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12,176 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1315 of them this year alone and, so far, 18 this month (Dec. 5).

Remembering ...

Roland Kirk died on Dec. 5, 1977.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Album Playback: Sonny Side Up @ Kansas Smitty's - Nov. 20

Alex Ridout (trumpet); Alec Harper (tenor sax), Xhosa Cole (tenor sax/vocal); Will Barry (piano); Will Sach (bass); Will Cleasby (drums).

Tonight's playback was based around the Dizzy Gillespie/Sonny Stitt/Sonny Rollins album Sonny Side Up so it wasn't surprising that the first number was On the Sunny Side of the Street. What was surprising was Xhosa taking the vocal in typical Dizzy fashion!

This was looking good. Harper introduced Eternal Triangle saying that although on the album there was intense rivalry between the two Sonny's (reportedly stirred up by Dizzy himself) he assured us that we do things different over here.

Really? This was as hotly contested a tenor battle as anything since the days of Dexter and Wardell! Each man went for the jugular - and survived. The only word to describe it was Phew!

Before the saxicuffs I gasped in awe at how brilliantly the three horns had played the fast, complicated head - magic!

After Hours was classic blues with the rhythm section taking us into the early hours even though it was only half past eight. The horns kept the mood going and I opened a can.

Con Alma (?) followed before going into the final I Know That You Know which wasn't played exactly as Vincent Youmans intended when he wrote it for Beatrice Lillie in 1926!

This was taken at the Dizzy/the Sonnys' speed and tonight's gang maybe even revved it up a little more! Whatever, it was a fitting finale.

Six incredible musicians and so young! I'd had a steady diet of most of them over the past couple of weeks but this was the first time I'd heard Alex Ridout in such a fiery session. She didn't attempt to emulate Dizzy - who could? Instead she brought the fire of a Kenny Dorham, a Red Rodney or maybe even a hint of  Tony Fruscella to the front line and held her own in what was Premier League jazz.

The three Wills were as good a rhythm section as any this side of Venus and what's more they had arms (and chops!)

Tremendous!

Lance

1 comment :

Russell said...

An absolutely brilliant gig. These guys should do it again. Take it on tour, record it, simply brilliant!

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