Colin Henderson – Saxes and Flute Adrian Beckwith – Piano Neil Sharkey – Bass Mike Sharkey – Drums Sarah Jane Scott – Vocals
A few weeks ago, Adrian Beckwith did such a stellar job of being a last-minute substitute (for the maestro Jon Hall) that we decided to invite him back. And he was in familiar company with Inverness’s Sharkey brothers on bass and drums and Sarah Jane Scott on vocals taking turns of leading the band with Colin Henderson on sax and flute. We had some further reminders of the Gershwin night from April with renditions of But Not for Me and Summertime. Sarah Bewitched us with a couple of Rodgers and Hart numbers, including a quick transatlantic visit to Manhattan and some bossa nova from Colin put a Smile on Sarah’s face (courtesy of Charlie Chaplin) before appearing On Green Dolphin Street (where Bronisław Kaper lives).
After a fifteen minute interval, Sarah decided to take five and we had a band of four for song number one of part two with the instrumental number Four by Miles Davis. Sarah returned to wow the crowd with Arthur Hamilton’s Cry Me a River, McHugh and Fields’ I’m In the Mood for Love and You Go to My Head by McHugh and Fields earning a rapturous applause. There was plenty of playful call and response between Colin and Mike during Luiz Bonfá’s Samba de Orfeu and Adrian was given a chance to shine on a long, solo piano introduction to Erroll Garner’s Misty before some deftly-plucked bass strings from Neil and gentle brushes on the drumkit from Mike crept in to join him as a trio for the rest of the tune. Colin came back to lead an instrumental rendition of Bart Howard’s Fly Me to the Moon and Sarah saved the best for last to close the night with the band in full swing for a high-energy take on another Rogers and Hart song, The Lady is a Tramp.
Brian Keddie – trombone Jon Hall – piano Roger Niven – guitar Pete Lowit – bass Nigel McKenzie – drums
Jon Hall and Moray Jazz Club regulars Pete Lowit and Nigel McKenzie were joined by trombonist Brian Keddie and guitarist Roger Niven to lead us through interpretations of tunes by Thelonius Monk, Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington, Horace Silver, Dave Brubeck, John Scofield, Pat Metheny and more…
Jon Hall – piano Andy Brown – guitar Neil Sharkey – bass Mike Sharkey – drums
First half (Facebook video) John Coltrane – Bessie’s Blues Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard – Alice in Wonderland Henri Betti – C’est si bon (“It’s So Good”) Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer – Dearly Beloved Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields – Don’t Blame Me Roberto Menescal – O Barquinho (“My Little Boat”) Douglas Furber and Philip Braham – Limehouse Blues
Second half (Facebook video) Jim Mullen – Meditation Wes Montgomery – D-Natural Blues Sonny Rollins – Oleo Antonio Carlos Jobim – Once I Loved Johnny Green and Edward Heyman – Out of Nowhere Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt – Dream a Little Dream of Me Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons – All of Me
This was a fun gig from the entrance of one of our superb regulars, jazz dancing on her way to the bar, to the appearance of a very small furry jazz fan, Chester the Chinese Crested Powder Puff!
Jamie Anderson, tenor sax, was on fine form and his strong tone enhanced an excellent choice of material which included “Sunny Side of the Street”, a nice bossa “The Girl from Ipanema”, a rocking version of “Sunny”, a bluesy rendition of “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and a wild latin blowout on Duke Ellington’s “Caravan”. Pete Lowit was on sparkling form and he displayed impressive technical virtuosity on Jaco Pastorius’ “The Chicken”, as well as playing many excellent bass solos during the evening. Mike Sharkey continues to impress and develop; he took some very tasty solos and responses and is clearly equally at home in swing, ballad, funk, gospel and latin style numbers.
In the second set we discovered we had a teenage drummer in the audience, Lewis, who with great aplomb came out and played “It Don’t Mean a Thing”, even trading “fours” with the piano as if to the manner born. He held his tempo admirably and kept his cool under the warm applause and rousing cheers from the audience.
The evening finished with two lively numbers, the catchy latin piece “Agua de Beber”, which Jaimie gamely read from the tiny notation on his phone, followed by the soul-style breaks of Eddie Harris “Cold Duck Time”. Tonight’s audience grew from humble beginnings to a good sized crowd and, judging by their reactions, a good time was had by all!
It was good to hear a new jazz voice this evening, Lizzi Pearce, who shared the front line with Colin Henderson on saxes and flute. After the band had played “Ladybird” and “All Blues” with solos all round, Lizzi impressed the audience with an up-tempo “It Don’t Mean a Thing”, which showed her jazz credentials straight away in her breadth of tone and range and her ability to swing. She followed up with the Beatles’ “And I Love Him” done in bossa nova style featuring Colin on flute, and came back for an outstanding version of the ballad “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most”
The second set opened with the band playing “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” and “Mean to Me” with some lyrical bass playing from Neil Sharkey and some exciting interaction between Colin and Jon and Mike Sharkey on drums. Lizzi came back to sing a mellow bossa nova “So Many Stars” and a heartfelt “My Funny Valentine” dedicated to her young son. The band took over with an up-tempo “Bernie’s Tune” and then Colin gave a very fine rendition of “My Romance” played as a moving ballad which received a glowing response from the audience.
