Monday, 28 November 2016

December cheer in the North East...

Alter Ego 1 Dec Durham Empty Shop

Russell Corbett's December North East Jazz news

December brings with it frivolity, seasonal cheer and a shop-’til-you-drop mentality. The tinsel will be everywhere, Santa hats obligatory…so, what to do? Bolt the door? Turn out the light? Or, take Rudolph by the antlers and embrace it – the spirit, that is, not Rudolph!

On the 1 Dec Durham’s Empty Shop will be full to capacity as Alter Ego play bebop and more. Up the road at Newcastle’s Jazz CafĂ© the Gerry Richardson Quartet will stoke the mid-winter Hammond fires. Saltburn’s Christmas party night (Dec 2) presents a return visit by the popular Dixieland outfit the Savannah Jazz Band.

A re-arranged gig by Lindsay Hannon (November’s date was cancelled) sees the ‘Plus’ at the Traveller’s Rest, Darlington (Dec 2) and on the same night, Jambone – Sage Gateshead’s youth big band –  will be going to church! The band has a gig at St James’ and St Basil’s Church in Fenham just out of Newcastle city centre.

Big band fans should put these dates in the diary…the Customs House Big Band plays a charity concert at North Shields’ Exchange (Dec 3) and three days later (Dec 6) makes a return visit to All Saints Church in the South Tyneside village of Cleadon. The amazing Tyne Valley Big Band and its junior ensembles will play an end of term concert (Dec 8) at Hexham HQ, the Phoenix Bar & Club on Chisholm Place (it’s an early start – 6:00pm). The indefatigable Chris Barber returns to Sage Gateshead (Dec 8) with his top class Big Chris Barber Band. Few tickets remain – telephone the ticket office on 0191 443 4661.

A three band extravaganza on Dec 11 (six o’clock start) at Darlington Market Place features the Durham Alumni Big Band and its development bands the Durham County Youth Big Band and the Little Big Band. The Pizza Express, Newcastle (Dec 12) will shoehorn the award winning Durham University Big Band into a corner and within a trombone slide’s length of your pizza. More big bands? Try Sage Gateshead (Dec 14) for the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band (performing in support of the jazz degree course), and the Durham University Big Band having a blast in their own Students’ Union (Dec 14). Arts Centre Washington (Dec 16) presents Cosyjo, the City of Sunderland junior big band and the Strictly Smokin’ guys have a two nighter at the Black Swan in Newcastle Arts Centre (Dec 16 & 17). Very few tickets remain for either night, you’d better be quick!

Newcastle City Hall is the place to be on Dec 20 and again on Dec 21 to party with Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. Those Strictly Smokin’ guys aren’t finished yet…Hoochie Coochie (Dec 29) and a New Year’s Eve bash at Gateshead’s Prohibition Bar rounds off 2016 for the hardest working big band in the region. From the sublime to Glenn Miller – Major Miller, in the guise of Ray McVay, parachutes into Sage Gateshead for a matinee show on Dec 30. Don’t knock it, it’s great entertainment and they can play! Who said big bands are dead?!

Finally, in complete contrast, Jazz North East concludes it’s year long 50th anniversary celebrations with the debut performance of the Fluid Orchestra at the Black Swan on Dec 13. A hand-picked ensemble from across the northern region will be playing charts commissioned by the promoter in a salute to five decades of promotion on Tyneside. Here’s to the next half century!                  

Just time to mention Alan Barnes: A Jazz Christmas Carol at Ushaw College on Dec 17.
The term ‘all-star’ best describes the band…B Adams, M Nightingale, D Newton et al!!!  

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