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Bebop Spoken There

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Postage

16434 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 314 of them this year alone and, so far, 26 this month (May 9).

From This Moment On ...

May

Sat 18: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:00-9:00pm. Free. Celebrating ‘10 years of the Jazz Jam!’. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston. A Late Shows event.
Sat 18: SH#RP Collective @ Holy Name Parish Church Hall, Jesmond, Newcastle. 7:00-9:00pm. Tickets: £15.00. Bar available, BYO snacks. A Jesmond Community Festival event. All proceeds to Kabuyanda Charity (Ugandan health care).
Sat 18: Red Kites Jazz @ Staithes Café, Autumn Drive, Gateshead. 7:30pm.
Sat 18: Alligator Gumbo @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm.
Sat 18: Rockin’ Turner Brothers @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 18: Papa G’s Amigos special summer Latin set @ The Schooner, Gateshead NE8 3AF. 9:00pm. Free.
Sat 18: Late Night Special with Ruth Lambert & special guests @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 10:00pm-midnight. £5.00. (booking essential). Lambert & surprise jam session guests from down the years.

Sun 19: BTS Trombone Day @ Mark Hillery Arts Centre, Collingwood College, Durham University DH1 3LT. 11:00am-5:00pm. Free to British Trombone Society members (£10.00. & £5.00. to non-members). Recitals, workshops and mass blows.
Sun 19: Women Play Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. £25.00. Tutor: Andrea Vicari. Enquiries: learning@jazz.coop.
Sun 19: Ransom Van @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Sun 19: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 19: Andrea Vicari Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 20: Harmony Brass @ the Crescent Club, Cullercoats. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 20: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 6:00-8:00pm. Free. Opus de Funk: Horace Silver.
Mon 20: Joe Steels-Ben Lawrence Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.

Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: The Doris Day Story @ Phoenix Theatre, Blyth. 7:30pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Simon Spillett Big Band plays the music of Tubby Hayes @ The 100 Club, London - Oct 20

An orderly queue formed outside the 100 Club. Some had travelled a distance, Scottish accents were detected, Geordie too. Descending a flight of stairs leading to the legendary basement venue, the gentle hubbub of conversation, accompanied by Snowboy's DJ set, heightened what was already an eagerly awaited occasion, the sense of anticipation was palpable. We were on Oxford Street to listen to the big band charts of one of the great figures in British modern jazz. 

A dream was about to come true for one of the great advocates of British modern jazz. Simon Spillett, himself regarded as one of today's great British jazz saxophonists, had set about assembling an amazing, all-star band to play the big band charts of the late, great Tubby Hayes. It had been more than half a century since Hayes' renowned big band graced the stage here at the 100 Club. This evening Spillett, biographer, saxophonist, bandleader and leading authority on Hayes, stood in the footsteps of his hero. 

At a little after eight o'clock, the Simon Spillett Big Band took to the stage, opening with Dear Johnny B.* Wow! Wow! Wow! Words cannot convey how brilliant, how thrilling this was! The super-charged band (lead with boundless enthusiasm by Spillett) almost blew the roof off the place (Sammy Mayne's searing alto sax solo, Mark Armstrong** blowing fearless trumpet)! If that had been it, if MD Spillett had said: Thank you, and good night, it would have been worth the trip from BSH HQ up on Tyneside. Absolutely brilliant!

From here on in, Spillett's stupendous band played a blinder with the standing-room-only audience loving every minute of it not least because of the leader's own solos which perfectly encapsulated the technique and the vitality of the original without any suggestion of plagiarism. In part, the set list served to illustrate Hayes' interest in the work of other composers, notably, Ian Hamer (Pedro's Walk, a feature for the rhythm section, Messrs Rob Barron, Alec Dankworth and Pete Cater), Milt Jackson (Bluesology, Simon Allen, tenor sax solo).and Jimmy Deuchar (Russian Roulette). Of course Hayes' own work featured: She Insulted Me in Marrakesh (the title tickling some in the audience) and As Close As You Are, but two of several choice numbers in the pad.     
 
Much of the material heard here on Oxford Street was drawn from Tubbs' Tours and 100% Proof. The albums featured all-star line-ups, so it was fitting that this 2021 in concert big band was similarly of the all-star variety. All sections boasted top rank soloists: the trumpets, Mark Armstrong, Freddie Gavita and George Hogg with Nathan Bray playing lead; Ian Bateman and late dep Andy Wood in the 'bones; the reeds truly A-listers, namely the tenors Alex Garnett and Simon Allen, the altos Sammy Mayne and Pete Long, and occupying the baritone chair, the ubiquitous, not to mention brilliant, Alan Barnes. 

MD Spillett suggested it was rather apt that Victor Feldman's Seven Steps to Heaven should feature in the set list considering the Feldman family established 100 Oxford Street as a key venue on the London jazz scene. Simon Spillett thanked each and every member of the band, the man appeared to be in 'seventh heaven', and who could blame him?! To close out a truly memorable evening, the man himself, Simon Spillett, went toe-to-toe with Alex Garnett on a stupendous take on Sonnymoon for Two. It, and the entire set, won the Simon Spillett Big Band a prolonged standing ovation.              
 
Drummer Johnny Butts worked with Tyneside's legendary modern jazz outfit the EmCee Five.

** Mark Armstrong was born in Newcastle upon Tyne. 

Simon Spillett Big Band: Simon Spillett (MD, tenor sax); Alex Garnett (tenor sax, clarinet, flute); Simon Allen (tenor sax, clarinet); Pete Long (alto sax); Sammy Mayne (alto sax); Alan Barnes (baritone sax, clarinet); Mark Armstrong; Nathan Bray; Freddie Gavita; George Hogg (trumpets); Ian Bateman; Andy Flaxman; Richard Henry; Andy Wood (trombones); Rob Barron (piano); Alec Dankworth (double bass); Pete Cater (drums) + DJ Snowboy. 

Set list included: Dear Johnny BAs Close As You ArePedro's WalkBluesologyShe Insulted Me in MarrakeshSong for a Sad LadyRussian RouletteSolveig; Seven Steps to Heaven; Sonnymoon for Two

3 comments :

Grant Duncan said...

Couldn’t agree more! One of the best Big Band Gigs I have ever been to!

Charlie said...

Thank you for this review. It was as much as anything a joyous occasion. Everybody, but everybody was smiling. The band, the audience, the bar staff. I swear when I emerged onto a drenched Oxford Street passers by were grinning. Thank you Simon.

Alan said...

Equally fabulous gig by this band at Herts Jazz Festival on Sunday 17 October. Thanks so much, Simon, for putting all this together - a fantastic evening!

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