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Bebop Spoken There

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Salute to Fats – May 9


Jeff Barnhart (piano), John Hallam (reeds); Jamie Brownfield (trumpet); Bruce Rollo (double bass); Jack Amblin (drums) 
(Review by Russell)

The Lakeland Fells hove into view with rain clouds poised overhead - a typical Cumbrian scene. You know you've arrived when one village pub after the other boasts Jenning's Brewery beers. Tourists from all four corners, walkers striding out and, at this time of year, that very peculiar creature, the jazz fan, converge on the picturesque town of Keswick. Welcome to the 2019 edition of the Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival.

Arriving just in time to catch the last number of the opening concert in Rawnsley Hall, the Main Street venue was packed to the rafters. The full house came as little surprise when one considers the concert theme - Salute to Fats - and the musicians on the stand led by the ebullient American piano virtuoso Jeff Barnhart.

 It's a Sin to Tell a Lie sang JB backed by his old pals John Hallam and Bruce Rollo and the newbies, the brilliant Jamie Brownfield (BSH last heard the trumpeter at last year's Classic Jazz Party in Whitley Bay) and Leeds-based drummer Jack Amblin (heard recently at Billy Bootleggers in Newcastle with his Washboard Resonators' buddy Martyn Roper). 

Barnhart closed the set remarking just how few 'classic jazz' era drummers ply their trade back home in the States (Josh Duffee and Hal Smith two honourable exceptions) compared to the many dedicated practitioners in Britain (two of them, the two Nicks - Ball and Ward are participants here in Keswick). J Amblin took a bow. It was time to move on to the next, no doubt packed, venue.           
Russell

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