No JANUARY GIG
Graham Pike, tpt,
with resident trio
Peter Henry Evans
wizard Graham Pike
The resident trio were joined this month by Johnny Withers,
vibraphone, and as always impressed with the way they so easily
provide “backing” to whatever guests may be appearing, within a
relaxed atmosphere as evident with the players humorously exchanging
quips but being the professional musicians that
they all are, from the first note they
became a very polished quartet.
Johnny once again demonstrated his
brilliant expertise, his hands moving with eye-deceiving speed as he
“hammered” out each of the numbers. Hilary opened the evening with a
swinging version of On Green Dolphin Street, a popular song
composed by Bronislaw Kaper in 1947, followed by Johnny Withers'
arrangement of 'S Wonderful, a song written by George and Ira
Gershwin for the 1927 musical "Funny Girl." A lively rendition of
Blue Bossa was next played with an up-beat time signal. It was
written in 1963 by Kenny Dorham who was evidently influenced when
visiting the Rio de Janeiro Jazz Festival in 1961. Swinging into the
next number, Bluesology, came next quickly followed with
Hilary entertaining us vocalising Autumn Leaves - returning
again to a Latin beat, but this time with an alternating change of
rhythm. Johnny played a gentle version of the popular standard,
But Not for Me, by George Gershwin for the musical "Crazy Girl."
I Love You
was next, this
beautiful Cole Porter number perhaps less well known than other
numbers, it nevertheless has been recorded by the likes of Frank
Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Bill Evans, before Hilary vocalised with a
moody version of All Blues, combining her clear tones with
the vocal improvisation - scat singing. Closing the first set was an
up-beat version of Pick Yourself Up, a number perhaps best
associated with Nat King Cole.
Kicking off the second half Hilary opened with a Latin American
rendition of Watch What Happens and Johnny led into
the theme from the Kim Novac film “Picnic” with Moonglow.
One Note Samba
was next up with brilliant intricate play between Johnny and Hilary,
both giving clear confirmation of their artistry and
professionalism. At this time Johnny, suggested that many people
associated the vibraphone with George Shearing, so he played a
medley that including September, East of the Sun,
I Remember April and Lullaby of Birdland.
Switching from vibe player to comedian, Johnny told a funny story
about a dog retrieving a duck to much amusement before introducing
the next number - Dukes - which he suggested would highlight
Dave’s skill on the drums with his relaxed style on the percussion
instruments surrounding him. As the last note on the vibes was
struck Hilary, with perfect timing, emitted a loud involuntary
sneeze, which surprised herself as much as the other players. Duke
Ellington’s Satin Doll showed the seamless interplay between
the four musicians. Johnny excelled with a lively spot to lead to
the final few bars - masterful! Hilary then took the mike to give us
her take on How High the Moon, a lively piano intro followed
by vocals including more scat singing.
Around Much Anymore followed with a fine
interpretation of this well-known 1940 jazz standard written by Duke
Ellington with lyrics by Bob Russell.
Johnny then led the room in community singing, suggesting that two
songs that may be played (or sung) together were I Can’t Give You
Anything But Love and Pennies from Heaven. This led to
great hilarity as the two halves of the audience proved that he was
right, but it all became a bit muddled.
There Will Never be Another You
closed the evening, the quartet finishing to warm, enthusiastic
Johnny Withers thanked
the audience for supporting live jazz and closed with an appeal:
“Next month, bring a friend.”
Brian Leith. No photographs available.
As a sleeve note, to add to Johnny's
comment, bearing in mind we are a non-profit making Club, it is
becoming increasingly difficult to engage new musicians to the Club
and for it to be viable we need to raise our attendance figures
around the fifty mark regularly or alternatively raise the entrance
cost which we always try to keep as low as possible.
