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13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The James Harrison Playhouse Band @ Dormans Jazz Club, Middlesbrough - August 22


James Harrison (keys/accordion); Alice Grace (vocals); Will Howard (tenor sax/clarinet); Keith Peberdy (bass); Russ Morgan (drums).
(Review by Ron H)

Back in 2010, Tees Hot Club organised a jazz night at Dormans Club in Middlesbrough – they hoped it would catch on. Now, nine years on and approximately 450 sessions later, the general consensus of opinion is that it has ‘caught on’!

The audience that crowded the room for a special celebratory night certainly thought so as they were treated to a fantastic night of music and entertainment.

Starting the evening with an up tempo version of  Secret Love, Alice showed her fine vocal talent, with great solos from James and Will backed by Russ and Keith setting the standard for the night. 

A more relaxed Softly As In A Morning Sunrise, followed, again with Alice's lovely singing blending in with fine musicianship before moving up a notch to a swinging  Blue Skies.

An exciting Latin number Mambo Inn, featured Russ, showing his great skills on drums. James and Alice performed Honeysuckle Rose, as a duo to great effect.

Alice, singing the classic Georgia on my Mind, with a lovely tenor solo from Will and keyboard work from James, went down well before the band followed with a swinging Bye Bye Blackbird, and a great bass solo from Keith.

The first set was brought to a close in cabaret style with  Bei Mir Bist Du Schon, great showmanship from James on accordion, Will on tenor and Alice's singing.

Shiny Stockings, featuring Alice (Ella style) and Will on tenor started the second set then James played a dramatic and rousing version of Caravan, with great sax and vocals.

Blossom Dearie's Moonlight Saving Time, and Wonderful World, contrasted with the great gypsy jazz anthem Dark Eyes, featuring James, again,  on accordion and Will on clarinet.

I Can't Give You Anything But Love, was played and sung in fine style after which the audience demanded an encore that resulted in some fine scat work from Alice including mimicking trumpet and trombone with the band playing Parker's swinging  Billie's Bounce, that seemed to evolve into Monk's Well You Needn't, (I think?).

This was an excellent night of entertainment from first class jazz musicians with one of the best Ella Fitzgerald influenced singers around to celebrate our nine years of jazz events at Dormans  with the aptly named Playhouse Band. 

Again, many thanks to the generous support for all these years given to us from Dormans Club.
 Ron H
YouTube link from James Nesbitt - Secret Love.

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