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Bebop Spoken There

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COVID-19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

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.

Monday, December 17, 2018

SSBB - Christmas @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - Saturday, Dec. 15

(Review by Russell)

Storm Deirdre did its best/worst to disrupt the second of the Strictly Smokin' Big Band's two sold-out Christmas shows.  A couple of centimetres of snow is often sufficient to see Tyneside in a state of gridlock but the SSBB's followers weren't to be deterred.

Gosforth Civic Theatre buzzed with excitement as the eight o'clock start approached. First impressions...the venue has a new, recently acquired Yamaha upright piano - good! The stage was festooned with microphones (the concert performance was to be recorded - good!) and, as band singer Alice Grace sang the first of several numbers - Fascinating Rhythm - it was obvious that a first-rate mic/PA system was at her (and F'reez's) disposal - good! A superb vocalist, as Alice is, deserves to be heard properly in front of a big band. 

Jingle Bells the opener - well, it is nearly Christmas - set the festive tone and musical standard (A*). Evenin' sang F'reez. Yes, a grand evening was in store. April in Paris Basie-style...One more time, one more. This the SSBB - what a band! 



This blog - BSH - has frequently sung the praises of Alice Grace and a knock out version of Time After Time confirmed our adopted Geordie as one of the great vocalists on today's scene. Polly Gibbons' Midnight Prayer offered further evidence of AG's credentials, this time with a hitherto unheard soulful dimension to her voice.

Last Christmas sang F'reez and Alice. It's futile trying to resist, go with the flow, GCT's audience was in unstoppable party mode. The Christmas Song (chestnuts etc) brought the evening to a close. Michael Lamb's big band is some outfit! Professional to the last, section work exemplary, those sections bulging with soloists, some of them taking their turn in the spotlight. The rhythm boys - Pav Jedrzejewski, guitar, Graham Don, piano, Michael Whent, bass guitar and drummer Guy Swinton - is as fine an engine room as you'll find. Top it all off with double whipped cream in the shape of Alice and F'reez and you've got yourself one of the best big bands around.

The sell-out success of the SSBB's Christmas shows is such that tickets for next year's concerts - Friday 13 and Saturday 14 December - are on sale now. Don't delay, visit the band's website and book your tickets now. That's one of 2019’s Christmas presents sorted!

Russell.

Michael Lamb (MD), Pete Tanton, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (trumpets); John Flood Kieran Parnaby, Chris Gray, Mark Ferris (trombones); Steve Summers, Keith Robinson, Jamie Toms, Matt Forster, Laurie Rangecroft (reeds); Graham Don (piano); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton ((drums); Alice Grace, F'reez (vocals).

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