Club Reviews

The Bateman Brothers Jazz Band

IMG_2025_2Wednesday 26th July 2017

Ian Bateman – trombone
Alan Bateman – trumpet
Trevor Whiting – reeds
Craig Milverton – on new piano
John Day – bass
Nick Millward – drums

The A team struck Pershore Jazz this month and what a show they gave. We were delighted to welcome the band back to the club and we certainly enjoyed a great evening acknowledging why they are known as the best band to recreate the music of Louis Armstrong & his All-stars.

Tunes in the first set started with Dear Old Southland in true Louis style and followed with Kid Ory Hot Five recording of Muskrat Ramble, Robbins Nest a lovely feature for Trevor and the rhythm section, C’est Si Bon with a vocal from Alan, The Gypsy which Ian pointed out definitely makes you think of Louis, Basin Street Blues changing to up-tempo half way through, a great feature by Craig of I’ll Remember April, a brilliant tune written by Louis called Back O Town Blues and ending this half with a favourite of Mack The Knife.

The second set kicked off with My Bucket’s Got A Hole in It, followed by Chantez Les Bas, Give Me A Kiss, a Billy Kyle tune Pretty Little Missy which was a feature for Craig and had a great finish to it. Ian explained that in the 50/60’s Louis was getting more commercial and it was said that he was no more than a vaudeville act so he wrote 12th Street Rag a complicated tune to prove his worth. This number was epic and I think played note for note!. Blue Turning Grey a lovely tune with a vocal from Alan was followed by Stomping At The Savoy when everyone left the stage to Nick for a drumming extravaganza. Strutting with Some BBQ came before the final tunes for the evening of Cabaret and Hello Dolly, two of Louis’s best-known hits, – he did in fact knock the Beatles from the number one spot in 64/65!

We were treated to an encore which finally brought the evening to an end which is always a shame – a class act, a top class evening of entertainment and musicianship – we had one exhausted band and one big happy audience.

Thanks to the entire band and we hope to have a return evening in the future.

Robin Mason’s Apex Jazz and Swing Band

Wednesday 28th June 2017IMG_1901

ROBIN MASON – clarinet & saxes
JON STONE – trumpet & vocals
RON HILLS – trombone
PETER RBINSON – banjo & guitar
JIM HARNEY – drums

This Midlands based band formed over 20 years ago with some members from the Hazel Slade Big Band gave us a great evening’s entertainment. Their repertoire was varied and presented in a light-hearted fashion with some banter between Jon & Robin. They really are a little big band!

Robin introduced the band straightaway and then tunes played in the first set were as follows- W C Handy’s tune Beale St Blues was played quicker than some similar to the style of Alex Welsh, a big band tune called Teddy the Toad which written by Neal Hefti for the Count Basie Orchestra, an Ellington tune We Don’t Get Around Any More was sung by Jon, Dinah saw the audience join in and had a brilliant banjo solo including bars from Harry Lime (The Third Man), Good Queen Bess another Ellington number saw Jon using his bent trumpet – like Dizzy Gillespie, a beautiful version of Nuages the popular Django tune with Robin on clarinet and the rhythm section, Jive At Five definitely a big band number, I Left My Love and finishing this set with So Do I sung by Jon in German and complete with hat – see photographic evidence on our Facebook page!
The second half was just as entertaining with Watermelon Man, a feature from Ron called Sultry Serenade, Taps Miller a tune by Marion Joseph “Taps” Miller an American trumpet player who also danced, a popular tune from 1918 was Somebody Stole My Gal a feature by Jon who showed his scat singing skills, Tea For Two a tune from the musical No No Nanette, Mood Indigo with lovely harmonic ending, Jive Jack another vocal by Jon, My Melancholy Baby with Robin on sax bringing us to their final tune which was an arrangements by Peter of Farewell Blues. This contained beautiful harmonies. The final two numbers were Perdido and Sweet Georgia Brown – a great finishing number.

This was a great evening in the company of a local band of good entertaining musicians – it was about 10 years since they’d played at the club – why did we wait that long!!

