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Bebop Spoken There

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COVID-19

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

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

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.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Horace Silverman and the White Gardenias – Corner House, Heaton, September 30

Mike Ridley (guitar, mandolin, violin, clarinet, vocals); Josie McDonough (vocals, percussion); Karl Barlow (bass guitar, vocals); Lucy Falkenau (banjo, harmonica, recorders, vocals); George Snaith (drums, Percussion); Ann Ridley (ukelele, accordion, percussion, vocals).
(Review by Hugh C).
Shock news:  Horace Silverman (bandleader) does not exist!  Mike Ridley came up with the name in a moment of inspiration – any resemblance to Horace Silver is purely coincidental.  The White Gardenias are a reference to Billie's trademark accessory, the ladies wearing suitable hair decoration.  The six-piece band are dedicated to preserving the music of the 20s and 30s.  The band members come from diverse musical backgrounds and this influences their choice and style of repertoire.
A relatively small, but enthusiastic audience assembled in a somewhat chilly function room in Heaton's Corner House.  A small bar was situated at the back of the room with the usual range of keg beers on display.  Your correspondent sought out the more sophisticated draught, Wolf, from the acclaimed Allendale Brewery, which was available in the main bar.
Comfortably seated, coat on, pen, pint and notebook ready, the stage was set: the band assembled from various corners of the room, where they had been greeting audience members.  It Don't Mean a Thing started the evening with a swing, lead vocals by Josie McDonough with melodic interludes from Mike Ridley's Telecaster.  This pattern broadly followed throughout the evening, with no jazz-style “solos” as such.  Taking a Chance on Love followed, then a bass-led introduction to I Got Rhythm, lead vocals by Karl Barlow. 
Lead vocals now passed to Mike for Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby.  Mike extolled the benefits of streaming services such as Spotify for both discovering unfamiliar music and re-discovering the delights of listening to an entire album, rather than single tracks in the digital download era.  In his exploration he had come across a piece of anonymous Italian baroque music – very effectively presented by the band as Italian Rant and featuring recorder, tambourine, mandolin, ukelele and violin with the rhythm section in support.  
At this stage an audience member asked for the bass amplification to be turned down, as it was masking the rest of the band. This request was a first for the band, but no offence was meant, or taken by, bassist Karl.  Donning suitable headgear (additional to the gardenia) Ann gave a rousing rendition of I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again, complete with that Country twang. 
The bandleader announced some Paganini. He corrected himself - he was looking at page nine!  We were however treated to a short a cappella (+ recorder) rendition of a canzonetta by Monteverdi; this segued into My Funny Valentine, with beautiful vocal rendition from Josie McDonough, (demonstrating skills acquired in former years as the Decca-signed singer Truly Smith) and subtle brushwork from George Snaith. 
Cooking Breakfast For The One I Love (Lucy – vocals) was followed by Hoagy Carmichael's One Night in Havana, apparently composed when he had some well-known jazz mates round to his pad.  Band members have an interest in film music with several examples during the evening, including Man of Constant Sorrow, vocals by Karl, with unsolicited accompaniment by an audience member's whistling hearing aid! 
Two renditions of local folksongs: Bonny at Morn and, Keel Row, were separated by GASbook favourite, Paper Moon.  The band nervously donned Tommy Cooper-style fez’s for Istanbul, but relaxed when there were no allegations of cultural appropriation.  More atmospheric guitar work from Mike and classy vocals from Josie finished off the first set with Shenandoah.

After an interval, during which the room had warmed up a bit, the second set commenced with a Bluegrass feel in Jerusalem Ridge.  Audience participation in Fever helped to make it finger clickin' good!  Jazz standard, Caravan and Love is the Sweetest Thing preceded the hardest (to play) number on the set list and the nearest to jazz (according to bandleader Horace, sorry, Mike) – George Shearing's Lullaby of Birdland.  More audience participation ensued in (brrrp, brrrp, brrrp) Busy Line.  When “we do it because we can” guitarists are in guitar shops they apparently like to test out a possible purchase (or not) with Paul Simon's Scarborough Fair, featuring (in this case) Lucy Falkenau on recorder.  A newly acquired, full wooden alto recorder was capably demonstrated on the Rolling Stones' Ruby Tuesday – first heard by Master Ridley at the age of 15 on the B side of Let's Spend the Night Together, a 45 rpm record broken (literally) in disgust by Mike's headteacher father!  You are My Sunshine and Ray Charles' Hallelujah I Love Her So were followed by I'm Coming Home Baby and The Beatles' The Word. 
Some fine clarinet by Mike Ridley on Sway brought us to the penultimate number for the evening,  Anyone Who Had a Heart.  The Klezmer tune Dem Trisker Rebns Khosid then transformed seamlessly into the final Those Were the Days.  Enthusiastic applause and calls for “more!” were rewarded with Summertime and Walkin' My Baby Back Home.
So what is this review doing on a jazz blog?  The gig was listed on BSH and there was certainly enough jazz content to keep the Jazz Police at bay.  The items chosen all admirably demonstrated the versatility and expertise of this diverse group of musicians.  All in all we were treated to more than two hours of music, enjoyed by the musicians themselves as much as the audience.  At the very reasonable price of £7.50 this amounts to 23 and one half pence for each musical item – cheaper than a download and a bargain, given the live environment!
Hugh C

1 comment :

Ray said...

we've seen Mike & the band numerous times now ....difficult to "pidgeonhole" their music, but always thoroughly entertaining & well worth a few quid for a great night out. Don't hesitate to go if you see them listed ...

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