It was great to see the return of MIKE BARRY’s XXL BAND to FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB (Kent) on FRIDAY, 1st July 2016.. I can’t believe it was back in February 2015 they last played here, but we do have all three of Mike’s band play for us (this one, plus ‘Uptown Gang’ and ‘Yerba Buena Band’). This band has obviously MIKE himself on trumpet, TIM HUSKISSON on reeds, LES HANSCOMBE on trombone, GRAHAM BARTON on piano, BRIAN STAPLEY on drums and TED SIMKINS on double bass. They can now be known as MIKE BARRY’s XL BAND because they, well Mike has lost one&half stone – Wow, how’s that? Well done Mike. So obviously, they played with a lot of energy, starting with ‘Canal Street Blues’, such a wonderful number to get everyone in the mood – yeah! ‘Beale Street Mama’ was another excellent tune to choose, I can hear Mike announcing it and finishing the title with the words “I’m Coming To Get You”… luv it. I have to say the whole band were brilliant when they played ‘Savoy Blues’. I particularly noted the front line boys playing beautifully in harmony. Another number to mention is ‘Washington and Lee Swing’. This is an old American high school football ‘fight’ song. It was also used in Red Nichols film, ‘The Five Pennies’, a film I probably saw in 1960’s and remember being absolutely excited by (gonna watch it again over the weekend!). Moving on … ‘Hello Central Give Me Dr Jazz’ sung brilliantly by Les. A tune enjoyed being played by most bands too. I had a wonderful dance – the cha, cha, cha, with Steve to ‘The Isle of Capri’. I just loved it, although I think it should have been a tango – ha. Oh well, we are so relaxed here, nobody worries. During the interval, I announced Colin & his wife Jo Dobson, were in the audience. Colin had been trumpeter for The Billy Cotton Band Show (of ‘Wakey, Wakey’ fame). It is to be Colin’s 87th birthday on Monday (4th) and their 65th wedding anniversary this Thursday (7th), fabulous – congrats. It will also be bass player Ted’s wife, Francis’ birthday too (on Wednesday 6th) I believe Francis is about my age – 30several and a bit more! So the band returned and played ‘Happy Birthday’ to them all. (by-the-way, Jo told me she had married a toy-boy as her next birthday (in October) will be her 88th). ‘Hold That Tiger’ (probably played for Jo) is another exciting tune, sung by Les, with wonderful solos from Tim and Ted and surely the whole band were exhausted at the end of this one. This tune is apparently another old American high school ‘fight’ song. Now dear ol’ Mike performed to my next song choice – and I mean ‘performed’. He ‘spoke’ all the famous lines of ‘Ashes to Ashes’ just superbly, which lead on to them playing ‘Didn’t He Ramble’. They played fabulously, I can’t fault anyone as they were all so good. Their last number was ‘Down By The Riverside’, ending another thoroughly wonderful evening full of great talent and lots of laughs. Sorry, no photos, Mike is still away, and although I took some photos with my very old mobile phone, they are ‘trapped’ in it and will take me a time to work it out again!, Although don’t hold your breathe as to what they will be like. Anyway, keep coming for more jazz! We have a different band here every Friday evening.
Diane and Keith
P.S. Yerba Buena Jazz Band Newsletter of 26th June 2015 has now been updated.