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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Darlington Big Band @ Dormans' Jazz Club, Middlesbrough - July 5

(Review by Ron H)
The first of this year’s "Guest Big Band" nights at Dormans featured the Darlington Big Band, led by Tenor Saxophonist Richie Emmerson.
The band, composed of 16 top class musicians, several of whom are regular guests on the Tees Hot Club nights, gave the packed audience a truly special night.
Many of the numbers were Sammy Nestico arrangements starting with Basie’s Straight Ahead and including A Warm Breeze; Strike up the Band; Stardust and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.
The ability of the band to play with great feeling and dynamics was clearly demonstrated by I'm Beginning to See the Light with fine solos from Ray Dales (alto) and Bill Watson (flugel).
A beautiful version of What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life, with a moving solo by Richie Emmerson (tenor), was followed by Have You Met Miss Jones and a swinging version of Buddy Rich's aptly titled Big Swing Face that featured Alan Thompson (alto).
A particular favourite of mine was Pat Metheny's Just Talk. Played with great feeling, it included solos from Bruce Taylor (keys) and Richie Emmerson.
For Kenton fans, the band played Eager Beaver and, for an encore, a powerful rendition of Intermission Riff.
I find it difficult to do justice to this band. All the musicians are capable of fine solo work and show true professionalism playing these great arrangements inspired, no doubt, by Richie, both as a leader, a soloist and, in between numbers, an entertaining raconteur.
Ron H.

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