Review AGBB June 29th. The Girls, the AGBB, were back in town. Yes, the All Girls Big Band fired up for our 2018 June JAWS concert at Ara with an energy and professionalism that took ones breathe away. Lead by Lana, sung by Kate, backed by Rachael and followed faithfully by the other 12 band members this AGBB is as good as any band in New Zealand. Many of the tunes played were difficult and required good feel and technique and with Kate Taylors vocals on top, the band was tight and strong and had a swagger of confidence about it. When one adds in the fantastic talents of Nanako Sato on piano, there is little doubt this band is very special. The AGBB have also recently recorded 8 tracks so we were very lucky to hear the finished arrangements live. The Band kicked off the evening with the Theme from Sesame Street and then Kate sang the Stevie Wonder classic For Once in my Life which was then followed by their arrangement of Frim Fram Sauce. Next up was Count Bubba by the Big Phat Band and Kate then sang a soulful version of Skylark, a beautiful Hoggy Carmichael ballad. The double act of Lana and Rachael on alto and tenor saxs, who led the band from the front, playing some stunning solos and cajoling the other members to stretch themselves on a number called Full Swing Ahead. Diana Schuur’s, Deedles Blues and Gotta Get You Into my Life showcased Kate Taylors great vocal range and power. September by Earth, Wind and Fire was the last number but when an encore was requested, the band went out playing Peggy Lees, I Love Being Here With You. To those of you who miss this concert. Weep. below is the full set list Sesame Street, For once in my life, The Frim Fram Sauce, Count Bubba, Thou Swell, Skylark,Full Swing Ahead (saxophone battle)Deedles Blues,That Man, Gotta get you into My Life, September,I Love Being here with you. Credit must go to our soundman Dave Saunders who once again did a great job making the band sound so special.
Review Naomi and Alex, Jaws concert April 27th 2018
Opening with Blues in the Night, Naomi’s strong emotional lilting voice accompanied by Alex on piano set the evening off to a great start and if those blues weren’t blown away immediately we were then taken on a gentle wee ride on a Slow Boat to China. The duo then took us to church with a Gospel medley beginning with Amazing Grace, Deep River and Out in the Rain. Naomi’s charm and stunning voice was then showcased on a lovely ballad called I Remember followed by her own original called, Treasure. On those two numbers, Naomi played piano and Alex featured on trumpet. A medley of older standards followed and they were, Summertime and Nature Boy. From the pen of Randy Newman, we were treated to two lovely ballads. Real Emotional Girl and Feels like Home. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, time had run out but when an encore was requested Naomi once again showed her acting and singing skills by performing a tongue in cheek version of High Esteem. A duo in life and on stage, they entertained and amused and Naomi showed all who attended what a great artist she has become. Blues in the Night was the first up number but nobody went home with the blues after an evening being entertained by Naomi and Alex.
review, JAWS, GARDEN CITY BIG BAND March 29th 2018
Easter came early in the form of a 17 piece wall of sound and on a thurday night at the Ara Auditorium, the Garden City Big Band played some pop and rock standards and showed their versatility with a set of vocal and instrumental numbers. Quincy Jones, Hard Sock Dance was up first then Boogie Down which was then followed by Nanako singing the old motown song “How Sweet it is to Be Loved by You”. Next were two Stu Buchanan original numbers, Megans Exam and Two Billy Goats Gruff ( featuring 2 baritone saxs ) and then Greg Knowles sang the Ray Charles classic, Hit the Road Jack. Jody Keehan showed off her vocal talents with Hallelujah, I Love Him So and when an encore was requested Greg sang, Harry Connicks Jrs, Come By Me. Big band, big sound, not so big a crowd but a great concert showcasing our fine local musicians led by Lana Law.
Review of Jazz After Work Friday 23rd February 2018 featuring “Sweet Liquorice” by Ralph Woodham. How refreshing to hear the tones of the clarinet featured in this concert. Jeff Bradley gave us memories of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Sidney Bechet, Woody Herman and Acker Bilk. Starting with “Am I Blue” and “Who’s Sorry Now” the trio moved on to (amongst others) “This Masquerade” and “Petite Fleur”. Good old “Up the Lazy River” and “Sweet Lorraine” followed. “St. Louis Blues” and “Bie Mir Bist” also featured. Jeff was ably backed up by Bert Parrant on guitar and Mike Kime on Bass who both played good solos in their own right. A delightful early evening show.
