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Bebop Spoken There

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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, December 30, 2017

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Hoochie Coochie - December 29.

I'd missed the last few SSBB gigs dotted around the area so it was with much more than eager anticipation that I looked forward to this one and I wasn't disappointed.
For once, I didn't have an advance setlist which, in retrospect, wasn't such a bad thing. A setlist takes away the 'sound of surprise' and can result in the ensuing review reading more like a shopping list. So instead, I've just reflected randomly.
I don't think I've heard Alice in better voice. The gowns she'd had painted on didn't restrict her diaphragmatic breathing although it did mine. Her version of You Make me Feel so Young was the best vocal/big band number I'd heard since Sarah Vaughan appeared at Newcastle City Hall with Count Basie's band. I never thought I'd hear Sinatra's It Was a Very Good Year sung uptempo by a woman. I did last night and it worked a treat. These were just a couple from Ms. Grace's knock 'em dead repertoire. Time After Time, Jeepers Creepers, Get Happy and a quirky 1920s take on Don't Think Twice were just some of the other showstoppers.
Not that Alice was the only singer on parade. F'reez had kickstarted the concert with Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby. I love this song, not just for the enigmatic title (surely it should have a question mark?) but the way it flows and few do it better than F'reez. The half-time section at the end never fails to give it a lift. Whatever Lola Wants from The Pyjama Game was another surprise item from our man and of course, there was the inevitable Christmassy duet with Alice to finish off with - that magnificent song of seduction - Baby It's Cold Outside.
Instrumentally the band, as always, weren't firing blanks. They were shooting from the hip to the 'hip' (apart from the guy in the gents who said to me, "Dee the not play nee Glenn Milla?")
Paul Gowland was well featured on tenor and occasionally soprano bringing home the [smoked] bacon on Groovin' Hard. The sax section chorus on this particular number was a masterclass on precision playing. The other saxes popped up from time to time with Steve Summers playing more clarinet than he usually does.
I'd seen and heard the Woody Herman Band many times over the years and, invariably, they played Apple Honey. On each occasion, they played it marginally faster than before but never as fast as what Strictly Smokin' did last night. The dancers stayed seated for this one!
Was it my imagination or the injections of London Pride that made me think the trombones were more prominent solo-wise than normally? Whatever, Messrs Barnes and Parnaby were open for business. with Kurji-Smith and Flood keeping the shelves stacked.
Leader Lamb conducted, blew trumpet and the powerhouse rhythm section never faltered.
This isn't just a band - it is THE BAND!
Lance.
Michael Lamb (md), Tom Hill, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (trumpets); David Barnes, Kieran Parnaby, John Flood, Chris Kurji-Smith (trombones); Dave Kerridge, Paul Gowland, Steve Summers, Keith Robinson, Laurie Rangecroft (reeds); Graham Don (piano); Pawel Jedrzejewski  (guitar); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums); Alice Grace, F'reez (vocals).

2 comments :

Russell said...

What a band! Alice isn't a star, she's a superstar!

Unknown said...

Yup.. 😁

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