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Bebop Spoken There

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Georgie Fame w. Guy Barker Big Band @ Ronnie Scott's - September 7

Georgie Fame (vocals); Guy Barker (trumpet/MD); Nathan Bray, Tom Rees-Roberts, Pat White (trumpets); Alistair White, Barnaby Dickinson, Nichol Thomson, Mark Frost (trombones); Sammy Mayne, Ben Castle (altos); Graeme Blevins, Paul Booth (tenors); Colin Skinner (baritone); Jim Watson (piano); Chris Hill (bass); Jim Mullen (guitar); James Powell (drums) + Zoot Money.
(Review by Lance).
I'd heard Georgie Fame with the Guy Barker Big Band at GIJF back in March at Sage Gateshead and was knocked out. Hearing him again last night in the more intimate setting of Ronnie's was something else again! Wow, by comparision it was like having the session in your living room!
The programme was virtually the same but in this setting it seemed totally different.
After a Basie/Ellington style number with some growl trumpet from Guy Barker, Georgie Fame, with the help of a walking stick, took centre stage to much applause and anticipation - could he still cut it?
He could!
Kicking off with Tubby Hayes' arrangement of Yeh Yeh complete with tenor blast from Paul Booth it was a nonstop roller-coaster ride. Jim Mullen impressed on Blues At the Bull as well as doing some Freddie Greene comping on other numbers.
At 75, Fame's body may be frail but his voice is as potent as ever handling the often complex Jon Hendricks' tongue-twisting lyrics with apparent ease. 
An added bonus was  a couple of vocal duets with Zoot Money - he of the Big Roll Band - and Let the Good Times Roll certainly did roll as did Papa's Got a Brand New Bag which also had Booth and Blevins battling it out on tenor. This really was like being back at the Flamingo in the 1960's.
Solos abounded. Castle, Mayne (I think there's a lager joke in their somewhere!) soared on alto; the ever consistent Dickinson, a master 'bone surgeon and plenty top Cs and beyond from the trumpets.
Surprisingly, possibly because of the confined space on stage, Fame didn't play piano or Hammond but, with Jim Watson to hand, it didn't matter - Watson, Mullen, Powell and Chris Hill were cooking with gas.
Tremendous set that fully deserved the standing ovation.
----- 
Gareth Williams (piano/vocal); Lawrence Cottle (bass guitar); Ian Thomas (drums).
Earlier, the Gareth Williams Power Trio played a short set  that  set the mood for the evening. Williams is an imaginative pianist although, on a session where Georgie Fame was the headliner, he was somewhat brave in throwing in a couple of vocals. Nevertheless, they went down okay and set things up nicely for the main event.
Lance.
PS: Bumped into Cormac Loane on Newcastle's Central Station. He asked me to pass on his best regards to Guy Barker which I duly did. Guy asked me to convey the same back to Cormac. They were both members of NYJO many years back.

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