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Bebop Spoken There

Art Hirahara: "Playing with people is the most important thing to me, and not playing with people is torture." - (DownBeat August, 2020)

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11,772 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 912 of them this year alone and, so far, 49 this month (August 13).

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August

Saturday 15: Anth Purdy - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Purdy’s solo ‘Swing Jazz Guitar’ show. Limited capacity.

Thursday 20: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St. Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, 27 Sunniside Rd., Gateshead NE16 5NA. 8:30pm.

Friday 21: Lindsay Hannon - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Manfreds and Georgie Fame @ Sage Gateshead - Nov. 28

Paul Jones (vocals/harmonica); Mike D'Abo (keys/vocals); Tom McGuinness (guitar/vocals); Mike Hugg (piano/vocals/perc.); Marcus Cliffe (bass guitar/vocals); Rob Townsend (drums/vocals); Simon Currie (tenor sax/soprano sax/flute/vocals) + GEORGIE FAME (keys/vocals).
(Review by Lance).

I'd already seen Georgie Fame twice this year but those gigs were at the GIJF in the same hall and at Ronnie Scott's. Both sessions were with the Guy Barker Big Band so I assumed that last night, with the Manfreds, would be poppier and less jazzier.

Well, yes and no. Yes, he did concentrate more on his "this reached number one in 1964" songs but the treatment was longer and no less jazz/blues influenced. The same could be said for the Manfreds who also rolled out the hits but blew the jazz on the solos.

"It's 1962 and we're at the Marquee Club in London" proclaimed the voice from the unlit stage. Then the lights came on and the voice was that of Paul Jones who, with his fellow Manfreds, immediately launched into Smokestack Lightning. He sang the blues, wailed on harp before giving space to Currie, Hogg and McGuinness.
Then it was time for the hits: 5-4-3-2-1; Just Like a Woman; Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James; One in the Middle; Malt and Barley Blues (feature for McGuinness) and Oh No Not My Baby. This latter number had Mike Hugg playing Killer Joe for the intro and featured Currie on soprano. Currie was a tower of strength in the ensembles and blew some (though not enough) cutting edge solos on tenor as well as his more delicate flute-playing. Fox on the Run; Pretty Flamingo and Sha La La kept the 1960s teenagers happy until, suddenly, I was back in a damp downstairs flat listening to Radio Caroline and Georgie Fame. 

Tonight he could have been Geordie Fame with references to the Club Agogo, Alan Price and somehow incorporating Blaydon Races into Georgia on my Mind! A Floyd Dixon blues led to Yeh Yeh (the number that inspired the formation of Radio Caroline) and Getaway followed by the aforementioned  Georgia brought the 65 minutes first set to a close.

A dash to the bar for a Farne Island fix then back to Row F in time for a solo rendition of Bonnie and Clyde. My favourite GF number although I seem to recall him saying at one time that it was his least favourite! I just love the lyrics - "Bonnie and Clyde advanced their reputation, and made their graduation into the banking business. Reach for the sky sweet talking Clyde would holler while Bonnie loaded dollars into a dewlap bag".

The Manfreds returned for Handbags and Gladrags composed by D'Abo followed by Watermelon Man with solos by all and vocal choruses from Jones, D'Abo and Fame.
GF came back for, among others, Wide-Eyed and Legless; a Moondance that incorporated Blue Moon and a reference to Clifford Brown which probably passed over the heads of most.

Ha Ha Said the Clown; Come Tomorrow; Build me up Buttercup; When I'm Dead and Gone; The Mighty Quinn and the inevitable Do Wah Diddy - we all sang along. That's the thing about the Manfred Mann songbook there's no big words to remember - in most cases not even proper words just sha la las and do wah diddys! But it was a fun evening and even though the jazz was kept bubbling just below the surface, it was never far away.

Georgie came back to join the band for the encore. I didn't bother noting it down as I knew I wouldn't forget it and, guess what? I forgot it!
Lance.

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