Dominic Norcross at Jazznights at Clare, Suffolk on Sunday 3rd October 2010

Jazznights Dominic Norcross 031010 (27)Jazznights welcomed Dominic Norcross (tenor & baritone saxophones) to Clare. He was accompanied by the Jazznights Trio

After an appearance with Mornington Lockett at the Brecon Jazz Festival ’09 and the Jazznights Dominic Norcross 031010 (15)release of his CD "Here Goes", Dominic is attracting rave reviews everywhere. "Fast becoming a main stay on the UK jazz scene." The Guardian. "Like having Zoot Sims playing next to you." Digby Fairweather. Dominic was called “the Welsh Stan Getz” by Alan Barnes. With quotes like these we were expecting a great evening. Not only were we not disappointed, he excelled all those hopes – a truly wonderful evening.

The Jazznights Trio were:
Roger Odell – drums
Roger was one of the founder members and drummer with the jazz-funk group Shakatak. Roger has toured internationally and recorded numerous CDs, which he continues to do on a regular basis to this day.
Simon Brown – piano
A very respected and popular jazz pianist who is equally known for his arranging skills. He is always in demand to play many gigs with other bands when he is not teaching jazz piano or playing with the  Jazznights Trio
Steve Cook
Steve has a wonderful rounded tone with great clarity. He has played with Mike Westbrook, Mike Kilpatrick’s Duke Ellington Orchestra, Barbara Thompson, Soft Machine, Seventh Wave and Gil Evans big band at Ronnie Scott’s

Jazznights Simon Brown 031010 (7) Jazznights Steve Cook 031010 (22) Jazznights Roger 031010 (1A)

Larraine Odell started the evening with the 1944 Like Someone In Love (written by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Burke) which was introduced in the movie Belle of the Yukon by Dinah Shore who played a dance hall singer in one of her early films. A great start to the set which featured Simon Brown on piano and Steve Cook on doJazznights Larraine 031010 (10)uble bass who used the high register to very good effect. The 1939 Cole Porter number I Concentrate On You followed featuring Simon.

The Richard Rodgers 1945 song It Might As Well Be Spring was in a medium tempo but had a beautiful bouncy interpretation – a lovely version by Larraine. George and Ira Gershwin’s Embraceable You  again featured Steve Cook on bass with a lovely sympathetic Jazznights Larraine 031010 (11)solo to Larraine’s vocals. The 1956 song Love Came Just In Time ended this set with and intro end ending with just the double bass and Larraine’s vocals with a solo from Simon Brown. All songs were arranged by Roger Odell which just shows how versatile Roger is.

Dominic Norcross opened his first set on tenor with an up-tempo version of the 1931 Beautiful Love featuring Simon Brown on Piano. The 1932 Alone Together by Arthur Schwarz played with at a medium tempo with some of Dominic’s solo played in a high register which could almost have been be nan alto solo rather than a tenor. Dominic was supported by solos from both Simon and Steve. Oliver Nelson’s Stolen Moments which first appeared as "The Stolen Moment" on the 1960 1960 album "Trane Whistle" by Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. Solos also by Simon, Jazznights Karen Davies 031010 (19)Steve and Roger Odell showing his originality within a steady driving beat. This was a great introduction to Dominic at his debut visit to the club

After the break and following the Jazznights raffle with no less than four CD’s and a bottle of wine. We had the traditional Sitting In Spot which tonight featured two numbers by the very talented songstress Karen Davies. The first was George & Ira Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm followed by the ballad Lover Man.

Dominic opened his second set on baritone with Gerry Mulligan’s Five Brothers which also featured all the band members including a solo by Roger using the brushes as conventional sticks. Rodgers & Hart’s 1937 My Funny Valentine followed in C minor with Dominic on baritone again. Played superbly and I have always liked the rich sound of the baritone ever since I first saw Ronnie Ross on this side of the pond and heard a Gerry Mulligan recording from the other side. This Jazznights Dominic Norcross 031010 (25)ended with an accompanied solo by Dominic which culminated in with a bowed bass from Steve. Jerome Kern’s Yesterdays was next with Dominic back on tenor. Charlie Parker’s twelve bar blues Now’s The Time was played next at a very fast tempo with Simon’s fingers a blur across the keys although Steve played with some long sustained notes despite the tempo held by Roger – great effect.

