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After a slightly delayed start resulting from the late appearance of some members of the band and the recovery of an early panic caused by a missing lead from the sound system, the first concert of the new 2006/2007 season got underway with some fine interpretations of lively New Orleans jazz music.
The early pace was pretty intensive as illustrated by the driving ‘Beautiful Ohio’ which featured Peter Wilkinson on vocals and Keith Dorey on guitar. ‘Harlem Bound’ provided John Maddocks with the opportunity for a wonderful clarinet solo and his light touch and evocative styling was a feature throughout the evening. His playing was inspired on the up tempo ‘Wild Cat Blues’ with strong support from the rhythm section.
The first set closed with the Johnny Dodds’ favourite ‘Gate mouth’ which provided the chance for Sid Bailey to show his mastery of the trombone.
The second half began with a wonderful tribute to the club’s recently deceased Membership Secretary, Bill Bloy, as the band chose the haunting lament ‘Sparrow watches me’ featuring Peter Wilkinson on muted trumpet. Two up-beat favourites followed with Muskrat Ramble and Sister Lotte Peavey which had pianist Peter Tamplin in full stride.
The band shared solos on the Billie Holiday number, ‘Lord, you made the night too long’ with trumpet, muted trombone and guitar coming to the fore, and there was much in the second set to keep the audience entertained and enthusiastic.
Rousing versions of ‘I scream, you scream!’, ‘New Orleans Wiggle’, ‘The Glory of Love’ and ‘Hello Central, Give me Doctor Jazz!’ meant the feet kept tapping and had the audience calling for more.
The new season promises much and this was a wonderful way to get it started with a crowd of nearly 140 enjoying the opening gig.