Review of Lil’ Chuck at Cashmere Club Friday 23rd February 2018 by Ralph Woodham. A very talented musician gave us a most entertaining night. A great pity so few attended. The one man band concept in the blues setting is a great tradition and Lil’ Chuck takes his own stories of difficult times and spins them around that foundation. Resonator guitar in hand, kick drum and hi-hat under foot and some classy harp in his mouth, these songs tell stories we can all relate to. Some of the songs are paeans to his wife and children, others are directly related to living through the Christchurch earthquakes. Then there are others that tackle more homely subjects like shelling peas. A most enjoyable evening.
Jaws Concert review, Jazzamatazz, Nov 24th 2017 Bert The last concert of the year for the Christchurch Musicians Jazz after Work series was once again attended by 95 fans of the choir. Some late comers missed out due to seating restrictions. Lead by Mary Ruston (the Boss) and backed by a great trio featuring Jonathon Petty on piano, Melanie Ross acoustic bass and Lyndon Jackson on drums. Genny Long also added flute to some numbers. A very eclectic selection of song choices and vocal arrangements made the concert a stand out and will be remembered for a long time. Personally I thought they were even better this year and tackled some very difficult tunes. With such a large group of voices blending and weaving through the magical arrangements and coloured by the piano, bass and drums and flute, the show was vocally very powerful and exciting. Soloists were : Jo Latham, Paul Cameron, Glenda Bailey and Judi Smitheram. the Jazzamatazz programme was as follows. Cheerful Little Earful, Route 66, Sway, Dance Me, Is You Is, Moanin, Moon River, Spain, ‘Round Midnight, Devil Moon, A Change is Gonna Come, featuring Judi Smitheram, Sister Sadie, Tuxedo Junction and One of Those Things. This Choir is a must see act so keep an eye peeled for their next performance.
review October 27th JANICE GRAY and the Boys
The old saying, its gets better with age proved to be true on Friday night when Janice Gray showed she still has the magic to sing and entertain. Backed by the Boys, who are now men, Tom Rainey on piano, Bob Heinz on guitar, the boys showed they also have got better with age. The duo had a great feel and allowed Janice to sing and entertain in her own time with freedom to joke and ad lib. Here is the set list of the older standards songs they performed. Mean to Me, Shortnin’ Bread, Who’s Sorry Now, All in the Game, Rock a Bye your Baby, Sentimental Journey (which was a request from one of her past bass players), Always, Whispering Grass, and finally a tip of the hat to Fats Domino, the famous song, Blueberry Hill. In between the songs Janice told stories and anecdotes of her life and showed off her very unique style that has made her a household name in Christchurch. The smaller crowd were treated to another great concert from local artists featuring excellent musicianship from Bob and Tom, and great entertainment and singing from Janice.
Review, Jaws Concert Sept 29th 2017, JENNINE BAILEY and the TOM RAINEY Trio. What a great concert, Jennine singing as great as ever and magnificently backed by Tom Rainey on Piano, Greg Donaldson on Drums and Peter Fleming, Acoustic Bass. Jennine began with Temptation and indeed tempted us with a taste of what was to come. A surprise cover of Wild is the Wind, a Johnny Mathis/Nina Simone song also covered by David Bowie and George Michaels. The band then played a fantastic version of Stings lovely, Fields of Gold which brought a tear to many an eye with Tom slipping in a haunting solo. A lovely latin tune Quizas(Perhaps) with Greg playing drums with his hands to add an extra colour to the feel. Cole Porter’s Night and Day was followed by “If You Never come back to Me” then they played another famous latin classic, Dizzy Gillespie’s, A Night in Tunisia with all the boy’s taking solo’s. The evening finished with a bossa nova called Agua de Berber by Antonio Carlos Jobim(of Ipanema fame). Dave Cooper on sound duties did another great job and all 60 people who attended went home very happy and satied.
