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Bebop Spoken There

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Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Pasadena Roof Orchestra (second set) @ Whitley Bay Playhouse - March 1

(By Russell)

As the results were announced at the end of a long day of competitive action at the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival in Chester le Street a mad dash to Whitley Bay meant the Pasadena Roof Orchestra's first set at the Playhouse had been and gone. Arriving in the nick of time to take a seat in the auditorium as the lights went down for the second thoughts - and ears - turned from big band jazz to Cotton Club-era hot jazz.

White tie and tails, the Pasadenas' frontman Duncan Galloway strolled on to stage as the band played High Society. The boys in the band appeared to be well oiled - musically, what else?! Galloway didn't try too hard to look like Gary Cooper as he sang Puttin' on the Ritz...super duper. 

Gershwin's Change PartnersDinah, Galloway on and off stage, the Pasadenas' ace line-up certainly got the chance to play - Robert Fowler impressed, likewise reeds partner Oliver Wilby. The engine room boys were in cruise mode - Spats Langham appeared to be having a ball, mainly on guitar with a little banjo (virtuosic on each instrument) sitting alongside the PRO's new boy, percussionist Jack Amblin*     

Two highlights - Fletcher Henderson's hotter than hot Business in F and Cotton Club Ellington's East St Louis Toodle-oo. Tremendous, well worth the dash from County Durham to North Tyneside! The Original Dixieland Jass Band (Galloway keen to emphasise 'Jass') guaranteed a frenetic finale on Tiger Rag and as an encore Galloway and the Pasadena Roof Orchestra went out on She's a Latin from Manhattan and, of course, (Home in) Pasadena.   

* Jack Ambin can be heard again with Martyn Roper at the Punch Bowl Hotel in Jesmond, Newcastle on May 13 when they play a duo gig as the Washboard Resonators. 

Duncan Galloway (vocals); Malcolm Baxter (trumpet); Robert Fowler (alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet); Oliver Wilby (tenor sax, clarinet); Dai Pritchard (alto sax, clarinet); Nick Mills (trombone, sousaphone); Simon Townley (piano); Tom 'Spats' Langham (guitar, banjo); Jack Amblin (drums, washboard) 

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