Club Reviews

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!

Brownfield/Byrne Quintet with Alan Barnes

Wednesday 29th March 2017
Jamie Brownfield – trumpetAlan Barnes
Liam Byrne – saxophone
Alan Barnes – reeds
Andy Hulme – guitar
Ed Harrison – double bass
Jack Cotterill – drums

Last night we were treated to first class and utterly superb musicianship from BBQ and Alan Barnes. Their repertoire was excellent with many inspirational arrangements prepared by Liam and we certainly enjoyed a top class evening in the company of what has to be some of the jazz scenes best musicians. As expected Alan complimented the band and he also praised Liam for the arrangements that he had brought for the session.

Tunes for the first set were – I Found A New Baby – When Lights Are Low with a lovely guitar intro by Andy – a tune Jimmy Heath wrote for Chet Baker called Tynan Tyme which featured Jamie and great individual solos from the band – Goodbye a tune composed by Gordon Jenkins and this was also the closing theme song for the Benny Goodman Orchestra – Comes Love which after the tune was played we discovered by “google” that it was composed by Sam Stept with lyrics by Lew Brown and was for a Broadway Musical called Yokel Boy – Caravan with a Latin feel and a beautiful arrangement by Liam brought the first set to a close.

The second set was equally as entertaining with the following tunes played.
My Blues – Early Autumn a tune written by Woody Herman which in turn made Stan Getz famous – Minor-Yours – a beautiful version of Danny Boy – a feature with Alan “a Brexit tune” called We’ll Be Together Again and the final tune of the evening again a great arrangement of It Don’t Mean a Thing.

This was a spellbinding evening where the whole audience listened intently to the show being presented by these masters of their instruments. There are not enough superlatives to describe the evening – just to say again top class and inspirational and a must to repeat for next year.

Fret & Fiddle

Wednesday 22nd February 2017Fret and Fiddle

Sally Minchin – violin & vocals
Andy Bole – guitar/banjo
Rich Hughes – piano
Simon Smith – bass
Graham Smith – drums

This session was one of our “top draw” evenings. A group of talented musicians with a refreshing presentation and a repertoire that catered for all musical tastes. It included popular standards delivered in their own style, mixed with hot club, unusual tunes and not often heard numbers. This was a lovely change to the norm and an evening of pure entertainment.
Their first number was I’ve Found A New Baby a popular standard in hot club style and followed by Tchavolo Swing and Pennies From Heaven with a piano intro and a vocal from Sally. Have You Met Miss Jones a song written by Richard Rodgers and published in 1937 was a tune written for the musical comedy I’d Rather Be Right and Sally leading with piano and bass performed this and was then joined with guitar and drums. Autumn Leaves a great version and tunes don’t get much better than that one was followed by Willow Weep For Me. An instrumental Sidney Bechet tune, written and recorded in 1952, of Petite Fleur was played in slow swing into fast latin with Dance Me To The End Of Love next – this was a song by Leonard Cohen written in 1984 as a love song and was inspired by the horrors of the Holocaust. Sally was very good at explaining the tunes they did and Wikipedia came into its own for sure. Next tune was How High The Moon which according to Paul McCartney was the first song the Beatles played together. This first set ended brilliantly with a fast version of Tiger Rag.

J’Attendrai a popular French song was an instrumental recorded in 1938 by Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli started the second set followed by a hot club number Stompin At Decca. Anything Goes and I’m Ready two great tunes were followed by the good old standard Sweet Georgia Brown. Next we were treated to an unusual tune called Chocolate Jesus which was written by Tom Waits and Sally explained it was about memories and thoughts of a journey to church and in this tune Andy played banjo. Invitation To Dance followed Minor Swing in hot club style – but no one danced! Crazy Rhythm next and then it was audience participation time with a vocal of Ridin The Rails and lots of train noises of Woo Woo. Well done all. Time had caught up with us and it was time for the final tune of the evening, which was a lovely version of Tico Tico.
Thank you again to Sally, Andy, Rich, Simon and Graham for a fabulous night and see you at the festival in August.

Savannah Jazz Band

25th January 2017

Bill Smith cornetIMG_1113
Roger Myerscough – reeds
Brian “Sam” Ellis – trombone
Chris Marney – banjo
Tony Pollitt – bass
John Meehan – leader & drums

The Savannah Jazz Band never fail to entertain and you cannot help but enjoy their performances. They are one of the most popular and busiest bands on the jazz circuit and last night’s session proved this fact. They had a large audience to perform to and their repertoire was varied and enjoyable.

Tunes played in the first set were When You and I Were Young Maggie, a beautiful tune called After Dark, a vocal by Roger of Lady Be Good, Bogalusa Strut, a brilliant version of Stormy Monday which was a request and featured Roger on soprano sax, Brian on piano, and Bill vocals and harmonica – a lovely tune. Frog-i-more Rag was followed by Higher Ground a vocal feature for Chris on banjo. Hymn To Freedom featured Roger, Brian again on piano backed by Tony on bass and John on drums. To bring the first set to a close they played You are My Sunshine which had a lovely duo vocal from Bill and Roger.

The second set was equally as enjoyable with tunes Together, Precious Lord, and then a vaudeville tune, which is also done by Keith Nichols, called Beedle Um Bum sang by Bill. I Want to be Happy gave leader John a feature on drums followed by Blue Turning Grey Over You and Se Se Rider with Bill showing his skills on the harmonica again. The lovely tune Isle of Capri and Going Home brought the evening to a close.

Why does time go so quickly! A great night was had by all and we look forward to seeing the band again in August at the annual festival 18/19/20 August 2017.

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