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Bebop Spoken There

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11,767 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 907 of them this year alone and, so far, 44 this month (August 11).

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August

Wednesday 12: Happy Birthday Ros Rigby & Don Fairley.

Thursday 13: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Northern Monkey Brass Band @ Gala Theatre, Durham – Jan 5

Graham Hardy (trumpet), Ben Chinnery (trumpet), Jamie Toms (tenor saxophone), David Gray (trombone), Jason Holcomb (trombone), Phil Rosier (tuba), Adam Sinclair (snare drum) & Brendan Murphy (bass drum)
(Review by Russell). 
Durham is riding the wave. Jazz can be found, and heard, at every turn. Within a slide trombone of Durham Cathedral regular promotions occur at Dunelm House, Empty Shop, the Gala Theatre and at many enterprising independent venues around town. Last year’s inaugural DJazz: Durham Jazz Festival proved hugely popular. An annual county-wide brass festival attracts thousands, Ushaw is on the jazz map thanks to its festival and concert series, Bishop Auckland Town Hall presents jazz on a monthly basis, St Cuthbert’s in Crook offers regular sessions, and Darlington boasts no fewer than three thriving clubs and an established festival. It, therefore, came as no surprise that a sellout gig launched the Gala Theatre’s 2018 monthly lunchtime concert series.

Trumpeter Graham Hardy’s Northern Monkey Brass Band is, to quote the band’s publicity: a deeply funky collective of the finest drum and brass players in the North East of England. The ‘collective’ is a ‘who’s who’ of the jazz scene. The Gala’s patrons were in for a treat. The Northern Monkey Brass Band dispersed casually to the left, right and behind the audience. Promoter Paul Edis read out the usual parish notices and then, to the surprise of those yet to hear the NMBB, the horns, one by one evoked the spirit of Buddy Bolden, a sound carrying across the Mississippi River (more realistically the River Wear down below). Hardy’s Loose in the Banana Patch segued into The A Team as band members slowly assembled in front of the capacity audience – horns blazing with the incomparable rhythm boys, snare master Adam Sinclair and bass drum demon Brendan Murphy, marching to the New Orleans beat.

The Rebirth, the Dirty Dozen, the Youngbloods, America’s finest, in part the inspiration for the Horn Dogs, later to become known as the Northern Monkey Brass Band. Flash (see it’s a brass fantasy!) followed by The Sly Capuchin (comp. G. Hardy), Water of Tyne (comp. trad) with the band opening in respectful manner until the second liners kicked N’Awlins’ ass. At this point, if anyone didn’t get it, perhaps they should have been looking for their nearest country and western gig. Another G Hardy tune, the lip-smackin’ Monkey Blood, then Iko Iko compelling one or two to dance surreptitiously in the standing-room-only shadows. The Northern Monkey Brass Band is a band comprising soloists of repute deferring to the collective sound until they’re let off the leash for a blast and this Gala gig heard loud and clear from the irrepressible David Gray, not once, not twice, but several times. DG’s trombone sidekick Jason Holcomb wasn’t to be outdone, Jamie Toms on tenor ripped it up on The tune with no name whose working title will suffice until someone (it could be you!) thinks of a better title and Phil Rosier stepped forward, literally, on Funky Pie to coax more than a tune from his tuba. A party piece for sure. Of course, there was an encore (Theme from Star Wars) and Graham Hardy has more of this stuff lined-up during a big, bold ‘n’ brassy 2018. 
Russell                                                       

1 comment :

Patti (on F/b) said...

Funkydoodles - this band is tops - I couldn't make it to this gig, but must see 'em again soon!

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