Jazznights Dominic Norcross 031010 (17)Duke Ellington’s 1969 Do Nothing till You Hear From Me was the penultimate number with a very fast Bye Bye Blackbird to finish the set. We have all heard many versions of this 1926 standard played by just about all the jazz greats but this was outstanding and fitting ending to a wonderful evening. To re-quote Alan Barnes “the Welsh Stan Getz” statement would not be an exaggeration. Come back any time Dominic

Come and visit Jazznights on Sunday 17th Oct –with ROGER BEAUJOLAIS (vibes)
Now one of our most popular guest artists, Roger makes a welcome return to The Bell. As the most experienced of the few UK vibes players he has enjoyed a long career both as a leader of his own various bands and as a sideman, most famously with the band Fairground Attraction.

For future gigs and further information go to www.jazz-nights.com

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Ronnie Scott jokes following Dick Pearce’s gig at Jazznights

After listening to some of Dick Pearce’s recollections of Ronnie Scott’s jokes at the Jazznights gig at Clare last Sunday, we have found an interesting website which recounts some of Ronnie’s quips. For example:

When the drink/driving legislation was introduced the equipment used by the police was known as "a breathalyser". Any driver suspected of being over the alcohol limit was required to blow into a bag where the alcohol level would be checked. Ronnie used to send patrons on their way at the end of the evening with the warning:
Before you leave the police have asked me to remind you that ‘breathalyser tests are now in operation’….. So if you’re thinking of drinking and driving tonight…….don’t breathe…

Fellow musicians were always likely to be the butt of Ronnie’s jokes. The ‘Melody Maker’, a weekly musical newspaper, used to hold an annual readers poll where readers were invited to vote for their top musicians in many categories, including a separate category for each instrument. I remember a Jazz Couriers show in 1957 when Ronnie solemnly introduced the band members to the audience:
….on piano we have Terry Shannon…..his claim to fame is that in a recent readers poll carried out by one of our weekly musical comics, Terry tied for 12th place in the piano section… with Winifred Atwell (older readers will remember that Winifred Atwell, although a fine pianist, was a musical variety turn who used to play popular tunes in a ‘honky tonk’ style. Ronnie’s information though was factually correct – they both got 43 votes).

Even the club itself did not escape. The food served at the Club was not always to everyone’s liking and the decor became progressively worse, there was never a lot of cleaning or refurbishing during the clubs long tenure at Frith Street. Of the food Ronnie used to say, only half joking: "A thousand flies can’t be wrong." Then there was his often heard joke in which he would refer to the club as "just like home – filthy and full of strangers"

Further jokes can be seen at http://vzone.virgin.net/davidh.taylor/ronnie4.htm

Dick Pearce at Jazznights with the Roger Odell Trio Sunday 19th September 2010

Dick Pearce joined the Roger Odell Trio and Larraine Odell at Jazznights, The Bell Hotel, Clare in Suffolk with our Master Of Ceremonies – Donald Muir

One of the UK’s finest and most exciting jazz trumpeters, Dick Pearce was Ronnie Scott’s frontline partner for fourteen years. More recently he has performed with Gilad Atzmon, Clark and Stan Tracey’s Ellingtonia, Alan Barnes and Don Weller in A Tribute to Cannonball AdderleyJazznights Dick Pearce 190910 (11)

‘Look at the Trumpet player with Ronnie Scott tonight, Dick Pearce. Tremendously talented- I called home to a couple of friends of mine about him.
‘ Oscar Peterson – (Interview in Melody Maker)

‘Dick Pearce plays the most exquisite, heart stopping music … his elegant, flowing lines are up there with anything by Bobby Hackett, Chet Baker or Miles Davis that I have heard.’ (Brian Blain) – what an in introduction!

The Jazznights trio with Larraine Odell  opened the evening with a medium tempo Alone Together composed by Arthur Schwartz with lyrics by Howard Dietz featuring both Simon Brown and Andy Doyle

Roger Odell – drums
Roger was one of the founder members and drummer with the jazz-funk group Shakatak, Roger has toured internationally and recorded numerous CDs, which he continues to do on a regular basis to this day.
Simon Brown – piano
A very respected and popular jazz pianist who is equally known for his arranging skills. He is always in demand to play many gigs with other bands when he is not teaching jazz piano or playing with the  Jazznights Trio

Andy Doyle – double bass
Andy is a superb bass player and a regular member of the Lewis Wright quartet. and the Rhythm and blues band the Keno Kings
Larraine Odell – vocals 
Larraine has performed at numerous venues throughout the UK and Europe, including the Purcell Room, RFH, Boxford Fleece & Ronnie Scott’s.

