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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.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Mike Durham's Classic Jazz Party @ Village Hotel - Nov. 1


 Friday afternoon - Nov. 1
(Review by Russell)

Friday, day one proper of this year's 'classic jazz' era festival. The Village Hotel just off the A19 situated at the West Allotment northern end of a sprawling business park is able to accommodate up to three hundred festival goers in its spacious ballroom with, of course, three floors of well-appointed rooms, many of which were occupied by Classic Jazz Party musicians and fans alike.   

From ten in the morning the Classic Jazz Party's CD stall did its usual brisk business offering CDs (recorded by participating musicians and a huge selection of second hand items), a 'revolutionary' digital download card (!), books, magazines and associated jazz ephemera. Last minute rehearsals complete the doors opened some fifteen minutes before the noon downbeat. 

Tom 'Spats' Langham lead the annual Tribute to Mike curtain raiser. The legacy of the late Mike Durham, mastermind of the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival, lives on in the form of Mike Durham's International Classic Jazz Party. Tom Langham's talents as a musician, raconteur and wit complimented the occasion; remembrance, celebration and, naturally, jazz. Langham recalled the West Jesmond Rhythm King telling him he should learn Isham Jones' You've Got Me Crying, adding mischeviously, not in in the style of Bing Crosby, more like Elsie Carlisle! And so it was that Langham (guitar) sang the number. A fine, apposite tribute. 

The 2019 CJP (Classic Jazz Party) introduced a new element to proceedings with the presentation of the inaugural Young Talent Award to Colin Hancock. Cornetist Colin, from Texas, is, at 23, an exceptional talent and a deserving prize winner from a strong entry list. In a short ceremony Colin received his award from Anje Mueller-Fahmow with encouraging words of congratulation from Claus Jacobi and Patti Durham.

In less than four and a half hours a further six sets would take us up to the five o'clock dinner break. Jelly Roll Morton in other bands looked at the piano master's work other than sides recorded under his own name. From the New Orleans Rhythm Kings through to Wingy Manone it was down to one of the CJP's 'piano professors' to do justice to the iconic figure. Martin Litton led a USA-Europe eight piece included a Village Hotel return for Stéphane Gillot. The affable French reedsman more than held his own in such exalted company, company that included CJP favourite Duke Heitger (trumpet, USA). 

Clarence Williams' Blue Five lived up to its promise. Claus Jacobi's arrangements heard Lars Frank (reeds, Norway) 'doing a Bechet' on soprano sax and two CJP newbies - Torstein Kubban (trumpet, Norway) and the Chicago Cellar Boys' Dave Bock (trombone, USA) - slotting in as if veterans of the Whitley Bay weekend. 

Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra ensured the hotel's Inspiration Suite was at standing room only for an all-too-short half hour set. It was a Friday afternoon on North Tyneside but close your eyes and you could have been on Chicago's South Side as CJP regular Stéphane Gillot (reeds, France) led the session with Aussie reedsman Michael McQuaid making it a clarinet-soprano sax frontline supported by another debutant, the excellent Andrew Oliver (piano, USA), first timer Félix Hunot (banjo, guitar, France), local hero Phil Rutherford (tuba, Tyne Valley, England) and ever-youthful CJP fixture Nick Ball (drums). A two-clarinet feature on It's Tight Like That wrought a hotter than hot solo from McQuaid. 

Aussie McQuaid hung around to present another episode of New Orleans Echoes. Another stellar line-up for this set (they're all stellar combos, right across the three days) meant no one was going anywhere, not least due to the presence of the award-winning Colin Hancock. Sitting alongside his NYC buddy Mike Davis (trumpet) cornetist Hancock would later confess to BSH that he found the whole experience 'awesome'. Johnny De Droit's Number Two Blues was, said McQuaid, part Milenburg Joys, part Tiger Rag. They played it and so it was. Eddie Edwards' Sensation Rag topped off a super set. 

David Horniblow (reeds, Britain) and Andrew Oliver (piano, USA) looked at more atypical material in their Rare Jelly Roll Morton set with the duo's recent The Complete Morton Project recording a source of inspiration. 

To close Friday afternoon's programme Josh Duffee put together more material from one of his key influences, Jean Goldkette, in Jean Goldkette - Waiting for Bix. Music pre-Bix Beiderbecke required the participation of the big guns. The American contingent alone was worth hearing - bandleader Josh Duffee (drums), Andy Schumm (cornet), Mike Davis (trumpet), Dave Bock (trombone), David Boeddinghaus (piano) and vocalist Joan Viskant. The addition of the Brits Emma Fisk (violin), Richard Exall (reeds), Phil Rutherford (tuba), Frenchman Stéphane Gillot (reeds) and Henry Lemaire (string bass) and London based Australian Michael McQuaid (reeds) to the line-up staked a claim for the finest assembly of 'classic jazz' era exponents anywhere on Planet Earth. As the set developed Crystal Duffee (flute, USA), Andrew Oliver (piano, USA) and the Brits trombonist Alistair Allan and Malcolm Sked (string bass) joined the ensemble. It was a wonderful large ensemble performance which included one piece - I Got the Girl - for the two pianos of Boeddinghaus and Andrew Oliver. 
Russell.         

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