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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, November 06, 2019

Jam Session @ The Black Swan - November 5

(Review/photos by Lance).

Like all good theatre the Black Swan jam sessions start off low key and build to a series of climaxes culminating in les grand dénouement. And, true to tradition, there are the inevitable latecomers and the crisp packet rustlers and crunchers.

The opening scene had Grainger, Strong and Finn setting the plot rather like the trio that convened on a blasted heath in Scotland although tonight it was On Green Dolphin Street followed by Tenderly and Cole Porter’s I Love YouA  good start, tasteful and swinging.

However, with the arrival centre stage of Harry Keeble the fire began to burn and the cauldron to bubble. Nica’s Dream was fast and furious as our boy stormed through the changes driven on by partner Abbie – truly a match made in Birdland. ‘Round Midnight, by contrast had an eerie, almost ethereal mood.

Time for a song. Jan Spencelayh chose Nature Boy. Let me say that, like Nat King Cole and many other good singers she sang it well but really, I’ve yet to encounter a song with such banal lyrics as Nature Boy with its phoney mysticism. By comparison, Autumn Leaves, with English words by Johnny Mercer is Shakespearean in its reflective nature.

Carolyn Pallon, in town from Cambridge, was a new voice on the scene and she delivered I Got Rhythm and My Funny Valentine with style and imagination – we were to hear more as the evening progressed.

Josie Bennington and Graham Easthope played flute and tenor respectively on Watermelon Man and Canteloupe Island before an intermission signifying the end of Act One was called.

Act Two began with Harry Keeble working out on Night and Day – this was the one – Cole Porter would be dancing in his grave with delight. John Pope joined the party for Sam Rivers’ Beatrice. Nice one.

Jan and Josie waxed lyrical on The Girl/Boy From Ipanema before Paul Gowland entered stage left. “Is this a soprano saxophone I see before me?” I asked. It was indeed and My Favorite Things proved that Paul can handle it as fluently as he does alto and tenor, his usual weapons of mass destruction at jams. Lady Finn’s drum solo also a delight to behold.

Bye Bye Blackbird is one of those “not again” songs but, in the hands of Cambridge Carolyn and Jesmond Jordan we would have listened to it forever. CC displayed her vocal range impressively and JJ did likewise on tenor.

The session progressed and the plot unfolded. Joel occupied the piano stool and Jordan and Paul (Gowland) blew My One and Only Love. Then suddenly, before the beer was dry in the glass, we were into the final act. All of the principal players, headed for the stage rather like Great Birnam wood moving towards high Dunsinane.

Tune Up was untimely plucked from the iPod which left room for Now’s the Time known to some as The Hucklebuck.

I didn’t care that The Metro wasn’t running – the number 27 was so it was a case of All’s Well That Ends Well.
Lance.
Paul Grainger (bass); Giles Strong (guitar); Abbie Finn (drums) + Harry Keeble, Jordan Alfonso, Graham Easthope (tenor sax); Paul Gowland (soprano sax); Josie Bennington (flute); Joel Brown (piano); John Pope (bass); Jan Spencelayh, Carolyn Pallon (vocals).

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