26th May 2022

Spider MacKenzie – Harmonica and Vocals

John Sharkey – Tenor Sax

Jon Hall – Piano and Vocals

Neil Sharkey – Double Bass

Nigel MacKenzie – Drums

Last night Moray Jazz Club hosted a blues and jazz party, effortlessly mixing two musical genres and having a great time in the process.

The rhythm section got things off to a swinging start with What is This Thing Called Love including a tasty bass solo and some inventive trading of phrases between piano, bass and drums. From then on the evening was shared between John Sharkey’s warm tenor sax playing and Spider MacKenzie’s blues vocals and harmonica. On one hand we enjoyed an excellent Autumn Leaves, Fly Me to the Moon, Blue Bossa and more, and on the other we were introduced to a range of blues with intriguing titles such as River Hip Blues, Socks No Shoes, Hug the Bug, and Lollipop Man. Spider took us on a journey through Charlie Musselwhite, Sonny Terry and Little Walter’s My Babe with characteristic humour and panache.

We also combined tenor and harp in Mercy Mercy and Summertime. The party mood prevailed and the rhythm section adapted to both styles effortlessly and with enthusiasm. We even forged some West Scotland connections in Bernera Blues, finding that Spider’s Isle of Lewis birthplace was also Neil and John’s home for some years. After the combined finale of Watermelon Man, an enthusiastic audience, present despite torrential rain, enjoyed a moving encore, the slow blues She May be a Woman. Amen to that!

Jon Hall

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