The famous ‘LAURIE CHESCOE’S REUNION BAND’ entertained us big time last Friday, 21st March 2014 here at the Farnborough Jazz Club. Drummer Laurie (as usual grinning from ear to ear – just like Gene Krupa) had his reunion musicians, ALLAN (‘Lord Arsenal’) BRADLEY on trumpet, piano & vocals, JOHN LEE on reeds, DAVE HEWITT on trombone &baritone horn, COLIN BRAY on piano & vibes JIM DOUGLAS on banjo, guitar (&drums!) and PETER SKIVINGTON on bass guitar. They are always very entertaining, being such a talented bunch. I mentioned last week, I would be in a celebratory mood, as it was my wedding anniversary and would have been 50th, had Len lived. I said I was so lucky to have an equally super partner with Keith. I knew he didn’t mind me mentioning this, but my daughter and son-in-law worried he wouldn’t like it. However, he said he could celebrate too, with an extra six large gins! Ha. The evening was certainly full of fabulous numbers. Once again, I had an extremely hard job choosing what tunes to mention, as they were all brilliant! So first of all, I chose numbers that featured someone, then where I put an asterisks against others. Their first number of the evening was ‘Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella’ (a Bing Crosby hit), which was a good one to start with. Next to mention was a Boswell Sisters’ hit called ‘Moonglow’, such a melodic number (with Dave on baritone horn). Dave featured in the next number, playing both trombone and baritone horn to ‘I Cover the Waterfront’, made famous by Louis Armstrong. Everyone played fabulously. Then I noted ‘Oh! Marie’ (a Louis Prima hit) and was sung by Allan. Not only does Allan have a great voice, but he is great on the mike, introducing the numbers and entertaining us with jokes too. He also sang the next number I chose, ‘Nobody Loves You When you’re Down and Out’. Obviously Allan made jokes about the name, plus we all joined in with the singing (agreeing with his sentiments too, ha). The next number was called ‘Taps Miller’, which was written as a tribute to ‘Taps’ Miller, that fantastic tap dancer of the 40’s (he could play trumpet and dance at the same time!) It was written for the Count Basie Band and was certainly a good one for dancing to (although there was plenty of dancing going on all evening!) Next came a feature of that extremely talented musician, Colin. He swapped places with Allan (on piano) and took to playing vibes with ‘I’m Confessing That I Love You’, (another Louis hit- also Billie Holiday). What brilliance, they are all so talented (Jim took to the drums too). Colin received a huge response, with screams of “More”! I was enjoying it so much, I failed to write the numbers down, but I can remember the sight of Colin playing this fast number, with his legs akimbo (again) whilst playing! What a star. ‘I Thank You, Mr Moon’ another lovely Boswell Sisters hit song, came next, with Allan singing. John followed on with a feature and he played ‘Swing 42’ on tenor sax. Oh! I just love him playing sax, he has such a feel for it. Then came Jim’s feature with ‘Manoir De Mes Reves (popularly known as ‘Django’s Castle)’. This tune was written by both Django Reinhardt and his brother Joseph. [Jim has written a book called ‘Tunes, Tours and Travel-it is’. It’s about eighteen years of facts, faces and fun with the Alex Welsh Band, available through Amazon for $13.50, or email us for Jim’s contact details, if you live in England]. It wasn’t their last number of the evening, but I had better not mention any more of Laurie’s repertoire, or he won’t know what else to play on his next date here, although I certainly wouldn’t mind them all being played again! They are next with us on 11 July, 2014.
Diane and Keith