Jo Fooks at Jazznights in Clare 4th April 2010

A wonderful evening at Jazznights again. Jo Fooks, the special guest this evening  on tenor saxophone.  Jo first met Humphrey Lyttelton in her birthplace, Edinburgh, when she was a fifteen-year-old playing tenor saxophone in the West Lothian Big Band. She had just won the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year Award of 1992, and impressed both Humph and Acker Bilk when she played at a ‘seminar’ held by them during the Edinburgh Jazz Festival. In 20Jazznights 040410 (1A)05, she sent Humph her debut CD, ‘Here and Now’, revealing that since that meeting in Edinburgh, she had studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London and at Berkley in America, played in the orchestra for West Side Story at an opera Festival in South Africa, toured with the contemporary dance company, Flying Gorillas and, after moving South, established herself on the London gig scene. As a result of her CD the circle of events was completed when she appeared alongside Acker Bilk as a guest with Humph’s band at the Edinburgh Jazz festival 2006, thereafter joining his now eight-piece band as a permanent member.

The Jazznights trio tonight featured Roger Odell on drums, Simon Brown on keys and Steve Cook on Double Bass who has been a stalwart for years with Soft Machine.

The first set opened with Jazznights resident songbird Larraine Odell. In our opinion a stunning original interpretation of East Of The Sun arranged by Roger Odell. A very sensitive version of I’ll  Close My Eyes from the film The Bridges of Madison County followed which led into Come Rain OR Come Shine featuring 8 bar breaks between Roger on drums and Steve on Bass. A wonderful ‘painting in music’ finished Larraine’s set with The Midnight Sun which highlighted Steve’s lyrical double bass soloing behind Larraine.

Jo Fooks started her first set with a very eloquent introduction featuring alll the trio. Jo’s The Brolley Song followed which she wrote after a rather inclement outdoor concert in Sittingbourne, Kent with shades of Cornwall from the Helston Floral Dance. A great version of Hank Mobley’s Soul Station lead into Teaching Blues which she composed after a ‘bad’ teaching period. An up tempo version of Ella’s It’s Wonderful closed the first set. Jo Fooks Jazznights 040410 (21)

The second set opened with the traditional Sitting In Spot with no less than four local performers. Young (11 years old) played Willie Brown’s Mississippi Blues on an amplified acoustic guitar with a real blues feeling, this is a classic. graduation piece for blues fingerpickers. Terry Reed then played Making Whoopee on the piano. Steve Laws then played a sensitive rendering of John Coltrane’s Naima. Geoff Harriman finished this spot with Cheek to Cheek. What a showcase of local talent.

A roaring Back For More started Jo Fook’s second set which she wrote for a couple of regulars at her gigs. Snow Shine was written by Jo in the first week of January 2010 and was named by the audience at an early January gig when the snow was on the ground. Jamming at Sue’s Place was written for Susan May-Robinson who runs Spikes Place Jazz Club in Hadleigh. Sue was of course Spike Robinson’s wife.Jo Fooks Jazznights 040410 (19)

Following Black Orpheus was followed by two numbers which Jo invited Larraine Odell back to the stage for Lullaby Of Birdland and a much faster version than is  usually played of Richard Rodgers I Could Write A Book.

Again a wonderful night at Jazznights and as Alan Crumpton used to say “What ever your taste in music – keep it live”

For details of future gigs go to

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