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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.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Frog and Henry @ Carlisle Jazz Club - January 23

(Review by Russell)

Frog and Henry's current British tour included a return visit to Carlisle Jazz Club. An idea sprung to mind...let's take a scenic Tyne Valley train journey to Cumbria's county town to hear the band for the third time in twelve months. Gigs in Darlington and Newcastle had been a great success and this unseasonably mild mid-winter date promised to live up to expectations. 

Carlisle Jazz Club meets on a weekly basis at Carlisle Rugby Club. As the band took to the stage club organisers confessed that musicians of this quality dont't come round every week! The Louisiana-Oxfordshire based five piece features two Canadians, one German, one American and one Brit - the in-demand Ewan Bleach who bases himself this side of the Atlantic with a busy schedule on the London scene and beyond. 

Armand J Piron is a source of inspiration to Frog and Henry and the evening's concert began with Ewan Bleach referencing the legendary bandleader's recording of Mama's Gone, Good Bye. Excellent ensemble work, the highest of standards set, would it be maintained? Hot Tempered Blues followed and, sure enough, the level didn't drop. Last year's concert performances were impressive but this January 2020 gig suggested Frog and Henry had, somehow, upped their collective game.

Kerman Arken's beguiling old timey fiddle adds something to the music, perhaps helping to root it in time (pre-Jazz Age years to Dust Bowl days) and place (Arken's Tennessee to Cajun country). Add occasional sweet vocals (Song of the Wanderer) and the fiddler metaphorically, if not literally, has another string to his bow. Tom Turpin's St Louis Rag impressed the Carlisle regulars and Artie Matthews'  Weary Blues impressed your correspondent!     
Bright Star Blues (recorded by Armand J Piron) opened the second set. Shadrack encouraged a sing-a-long, a rip-roaring Tiger Rag brought the house down as did Cushion Foot Stomp and before long a marvellous night of jazz drew to a close with A Thousand Goodbyes.   

The band's engine room comprising Canadians Ryan Baer and Dave Neigh functioned flawlessly and the front line - Ewan Bleach and the undemonstrative but excellent Laurin Hebart - gave a reeds' masterclass. The reception given to the band suggests Frog and Henry will return in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, north east fans can catch the band at Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club on February 8. Recommended.
           
Frog and Henry: Ewan Bleach (soprano sax, baritone sax, alto sax, vocals); Laurin Hebart (alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet, vocals); Ryan Baer (guitar, vocals); Kerman Arken (violin, vocals); Dave Neigh (tuba machine, banjo)

3 comments :

Lance said...

Russell, please explain to us the difference between a tuba and a tuba machine?

Russell said...

Dave Neigh came across a nineteenth century photograph showing a musician playing a 'tuba machine'. Canadian Neigh figured out how to construct a twenty first century version incorporating a series of wire attachments from valve to strapping on his legs enabling him to press down on the valves thus emitting the usual tuba sound and freeing his hands to play the banjo at the same time. .

Lance said...

Bring back the death penalty!

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