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Sunday, June 02, 2019

Rendezvous Jazz @ The Red Lion, Earsdon - June 1

(Review by Russell)

North Tyneside boasts at least one daytime residency every day, Monday to Friday. All are popular, free admission sessions with a mid-afternoon finish enabling gig-goers to hop on a bus or Metro and head for home before school kids and commuters do the very same thing. A Saturday evening residency with a door charge is an altogether different proposition. No one would ever contemplate such a crazy idea...   

Thanks to the tireless efforts of band leader Maureen Hall there has been a first Saturday in the month Dixieland session 'down the coast' for more years than the vocalist would care to remember. From Cullercoats to Preston Grange to Earsdon, Hall's Rendezvous Jazz outfit has resolutely defied the odds and here, at the Red Lion on Front Street, the band's followers turned out once more despite the attraction of tv coverage of the Champions' League Final. 
On this first day of June, Hall thought it a good idea to begin with June Night from 1924. Hall took the first vocal of the evening - I'm the Lonesomest Gal in Town - from 1912 (Ella, Kay Starr and others recorded the number). From 1921 Jazz Me Blues caught the ear of Gavin Lee. Opting to play soprano, the New Centurion knocked out the first of several great solos (others would follow, on soprano, alto or clarinet). In the absence of the band's other vocalist, regular drummer George Davidson, Hall invited John Broddle to sing a few numbers. Roses of Picardy the first of them, Broddle impressed, as did Lee playing Bechet-esque soprano. 

Two deps acquitted themselves well - Ian Hetherington in for Davidson, and, adding lustre to the frontline, trombone maestro Gordon Solomon. The one-time River City Jazzman, deserving of the tag 'special guest', recently returned to the scene. The younger members of the regional branch of the Union of Trombonists should check him out - Solomon's glissandos on Savoy Blues would blow 'em away at a jam session! 

Raffle done, another pint of Red Lion (what else?!), Maureen rounded-up the boys and let them loosen-up on an instrumental China Boy before assuming command on Faraway Blues. Not one to take centre stage, Hall called John B back to the stand to sing Avalon. One assumes JB sang with some decent bands down the years, his phrasing suggests he knows his stuff. Hall's Melancholy Blues led to JB's Margie before all hell broke loose on a 'six nowt' version of Tiger Rag. The audience reaction was such that pianist Malcolm Armstrong called for order: Calm doon, calm doon! The great Doris Fenn, banjo, sitting alongside the pianist, was highly amused. 

It had been a canny session. Maureen Hall's Rendezvous Jazz will be back at the Red Lion on Saturday, July 6 (8:30pm). £3 on the door, on this occasion, admission will include a buffet.    
Russell.

Maureen Hall (vocals); Gavin Lee (clarinet, alto sax, soprano sax); Gordon Solomon (trombone); Malcolm Armstrong (piano); John Robinson (double bass); Ian Hetherington (drums) + John Broddle (vocals); Doris Fenn  (banjo).

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