood such intervals were to give the band an opportunity to get their breath back, Barber's mumblings are given at such breakneck speed it is exhausting to listen to him. It must be equally demanding to deliver these musings. There was little time to draw any breath before the next series of cross stage shuffles began.
For me, tonight was one of the great occasions of British/New Orleans/trad jazz. As a finale, we at Alnwick were offered the most exciting and brilliant version ever of When the Saints Go Marching in. We wrinklies in the audience were once again on our feet in the aisles as we had been 60 or more years ago. Thank you Chris Barber, Please come back again.
George Watt

2 comments :

Russell said...

It's reassuring to know that Barber continues to mumble!

Reeds2 said...

Ian Killoran, not Trevor Whiting on reeds and Roscoe Birchmore not Jackie Flavelle on Bass.

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