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Bebop Spoken There

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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.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Tequila!

Today, I received a package...
You are not going to believe this! Only Scott Black, out in Hong Kong, could top this.
Let's start at the very beginning...
It's 1972 or maybe 1973 or maybe 1971. Whatever, it was around that time.
I'd blagged my way into the Newcastle Big Band as, I seem to remember, third tenor. If there had been a tenth tenor pad then that would have been my spot. My forte at the time was leading a dance band - you know the things, Hunt Balls, Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs etc. The big band occasionally got these gigs so I was handy to have around plus I could blow a chorus or two on a twelve bar.
Andy Hudson, the bandleader, said to me one Sunday morning at what was then the University Playhouse - it's now Northern Stage - "Fancy a gig in Spain?" My first thought was, "Is he trying to get rid of me? Maybe Don Rendell's back in town. 
Don Rendell had done a couple of gigs with the band - the one I remember most was in 1973 when Sunderland won the last of their many FA Cup wins.
No, the Newcastle Big Band had been invited to play at the San Sebastian Jazz Festival!
They'd played there the previous year and won an award as 'The Most Entertaining Band of the Festival' thus giving them an automatic slot in the program for the following year. In fact they'd done several tours of duty there.
We all made our way to Spain individually. Andy Hudson, Charlie Carmichael, Ronnie Young, Kevin Salmon and myself drove through France in Kevin's people carrier and there were some hilarious moments. Charlie Carmichael, who knew more jokes than Bob Monkhouse, was eventually told to shut up by Kevin as, 'driving on their side of the road' needed total concentration".  
Eventually, we stopped off for an overnight stay in France where, Andy, naturally, knew someone who had prepared a multi-course banquet for us!
I think, maybe, Andy had promised we'd play a free concert for her on our return journey - we returned by a different route!
Jackie Denton was on drums and travelling by campervan. He had everyone in stitches when he told how he'd ran out of CalorGas and asked the first person he met 'ou est las CalorGas? That was his French exhausted. The couple he asked were equally confused by his Geordie/Frangolise until it turned out that they came from Yorkshire!
Eventually, we made it to San Sebastian and we had a fantastic time. A big band from Newcastle on the same bill as the Clark Terry Big Band and other name musicians we'd worshipped all our musical lives. Drinking with the late, great pianist, Horace Parlan it was just too much.
Of course, there was a lot of drinking being done irrespective of whether Horace Parlan was there or not. Truth is, the only two words we knew in Spanish were  Kuba Libre
Myself, Charlie Carmichael, Jackie Denton, Nigel Stanger and Gordon Solomon were all partial to a taste and one day, when we didn't have a gig, I bought a bottle of Tequila in the local store.
The early morning Kubra Libres eventually took their toll and I passed out into pleasant oblivion.
Some hours later, refreshed by my siesta, I said, "Give me a shot of that Tequla." No way - they'd drank it all!

Fast forward to 2018.
The Ship Inn, Monkseaton, who should show up but Gordon Solomon complete with trombone. He said that he hadn't played for ten years but wanted a workout.
He was superb. Proving that if you've got it you've got it!
He then asked me for my address saying that he had some memorabilia he wanted to send me.
I gave him my address and guess what arrived today?
A bottle of Tequila!
Thank you Gordon, you didn't have to do this - 40 odd years later! But when I open it I will drink a toast to you and those happy memories we shared.
Lance.

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