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Bebop Spoken There

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Wednesday February 24

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE BICKERSTAFF, BECCY OWEN, REMI HARRIS & GWILYM SIMCOCK

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12,535 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 254 of them this year alone and, so far, 105 this month (Feb. 24).

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Jam session @ The Black Swan - Feb 25

(Review by Russell)

It Could Happen to You (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke), Georgia on my Mind (pianist Dean Stockdale putting his stamp on it) and Beautiful Love (with a sparkling round of fours) set the standard. MC Paul Grainger welcomed one and all - regulars and new faces - with an invitation to musicians known and unknown to make themselves available, ready to go. 

Ray Johnson, this evening on flugelhorn, couldn't wait to get going and a fluent reading of Sam Rivers' Beatrice threw down the gauntlet to the, by now, large contingent of fellow musicians waiting in the shadows. The first of the evening's three tenor saxophonists pitched up. George Sykes sporting a hip haircut blew on a couple of numbers, notably When Sonny Gets Blue, before giving way to the second of our tenor men, Harry Keeble. Dean Stockdale's choice chordal accompaniment on Out of Nowhere underpinned HK's excellent tenor work which, it transpired, was an hors d'oeurve to a blistering Keeble take on Night and Day with Messrs Stockdale, Grainger and Walker flaunting their A-list credentials. It had been an excellent first set.


Second set. A multitude of hopefuls got the call to show what they could do. David 'Showtime' Grey won the Black Swan Sartorial Stakes by a couple of furlongs, no, make that a country mile, and as for his trombone playing, well, he's the man! Sweet and tender on A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, ably supported by Ed Bell's restrained cornet, Adam Sams' equally restrained guitar, Alan Law's probing piano playing (Stockdale taking time out at the bar) and Michael Mather's sensitive brushes (Rob Walker likewise taking five), heard Grey at his very best. As if that wasn't good enough, Showtime starred alongside Jamie Toms (our third tenor of the evening) on Afro Blue. Yet more killer 'bone from our man with Andy Lawrenson (up from North Yorkshire - it's the jam session with a global reach!) and guitarist Laurence Harrison joining the party. 

Late into the evening Sheila Herrick sang How Insensitive and, in a duo with jam session bassist Paul Grainger, insisted: Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You. As is the Black Swan jam session tradition, all and sundry assembled for a final, all-guns-blazing blow out. It's the jam session you cannot afford to miss!
Russell
Dean Stockdale (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Rob Walker (drums) + Ray Johnson (flugelhorn); George Sykes (tenor sax);  Harry Keeble (tenor sax); David Gray (trombone); Alan Law (piano); Adam Sams (guitar); Ed Bell (cornet); Michael Mather (drums); Andy Lawrenson (violin); Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Laurence Harrison (guitar); Sheila Herrick (vocals); Archie Williamson (drums)

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