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Bebop Spoken There

Ethan Iverson: "I asked Bertha [Hope] if she ever used the word "contrafact" to describe the process of writing new tunes over old changes, and she replied, "Of course not. The only people who used that word went to a university to learn about jazz."" - (Jazz Times March 2020).

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COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

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.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Glenn Miller Orchestra UK @ Sage Gateshead - Jan 5

(Review by Russell)

Sage One's level one stalls and level two seats were sold out as Ray McVay's orchestra took to the stage at fifteen hundred hours. A well-drilled unit, the personnel, set list and choreography much the same as on previous sorties. Miller in civvies, Miller in AAF uniform, this afternoon performance would stir memories for many in the audience.

Hello Gateshead! We were off to a good start, veteran bandleader Ray McVay remembered where he was. In the Mood to Flying Home to vocalist Mark Porter's opening contribution - The Nearness of You - the UK Miller band was well and truly airborne. Pennsylvania 6500 required audience participation. Pennsylvania, six, five thousand couldn't be that difficult, could it? Oh, yes it could! Half the audience missed its cue, the other half managed a barely audible effort. The band stopped playing, disgusted with this Gateshead effort. So disgusted the band walked off stage - quite right, too! McVay stood there, all alone. Come on guys, come back! Our bandleader joked the boys in the band were off to the bar. Reluctantly they returned to the stage. Let's try again...Pennsylvania, six, five thousand. That's better! It was, of course, a well-rehearsed joke and everyone played along. Aye, those were the days! 

Leeds College of Music graduate Catherine Sykes joined the boys to sing As Time Goes By - now yer talkin'! Bogart, Bergman and Dooley Wilson. Bogie won the war, you know? Single handed...Time for the Swing Time Jivers to jump-jive on Hot Toddy. McVay said he remembered when he could do that. Aye, those were the days! These days McVay took every opportunity to sit down and take a breather. 

Simon Meredith stepped out of the reeds to play a surprise soprano sax feature - My Funny Valentine proved to be one of the highlights of the afternoon. Drummer Bobby Cleall upped the tempo on Sing, Sing, Sing to close an enjoyable first set. Twenty minutes break, no more, any slackers would be put on jankers peeling spuds.

During the interval binoculars were trained on Sage Gateshead's bustling concourse looking out for bona fide jazzers. One solitary figure was spotted as a Tyneside jazz scene regular - the Tottenham Hotspur supporter shall remain nameless. A carrier pigeon was despatched to inform BSH High Command of the spotter's findings. 

Upon resumption of hostilities Tommy Dorsey made a brief appearance with a cracking take on Opus One. Our vocalists, now in military fatigues, returned to the front keen to do their bit for the war effort. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square crooned Porter, All of Me sang Sykes. Ms Sykes stayed on, above and beyond the call of duty, to sing Lullaby of Broadway. Excellent, take a bow.

Ray Wordsworth has been round the block a few times. Singing Minnie the Moocher held few fears for the classy trombonist. Perhaps his effort emboldened trumpeter Danny Hammerton as he stood in the spotlight to reprise Harry James' chart-topping recording of You Made Me Love You. Excellent, award the man a medal!

When Ray McVay introduces Mark Porter's Sinatra medley (unfortunately it didn't feature Sinatra's Columbia/Capitol years) you know the war, sorry, concert, is coming to an end.  The Swing Time Jivers returned one more time for an energetic workout on Running Wild. McVay looked exhausted and he was simply watching the jiving foursome. The Moonlight Serenaders serenaded Sage Gateshead's nostalgia-fuelled audience with a beautifully paced Chattanooga Choo Choo with McVay choosing to play Joy to the World as an encore, perhaps forgetting Christmas had been and gone. One final number, as always with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, 'til the next time - Adios.     
Russell  

Glenn Miller Orchestra UK: Ray McVay (MD); Mark Porter (vocals); Catherine Sykes (vocals); Andy Potts, Simon Meredith, Martin Dunsdon, Dan Faulkner, Loren Hignell (reeds); Dave Ford, Alan Berlyn, Danny Hammerton, John Hinch (trumpets); Dale Gibson Jnr., Ray Wordsworth, Bruce Douglas, Keith Hutton (trombones); Bunny Thompson (piano); Paul Scott (double bass); Bobby Cleall (drums)

Uptown Hall Gang: Simon Meredith (clarinet); Alan Berlyn (trumpet); Ray Wordsworth (trombone); Bunny Thompson (piano); Paul Scott (double bass); Bobby Cleall (drums)

Moonlight Serenaders: Ray Wordsworth, Catherine Sykes, Alan Berlyn, Dan Faulkner

Swing Time Jivers: Jemma Gould, Vanessa Mayfield, Shangomula Edunjobi, ?

3 comments :

Lance said...

Looking at the photo, don't these guys know about the blackout?

Liz said...

Great review, sounded like a wonderful nostalgic show, you are so fortunate to have the Sage. Thanks Russell

Unknown said...


As a tyneside jazz regular who supports Tottenham Hotspur I enjoyed the Glenn Miller concert, I like your joke about being spotted on the concourse at the interval, unless there is more than one Tottenham Hotspur supporter I was at the bar, just for the record the Middlesborough goal was offside, no VAR!

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