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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Puddy: "Eventually we paid our entrance money [to Eel Pie Island] and fought our way to one of the many bars where we could buy our Newcastle Brown and retire to the back of the heaving dancefloor. There must have been lights somewhere, but my memory remains of being in some dark cavernous wonderland." - (Just Jazz July 2020)

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11,612 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 747 of them this year alone and, so far, 11 this month (July 3).

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.
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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Women in Brass; The Carling Family Band; The Chrissy Lee Big Band etc. @ Gala theatre, Durham - July 13.

Gunhild Carling (trumpet/trombone/recorder/bagpipes/bass/piano/vocals/tap dance); Max Carling (clarinet/juggling); Aina Carling (banjo/bass); Ulf Carling (drums/vocals); Linnea Carling (bass/banjo/vocals); Nanna Carling (soprano/alto/piano/drums/vocals); Petronella Carling (trombone/vocals); ? (piano); Junior Carling (vocals/dancing).
(Review by Lance/photo, from Gunhild Carling's website, shows the band arriving at Durham Station).
It's a couple of hours later and I'm still getting my breath back. I've never witnessed anything quite like this - who said vaudeville was dead! This was absolutely incredible - no wonder this Swedish Family band sold-out Birdland. Every one of them an entertainer, a multi-instrumentalist and a brilliant jazz player.
Gunhild is the sun in a galaxy of stars on stage. When she's not playing 3 trumpets at once or playing double bass at the same time as she's blowing trumpet with no hands, she's blowing great jazz trumpet or trombone or singing like a Chicago blues mama without any gimmicks apart from looking absolutely stunning.
An amazing range on trombone she can also blow 'dirty' whilst her trumpet playing can be equally gutsy. To review a set like this is impossible, I just couldn't keep up with everything that was going on.
Clarinetist Max, not only blew Goodmanesque licks but also did some fantastic juggling with Indian clubs and other props. 
I didn't note down everything, I was too mesmerised by it all but among the numbers were I've Found a New Baby; I Ain't Got Nobody; Dinah; Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to me; It Don't Mean a Thing; Putting on the Ritz (sung by the junior member - he must have been about 9 - he also sang My Way and did some nifty footwork on another number); Just a Closer Walk; Down by the Riverside (very appropriate); After You've Gone; I Can't Give You Anything But Love and many more.
If you weren't there you'll probably think it was a circus and in many ways, it was a circus - a jazz circus. I'm sure there will be purists from either end of the jazz spectrum who will recoil in horror. As Ronnie Scott once quipped, "You're not here to enjoy yourself" but, it was an experience I'll probably never have again - I doubt if my heart could stand the pace - I've never enjoyed an evening so much since I heard Roland Kirk in the early sixties and that was in Durham too. But the bottom line for tonight is - they can play, boy can they play!
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The first set was ostensibly a centennial celebration of Ivy Benson by the Chrissy Lee Big Band but was, in reality, a more contemporary all-girl orchestra than Ivy's ever was. Sammy Nestico wasn't around when Ivy was in her heyday. Ms. Lee, now 75, kicked things off with Nestico's Blues Machine. Chrissy, Ivy's last drummer, proved that neither age nor gender, nor a strange drum kit was an obstacle if the person can play and Chrissy can play.
As, indeed, can all these girls. I didn't catch all of the names, I don't think Chrissy knew them all, but both the tenor players were called Alison. Alison, the first tenor, blew a marathon chorus on Jumping at the Woodside that wouldn't have been out of place in the Basie Band - close your eyes and this was Frank Foster! A powerhouse big band with 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 saxes plus piano, bass and, of course, drums that were comparable with the old Ted Heath Band, as they showed on Strike Up the Band.
The lead alto was Sarah and, on second alto, depping without rehearsal, was Chloe Feoranza from the Shake 'Em Up Jazz Band who had been playing in Millennium Square earlier. She was allotted the clarinet part in BG's Sing, Sing, Sing - no pressure there - and, in truth, it was slightly chaotic proving that even the best musicians are human.
The baritone saxist was Nicola, Ellie Smith and Kay were among the trombones, Sox Brown, an impressive trumpet and flugel soloist and, from New Zealand, Melanie White did the business on piano.
It was good to hear Ellington's Skindeep again and this was where the leader really displayed her prowess. After a couple of choruses that had me thinking that I'd heard half a dozen better drum solos than this, like the true professional that she is she built it up and 6 became 5, then 4, then 3, then 2, then, move over Louis Bellson!
The finale, Sweet Georgia Brown was another swinger with the second tenor Alison having a ball blowing like a girl possessed. Possessed she was, like the rest of them, of great talent.
What could follow this?
We were soon to find out!
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Out in the square, before the show started, we heard the Leeds based Back Chat Brass and, from New Orleans, The Shake 'Em Up Jazz Band (pictured).   
An absolutely top notch start to this amazing festival.
Lance.
PS: Shake 'Em Up can be heard today, Saturday, at Seaburn. See listings.                                              

1 comment :

Emma Fisk (On F/b). said...

I was absolutely gutted to miss both Gunhild Carling and The Bratislava Hot Serenaders as I was in Holland while they were here!...I love a circus, and a jazz one all the better!😄

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