BILL BAILEY’S ALL STAR JAZZ BAND came from Burton-on-Trent to entertain us at the FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB, Kent on Friday, 27th June 2014. Trumpeter/vocalist RICHARD “BILL” BAILEY is full of fun and it was a treat to have his band lighten up the week for us. I’m sure we also showed the guys what fun we are here at Farnborough, Kent (“down south”) with our appreciation of their show. Bill brought with him TERRY McGRATH (trombone), ROGER KEAY (reeds), ALAN BIRKENHEAD (banjo/guitar), STEVE PETERS (bass), KEITH CHAPLIN (percussion) and last, but by no means least, SHEILA FAWKES (vocalist). They started the evening with ‘At the Jazz Band Ball’. What a presence and I don’t mean how they looked, although they looked first-rate too. It is always hard to make an impression when you are new to a venue, but they certainly did. ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out’ was played and goodness WHAT A POWERFUL VOICE! She didn’t need a ‘mike’. Yes, I mean Sheila’s voice. She looked so young and glamourous and what a lovely girl too (spit). She then sang, ‘Some of These Days’ more softly, which showed her versatility. Bill added some fabulous scat vocals too. He also played swannee whistle and I noted some great trombone playing from Terry. They also played ‘Washington & Lee Swing’, the University fight song and I suspect they played it because of the World Cup football series, as this tune is often sang at football matches. ‘Darktown Strutters Ball’ was another great number, in which Bill, again on swannee whistle, came out from the front of the band and played amid the dancers, great fun. Another number I jotted down was ‘Bugle Boy March’ and oh what a great bit of trumpet playing from Bill when (at the end) he played standing on a chair, as if playing an assembly recall from a castle turret, or high on a hill, just beautiful. Then came one of my all-time favourites ‘Christopher Columbus’, hmmm excellent. Sheila and Bill sang in harmony to that Latin American number ‘Something Stupid’. I just wrote ‘Yes, yes, yes’! That says it all! Now my last choice of numbers to list was ‘Tiger Rag’. Keith (Chaplin – not Grant!) played super drum solos to introduced the tune and also at the end. There was plenty of dancing, plus plenty of smiling all evening, another success.
‘Live’ Jazz, don’t you just love it?
Diane and Keith
N.B. Terry is from Birmingham, Roger from Crewe, Alan from Leicestershire, Steve from Castle Donington, Keith from Barrow-on-Sour (Nr Leicestershire) and Sheila is also from Birmingham – well they can’t help it, someone has to live in those placesJ!