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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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Keith Nichols' Ragamuffins - May 11

Keith Nichols (piano); Michael McQuaid (reeds, vocals); Alistair Allan (trombone, vocals); Spats Langham (banjo, guitar, vocals); Malcolm Sked (double bass, sousaphone); Nick Ward (drums)
(Review by Russell)
On a warm, blue sky Cumbrian day it would have been understandable if some festival-goers joined the many walkers on the fells high above the bustling Lakeland town. Jazz the priority, the Theatre by the Lake once more accommodated a large crowd to hear Keith Nichols present the second of three concerts at Keswick 2019. 

On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine sang Spats Langham, his fellow Ragamuffins hit the Gin Bottle Blues with Spats staying on the wagon to sing the tongue-twister Nagasaki. A typically eclectic selection of tunes for Nichols' small group to play to an onside crowd. The repartee between band leader and sidemen is never less than entertaining and,  invariably, Maestro Nichols has the final word although a tradition has developed whereupon the audience greets Malcolm Sked (sousaphone) with tumultuous applause leaving the Ragamuffins' bandleader in a state of bemusement...much hilarity all round!     
A Fats Waller medley (Nichols retains a fine command of ragtime and stride piano styles), an Alistair Allan feature on I Cover the Waterfront (Nichols couldn't resist telling the story of Bruce Turner habitually referring to the number as I Water the Front Cover!), Michael McQuaid playing alto sax on Joe Jordan's Dreaming the Hours Away, Spats dedicating My Sweet Virginia to the late Ted Wood (Temperance Seven, Bob Kerr's Whoopie Band), this was a gentle amble (countryside ramble?) through a thoroughly enjoyable concert set list.

The afternoon's entertainment once more turned to Fats Waller (Come on and Stomp, Stomp, Stomp), Spats singing Bing (In the Blue of the Night) and All God's Chillun Got Rhythm interspersed by a few more observational gems from Nichols including: Lil Hardin was a diminutive woman who played the piano like a rhinoceros! 

Out into the late afternoon sunshine and a stroll up to Main Street in search of a decent pint before a night of Stateside blues.    
Russell

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