Review by John C
Wow! What a gig. Just
a line or two to say how much we enjoyed this session with Al
Nicholls and Jeff Williams. Whilst Jeff was late through traffic
chaos, to be fair the first number hadn't finished by the time he
arrived, I hadn't realised that the Blackwall Tunnel was on the A12
but when he arrived he immediately gave an exuberant account of
himself on trombone and vocals for a bonus! Overheard - Jeff's first
words with Al were "Have you done suicide yet" to which Al replied,
"We're just about to play it now and went straight into the number
'On the Sunny Side of the Street', aka Suicide! in jazz
To me, the gig had
that nostalgic ring of the "Trad Clubs" of yesteryear, without the
smoke, but played in the mainstream style. Several of the numbers
played were favourites from that jazz style that included, 'There
Will Never Be Another You', 'Mood Indigo', with Jeff using the
mute to great effect, a languid Al on 'Sweet
Lorraine' and 'Honeysuckle Rose', played by the duo at a
Everyone in the band
seemed to be enjoying themselves and the good numbered audience were
highly appreciative of the casual professionalism of all the
musicians. Of special note was the excellent tenor saxophone playing
of Al Nicholls. Not only did his easy swinging style inspire the
whole group to swing like mad, but instead of the modern tendency to
swamp melody in order to express technical skill, his solo playing
is so refreshingly melodic and is a total joy to listen to!
More of this please.
Williams, trombone & vocals
duo of Al Nicholls & Jeff Williams
complete musicians swinging like mad!
COMMENTS ARE VERY WELCOME AND THIS MONTH WE HAVE TWO REVIEWS
Review by John C
We really enjoyed the session with
Bill Yeomans and Ian Salmon, not forgetting John Withers, (not on
vibraphone this time), but standing in magnificently for Dave Grant,
who no doubt is busy sunning himself on holiday, in Spain. Whilst
Hillary Cameron missed the first set (stuck in traffic on the M25),
she was enthusiastically welcomed when she did arrive, and seemingly
undaunted by her frustrating journey, played some thoughtful solos,
with some good solid backing on keyboard. Although Bill Yeomans is a
familiar name to me, I had always missed his visits to the old
Belvedere Club at Cray's Hill. Hearing him playing tenor and soprano
saxophone, I now realised that was my loss. His playing is a
melodious and swinging delight, never overly technical, but jazz in
the true sense. Coupled with a great sense of humour, he is a
wonderful entertainer and I will endeavour to see and hear more of
him in future. Ian Salmon played some great guitar completing the
entourage admirably. Ted Simkins (the man under the hat) on cutaway
bass, was his usual reliable self, laying down a strong rythmn and
taking some inspired solos. On a technical note, (pun intended),
during the proceedings, there seemed to be a strong obsession with
the key of 'C'. The tenor (and soprano) saxophone is pitched in 'B
flat', so the key of 'C' on a tenor sax, is 'B flat' concert pitch.
So piano (keyboard) and concert pitch instruments have to play in
the key of 'B flat' to be 'in tune' with the (tenor & soprano)
saxophone.......Not many people know that..... Musicians excepted!
Review: by Brian L
Richard let a good numbered audience
know that we would start without regular keyboard player, Hilary
Cameron, delayed by traffic, but as the show must go on Bill Yeomans
led the quartet into the first number, ‘On Green Dolphin Street’.
Friendly and ever playful Bill was to use the absence of Hilary as a
focal point throughout the evening, even after Hilary arrived at our
9pm interval giving him more ammunition for his dialogue throughout
the evening. He then advised that the next tune was known as Ronnie
Scott’s favourite number, a 1951 tune by Victor Young, ‘Weaver of
Dreams’ where Johnny Withers decided to dispense with sticks or
brushes and proceed to play the drums deftly with his fingers and
hands. With the absence of Hilary still evident, Bill, when
referring to the quartets’ members, also indicated the location of
the missing Hilary Cameron to much audience amusement. Music
continued with Bill and Ian Salmon, guitar, taking the solo’s in a
wide range of tempos and styles, ‘Blue Bossa’ by Kenny Dorham,
another of Victor Young’s, ‘Stella by Starlight’, followed by Carlos
Jobim’s ‘Wave’ beautifully executed by Bill on flute, then Johnny
Mandel’s delicate ‘Emily’ and Sonny Rollin’s, ‘Sunnymoon for Two’.
