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Monday November 23

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RON AINSBOROUGH & JORDAN ALFONSO.

Postage

12,116 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1256 of them this year alone and, so far, 98 this month (Nov. 22).

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A Night @ the Black Swan Jam Session - August 20

(Review/photos by Lance).

It looked to be a typical midsummer (this is summer?) evening with many of the regulars heading off to sunnier climes. The prospect appeared to be  a generally low key jam session which of course it never turns out to be.

The house trio - guitar, bass and drums - took us tastefully through There Will Never be Another You, Alone Together and Stella By Starlight. Staple jam session fayre.

The audience came in two by two and most of them were carrying instrument cases; it was like a gangster's convention in 1920's Chicago.
Chris Kurgi-Smith was the first of the 76 trombones (or so it seemed) and his take on J.J. Johnson's Lament was impeccably played and conveyed the composers mood. I groaned inwardly when I heard the dreaded word Summertime being bandied around. Another lament, my initial reaction. However, Kurgi-Smith made my living easier by playing it uptempo leaving me with the thought that this is how the damn tune ought to be played!

The trumpet invasion began with Elliott Todd blowing open horn on All Blues followed by Michael Lamb and Work Song. In between Mo had occupied the kit a move which meant switching snare drums and hi-hats around to accommodate the newcomer who, unlike Sid, isn't a southpaw.

Kieran Parnaby who is, as are Kurgi-Smith and Lamb, a refugee from the Strictly Smokin' Big Band, gave a mellow-toned Skylark before Walter Feeney went through his paces on Fly me to the Moon. This young man sat in back in April. He impressed then and did so this time around.

Time for a break and who should arrive but Joel Brown who'd spent the past year or so performing good works in Senegal or somewhere.

It took little persuasion for Joel to to sit at the keyboard alongside Grainger on bass and three of the young guns - James Metcalf, Faye and Dylan Thompson. Autumn Leaves; East of the Sun and I'll Be Seeing You went down a treat albeit with some indecisive endings! 

Owen Jones replaced Grainger for It Could Happen to You and it did indeed 'happen' as did All the Things You Are with Jamie Mackay added on Telecaster.

Things were building up as the big hitters moved in. Jamie Toms, 'Showtime' Gray, Michael Lamb and John Pope blew Sidewinder, Feeney returned for  Cheek to Cheek before everybody - and I mean everybody! - crowded the stage for Straight No Chaser.

This was bizarre! Apart from the horns we had three bassists interchanging and likewise three drummers. The fact that one of the drummers was left-handed made it an even more crazy scene as drums were switched to accommodate. Those of us who are old enough to remember the Marx Brothers may recall the crowded cabin scene in A Night at the Opera - well this was it recreated in A Night at the Jam Session!

Soloists were limited to two choruses - any more and they'd have still been playing yet.

It may not have been a musically profound evening (thank goodness!) but it certainly was an enjoyable one and not a singer in sight although  Ray Burns was sighted but didn't perform unless he intended to and got trampled underfoot in the musical melee!
Lance

Paul Grainger (bass); Giles Strong (guitar); Sid White (drums) + Elliott Todd, Michael Lamb, Walter Feeney, James Metcalf (trumpets); Chris Kurgi-Smith, Kieran Parnaby, David 'Showtime' Gray (trombones); Faye Thompson (alto sax); Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Joel Brown (piano); Jamie  Mackay (guitar); John Pope, Owen Jones (bass); Dylan Thompson, Hazem Mohammed (drums).

1 comment :

Unknown said...

Thanks Lance. Nice review of a most enjoyable evening.

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