BBC Big Band with James Morrison – review by Marion Fry

September 13, 2010 at 16:13 Leave a comment

A long time coming…….

This BBC Big Band concert was originally scheduled for April 23rd. However, thanks to volcanos, volcanic ash disrupted air travel and our guests were stranded on the way into the UK – in James’ case all the way from Australia.

However, it was worth the wait and the full house enjoyed a first class concert, with the rhythm section giving the introduction to ‘Ticker’ with the rest of the band joining them on stage later. ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ followed with a fine trombone solo from Trevor Mires.  Claire then came onstage to introduce the recorded broadcast part of the concert. ‘Dippermouth Blues’ later known as ‘Sugar Foot Stomp’ was an early Louis number, with solos from Craig Wild on trumpet, Jay Craig on baritone sax, Ashley Horton and Pat Hartley on trombones and Graham Harvey on piano. At this point James Morrison came onstage for his first set of four numbers, which began with ‘Struttin’ With Some Barbecue’, solo from Graham Blevens on tenor sax, ‘All Of Me’ was next, followed by ‘Jeepers Creepers’ supported by the trumpet section (Brian Rankine, Pat White, Craig Wild and Martin Shaw) The set concluded with Louis’ hit  from the charts ‘What A Wonderful World’. The audience gave James an ovation as he left the stage, to be replaced by Anita Wardell, who came on stage to sing ‘I’m Beginning To See The Light’ followed by ‘That Old Black Magic’ and the last number before the interval was a spirited rendition of ‘Stompin’ At The Savoy’. Anita certainly has a superb voice, and these numbers were just right for her.

The audience returned after the interval, in their seats and eagerly awaiting the second half, which began with an instrumental, ‘Let’s Get Together’ which featured solos from Martin Shaw, Graham Harvey and Graham Blevens.Anita returned to the stage to give us more of Ella, with ‘A Tisket A Tasket’, ‘Don’t Be That Way’, then a beautiful rendition of ‘Stairway To The Stars’ accompanied by Graham Harvey – superb!- ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ and ‘The Very Thought Of You’. James then joined Anita for’Come Rain Or Come Shine’ (Martin Shaw soloing) and their last number together was absolutely great with Anita scat singing and James blowing up a storm with ‘Lady be Good’. Anita then left the stage to great applause , then James played one of my favourite ‘Louis’ numbers ‘Sleepy Time Down South’ He then went on to play ‘Der Treue Husar’ which the band backed him by playing the numbers in different styles, I think most people would be familiar with this number as ‘The Faithful Hussar’!! James finished his set with ‘Up a Lazy River’ – great accompaniment by Phil Robson on guitar. The audience went wild, and refused to let the concert end without Anita returning to the stage to sing ‘Mack the Knife’, with of course James on trumpet!  What a great show, and many thanks to Bob McDowall and his team for all the hard work in making sure that we finally got to hear this concert.

Marion Fry


Trumpets: Pat White(lead) Brian Rankine, Craig Wild and Martin Shaw

Trombones: Ashley Horton (lead) Trevor Mires, Pat Hartley and Pete North

Saxophones: Paul Jones (lead) Graham Blevins Ben Castle  Sammy Maine and Jay Craig

Rhythm Section:  Piano: Graham Harvey, Guitar: Phil Robson, Bass Dave Whitford, Drums: Darren Williams

Jazzmouse’s Paul Fawcus was in attendance fulling his role as FOH engineer for the BBC Big Band


Entry filed under: Jazzmouse Productions, Music Events, Reviews.

Juan Martin – review of St Davids Hall Concert May 2010 BBC Big Band Autumn Season 2010

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