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Bebop Spoken There

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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.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Jam Session @ the Black Swan - June 25

(Review by Lance/PHOTOS).

Another Tuesday, another jam session. The fortnightly free-for-all never fails to deliver and last night was no exception.

'Showtime' usually leaves it late but tonight he was first up and not without a few surprises. Although beloved by vocalists, Charles Trenet's La Mer, or Bobby Darin's Beyond the Sea to some, isn't staple jam session material for instrumentalists but this didn't deter our intrepid slideman who gave la chanson a spirited workout. 

"Is Wayne Shorter in the house?" No, Mr Shorter was elsewhere no doubt celebrating the DownBeat critics having pronounced his CD Emanon as the Jazz Album of the Year. However, Harry Keeble was hanging out and he played a 200mph version of Shorter's ESP that took my breath away - not to mention that of the rhythm section who hung on gamely.
More surprises from 'Showtime'. This time a Randy Newman opus - You've Got a Friend in Me. An extended piece that looked to have been arranged by our boy. It had some nice harmonic twists and turns. Prior to this premiere, a relaxed version of Doxy.

Ray Johnson joined David and Harry for Samba Orpheus with Abbie at the kit. The three horn frontline sounded good.

The towering figure of Lachlan and Niffi went to the Darktown Strutters Ball before doing a demolition job on Let's Do It - Niffi certainly did it to Cole Porter, God rest his soul.

A more restrained couple of numbers from Jan and Dean who'd never been to Surf City and so didn't sing about it choosing instead to give us This Can't be Love and Come Rain or Come Shine. The duo was ok although, personally, I'd have preferred it with bass and drums added.

Drums were added with the arrival of Matt, James Metcalf joined on trumpet and Francis Tulip made a fleeting appearance on guitar as Jan waxed eloquent about The Boy From Ipanema.

Marcus took over on piano as young James played Stella by Starlight - when in doubt at a jam... This was followed by I Remember You. The knights of the round table were making reference to that most abysmal recording of the song by Frank Ifield. If his fellow Aussies played cricket like he sang England's worries would be over. I felt it my duty to point out that the Lennie Niehaus recording of the song is one of the classic recordings of all time - both in the arrangement and the alto solo. James didn't quite reach those heights but he's certainly upped his game since I last heard him - well done!

The evening was drawing to a close but not before Ray Burns sang and played Don't Get Around Much Anymore setting the stage for the grand finale which involved Niffi, the two trumpets, trombone, tenor, piano, bass and drums with the three pianists seamlessly interchanging.
Needless to say, the house trio was, as ever, tops throughout.

This maybe wasn't one of the never to be forgotten sessions but it was still very enjoyable.
Lance 
PHOTOS

Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); John Bradford (drums) + Ray Johnson, James Metcalf (trumpets); David 'Showtime' Gray (trombone); Lachlan Fotheringham (soprano sax); Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Dean Stockdale, Marcus Tham (piano); Abbie Finn, Matt MacKellar (drums); Ray Burns (harmonica/vocal); Niffi Osiyemi, Jan Spencelayh (vocals); Francis Tulip (guitar).

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