The SNJO & Arild Andersen play Mingus

One, Two uh uh uh…No one starts a tune like Mingus.  His music is often meaty, frenetic and occasionally oddly named.  The tunes contain humour, nods to classical music and they have a bluesy swing.  It only took about 3 seconds for my head to start bobbing to the beat at the SNJO concert on Friday night.  It was great to see Allon Beauvoisin join the orchestra on baritone sax alongside special guest Arild Andersen from Norway on the acoustic double bass. As a lover of the lower notes and deeper toned instruments Mingus is a favourite of mine as he seems to explore these sounds a bit more than some other jazz composers.

Notable tunes of the night were Song with Orange, All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother, Moanin’ and an encore rendition of Ecclesiastes.  The orchestra vocalised and wooped (as they had promised they would), they clapped and laughed. The talent of the orchestra shone through the various and numerous solos played.  It was a particular treat to hear and feel Beauvoisin on the baritone in Moanin’ (short clip here) and Smith and Wiszniewski play their tenor saxes on Ecclesiastes.  Arild has played with the SNJO before and there seems to be a very good vibe when they play together.  His melodic bass lines fit well with the band’s style and he really looks like a musician who enjoys playing with the SNJO. I love hearing him play.

The Queens Hall was well attended with an enthusiastic audience who cheered and gave a round of applause when we were informed, by Tommy Smith,  that he had taken a call that day from Lothian Council who explained they would not be cutting the music funding for music tuition in their schools. I love a bit of chat at live gigs and there was a lot of positive, good humoured chat at this one. Great tunes, great vibes, great audience. The night was a success.

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Teach Yourself Jazz (1958) — John Elliott’s Blog

1958 was a fantastic year for jazz. The whole bebop thing had happened. Wynton Kelly was playing with the Miles group. Bill Evans was emerging with ‘New Jazz Conceptions’ the previous year and ‘Everybody digs Bill Evans’ in 1958 itself. Both would play on Kind of Blue the following year. Billy Strayhorn was doing fantastic […]

via Teach Yourself Jazz (1958) — John Elliott’s Blog

A Yaba Daba Doo Time – Jazz at the Fringe

On a scorching hot day in Edinburgh I decided to check out John Hunt Sings Swing. There were two reasons; I could get out out of the sun whilst hearing some live music and also try my new Canon 80D in a dark venue. I had been told on a previous visit that this venue was a safe enough place for a woman to go on her own so I thought I’d test that out too. It was, after all, a Wednesday afternoon. I left the festival sunshine behind me and entered the dark Edinburgh basement that is The Jazz Bar.

John Hunt, unknown to me, but apparently the fringe’s favourite bluesman, was backed by the trio of Campbell Normand on piano,  Ed Kelly on double bass and familiar face Bill Kyle on drums. The gig was to be an hour long.  There was a decent crowd, older, some American visitors to the city, all very friendly.  John opened with Mac the Knife and if I am not mistaken there were some customised lyrics in there, this was followed by Ain’t Misbehavin’. John sang a beautiful rendition of Tom Wait’s Grapefruit Moon which was the standout track of the show for me. Campbell Normand certainly had a beautiful light touch on the piano during that one which complimented John’s singing. Bye Bye Blackbird showcased Ed’s bass playing and was followed by a couple of fun tracks; the Bond theme You Only Live Twice and the theme tune to the Flintstones.  The gig finished with The Lady is a Tramp.

The Jazz Bar got it right, John Hunt’s well practised chat was friendly and funny, the performance was solid and the mix of tunes was just right for an entertaining afternoon show.