Review Sept 3rd 2017 Muso’s concert at the Folk Club.John Bevin kicked off the evening playing solo piano to a small intimate crowd of music lovers on a cold Sunday night at the Folk Club. He sang St James Infirmary then followed that up by Scott Joplin’s extremely difficult instrumental called, Maple Leaf Rag. He then sang a beautiful sea shanty which showed what an excellent voice he has to go with his excellent pianistic skills. To sign off John played a bluesy cover of an old traditional folk song by Leadbelly called The Midnight Special. Pat Hannah and Jan Lloyd Duo were on next with Pat playing her guitar in her unique lap style and they began with Welcome to My World, then Cottage in the Country. Jan featured solo on There’ll Never be Anyone Else But You then they both sang a lovely version of Hine e Hine. Pat sang solo on Lace Covered Window then the duo sang Robinson Crushed Blues, and to finish with John back on the piano seat they sang a fantastic number from the show Chess called I Know Him So Well. After a short intermission the concert continued with The Touchwood Trio of John Bevin (Keyboard) Geoff Low (Soprano Sax) and Bert Parrant (acoustic Bass). Playing a Jazz and blues set they began with an old standard called The Swinging Shepherd Blues. Next up, an up tempo Horace Silver number called The Preacher and then John sang Honeysuckle Rose. John and Bert then played an original of Bert’s called Wistful Winter Moon. Blue Monk, a Bb blues followed and then to end their set Bert sang Joe “King” Olivers, Dr Jazz. Geoff showed what a fine musician he is by sitting in at late notice due to Touchwoods usual sax, flute and clarinet player having the flu. Brian Clarke was the final act for the evening on vocals and guitar and accompanied by Brent Cain on bass and backing vocals. He treated us to three of his original songs the first being, Etched upon my Mind. He then sang a Hank Williams song called Lone Gone Lonesome Blues followed by another of Brians, Something from Nothing. Next up was a wee surprise, a cover of Tom Waits, Chocolate Jesus. He then covered a New Zealand bands song called, Damn the Cattlestop, by The Cattlestops . Last number for the evening was Brians own, One Free Heart. Our thanks must go to the Folk Club for asking us to participate in their Sunday evening music programme. Two hours of great music, very eclectic and very well received.
August 25th 2017, Jaws 6-10 Concert. Devilish Mary and the Holy Rollers. Anita Clark, Vocals and Violin, Simon Gregory, Guitar , Mike Kime, Acoustic Bass. Anita showed us all once again just how good a singer she is and with Simons great melodic guitar playing and Mike’s driving fat warm acoustic bass sound, the trio entertained us with musicianship of the highest standard. The set list featured jazz and blues standards plus some original vocal and instrumental numbers, several off their simply named, Devilish Mary and the Holy Rollers cd. On Friday night to a large appreciating crowd of supporters, tracks they played were, Edge of the World (original instr.) Honeysuckle Rose, Dinah (instr), What Lies Beneath, Don't smoke in Bed, Summertime (instr), I Put a Spell on You, Lilac Wine, Edge of the World (vocal ). Anitas quirky personality and relaxed stage manner also gave off a pleasant vibe and her violin playing is tasteful and a great splash of colour which complimented the guitar and bass. Excellent.
Jazz After Work, July 28th 2017. A stunning performance by Graham Wardrop at the Ara music arts auditorium on a very cold friday night helped blow away the winter blues for 60 people who witnessed a master guitarist and singer in top form. Having just returned from a 2 week Canadian concert tour Graham played a full set of his own original songs and instrumentals. The following is a list of Grahams songs, which he introduced with anecdotes and reasons for their inspiration. 1 I TELL IT ALL TO MY GUITAR, 2 SPEED OF LOVE 3 GOD MADE SKYPE, 4 CAMBRIAN*, 5 DARK SIDE OF THE TUNE, 6 42 GOD, 7 SIGNS OF SPRING, 8 PROHIBITION RD* 9 IN DEATH I SWEETLY SING, 10 CAFE ON THE CORNER, 11 DESENSITIZE . Grahams great lyrics, which told tales of trees, love, life and death, god and skype were coloured by some of the tastiest guitar playing you will ever hear. Live and entertaining, the evening was a joy to attend and was over all too soon. Graham was very impressed with the acoustics and sound and complimented Dave Saunders the soundman on his craft. For an encore Graham played an old standard written by Jerome Kern called “All The Things You Are”. It was a song from his childhood which his father used to play on the piano to try and put Radha and Graham to sleep at night. Graham is world class musician and deserves wider acclaim so we were very lucky to be able to hear him perform for our Christchurch musician club members and supporters.