One tune, Hank Mobley’s ‘Home at Last’, played as a bossa nova, did
cause a stir, as Ted Simkins wasn’t sure and asked Bill for some
guidance. Bill immediately gave Ted his IPhone showing the chord
sequences, as is often the case with many musicians these days in
lieu of the music sheet, to which Ted said, "What if the phone
rings". Bill in a flash replied, ”Answer it, and if it’s a gig
tell’em I’ll take it” to much merriment of the audience. Bill’s
sense of humour is infectious as he went on to tell the audience
about his hectic week ahead. This included taking, in half term, his
two children, to see Captain America and wondered if he could stay
awake for the whole two and a half hour show. He then went on to say
that he also had to have his annual medical health check for which
he had two appointments with ‘Joy’, the nurse. The second one was to
allow time for him to recover from the first examination which left
the audience with little doubt what he was about to experience to
quite a lot of laughter. Hilary Cameron arrived, very embarrassed
and harassed, just as the final number of the first set was about to
close so it was opportune for her to set up the keyboard during the
interval. In the second set Bill brought forth his soprano sax to
play Wayne Shorter’s ‘Footprints’ producing a wonderful sound from
the instrument and then followed on with Duke Ellington’s
‘Cottontail’ with solo’s from Bill on tenor and Hilary on keys. He
then said they were going to play the Duke Ellington composition ‘In
a Semi-mental Mood’ or as he should have said ‘In a Sentimental
Mood’ with solo’s by everyone. The evening came towards the end, now
as a quintet, playing the Latin masterpiece ‘Corcavado’, in English
‘Quite Nights’ with Bill flourishing on the flute, Ian glued to the
guitar and Hilary, cursing the M25, tweaking the keyboard, before
the final number became a race to the end with the evergreen jazz
standard ‘Blue Monk’ composed by Thelonious Monk. From the final
audience applause it can be assumed the evening turned out, despite
the problems encountered, to be another great entertaining gig, as
Richard then sought another round of applause for the individual
musicians, thanking all for attending on a windy evening and for
keeping live jazz, alive, and reminding the audience to bring a
friend along to our next gig that is on the 28th June, featuring
Paul Higgs, trumpet, and with another newcomer to the Club, Simon
Hurley on guitar, along with our resident trio, before finally
wishing all a safe journey home.
of Gig 28th June, 2016
I have to admit that Miles Davis is
not my favourite trumpet player and when Tuesday’s session looked as
if it would be a tribute to M.D, it was only because Paul Higgs was
heading it up, that encouraged me to put aside my negativity and
attend. Unknown to the audience at the time, was that Hilary
Cameron was not able to attend, and Dan Banks was to ‘stand in’ on
keyboard, at short notice for her to make his debut appearance at
the Club. Nevertheless he ‘kicked off the evening' with a quite
modern jazz rendition of 'Stella by Starlight' and with a not so
easily recognised introduction at the beginning.
Paul Higgs took the lead to
introduced himself, Simon Hurley and Dan Banks, along with our
resident duo, and after a short synopsis of Miles Davis’ early
musical career (circa 1965 when he opted out of Julliard to jam with
Bird Parker), the group launched into a tune that all modern /
mainstream jazz fans surely know, “Milestones”. The evening
continued in a similar vein with Paul. tracing M.D.’s chequered
career, doing more than justice to many of M. D’s various musical
triumphs. In so doing he was very ably assisted by the supporting
In retrospect, I have to admit I
thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. The cohesion of the group was
pure joy, as I watched Simon Hurley playing seemingly hundreds of
chords, as he supported the main themes and took some wonderfully
I was reminded of an old adage -
What's the difference between a 'pop' guitarist and a jazz
guitarist? Well - A 'pop' guitarist plays three chords to an
audience of a thousand or more, but a jazz guitarist plays more than
a thousand chords to an audience of three!
Well, there were a lot more than three in the audience on Tuesday,
but you get my drift!
As a late substitution the excellent
keyboardist, Dan Banks, played some truly wonderful solos too, and
you would never have guessed that it was his first visit to the
Congratulations also to, Ted Simkins
and Dave Grant for their usual solid musical support. A wonderful
session and a most enjoyable evening!
of Gig 28th June, 2016
Standing in for Hilary
Cameron, keyboard player Dan Banks kicked off the evening
accompanied by regular residents Dave Grant, drums and Ted (The Hat)
Simkins, bass. with upbeat number "Stella by Starlight" or in
musician speak ‘Drinking Lager at Night’ it was obvious from the
first note that we were in for a treat as Dan's fingers flew over
the keys, playing a dozen notes where others would have made do with
one or two.
Welcoming everyone, Dave pointed out that the evening marked the
35th anniversary of the jazz club that was accompanied with warm
applause and a few quick bars of "Happy Birthday." Following on the
ever-popular Paul Higgs took the stand to announce that he would
tonight make his tribute to Miles Davis called "Shades of Miles,"
after giving a brief history of the famous trumpeter, stated, “ this
next number was regarded as the start of cool jazz," following with
"Milestones." being deftly joined by Simon Hurley on guitar.
