Georgia Mancio Quartet – 21 February 2020

“Georgia

This should have been called the Georgia Mancio & Kate Williams Quartet as many of the songs were co-written by the two. But perhaps that would be unfair to the wonderful accompaniment and soloing of Julie Walkington and Dave Ohm.

Georgia was on vocals/whistle/scat/sprechen-singen, Kate on piano, Julie on bass and Dave on Drums

I keep banging on about vocalists whose production, phrasing and timbre show a love of the words. In Georgia’s case it must partially be because she is a lyricist, writing lyrics for many of the songs with Kate or Alan Broadbent. There was one by Julie, and there were some standards. Some of the material was serious. but they know each other so well that there was a lot of good humour and sheer fun.

It was a stunning gig. I could write pages about the gig, and won’t do that.

Let’s take the Styne/Comdon/Green “Just In Time” which closed the first set. They played this tune joyously in at least 3 tempi. Georgia roughened her timbre for part of this, and scatted 3 choruses. Kate had an amazing solo which moved seamlessly (no space for applause) into exciting 4s with Dave.

Or consider Jobim’s “For All Of My Life”, Kate does amazing intros. It segued into Kate and Georgia’s “Finding Home”, in which Georgia spoke the lyric. Devastating..

Some serious stuff in the second set as well. People from Refugee Action – Colchester, Phillip and Elizabeth were our guests for the evening, They brought material to read, and sold all of Roberta’s marmalade. Georgia invited Elizabeth to give a short talk on RA-C’s work. The next song was a Kate/Georgia song, “We Walk”. This slow, tough song about walking from Afganistan through deserts and mountains had beautiful strong solo from Julie.

Alan and Georgia’s “Same Old Moon” was an up tempo song, more or less about Trump, very funny. Kate’s solo ran smoothly into Dave’s solo, which was hugely textured, a real tour de force.

I heard the last song in rehearsal, and laughed a lot. It was played in a whole bunch of national genres, all with appropriate languages and tempi. The ones I remember were English, Itallian, German (oompah), Portuguese, lots of others. In performance, Georgia explained that it was a resistance war cry in the languages of her heritage. It was called “Bella Ciao”, and was quite wonderful.

Thanks to a great quartet that I hope we see again soon.

Next week, 28 February, The Tim Whitehead Quartet will entertain us. Tim will be on sax, Jonathan Gee on piano, Andy Hamill on bass and Tom Hooper on drums.
“For my money, the finest tenor player in Britain today” – Andy Hamilton – Jazz Review
“‘Whitehead more than justified his growing reputation as one of Britain’s most thoughtful composers and improvisers.” – Chris Parker – The Times

Take care,
Dave

Chris Biscoe and Allison Neale: Two of a Mind – 14 February 2020

“Chris

From the sound check through the entire gig, the two complementary tones of baritone and alto saxes were a delight, evoking Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond. Our band was:
Chris Biscoe on baritone sax, Allison Neale on alto sax, Jeremy Brown on bass and Matt Fishwick on drums.

The music was all pretty early, ’60s mostly. I do not understand why every alter kacker (yiddish for old person, literally it is what it sounds like) within a 100 mile radius of Stoke by Nayland was not there to hear and see this wonderful music, beautifully played throughout.

The gig opened with the 1957 Mulligan tune, “Stand Still”, which is the title track of the Mulligan/Desmond album. The tone hits you like a fine vintage wine. Two solos, alto then baritone, continued the taste.

There were lots of Mulligan tunes, but the band did not forget contemporary composers. Carmichael’s beautiful “Stardust” was given the band’s treatment, with Chris on B flat clarinet. Bass and clarinet combined to make a gorgeous intro. Jeremy had a fine solo on this one, and there was some lovely work with bass and drums. The horn solos were special.

Jerome Kern’s “All The Things You Are” ended the first set, again with wonderful horn solos.

Mulligan’s “Blight of the Fumblebee” was played at about the time I noticed that the popups behind the stage were wrongly placed: FLEEJAZZECE, not FLEECEJAZZ. Everyone had solos to savour on this one, Chris on the clarinet again.

The encore demanded was Mulligan’s “Line for Lyons” (not me, altoist Jimmy Lyons). Allison’s solo was lovely.

Well, it was a lovely gig. So on to next week.

Georgia Mancio sings like an angel in English, Italian and Portuguese. She scats and whistles too. Kate Williams is a consummate composer and pianist with a vocabulary all her own: rich in interest and accessible. The pair have written a special song about refugees, very appropriate as Refugee Action – Colchester are partners with us for this gig. Julie Walkington and Dave Ohm are perfect accompanists.

Do come along.

Take care,
Dave

Jo Harrop sings Peggy Lee – 7 February 2020

“Jo

I was unable to attend last Friday’s gig, which is a great pity, as all the reports of the gig have lauded it.

Jo Harrop Vocals, Vasilis Xenopoulos Sax, Alex Webb Piano, Neville Malcolm Bass, Pete Adam Hill Drums

I heard Jo on line, and loved her voice and her treatment of songs. Vasilis and Alex are well known to us as superb players. The reports on Neville and Pete at the gig have been very good indeed,

I am sure we will book her again, and I will not miss that one.

Next week, the music of Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond, no less, with Chris Biscoe on baritone sax and Allison Neale on alto sax. They are superbly backed by Jeremy Brown on bass and Matt Fishwick on drums. This gig will be a real treat.

Take care,
Dave

The Horn Factory – 31 January 2020

“The

18 fine musicians on the extended Fleece Jazz stage gave us a mighty gig. I love the sound of a horn chorus, but to have 14 of them in chorus was really something else: loved it. The arrangements all ensured that the power of the ensemble was available for almost all of the numbers. Some of the arrangements were brave, and perfectly executed.

The band was:

Saxes:
Gilly Burgoyne Alto/Soprano/Flute, Lynsey Welham Alto, Jonathan Farnhill Lead Tenor, Mark Usher Tenor, Suzie Runnacles Baritone
Trumpets:
Richard Steward, Ian Buzer trumpet/flugel, Steve Stone, Roger Morfey, John Burch
Trombones:
Paul Little, Andy Shipp, Steve Ball, Dave Turnage Bass Trombone
Rhythm:
Bob Airzee Drums/compere, Mike Tatt Bass, Tomi Farkas Guitar, Ian Jewitt Piano.

Jeff Jarvis’s “Riptide” started off pretty well as they meant to carry on. A full blast entry, in this up tempo song, with a fine solo, this one by Gilly Burgoyne on alto. She had another beauty on Oliver Nelson’s “I Hope In Time A Change Will Come”. Don’t we all?

There were ballads. “Blue” (I think by Bill Mack) was a lovely example of ballad playing by a big band, with Ian Buzer‘s excellent flugel solo.

All of the solos, from sax, trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar and one from Bob Airze on drums were great to hear, and the band is tight and accurate. You can’t ask for more. They gave us an excellent gig.

On Friday, Jo Harrop will be singing songs by Peggy Lee and others, with a fine backing from Vasilis Xenopoulos on sax, Alex Webb on piano, Neville Malcolm on bass and Pete Adam Hill on drums.
“This girl was born to sing jazz … a class act” – Pizza Express
“Her voice is amazing, think Islay whiskey, or tannin rich red wine – deep” – Lance, Bebop Spoken Here

Take care,
Dave