Friday, 7 November 2014

A Bigger band - The Clifford Longhurst Jazz Knights at The Riverside.

It's been more than a year coming....I didn't think I'd get there but I did!

The Clifford Longhurst Jazz Knights finally made it to The Riverside Club, Staines. Last year there was a cancellation and even this time we lost a trombonist who vanished without trace on the way there.

It was worth it - a 17 piece (I think) Big band, celebrating the life and work of the band leader Woody Herman.

Nice lineup - four brothers and a sister (it's a Woody Herman joke!)

Obviously it's a labour of love. I know and appreciate The Riverside Club but the fee would just about cover travel expenses.

It must have taken Cliff Longhurst years to collect together the arrangements - which otherwise might well have been lost.

The Result?

It swung;

It's not my era and maybe it's not my kind of Jazz but I'd travel to support a Big band - it's an endangered species.

Just wallow in the sound (we were on the front row) and feel
the arrangements....that's Jazz.

There were also some fine Jazz vocals from Pam Pecko-Smith;

And who wouldn't want to sing with a Big band?

Here's the Band leader himself, Clifford Longhurst;

Robyn and me had a surprise and a special treat when we discovered the fine Baritone saxophone;

After some detective work, I found that this was Tracy Mendham who we last saw at The Imperial Wharf Jazz Festival in September playing in the front row of the famed Roberto Pla's Latin Ensemble.

Here's my review, take a look for yourself;

That was a great night and here's a picture I took back then with the great Roberto just behind her;

As I said, it's not my usual music but Woody Herman was around long enough to have influences ranging from Duke Ellington to the Bebop of Dizzy Gillespie who was hired by Woody to write some arrangements for him. There's something for everyone.

I also enjoyed Sidney Bechet's 'Petite Fleur' given the Woody Herman treatment.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


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