Notes on Past Gigs

This page contains notes and thoughts about gigs, written a day or two after the gig. Administrative posts are also shown.

Please click on “Full posting” for each gig to see the photo and full text.

Thoughts on Sara Dowling: The Jazz of Judy Garland – 12 January 2022

I have written in the past about the joy of seeing singers who tell stories, and there are many that have graced our stage. Sara Dowling is a superb example of this,  body, research and soul. Couple that with a great voice and a fine backing trio, it was a totally delightful gig. Chris Ingham’s piano trio, with Dario De Leche on bass and George Double on drums, led us off. Their rendition  of “Come Rain or Come Shine, (Arlen/Mercer) showed us how exciting a piano trio can be.   The songs all had a reference to Judy Garland. Every…

Thoughts on the Alan Barnes Sextet, 22 December 2021

Just listing the band members shows how good a gig this was. Alan’s sextet gave us Ellington and Strayhorn and a joyous evening. I will list them in the classical order, but this was a band of equals playing at the top level. Alan Barnes played alto and clarinet, and was raconteur superbe. Karen Sharp played tenor, baritone and clarinet, and did some of the arranging. Robert Fowler played tenor and clarinet, and did some of the arranging. David Newton, our honorary Presidentè, commanded the piano. Simon Thorpe played double bass with his usual intensity. Clark Tracey played drums; he…

Thoughts on Art Themen Trio – 24 November 2021

It is such a pleasure to see the return of Art Themen in trio form (or in any form). It seems to me that his playing gets better and better with age. He is a great story teller on both sax and mic. This was a thoroughly entertaining gig. Three lovely guys playing at being at odds, with George Double as the Thain. Pete Whittaker and Art were villeins.  Their CD, at https://www.georgedouble.com/hadleigh-jazz-records is excellent, and we even get a mention in the liner notes, but oh, live jazz is better.  The programme the trio gave us was varied in…

Thoughts on Alina Bzhezhinska’s Hip Harp – 12 November 2021

This was a marvellous gig. But first the scene needs setting. Visualise our stage from your left to right. You will first see Joel Prime with his extensive percussion kit. Joel played a duo with Alina the last time she was with us. Then Alina Bzhezhinska behind a concert harp, sitting so you could just see her feet on the pedals. Behind her and a little to the right electric bassist Mikele Montolli stood. To the right of Alina, Jay Phelps played his trumpet on most of the tunes. On the far right (not that far, not a very big…

Thoughts on Hexagonal – 27 October 2021

Thoughts on  Hexagonal , 29 October 2021 Three superb horn players were with us on Wednesday. Hexagonal’s music involves complex rhythms, often different for each horn. Their timing and intensity was, to my ears, perfect. The sound was really exciting. We had Greg Heath on Tenor and Soprano,  Jason Yarde on Alto and Baritone, and Graeme Flowers on Trumpet and Flugel. Greg was the band’s announcer. John Donaldson arranged the music for the band. He is a formidable pianist. It was great to have bassist Matt Ridley back. Drummer Tristan Banks got caught in traffic and people glueing themselves to…

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