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COVID-19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

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.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ The Bridge Hotel - June 27


(Review by Russell)

At last, summer! A relentless sun shone through the Bridge Hotel's bay window as the Strictly Smokin' Big Band assembled for a public rehearsal session at its new base on Castle Garth. Against a backdrop of intercity and regional services jostling with clattering, clunking freight trains winding their way in and out of Newcastle Central Station the sun-dappled audience shielded its collective eye (see photo*) as Michael Lamb's roaring big band opened up with Fast Cars
 Depending on how one counted them, the number of deps totalled eight, eight and a half (Dave Kerridge occupying the alto sax chair rather than his more familiar role as second tenor) or nine. And what's more, every single one of them could have been fixtures in the band so good was their contribution. 

An all-dep rhythm section - Paul Donnelly, guitar, Ben Lawrence, piano, Jon Proud, bass and drummer Ian Wynd - worked wonders, reading the charts at a moment's notice and for those hearing the band for the first time they wouldn't have known it. Star vocalist Alice Grace sang Blue Skies during which she re-arranged/repositioned the furniture (the PA). 

Maynard Ferguson's Dancing Nitely found the band in scorching form either side of a gargantuan Keiran Parnaby blast with Jamie Toms backing up on tenor. Polly Gibbons' arrangement of Dr Feelgood paired a bluesy Ms Grace with an equally bluesy Mr Paul Donnelly. Great to hear the one-time Djangologist guitarist working with the SSBB. 

As the sun began to sink below the cityscape the trumpeters stepped up; first a rare solo feature for Dick Stacey with Alice Grace singing I Can't Get Started followed by Pete Tanton accompanying vocalist AG on You Turned the Tables on me - fabulous stuff! The ensemble joined AG on Teach Me Tonight before the band's vocalist signed off with It Was a Very Good Year. The SSBB went out on Jammer Time. Woah! Donnelly impressed again, 'bone man Chris Gurgi-Smith similarly impressed setting up a Jamie Toms-Alan Marshall duel to close the show. The SSBB, whether in concert or in rehearsal is one helluva band. Catch them next time.   
  
The first reader to correctly identify the mystery character attempting to hide from the oh-so-bright sunlight wins a free pint (courtesy of your reviewer). The small print...the offer must be taken up at the SSBB's next rehearsal night at the Bridge Hotel (July 25). Those who were present last night (June 27) are not eligible to enter this once-in-a-lifetime competition.  
Russell

Michael Lamb, MD, Pete Tanton, Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey, (trumpets); Alan Marshall, Jamie Toms, Dave Kerridge, Dan Kolb, Laurie Rangecroft (reeds); Chris Gurgi-Smith, Keiran Parnaby, Alex Utting, Chris Grey (trombones); Paul Donnelly (guitar); Ben Lawrence (keyboards); Jon Proud (bass); Ian Wynd (drums); Alice Grace (vocals)

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