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Bebop Spoken There

Freddie Gavita: "I first got into pedals when playing with Mark Fletcher's outfit Fletch's Brew. I felt with the line up I needed a bit of help" - (Jazzwise April, 2020).

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COVID-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.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Musicians Unlimited @ The Park Inn, Hartlepool - Feb 9

(Review by Russell)
It was an auspicious occasion. The Park Inn's landlord is soon to retire and Musicians Unlimited pulled out all the stops to thank Mine Host Rick for giving the band a warm welcome every Sunday lunchtime for the past eight and a half years. Storm Ciara's threatened destruction of everything that stood in its path came to nought and had the hoolie materialised it wouldn't have made any difference - the joint was jumping, no one was going to miss this one!


In the Mood for starters. Hey, this was a great version, honest guv'nor! Mark Toomey, alto, and Sue Ferris on tenor traded before passing the baton to trumpeters Bill Watson and Kevin Eland to knock spots off one another. Soloists and band won huge applause and, to add to the party atmosphere, friend of BSH George from Hartlepool tripped the light fantastic from the get go.

Jerome Richardson's Groove Merchant featured excellent section work from the saxophones (Mark Toomey on soprano) and a classy solo from Bill Watson (trumpet). Doxy is always a blast and Kieran Parnaby didn't pass up the opportunity to have a blow on Sonny Rollins' classic number. Parnaby again on the set closer Basically Blues (Phil Wilson for the Buddy Rich band) shared the soloist's spotlight with Sue Ferris (tough tenor) and Jeremy McMurray sitting-in on piano.     

Intervals come and go but today's intermission proved to be a little bit special. Our man George had brought along a freshly baked corned beef and potato pie (baked by his talented daughter) especially for the occasion (see photo). George did the honours, your correspondent  sampled a slice - delicious! And there was more...MU's regular supporters arrived with mountains of sandwiches, saugage rolls, crisps, the works. All washed down with a pint of the house beer Marston's 61 Deep. 

Band vocalist Jan Spencelayh joined the orchestra on a couple of numbers - What a Diff'rence a Day Makes! and Cheek to Cheek - during the first set and would return later in the afternoon. 

To the second set. Lullaby of Birdland, Basie's Jive at Five (guitarist Edd Maughan soloing), C Jam Blues (arr. Dave Wolpe) is always a winner on a session like this not least as it was a request by long-time supporter Frank celebrating his 89th birthday this very day! And the other name synonymous with a big band firing on all cylinders is California's Gordon Goodwin. MD Mick Donnelly quipped that each member of the trumpet section prepared for Goodwin's High Maintenance by dipping their lips in ice! And to show that MU meant business Mick Shoulder switched to electric bass for the rollercoaster ride. 

Jan Spencelayh has been singing with Musicians Unlimited for awhile and it showed - assured, confident, listening to the band, singing to the room. Earlier in the set All the Things You Are sounded just fine and Spencelayh's final contribution of the afternoon - Fever - proved to be a highlight. To conclude Musicians Unlimited's first eight and a half years at the Park Inn Tito Puente's Oye Como Va featured a stupendous flute solo from Sue Ferris. What a way to go out! And they'll be back as soon as a planned refurbishment of the Park Road hostelry is finished. It could be four or five weeks - watch this space for updates.        
            
Musicians Unlimited: Mick Donnelly MD; Kevin Eland, Bill Watson, Bob Temple, Alan Catherall (trumpets); ?, Kieran Parnaby, Helen Grainger, Peter Morgan (trombones); Norman ?, Kim Skerritt, Mark Toomey, Sue Ferris, Barbara Fagan (reeds); Edd Maughan (guitar); Gary Hadley (keyboards); Mick Shoulder (double bass, electric bass); John Bradford (drums); Ernie Jackson (percussion); Jan Spencelayh (vocals) + Jeremy McMurray (keyboards); Dave Harrison (trumpet).
Russell   

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