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Bebop Spoken There

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11,772 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 912 of them this year alone and, so far, 49 this month (August 13).

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August

Thursday 20: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Levee Ramblers @ Springwell Village Community Venue - May 29

Mick Hill (trumpet, vocals); Liz Bacon (clarinet); Jim Blenkin (trombone, vocals); Dave Rae (banjo, guitar, vocals); John Robinson (double bass); Paul Bacon (drums)
(Review by Russell)

It had been a while. An enforced absence obliged the Levee Ramblers to take a vacation, then, as word spread on the jazz grapevine that the sextet was about to resume its Wednesday evening residency Springwell Village Community Venue opened its doors to welcome home Dave Rae and co.

It was as if the band had never been away with regulars claiming their favourite seats and catching up on the gossip before settling down for an evening of New Orleans jazz. Sam Morgan's Bogalusa Strut for starters - yes, it was business as usual! Band leader Dave Rae is one of the region's classiest banjo players and, by way of a bonus, sings a few numbers with an affecting, plaintive delivery which was perfectly illustrated as the Ramblers played Johnny Wiggs' Postman's Lament
Versatile veteran trumpeter Mick Hill took a brief vocal chorus on Swanee River leading on to some serious ensemble playing on Jelly Roll Morton's Pontchartrain Blues. A spiritual is an essential component of a Levee Ramblers' gig and it came to pass that Rae sang Walking with the King. Bunk Johnson is a staple and we heard One Sweet Letter (Rae vocals) and later in the set Tiger Rag á la the trumpeter's mid-forties recording with, as our banjoist band leader was quick to point out, the indispensable contribution of Lawrence Marrero!  

Hill's strong lead trumpet and Rae's spot-on vocals accompanied by his four string (tenor) guitar playing featured on Punch Miller's Long Distance Blues and, with the interval fast approaching, Rae stuck with his guitar as Hill sang Dinah

The interval: the real ale revolution has yet to penetrate the far reaches of the Borough of Gateshead thus a bottle of Brown Ale was the order of the day (evening). An apposite choice given that early in the second set Ken, friend of Springwell jazz, got to his feet to deliver one of his occasional monologues, the title...Geordie Broon from Backworth. Your reviewer's companion for the evening won a raffle prize. Hooray! A CD and a box of chocolates the prizes on offer, surely the former would be claimed. Nope, the latter - oh, well!

The Weary Blues welcomed back the anything but weary supporters of Springwell Jazz Club. A stomper, an uptempo take on Brown Skin Mama, Ellington's Saturday Night Function (Rae, guitar), yes, a choice selection here on Fell Road. The Bacons - Liz (clarinet) in the frontline alongside Jim Blenkin's robust trombone playing and trumpeter Hill's measured lead, and drummer Paul, as steady a hand as one could wish for, surveying the scene in front of him with trusty sidekick John Robinson (string bass) at his side - are dyed-in-the-wool students of all things New Orleans. It's 2019, what's the betting Dave Rae's Levee Ramblers will still be flying the Crescent City flag in Springwell in 2029? Short odds, that's for sure.
Russell      

1 comment :

Dave Rae said...

Cheers Russell, it's good to be back. Dave

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