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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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11,767 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 907 of them this year alone and, so far, 44 this month (August 11).

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August

Tuesday 11: Happy Birthday Dave Hignett & Peter King (80).

Thursday 13: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

More vin (extra) ordinaire - Hot Club du Nord @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington - Dec 1

Emma Fisk (violin); James Birkett (guitar); Dave Harris (guitar); Bruce Rollo (double bass) 
(Review by Russell)

A rain-lashed Darlington didn't dissuade a full house from turning out for Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club's year-ending concert promotion. 

Honeysuckle Rose for starters. The first solo of the day conjured by James Birkett won applause and that set the pattern for Hot Club du Nord's lunchtime performance at St Augustine's - one stellar solo after another from Dr Birkett, co-six stringer Dave Harris, bassist Bruce Rollo and, of course, bandleader, Emma Fisk. 

Oriental ShuffleBellevilleNuages, familiar numbers but never less than expertly played, this the expected standard of one of the hottest - Hot Club or otherwise - bands on the circuit. 

Violinist Fisk's informative introductions - recording dates, in some cases identifying personnel on the sides in question, biographical detail about Django and Stéphane - served as a narrative of the Hot Club de France's pre and post WWII years. Dinah (the legendary outfit's first recorded number, way back in '34), I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby, a first-rate Dave Harris solo on I Found a New Baby, the setlist couldn't have been better.

Emma Fisk's exquisite reading of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square eased the band into the first set closer - Undecided - which unleashed the dynamic guitar duo of Birkett and Harris. St Augustine's audience lapped it up and the second set couldn't come soon enough. 

Coquette resumed matters, Django's Viper's Dream (an eleven bar blues, said Fisk) maintained the momentum and then a request - I'm Confessin' - played for Patti (there was surely only one Patti present) with, first Fisk's exposition, then Dr Birkett's masterful solo. It couldn't get any better, could it?

The Charleston hasn't featured frequently over the years but proved its worth in the set list, no such qualms about Ain't Misbehavin' or It Had to be You, the tunes kept coming thick and fast. Hot Club du Nord couldn't get away without playing Minor Swing, and they didn't, they played it with all four musicians excelling. With the three o'clock finish fast approaching Fisk explained that Dave Harris needed to make a sharp exit. A long drive up to Glasgow to play three one hour sets...in cowboy boots. We should, suggested Fisk, express our sympathy for Mr Harris. Well, perhaps, but not so much for the long drive ahead of him, nor the arduous task of playing three sets, but cowboy boots! Yeah, sympathy alright. Think of the gig fee, Dave, that'll make it all worthwhile!

Si Tu Savais (recorded in 1947) found erstwhile Djangologist Harris at the top of his game playing, perhaps, the solo of the day. Time to go, save for Sweet Georgia Brown, as good a way as any to finish. The audience wanted more so Emma and her boys went out on J'attendrai. It had been an afternoon to remember.    
Russell

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