Continuing with another Davis number - "Four" - the three guests
blended seamlessly with Dave and Ted, and followed with "Bye, Bye,
Blackbird" - Paul, re-creating the Miles Davis signature sound by
making use of a Harmon mute. Next Paul and Simon played a
beautifully duet on the Rogers and Hart number "My Funny Valentine,"
before a very cool version of the outstanding tune of the 20th
century "Summertime" from the musical Porgy and Bess, which
closed the first half.
Simon Hurley opened the second set with his cute arrangement of the
Doris Day number "Secret Love", with the group following this with
"What's New" from the record breaking Miles Davis album Kind of
Blue. "Flamenco Sketches," a piece performed in a very relaxed
style was next – this poignant number being played with great
thoughtful expression and then Simon opened the next piece "Concierto
de Aranjuez", delivering a remarkable guitar rendition of this
beautiful number that was performed by Tara Fitzgerald in the film
Brassed Off. Paul then spoke about the many facets of Miles
Davis’s repertoire before introducing "Freddy Freeloader" from the
Davis album Kind of Blue that was followed with "Time After
Time" a number originally associated with the pop singer Cyndi
Lauper indicating the range of music he played, before rounding off
the evening with another number from the Milestones album.
An appreciative audience were treated to a truly outstanding gig by
three brilliant musicians - Paul Higgs (trumpet), Simon Hurley
(guitar) and Dan Banks (keyboard), who each in their own way
demonstrated their absolute mastery of their instrument - all this
accompanied with the solid backing of Dave and Ted.
Review and photos: Brian Leith
26th July, 2016
Graham Hunter always prepares immaculately for his set with
speakers, mics and lights adding that extra touch of professionalism
not often seen at Clubs. However the resident trio opened with the
old favourite 'Night Train' with Hilary Cameron soloing. Dave
then introduced our guest in a comical way by asking him as he
approached the stand, jokingly, 'are you here for something',
surprising a taken back Graham who immediately began playing trumpet
and a vocal on the Lerner & Loewe composition, 'Almost Like
Falling in Love' with a woolly start, causing Graham to comment
with a retort, 'trumpet a little sharp', and being a little
tentative. He continued much better with the Gerry Mulligan number
'Line for Lyons', followed by the Horace Silver 'Song for
my Father', beautifully executed in a Latin beat, but for me
easily the best executed number of the whole evening. the classic
Miles Davis muted trumpet solo on 'Summertime' from
Gershwin's 'Porgy & Bess.
Graham is a versatile performer on not only his horns but also on
harmonica and vocalises particularly well with ballads and in
completing the first set he played flugelhorn and vocalised on 'I
Got That Old Feeling', the frenetic Clifford Brown's 'Tiny
Capers' on trumpet, 'Blues in G' on harmonica plus vocal,
the beautiful ballad 'Time after Time' on flugelhorn and
finished with Duke Jordan's catchy number 'Jordu' on trumpet.
The second set highlights included the ballads of Gershwin's 'But
Not For Me', Eric Clapton's 'Wonderful Tonight', as a
slow bossa nova, and Rodgers & Hart 'Blue Moon' played on the
mellophone. There was also an ambitious take on the difficult
Clifford Brown number 'Joyspring' at a frenetic pace. The
trio took their solo's brilliantly highlighted by Hilary Camerons
keyboard on Sammy Khan's, 'I Fall In Love To Easily' and
similarly with Ted Simkins, bass solo on Sonny Rollin's, 'St
Thomas' and in completing the evening our host Dave Grant on the
same number gave a cute drum solo of the Caribbean flavoured tune.
An average crowd gave Graham warm applause for his very versatile,
if sometimes disoriented approach to his repertoire, keeping
everyone guessing not least the accompanying resident trio.
with Resident Trio
30th August, 2016
‘kicked off’ the first spot of the evening with a melodious
rendition of Stella by Starlight. I often play along with Acker
Bilk’s version of this, so I imagined playing along with the group.
