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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Buck Clayton Legacy Band and Lady J @ Ushaw Jazz Festival 2017 - August 26














Alan Barnes (alto saxophone & clarinet), Dean Masser (tenor saxophone), Ian Smith (trumpet), Ian Bateman (trombone), JJ Vinton (piano), Alyn Shipton (double bass), Bobby Worth (drums) & Lady J (vocals)
(Review/photos courtesy of Russell)
The legendary, the erudite, the virtuosic, put them together and you’ve got yourself a headline act. Alyn Shipton travelled north with his renowned Buck Clayton Legacy Band, and for good measure, Lady J, to play the set piece concert at this year’s Ushaw Jazz Festival. A programme associated with Buck Clayton and Billie Holiday, performed by some of the best in the business, drew a large crowd to Ushaw’s imposing Exhibition Hall.
The band elected to play on the floor in front of the stage, not least because of the piano standing on the floor and no one was about to volunteer to attempt to move it onto the metre high stage! As members of the band assembled for a sound check, the absence of Germany’s Matthias Seuffert became apparent. It transpired that Seuffert was never scheduled to play the gig, and furthermore, Robert Fowler was engaged elsewhere. Stepping into the breach, Mr Dean Masser. Not a bad dep!

Small group Buck Clayton. Is there anything better? This concert presentation would feature Buck, Billie, and Johnny Hodges. Alyn Shipton’s ensemble clearly delights in playing the charts. A swing feel was present from beginning to end courtesy of the ace rhythm section (Messrs JJ Vinton, Alyn Shipton and Bobby Worth) and the four-strong frontline (Alan Barnes, Dean Masser, Ian Smith and Ian Bateman). Outer Drive, The Jeep is Jumpin’, Shady Side…faultless musicianship, and a debut appearance with the band for Dean Masser…one would never have known it.

Shipton introduced Lady J. A lady of mystery, her name shall remain a closely guarded secret. The Billie Holiday numbers came thick and fast – Back in Your Own Backyard, I’m a Fool to Want You, What a Little Moonlight Can Do. Bobby Worth’s brushes on the first of the tunes a masterclass, the clarinet of Barnesy to the fore on the second, and the band cookin’ on the third. Lady J sang These Foolish Things with rhythm section accompaniment, horns resting.

The interval consensus: Five star! In the refectory: a quickfire double quip from Alan Barnes. As the man walked passed on his way to the bar Don’t get up! Inquiring as to the whereabouts of Matthias Seuffert He’s been sectioned!

Johnny Hodges/Alan Barnes opened the second set with Sweet as Bear Meat…small group swing at its best. Lady J returned to sing Good Morning Heartache, Barnes’ clarinet intro set up tenor sax dep Dean Masser on Do Nothin’ Til You Hear from Me and Lady J, with white gardenia in her hair,  singing I Hear Music. Affable trumpeter Ian Smith provided superb accompaniment to Lady J, not least on God Bless the Child, and the Buck Clayton Legacy Band closed the concert with My Old Flame and Billie/Lady J singing I Cover the Waterfront.
Russell.                          

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