Lizzi finished the set with Gershwin’s haunting “Someone to Watch Over Me” complete with the rarely heard verse and as a finale she led the band in a swinging version of George Shearing’s “Lullaby of Birdland” complete with a scat vocal solo. A great evening and an outstanding debut from Lizzi Pearce.
This was an outstanding gig, with four confident and experienced players who were listening and responding to each other and having a great time into the bargain! We played a well balanced set of tunes beginning with the Latin groove of Wes Montgomery’s “Cariba”. This set the stage for what was to come with solos from guitar, piano and bass, followed by driving exchanges between guitar and drums. Andy Brown was on excellent form and you could hear the influence of both Wes and Pat Martino in his use of rapid scales and revolving patterns. Andy has always been a prolific composer and it was a pleasure to hear a new piece of his, also with an infectious Latin groove, Sal Salamander”, which an enthusiastic audience agreed should henceforth be known as a “classic”! Two tunes by Thelonius Monk, “Straight No Chaser” and “ByeYa” paid homage to another original composer which, as always with Monk’s music, allowed the band to stretch out. “Syeeda’s Song Flute” from Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” featured Nigel MacKenzie on a superb drum solo that combined invention with musical taste. We also played “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”, another tune associated with John Coltrane.
“Wait Till You See Her” was suggested by Andy after hearing it played in a George Shearing trio version, it’s waltz-time block chord arrangement being well suited to guitar and piano.
Other tunes included the bossa nova “Moon and Sand”, Miles Davis’ “Tune Up”, Michel Petrucciani’s “Lullaby” and “September Second”, and Keith Jarret’s “So Tender”. This was a very varied and extremely satisfying evening which was clearly enjoyed by all. I hope we can feature this combination again before too long.
Despite the sad announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II only a few minutes before opening, a good number of people turned up for what turned out to be a very warm and friendly evening, featuring mainly the vocal talents of Kenny MacDonald. Kenny quickly established a rapport with the audience and they stayed with him throughout the evening as he covered a whole range of moods and tempos. These included swinging versions of “Foggy Day”, “You Make Me Feel So Young”, “The Lady is a Tramp”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and the ballads “Georgia”, “Who Can I Turn To?”, “Just The Way You Are” and “When I Fall In Love”. He was backed by a driving and sensitive trio who obviously relished this dip into Sinatra territory. They also played some instrumentals, featuring several of Michel Petrucciani’s strikingly original compositions, plus Herbie Hancock’s evocative “Dolphin Dance” and Chick Corea’s haunting jazz waltz “Windows“.
This month Moray Jazz Club will present two more nights of vocal jazz and, judging by tonight’s response, this could become a regular feature.
It was good to see Pat Strachan in all his sartorial elegance back at Moray Jazz Club, together with Colin Henderson, Jon Hall and the amazing Sharkey brothers, Neil and Mike. The band played a spicy mixture of up-tempo Latin, swing and ballads. They opened with Dizzy Gillespie’s samba style “And Then She Stopped”, featuring lively solos from the two front line players over a driving rhythm section. It’s a great feeling knowing that whatever style or tempo is asked for, Mike and Neil will provide the goods. Individually they are excellent players and together they make a formidable unit. The music continued with a medium blues “Five Spot After Dark”, a faster and merrier I Want to be Happy”, a medium slow “Autumn Leaves” with Cannonball Adderley’s intro, and a classic ballad “Body and Soul”.
Pat not only played trombone but also sang and introduced “Sweet Substitute” with a brief history of its colourful composer, Jelly Roll Morton. Another early period number featured Colin on Eubie Blake’s “Memories of You”. The first half ended with “Copacabana” (not the Barry Manilow song) and the second set with a swinging version of “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To“.
Colin was on great form especially on the flute feature, Mel Torme’s “Comin’ Home Baby”, and was obviously enjoying himself. The rhythm section gelled together nicely as always and featured in a trio number, Michel Petrucciani’s “September Second”, a striking composition that always gets positive comments, this time from Pat, a fellow devotee.
This was a barnstormer of a gig! These two sax players spurred each on to produce some outstanding improvisation in two quite different styles of playing, over the firm foundation of our excellent rhythm section. Starting out with Miles Davis’ “All Blues” the band got into a great groove from the start and never let go from then on. “Blue Bossa”, “There Will Never be Another You”, Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar”, Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” and Freddie Hubbard’s “Povo” all became swinging and funky vehicles, showcasing some amazing and heartfelt saxophone solos accompanied by appreciative responses by the other players and the audience. The latter were with us all the way and it was good to see how many people stayed on until the end.
Both the leaders took a feature, Barry warming our hearts on “Days of Wine and Roses” and James gracefully soaring on Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”, done as a duet with piano. As always, Mike’s drumming was a delight for players and audience alike and Neil’s sensitive and accurate bass playing was the perfect partner to that. In fact, if they weren’t brothers you’d still say that musically they are.
Sadly, this will be the last time we hear James for a while as he is off to Glasgow for a jazz course with Tommy Smith. I’m looking forward to hearing the results when he comes back on his hols. Meanwhile we will make sure we get more of Barry in future gigs.
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