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Bebop Spoken There

Dayna Stephens: "I always tell them [students] there will never be anyone who will play it [EWI] as technically proficient as this cat [Michael Brecker] did." - (JazzTimes June 2019).

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Today Tuesday June 25

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jam Session - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, 59 Westgate Rd., Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel. 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. Free. Trio Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Great Day in Harlem: Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - April 20

(Review/PHOTOS by Lance)

This was quite an occasion, indeed a unique one, not to mention a historic one! 

A Great Day in Harlem we've seen the photo, read about the background to it in books and magazines (anyone got a copy of the 1959 Esquire magazine the photo first appeared in?), there have been tv programmes and recordings and now a live tribute to Art Kane and the guys and girls (all 3 of them) that he herded together on that amazing morning on 126th St., NYC.
The concept was well thought out. The photo projected onto a screen behind the band with the images changing according to the iconic figure being acknowledged.  Each band member would say a few words about the artists i.e. Dizzy, Basie, Mary Lou, Rollins, Blakey, Hawkins, Lester, Jo Jones, Monk etc. before paying their own tribute on a number associated with their chosen legend.
The evening opened and closed with a recording of Basie's Avenue C that had the SSBB seamlessly taking over. First the rhythm section then les tout ensemble with ne'er a join in sight.

Alice Grace was a bizarre choice to represent Jimmy Rushing - Mr 5 x 5 she ain't! - however, her exquisite vocal rendition of Evenin' put such thoughts to one side as did her version of Billy Strayhorn's Daydream. Although Ellington wasn't in the photo a little poetic license enabled the band to play Take the A Train and possibly some of the musicians in the photo did just that to get there on time (10:00am).

There were so many great solos, each one a fitting tribute to the originator, that singling out one as being above the rest is unfair but, at the risk of upsetting the other 17, I reckon that Dave Kerridge aced it on Body and Soul. It bore little resemblance to Coleman Hawkins' original version but, if Hawk had been alive today, nor would his! 

Close behind (in racing parlance, a short head) was Jamie Toms on Lester Leaps In and Goodbye Porkpie Hat (soulful singing from Ms. Grace on this one), Michael Lamb on A Night in Tunisia, Pete Tanton on Moanin', the rhythm section throughout, the sax chorus on Doxy and, of course, the band as a whole - the swingingest big band north of Lands End.

A Great Day in Harlem and an even Greater Night in Gosforth!
Lance
PS: Special mention of the backstage team who coordinated the visual images.
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Michael Lamb (MD), Pete Tanton, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey (trumpets); John Flood, Kieran Parnaby, Chris Kurgi-Smith Mark Ferris (trombones); Steve Summers, Keith Robinson, Jamie Toms, Dave Kerridge, Laurie Rangecroft (reeds); Graham Don (piano); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums); Alice Grace (vocals).

1 comment :

jacqueline said...

Great review of what was a fabulous evening.

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