(Well imagination can do no harm – can it?). Unfortunately, I have
been on holiday since, (unfortunately, what am I saying?) chilled
out on the Suffolk Coast, so memories of the evening now have a
dream like quality. I do however, recall Dave Jago reminiscing
about writing a melody for his daughter that took ten years to
complete (that’s a fathers love for a daughter for you!). He then
went on to play the melody he wrote, eventually for his son; and
completed it in an afternoon!. Speaks volumes (I too have a son and
a daughter, but alas have not the skill to write melodies for
Anyway many a
good tune was explored and enjoyed, Mike Sagrott providing his usual
expertise on the guitar and Dave Jago likewise on trombone. Hillary
provided solid support and some interesting solo’s.
had pre-arranged that the first set would be wholly instrumental and
then Sharon Scott would provide vocals for the whole of the second
set.This she did admirably, picking well known melodies that suited
her voice and range to great effect. I have to admit that my
friends and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening.
obviously enjoyed themselves as did the audience, although it is a
pity there were not more of them. Hopefully, attendance will pick
up after the holiday season ends?. Congratulations too, to Ted
Simkins and Dave Grant for their usual solid musical support.
session and a most enjoyable evening!
Hilary Cameron, opened the evening
with an upbeat rendition of Cheek to Cheek, the Fred Astaire and
Ginger Rogers number in the 1935 film “Top Hat”, ably backed by Ted
(The Hat) Simkins, bass and Dave Grant, drums. Next to take the
stand was Mike Sagrott, guitar, with Dave Jago, trombone, with a
seamless duet in Stella by Starlight making it immediately clear
that they are two masters of their instruments. The third number,
Sam’s Samba, penned by trombonist Dave to commemorate the birth of
his son – revealed that it had taken him ten years to complete. Days
of Wine and Roses was next, followed by Bernie’s Tune to which, Mike
Sagrott suggested made sense being co-incidentally written by a
Bernie Miller. There followed the beautiful melodic Whisper Not –
before closing the first half of the evening was a Calypso-style
number – Funky Mamma.
The restart found Sharon Scott, a regular vocalist in the club
fronting the group, with some beautiful interpretations of a series
of jazz standards. The first, Do I Love You (Indeed I do), written
by soul singer Frank Wilson, then Moonlight in Vermon with Sharon
and the group giving it a Latin flavour. Then came A Foggy Day – a
Gershwin number penned in 1937 with lyrics by brother Ira, followed
by the But Beautiful - a song published in 1947 and featured in the
Crosby/Hope film “Road to Rio”. Sharon continued with My Romance,
another beautiful ballad on which she excels, before a rendition of.
Cole Porter’s Just One of Those Things, followed by Body and Soul
where Sharon enlightened us as that the tune was purported to have
been performed by Sarah Vaughan for ten dollars, to which Dave Grant
quickly retorted “You won’t get that much tonight!”
Pennies from Heaven, a number introduced by Bing Crosby in the 1936
film of the same name was next followed by an upbeat version of the
Cole Porter standard Get of of Town before Sharon and the group
rounded off the evening displaying their talents with That’s It.
And that ended a clearly evident entertaining evening of musical
guitar. Dave Jago, trombone, Hilary Cameron, Keyboard and Dave
- 27th September, 2016
Dave Grant welcomed the audience adding the sad news that Dominic
Ashworth’s father had passed away and that he had returned to Canada
to settle affairs and so unable to be with us. Relief came for Dave
when he managed to obtain the services of Mike Sagrott to ‘stand–in’
The evening opened with the trio playing ‘Perdido’ before Mike
‘kicked off’ with a seasonally appropriate rendition of ‘Autumn
Leaves’ Dave Grant then introduced the returning Kevin McMahon
(tenor saxophone) who thanked Dave and the club for inviting him,
saying how few jazz gigs there were nowadays.
Hilary had a nasty moment when her keyboard got stuck on sustain,
but she managed to sort it out and the ensemble went on to play some
familiar standards and the most notable renditions were ‘Darn That
Dream’ and ‘You, the Night and the Music’.
During the second set Dave Grant introduced Sharon Scott as a bonus
to the evening who sang an emotional, ‘Here’s That Rainy Day’
followed with ‘This Can’t be Love’ (because I feel so well), Mike
and Kevin providing supporting accompaniments. Kevin went on to play
‘Just You, Just Me’, first reminding the audience that Thelonious
Monk had used the same chord sequence to compose ‘Evidence’, the
link being ‘Just You, Just Me’ >(Just-ice) > ‘Evidence’; a theme
unfamiliar to me: ‘Straight , No Chaser’ being the T.M. composition
in several of my music books. Not a tune suited to the clarinet, I
might add; especially in the hands of an amateur!