Larraine opened the first set with Alone Together composed by Arthur Schwartz with lyrics by Howard Dietz which featured both Simon Brown on piano and Andy Doyle on double bass.A sensitive The Gentle Rain followed by Luiz Bonfá with a very lovely solo by Simon. Night and Day by Cole Porter which was written for the 1932 musical play Gay Divorce was a very swinging up-tempo again featuring Jazznights Larraine 190910 (2) Simon with great support from Roger on the drums. A tender A Time For Love by Jonny Mandell was beautifully sung by Larraine with brushwork giving the support from Roger.

I’m Old Fashioned, a 1942 song composed by Jerome Kern, with lyrics written by Johnny Mercer.It was written for the film You Were Never Lovelier (1942), where it was introduced by Nan Wynn who dubbed for Rita Hayworth as part of a song and dance routine with Fred Astaire. (O.K. you didn’t want to know that!). This was a great finale to Larraine’s set which had a solo from Simon and 8 bar trades between Andy and Roger. All these were arranged by Roger Odell.

Dick Pearce, who coincidentally replace Harry Beckett, another great British trumpet player who sadly passed away recently, opened with a cracking tune which we new so well, but could not bring the name to mind (old age is my excuse). Victor Jazznights Dick Pearce 190910 (8) Young’s A Weaver Of Dreams followed in E flat with intro from Dick with breaks by Simon and Andy.Great opening solo from Dick on Horace Silver’s Adjustment with Roger featured on drums after trades with Andy on bass. Thelonius Monk’s Purple Shades ended the first set. Dick introduced this number with “It is not played a lot and tonight is no exception” – it was of course superb. Dick’s dry sense of humour continued throughout the evening and certainly had shades of Ronnie Scott, after all, he did spend 14 years with the Ronnie Scott Quintet!

Jazznights Dick Pearce 190910 (19) After the break we had the Jazznights raffle which apart from a bottle of red wine, a Buddy De Franco quartet CD and an Anita Wardell CD, we had one of Ron Mattewson’s socks (un washed) which was proudly presented by Dick Pearce! (Ron Mattewson was of course a bassist with Ronnie Scott for many years). Geoff Harriman with his harmonica then featured in the Jazznights sitting in spot playing Ray Charles’s You Don’t Know Me.

Dick opened the second set with another Victor Young number: Stella By Starlight in E flat. Sigmund Romberg’s Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise was played as an up-tempo number which featured the flying fingers of Simon Brown. The third tune was composed by Dick Pearce. This had no title and was passed round to the band on a scrap of paper about the size of a page in a small notebook. It all gelled so well with a swing rhythm powered by Roger on drums.

 Happy Man composed again by Dick was played in an “uppish” tempo (Dick’s word, not mine and was played at a medium tempo.Jazznights Dick Pearce 190910 (38)

Dick’s next tune was played in a “Bossarish  manner as sung by the White Rabbit in Alice In Wonderland” (guess who said that!) played at a medium tempo. (Wikipedia tells us that "White Rabbit" is a psychedelic rock/acid rock song from Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow.) Unusually, Dick finished the evening with a ballad at Roger’s request.the 1942 Lover Man  was a superb number which had great bass support for both Dick and Simon by Andy Doyle on bass who gave a very sensitive break. A wonderful evening yet again from Jazznights – all thanks to Roger Odell who organises the club.

For further information and future gigs visit www.jazz-nights.com

Art Theman at Jazznights: Clare, Suffolk Sunday 5th September 2010

Art Themen started playing jazz with the Cambridge University Jazz Group, and then in London playing with blues musicians Jack Bruce and Alexis Korner. In 1965 he played with the Peter Stuyvesant Jazz Orchestra in Zürich, going on to play with such English luminaries as Michael Garrick and Graham Collier’s Music.Jazznights Art Theman 050910 (12a)

In 1974 he entered on what was to be one of his central musical relationships when he started playing with Stan Tracey. He has played with all of Tracey’s groups, touring with him all over the world as well as around the UK. He has also played and toured with musicians such as Nat Adderley, Ian Carr, George Coleman, and Al Haig.

Art was joined by the Jazznights trio and Larraine Odell on vocals
Roger Odell– drums
Roger was one of the founder members and drummer with the jazz-funk group Shakatak, Roger has toured internationally and recorded numerous CDs, which he continues to do on a regular basis to this day.
Simon Brown – piano
A very respected and popular jazz pianist who is equally known for his arranging skills. He is always in demand to play many gigs with other bands when he is not teaching jazz piano or playing with the  Jazznights Trio
Bernie Hodkins – double bass
Inspired by an uncle, who played and recorded with Django Reinhart and Stephane Grappelli in the legendary Quintet de Hot Club of France, Bernie grew up in a Jazz-oriented family. Their influence led him to become a respected bass player behind such people as Matt Munroe, Dickie Valentine and Dennis Lotus, in the early stages of his career. Bernie is particularly acknowledged as being one of the few players to bring an authentic, driving jazz feel to both the double bass and the bass-guitar, and for his fluent and creative soloing.
Larraine Odell – vocals
Beginning her professional singing career with the group CMU with whom she recorded two albums, Larraine performed at numerous venues throughout the UK and Europe, including the Purcell Room, RFH, Boxford Fleece & Ronnie Scotts. Larraine possesses a unique smouldering tonal quality and a subtle jazz phrasing style that has elicited great praise from two of her own vocal mentors, Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan.

