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Bebop Spoken There

Jennifer Wharton: "People forget that the trombone is so glorious. It can be like going to church, or getting ready for battle. It can be a lot of things....For a longtime I was the only female trombonist in New York," - (DownBeat May 2021)

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The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.

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13,218 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 637 of them this year alone and, so far, 45 this month (May 11).

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May 13: Vieux Carré Jazzmen at The Holystone (weather, unfortunately, not permitting). CANCELLED!

May 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen at The Holystone (Indoors!)
May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 21: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).
June 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).

Monday, November 13, 2017

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Seven Arts - November 12

(Review by Russell)
The Strictly Smokin’ Big Band rocked up at 31a Harrowgate Road in the Chapel Allerton suburb of Leeds to play an afternoon engagement at Seven Arts. MD Michael Lamb called upon his A-listers and, with just three deps drafted in, Tyneside’s finest nineteen piece big band was ready to roll. As Seven Jazz regulars arrived for their weekly Sunday afternoon gig the word on the door was that a handful of tickets, no more, remained on sale.
Half an hour before the advertised start the ‘house full’ signs went up with some disappointed fans being told that they could be admitted during the interval if one or two people decided not to return for the second set. Fat chance! The band assembled on stage in the tiered seating auditorium and wasted no time in hitting ’em for six with the Buddy Rich take on Mexicali Nose. An opportune time to name check depping drummer Tom Hawthorn. Leeds College of Music graduate, working with a slew of top class outfits – Portmanteau and Tom Sharp to name but two – Hawthorn’s performance was nothing short of brilliant having received in advance of the gig one or two of the ‘more difficult’ charts, otherwise, he read the dots on the day. And on the subject of deps…the other two – pianist Dean Stockdale, and Tim Hurst, trombone – were more than up to the job.

Chris Walden’s Film Noir Suite has been in the pad for a while and here at Seven Arts the band got to play all three parts. David Barnes’ trombone solo the centerpiece of Part One, Part Two’s three-flute intro (Jamie Toms, Steve Summers, Keith Robinson), and a most lyrical trumpet solo from the genial American ex-pat Pete Tanton, set up Part Three featuring a killer drum ‘n’ bass riff leading to Robinson’s alto ripping the roof off the place. Earlier vocalist F’reez had softened them up with the  Pocket Song. A Yorkshireman sitting to your reviewer’s left was hearing the Strictly Smokin’ for the first time unaware that the SSBB had yet to play its ace card. From the shadows into the spotlight, please welcome…Ms Alice Grace! The fabulous Alice Grace. Game, set and match! Honeysuckle Rose with Michael Whent’s sensitive bass accompaniment, then the killer ‘get out of here’ moment, Grace singing Lush Life with first-class piano accompaniment and Jamie Tom’s superb tenor solo.  

The SSBB is increasingly looking beyond the tried and tested, trying and testing charts by the likes of Adam Bartczak (Greta’s Groove, Grass is Greener) and Tom Garling (Song for AEG). Swing? – the SSBB certainly does, but newer material is key to maintaining the interest of the audience and within the band’s sections.

F’reez insisted I’m a Shy Guy, later confessing to Gamblin' Man Blues. In a slightly comic moment, depping ’bone man Tim Hurst almost missed his cue as Ms Grace sang, with a sparkle in her eye, Hard Hearted Hannah. Hurst leapt to his feet, acquitting himself well with a bold ‘n’ brassy solo. Two full sets, the first exceeding an hour, afforded MD Michael Lamb the luxury of a surfeit of tunes at his fingertips; Chris Walden’s Arturo, Tom Kubis’ On Purple Porpoise Parkway, Bill Ashton of NYJO fame contributed Heat of the Moment (Grace’s vocals) and Dave Slonaker’s Intrada. Dave Slonaker calls up members of the Big Phat Band and plays gigs at the Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach – that’s an indication of the quality of material in the SSBB’s pad. The trumpet section is more than a match for most, and Tom Hill, once again playing section lead, nailed it time and again, receiving,  at one point, a deserving pat on the back from Gordon Marshall.         

The band’s closing number featured Paul Gowland’s tour de force tenor playing on Body and Soul. A show-stopping number, Gowland acknowledged the applause. Cries of ‘more’ won the band the encore it richly deserved and the audience went on its way singing Jeepers Creepers.
This was a fine performance by the Strictly Smokin’ at a bona fide jazz club. Next stop Ronnies?
Russell                         
Strictly Smokin’ Big Band: Michael Lamb MD, Pete Tanton, Tom Hill, Gordon Marshall trumpets; David Barnes, Mark Ferris, Tim Hurst, John Flood trombones; Jamie Toms, Paul Gowland, Steve Summers (pictured), Keith Robinson, Laurie Rangecroft reeds; Pawel Jedrzejewski guitar; Dean Stockdale piano; Michael Whent bass; Tom Hawthorn drums; Alice Grace vocals; F’reez vocals

1 comment :

Steve Crocker (on F/b) said...

Thanks for the review Lance! Always welcome. (ps we did get everyone in - never turn people away - we're a jazz club after all...!)

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