Thereafter many good tunes were explored and enjoyed. ‘Honeysuckle
Rose’ was the highlight of the second set (apart from Sharon, of
course), the ensemble really swinging this number, Mike Sagrott
providing his usual expertise on the guitar, with Kevin McMahon
likewise on tenor saxophone. We anticipated ‘That’s All’, to be the
last number of the evening, but it wasn’t quite ALL, because the
ensemble continued with a rousing rendition of ‘When You’re Smiling’
and then with a finale of ‘All of Me’. Disappointingly, Kevin’s
soprano sax, eagerly anticipated (at least by me), remained on its
open case un-played. Many thanks to Hillary, Ted and Dave (leader),
the resident trio, having provided solid support, and some
interesting solos throughout. Once again, a wonderful session and a
most enjoyable evening! Many thanks due to all of the musicians and
especial thanks to Dave and Joyce for organising the evening and
running the club.
that note, Dave announced that a proposed increase in venue hire
fee, in the New Year, appears inevitable, and so an alternative
venue (in the Brentwood area) was being sought; with any suggestions
of other venues available being be appreciated.
Reviewer: John Constable.
Cameron, keys & Mike
- 25th October, 2016
I must admit to having some doubts
about how this combination would work, but to my surprise it worked
extremely well, and the evening was exciting and well received by
the audience. The trio opened the proceedings with “Don’t Get Around
Dave introduced Julian Marc Stringle and he played “I Thought About
You” followed by that Benny Goodman favourite “Memories of You”. I
remember being jealous of everyone with well off parents, having a
copy of this album (on vinyl), when I was at school! Was it really
that long ago?
Julian’s treatment of this classic
was nostalgic in the extreme; nicely played Julian. Dave then
introduced Paul Wood who gave a sterling rendition of “On a Clear
Day', followed by “The Shadow of Your Smile” and “Satin Doll”. I
always marvel at the way Paul uses the microphone to give a sort of
3D sound effect, not to mention how he sounds a lot like Matt Munro.
He continues to ably put over the old crooning style numbers as if
with a big band. Paul concluded the vocal part of the first set with
a moving version of the ballad “The Nearness of You” with just
Hillary accompanying him on keyboard. Julian and the trio finished
the first set instrumentally, with that old favourite “Just
The second set began with Julian and
trio playing “Just in Time”. Paul changed tempo with “The One Note
Samba”, “Whispering Your Name” and a rousing “Route 66”. He then
introduced his next song, another beautiful ballad; “Moonlight in
Vermont”, explaining to the audience that the haunting lyrics in the
song are unusual, in that they do not rhyme. The audience made it
known that they were already aware of this. However the main lyrics
are also in the form of Japanese poetry known as haiku, and “not
many people know that”.
Julian changed the mood completely with a whirlwind version of
“Honeysuckle Rose”. Paul then completed the evening with “I’ve Got
the World on a String” and “From Russia with Love”. Incidentally
this song was a hit for Matt Munro, who sung it, during the credits
of the James Bond film of the same name. It was ‘composed’ by Lionel
Bart (of “Oliver” fame), who could neither read nor write music, but
nevertheless agreed to contribute a theme song. There is no doubt
that the song has great merit, but I have a sneaking suspicion that
John Barry probably provided much assistance with the score.
For the final flurry Julian played, and Paul sang, “Lady Be Good”,
Benny Goodman style.
Dave thanked everyone for attending and made reference to a sought
after alternative venue, but for the meantime the club remains at
the Bardswell. The evening closed by way of an encore with a
rendition of “Bye, Bye, Blackbird”.
Thanks to Hillary Ted and leader Dave, the resident trio, providing
solid support, and well thought out solos throughout.
Once again, a wonderful session and a most enjoyable evening! Many
thanks due to all of the musicians and especial thanks to Dave and
Joyce for organising the evening and running the club.
Is there anyone else who wishes to write a little blog on their
views of the next gig like John?
It will be much appreciated!