Folk Club concert Cashmere july 28th 2017. Another cold winter’s night was gently warmed by four fantastic acts from the Ch-ch Folk Club. Sarah Lawrence kicked off the evening and sang mainly her own original songs, accompanying herself on guitar and later in her set, adding a friend who played fiddle on a couple of numbers. David Evison was up next and in his own distinctive laid back style showed off his vocals and excellent guitar work. Geoff Low added to David’s act by playing some lovely soprano sax. Barrie Clubb acted as emcee for the show and kept the large crowd entertained with jokes and banter as the acts were getting set up for their spot.” First to Blink” we’re a female/ male duo whose excellent close harmonies were laced with light and shade and some subtle instrumental fills. Adding to the mix they both played guitar and on one number, Bryan played harmonica. Pete Royle and friend set up and ran the PA so the sound was of excellent quality for all of the evening. Last but not least the “Muddy Mama Blues Band”, a six piece group featuring Judi Smitheram, Mary Ruston, Geoff Low, Melanie Ross, Lynden Jackson plus a Harmonica player. Live and bluesy and seasoned with jazz was written on the bio and that’s exactly what we got. A very tight unit, great vocals and solos all wrapped up, signed, sealed and delivered. The very eclectic set list was all MD by Mary and the crowd loved every minute of their entertaining spot. The concert was a joint effort by the Folk and Musicians Clubs and the 100 people that attended all went happily home after 3 hours of fantastic music.
Christchurch Musicians Club 50th Anniversary july 22nd 2017 On a cold wet rainy saturday night, 150 people showed up at the Cashmere club to celebrate 50 years of live music and congratulate the Ch-ch Musicians club on its long service to promoting local talent. Featured acts were Molly’s Remedy, The All Girl Big Band and the Meaniez , who all played their hearts out and warmed the venue with music that entertained and got the crowd onto the dance floor. The gig was very well attended by our Jaw members, club supporters and friends, the Folk Club, plus the Edwards dance academy. Due to the wintery weather, several ticket holders were unable to make the party as they were cut off by flooding and landslips, still the evening kicked off at 7pm and continued to about 11-15pm with a great supper included in the price. The hall was set out leaving a great area for dancing and with the tables decorated, the room looked stunning. A special mention needs to be given to Pat Cameron who has been on board for 25years. Another needs to go to the committee of 5 who did a fantastic job.
Jaws Concert, Molly’s Remedy. June 30th 2017 Mary, Monica and Helen, Molly’s Remedy, sang from an irish soul that warmed the cockles of ones heart, put smiles on ones faces, which then got ones feet tapping. Each took turns to sing the lead and then support each other with beautiful close harmonies through sets of pop, irish, original and humorous songs. Their light and shade and feel in a song is a real joy and on stage their banter and sheer delight in performing shines like diamonds in the stage lights. Mary introduced most numbers and played finger style and rhythm guitar plus at times, a little ukulele, while Helen showed off her fine fiddle playing talent. They have very eclectic tastes and covered Fleetwood Macs, The Chain and several well know numbers such as Hoagy Carmichaels, Georgia, Mary playing ukulele on “Tonight You Belong to Me” which is a cover of an old Lemmon sisters song which has also been covered by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame. Two great folk songs were also covered, the scottish, ”the Water is Wide” and an even more famous song “Lonesome Road”. Both beautifully covered by Molly’s distinct harmonies or as the girls said, the songs get “Mollified”. Monica’s original song called ”Sanchias Smile” was sung beautifully with some nice guitar work from Mary and tastey fiddle work from Helen. Mary contributed six songs of her own covering, heartbreak, humour and tales of lifes ups and downs.Three of Marys originals were “Chicken Soup” which was written after a bout of her longing for Ireland. “Quarter to Five” which was a full on very up happy number and given the Mollys treatment. I Love You Too, showed off Marys vocal range and sense of humour. A requested encore resulted in Traffic Jam being sung in three part accapella voices, close harmony, which wowed the crowd. So once again on a cold friday night at the Doug Caldwell auditorium, when the show was over, everyone left feeling totally, Mollified.