Jeff Barnhart’s International Swing Four

Wednesday 31st June 2017

Jeff Barnhart – pianoJeff Barnhart’s International Swing Four
Anne Barnhart – flute & vocals
John Hallam – reeds
Graham Smith – drums
Tony Sharp guesting on bass

As was expected this was a superb evening both musically and for entertainment. A lovely mixed repertoire and some spell binding tunes especially John’s version of Burgundy St Blues. The time flew by and before we knew it 10.30pm had arrived and that was the end of great evening’s jazz.

Tunes played tonight were Crazy Rhythm, What is This Thing Called Love played with a Latin feel, Almost Like Being in Love a soundtrack tune from Brigadoon, Drop Me Off in Harlem with John on tenor sax and You’re Driving Me Crazy on his baritone sax, a medley of Fats Waller tunes by Jeff on piano demonstrating Harlem Stride Piano style, Someone to Watch Over Me a duo with Jeff on piano and Anne on flute, Bei Mir Bist du Schon, I Want to be Happy, Avalon, Take Away My Heart a lovely vocal by Anne, What Happened to the Guy in the Polka Dotted Tie a tune written by Jule Styne who also wrote Party’s Over and Just in Time, Shake It, Don’t Break It a gospel jazz 2 beat style tune with John on tenor sax, the beautiful tune Burgundy St Blues by Jeff & John, It Don’t Mean A Thing an Ellington tune with unusual four bar solos with bass and drums, Undecided a tune started with Graham using brushes then the front line joining in and bass and piano and again four bar solos this time with flute and clarinet. The final tune for the evening was I Love You For Sentimental Reasons with a vocal from Anne.

Thank you everyone for contributing to an excellent evening, great to have Tony playing and thanks to Graham for providing all the equipment for the night i.e. drums, piano, PA.

Hot Fingers

Wednesday 26th April 2017IMG_4012

Tom “Spats” Langham
Danny Blyth
Malcolm Sked
Emily Campbell

Wow – what a night. It was one of those evenings that you wish would go on forever. Hot Fingers is truly a tight-knit group in every sense of the word and they play and compliment each other extremely well. All the tunes played had an exhaustive explanation about the history of either the composer or the singer together with the dates of when it was recorded or played. How Spats remembers all this detail is beyond comprehension. He has no aide memoire notes to refer to – it’s all from his memory. It’s just astounding and so interesting.

Their repertoire this evening contained the following tunes – Filthy Blues, Moanful Blues, Say When (an Al Bowlly song which we all know is a favourite of Spats) and this had a beautiful clarinet intro by Danny. Emily joined the trio to sing and remind us that it was 100 years since Ella Fitzgerald the great American jazz singer was born. She sang Take Another Guess, It’s Only A Paper Moon and the beautiful  Shakin’ the Blues Away which is an Irving Berlin tune. Spats told us that Ella had worked with the Chick Webb Band and she only went solo after Chick died. I’ve Got the Blues was a duet with Spats and Danny and Danny showed us his talent with the harmonica. We were transported to Paris in the 1930’s with a Django inspired tune called Mysterious – 2 guitars and bass and a waltz tempo – brilliant. When the Folks Up High do That Mean Lowdown another Irving Berlin tune and a Bessie Smith tune It’s a Long Old Road and Crazy Blues which Malcolm introduced in fine fashion brought the first set to a close.

The second set was just as informative and we listened to the following great tunes and Danny told us about Django and gypsy heritage. Norwegian Dance a Grieg classical tune followed by There’s a Rainbow on My Shoulder and a Henry Red Allen tune The Patrol Wagon Blues came before “the Cotswold Canary” as Spats called Emily took the stage again to play the gong with the slick arrangement of Shanghai Shuffle. Emily then sang The Man I Love a Gershwin song and by complete contrast a Sister Rosetta Tharpe tune Who Rolled the Stone Away. An unusual tune originally by the Memphis Jug Band in 1929 called Cocaine Habit Blues with Danny playing mandolin and Emily with kazoo was great. Get Happy, Mad About the Boy brought us to the final number of the evening which was Didn’t It Rain a Mahalia Jackson tune and what an excellent way to end the show.

We have been lucky to experience many evenings at the club where we say top musicians, top entertainment, class etc but Hot Fingers definitely are the full package in terms of quality entertainment.

Please come back next year!

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