Larraine and the Trio opened the first set with Brooks Bowman’s East of the Sun and West Of The Moon featuring Simon Brown on piano. Second was Estate – French for Summer by the composer Bruno Martino with words by Joel Siegal. This really is a lovely song and Larraine more than did it justice in a sensitive and soulful manner. An up-tempo Night and Day by Cole Porter (from the 1932 production of Gay Divorce) featured a notable (sorry about the pun) solo from Bernie Hodgkins on bass.

The 1930 standard Body and Soul by Johnny Green with lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton was a interesting as Simon was playing in a different key to every one else!. Quite interesting to note that one is hard pressed to think of jazz groups that don’t include it in their repertoire but it was but it was Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra (Jack Fulton, vocal) who popularized it first. Their recording hit the charts on October 11, 1930, and held the number one spot for six weeks. Cole Porter’s 1955 number from his last Broadway show Silk Stockings – All Of You ended Larraine’s set: with an opening solo by Bernie leading into an up-tempo finale.

Art Theman on tenor opened his first set with Jerome Kern’s 1939 bouncy All The Thing You Are with 8 bar trades between Art and  Roger on drums as well as an outstanding solo on bass by Bernie. Art’s second number featured his soprano saxJazznights Art Theman 050910 (18) which has a curved neck and bell which looks much like a baby alto. (There is  some debate over the effect of the straight and curved neck, with some players believing that a curved neck on a soprano gives it a warmer, less nasal tone) the 1937 Someday My Prince Will Come by Frank E Churchill. Interesting that many associate this with the Miles Davis recording but he didn’t record his rendition until 1961. This featured solos from both Simon and Bernie.

The ever popular ballad Hoagy Carmichael’s 1929 Stardust followed with Art reverting  to tenor. Great sequence of 8 bar trades between Art and Roger again (Roger certainly earned his corn this evening) and a tender solo from Bernie. Sigmund Romberg’s 1928 Softly As A Morning Sunrise as featured by Sonny Rollins ended Art’s first set which went far to quickly.

The regular Jazznights sitting in spot opened the second set of the evening with a debut performance of two songs from Patrice Taylor (or was it Patrese Taylor?)L: Henry Nemo’s 1941 Tis Autumn and the 1950 Orange Coloured Sky by Milton DeLugg and Willie Stein – better known as I was walking along, minding my business, When out of an orange-colored sky, Flash! Bam! Alakazam! A regular local songstress followed with her version of  I Wanna Be Loved By You from the 1928 musical Good Boy, the song being made famous by Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot.

Art Theman opened his second set with Sonny Rollins Take Off Your shoes Jazznights Art Theman 050910 (3) featuring solos by all the bans and 4 bar trades with Art, Roger and Simon. You are The One followed followed again with solos from all. Ellington’s In a Sentimental Mood followed which Art played as a tribute to Harry Beckett who sadly died as was due to play at Jazznights this evening. This also featured Bernie with a very subtle solo accompanied by superb brushwork from Roger

 Jazznights Art Theman 050910 (1) Art’s next tune featured a great rendition of Dexter Gordon’s Cheesecake (many of Dexter’s tunes were named after food – despite his slim build!) followed which was opened with Bernie on bass leading into Art and the trio and a noteworthy solo from Simon. Sonny Rollin’s Doxy (which was also the name of Sonny’s own record label: Doxy Records) in which Art featured both the soprano and tenor saxophones.

A powerful version of Ray Noble’s 1938 Cherokee closed what seemed to be a far too brief evening. It is no surprise of course that Cherokee is often chosen to close a gig  with its naturally fast beat which is often  played at “tempo de bitch”

A wonderful evening with a trio of East Anglia’s finest jazz musicians together with one of thw UK’s leading saxophonists, Art being one the The Three Tenors (not of voice though – just the tenor sax!

For further details and future gigs go to www.jazz-nights.com. The evening also has the the Jazznights sitting-in spot open for any musicians who would like to play at the club with the Roger Odell Trio.