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Bebop Spoken There

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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Kansas Smitty's House Band @ Sage Gateshead - November 9

Pete Horsfall (trumpet, vocals); Giacomo Smith (alto/clarinet); Adrian Cox (clarinet/vocals); David Archer (guitar); Joe Webb (piano); Ferg Ireland (double bass); Will Cleasby (drums).
(Review by Lance).
A cracking gig by a band that more or less lived up to its status as 'Best Small Group' in the recent British Jazz Awards. I use the qualifier as this is a very danceable group and, had we been at their home base, Kansas Smitty's in London, the floor would have been awash with dancers. As it was, the rows of seats in Sage Two limited such activity. 

Nevertheless, the band played a storming and varied programme ranging from Jelly Roll Morton style rags and stomps to Louis Jordan influenced rhythm 'n' blues via small group Ellington. 

Jelly Roll was typified by the finger-busting piano solos of Joe Webb and an original inspired by early banjoist/guitarist Johnny St. Cyr. Leader 'Smitty' gave a look of surprise when an audience member, not sitting a million miles from me, gave a cry of recognition at the name - we know our jazz up here as well as realising that Newcastle and Gateshead are separate entities. 

Curtis Stigers knew this on Monday. Perhaps he should have enlightened Giacomo back when he collaborated with him and Adrian on Take Me Home, a number that was sung, on this occasion, by Cox as well as having a fine guitar solo and a blistering ensemble to take it out.

After Midnight with its Ellington overtones brought to mind the lovely small group Harry Hayes led in the late 1940s. Smith's solo had that Hayes/Hodges feel to it and the arrangement the same luxurious harmonies.

As leader, it was no surprise that GS was well featured. His alto style covered everything from Rudy Weidhoft to Charlie Parker and beyond. Leo, a composition dedicated to some footballer or other was pure bebop with alto and guitar playing unison lines in the head.

Smitty and Cox duetted on Blue Peter. The former's clarinet held horizontally, the latter at the more traditional 45° angle. Both sounded good.

Although Pete Horsfall had a vocal feature, he took comparatively few trumpet solos which was a shame, still, all in all, it was a most enjoyable evening and I'd have happily followed them to Brussels for their next gig.
Lance.

2 comments :

NeilC said...

I was there Lance I thought they were absolutely brilliant . 7 Competent Musicians who just gelled , the music was varied but every song was a gem . I loved the Movin On [whistling song] particularly but they were all excellent . I was sat upstairs with a great view of the Piano player and his fingers were at times a blur sure he would give Jools a run for his money anytime . I have paid considerably more to see concerts where the artist and artists is not half as good as they were. I was just so glad I secured tickets.

Lance said...

You and me both, Noel.

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