Julian Marc Stringle, reeds
Paul Wood, vocals
with Hilary Cameron & Ted Simkins,
Guests, Gary Wood: trumpet & vocals, Tim
Huskisson: keyboard, Martin Nickless: clarinet, Derek Clenshaw:
trombone along with Ted Simkins: bass, Dave Grant: drums and host
organised the "Crew", ably led by Gary Wood, ‘launched’ the evenings
proceedings with a favourite upbeat number, "Indiana". This was
followed by "Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On" with vocal
refrain by Gary Wood, composed in 1935 and won an award, but most
notably performed by Louis Armstrong in 1951 and more recently
covered by Rod Stewart in a 2004 album (The Great American Songbook
3). Next, another favourite upbeat Traditional jazz number,
"Fidgety Feet", (not a medical ailment, but a tune originally
performed by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1918), followed by
another vocal reminiscent of the 30s, "Three Little Words",
made popular by The Rhythm Boys and amazingly can remember this song
being played on the steam radio in the 50’s & 60’s
"Yellow Dog (Rag) Blues"
followed, originally composed for Vaudeville by Shelton Brooks in
1913, but in 1919 the "Father of the Blues", W.C. Handy, provided a
musical answer to the original song (entitled a Rag), and it then
became known as a Blues. I can’t recall what Gary said the "Yellow
Dog" referred to, but it was, the local name for the Yazoo Delta
Railroad. The song, notably recorded by Bessie Smith as a lament by
a woman who bets on a race horse tipped by the actual jockey, who
wins, then runs off with the winnings: Down by the "Yellow Dog" as
the song says.
Then a leap forward to the 50s with another
vocal by Gary, "Teach Me Tonight", written by Gene De Paul
with lyrics by Sammy Cahn, published in 1953, that became a pop
standard and has since been recorded by a many of artists with the
most influential recording, by Dinah Washington in 1954, who was
inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. There was some
obvious indecision about the next number entitled "Undecided",
but the "Crew" got through it decisively enough, quickly followed by
"Bernie’s Tune", written by Bernie Miller (and others), but he
got to name it? but many remember it from that wonderful 1954 album
by Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker.
Back to 1921 for the next number, featuring
Gary with the vocal "There’ll Be Some Changes Made" and were
there some? No-one noticed, including me, but when I were a wee lad,
my limited record collection included fast and furious renditions of
this tune by Eddie Condon and His Chicagoans,
but other notable recordings were by Fats Waller and also Benny
Goodman. This concluded the first set and the audience formed an
orderly queue to partake in: -
The "Crew" launched the second set with the
Chris Barber Band’s
signature tune "Bourbon Street Parade".
Gary asked the audience if some festive tunes should follow but this
did not drum up much enthusiasm (pardon the pun). Undaunted, the
"Crew" swung into
"Jingle Bells" but that more than satisfied the desire for
festive offerings and the "Crew" reverted to a 1922 song "China
didn’t know that this was a song, and have never heard it sung, but
it has been recorded many times as a rip roaring instrumental and
that was the treatment it was given by the "Crew".
The mood was changed with that lovely melody "Moonlight
in Vermont". Gary started to explain that the lyrics don’t
rhyme, but we all knew that didn’t we? This was followed by "Runnin’
Wild" (Note the missing ‘g’; including it refers you to non jazz
compositions). The "Crew" must have an obsession for tunes written
circa 1922, because this is yet another one. If you are familiar
with the film ‘Some Like It Hot’ you may recall that Marilyn Monroe
sang it in the scene on the train.
(for me), the highlight of the evening, with a wonderful rendition
of "On Green Dolphin Street" by Martin Nickless, (clarinet).
I have attempted to play this tune, but I can never hope to match
the magic that Martin conjured up, however to restore some festive
spirit, Sharon Scott took to the stage to sing a nostalgic "Have
Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", to be followed by a
rendition of "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" and le tout
ensemble completed the evening with "Lady Be Good"
Gary Wood led the "Crew" decisively both with
his trumpet and vocals and notable supported by solos from the
sidemen, Derek Clenshaw’s smooth trombone and Tim Huskisson’s
thoughtful and melodious contribution on keyboard. Martin Nickless’
clarinet provided soaring harmonies throughout, whilst the
stalwarts, Ted Simkins and Dave Grant provided solid rhythmic
support throughout making for a very enjoyable evening of jazz and a
great kick start to the festive season. When the dust settled’, Dave
Grant thanked everyone for supporting the club, with especial thanks
to his wife Joyce, for organising the Buffet and the raffle. Dave
reminded us that he, and the resident trio, are looking forward to
seeing us all at the new venue, "Jazz at OB’s" on 31st Jan. 2017.
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Music
Filled New Year, to all Jazz fans.