The MARDI GRAS JAZZBAND did spread a little happiness at FARNBOROUGH JAZZ CLUB on Friday, 19th February 2016. In fact, they spread a lot! Leader/trombonist, ROB PEARCE was joined by LEIGH HENSON on trumpet &vocals, JOHN ELLMER on reeds, TIM HUSKISSON on piano, MARC EASENER on double bass & sousaphone and PAUL BAKER on drums.
They began the evening with ‘Clarinet Marmalade’ and if you know how that one goes, you will know they ‘hit it’, right from the start. Oh, I do love an exciting first number. First of all, people are possibly still arriving and it is nice for them to hear excitement from outside, before they come in, they then know they ARE going to hear some pretty great jazz! Plus they are not quite ready to get on the dance floor (needing perhaps a drink – or two). But then the next number, we had two visiting dancers immediately up on the dance floor, Jane and Alan – brilliant they are too. The number was ‘Blues My Naughty Sweetie’, to which Leigh sang to (I’ve already told you in the past how great he sings). I made a quick note that Mark was on sousaphone and John on alto sax.
They played ‘Leighs Gotta Right To Sing The Blues’ next. I have to confess I’m not sure if it was announced that way, or if Leigh sang it with his own name – a bit of inner band humour I think – I never had the chance to ask, perhaps he NEARLY won the lottery. However, I jotted down that John played vibes, with Mark, again, on sousaphone – lovely stuff. ‘Stevedore Stomp’ came next, with everyone up dancing (especially Jane and Alan). I particularly noted Paul’s fabulous drumming again and I also noted – clarinet and tenor sax? Must have been John changed mid-stream, he’s so talented.
Now onto the next one, Rob was able to really show his trombone talent with this next number, ‘South Rampart Street’. Yes, he is terrific and that is why he has a super band to lead. John was featured next and I think he played just about everything – I noted whistle, iron and bass clarinet, plus he sang, the tune was ‘Lulu’s Back In Town’, just brilliant.
It was Tim’s turn to excel, playing some absolutely beautiful piano notes with ‘I’m Crazy ‘Bout My Baby’. He’s another highly talented musician – being a reed player too. It makes me feel so inadequate – can’t play anything, except the fool! On with the news … It was John, who sang to this next tune, ‘Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?’. He has a lovely voice – sounding very 1920’s/30’s/40’s and gorgeous. He also played vibes and tenor sax.
However, I need to tell you about Leigh, who was superb on trumpet. What a rendition from them all – what an ‘engine’. Oh Rob, you have a wonderful band and cannot wait for your next gig – 13th May 2016, to be precise. This was not their last number, but I don’t want to give too much away for that next gig.
Don’t forget ‘Keep jazz live’ and keep on supporting us!
Diane and Keith