Mainland Big Band Cashmere June 30th 2017. On a cold winters night at the Cashmere club the Mainland Big Band played a huge range of musical styles from pop to tango, swing, cha,cha,cha, plus latin and some rock n’ roll. Playing big band arrangements and pop covers the band got people up on the dance floor from the very first number. A group of ten couples from Dance Canterbury attended the evening and showed off their stunning footwork and precision dance moves with great flair and certainly captured the eye of those attending. I’m sure their energy and enthusiasm helped lift the band on seeing the crowd totally enjoying their big sound. Terry Mc Gowan on drums and vocals ran the band and was backed up by Siu Williams-Lemi who was also a very fine singer. She was also in the front line on tenor sax. The 16 piece band covered well known pop tunes such as Sweet Caroline but also showed their versatility by playing some jazz rock numbers and a waltz or two. The Band looked and sounded great and put on a very professional show which was warmly received by those attending the Friday night musicians evening.
Doug Caldwell and Friends, April 28th 2017
This concert featured Doug Caldwell (piano) and friends – the friends being Bob Heinz (guitar) Mike Kime (Bass) and Jodie Keehan (Vocals). Doug’s melodic jazz lines flowed all night and Bob’s guitar shone like a well oiled machine. Mike played some exciting bass solos and Jodie sung beautifully especially the song “Orange Coloured Sky”. The band finished the night with a blues encore. A lovely hour at Jazz After Work.
GRAHAM WARDROP, MOLLY’S REMEDY and Pat Hannah, Cashmere Club, April 28th 2017
Pat opened the concert and got everybodys attention straight away with her clear sweet voice and unique lap style guitar playing. She sang cover versions of Hallelujah, A Nightingale Sang, Country Roads, and her set of eclectic songs was a great introduction to a night of great music. Graham followed and proceeded to show all the guitar players attending what is possible with 6 strings, a huge talent and hard work. His vocals are getting even better with age and also his own compositions, filled with stunning fingerstyle guitar work, told tales of love and adventure that happens to a musician on the road. His very own distinct version of Classical Gas was stunning and had the crowd shouting out for more. He even played a selection of the audiences requests. Helen, Monica and Mary make up the fantastic Molly’s Remedy and they again delivered a stunning selection of songs, many written by Mary and all performed with incredible harmonies. Their rapport on stage is interspersed with tales and escapades and banter. They themselves, seem to be having the time of their lives which rubbed off on the audience. Fiddle, guitar and ukulele gave the trio a lift and drive and with lead vocals being shared round they captivated the crowd. Light and shade, some acapella, big smiles and heaps of energy just added to their great act. Graham came back on stage near the end and together they played 3 numbers before Pat was invited back on stage and Graham grabbed the ukulele and finished the night off playing and singing “I’ll See You in my Dreams”. Excellent concert which I hope we can repeat again.
Having listened to (and I really mean listened to) this group, TOUCHWOOD, for the first time and yes, I have heard them before, but I was impressed by the versatility of the musicians and the variety of music they played, the great vocals and the fun they had doing it. Some of the numbers they performed were, All You Need Is Love, Sunny, Petite Fleur, Isn’t She Lovely, Hey Good Looking, Piano Man, Desafinado, Watermelon Man, Save the Last Dance for Me, plus several of Berts originals. TOUCHWOOD is Bert Parrant, John Bevin, Keith Walker, Allan Hawes and Kevin Taylor. They are a must to experience, dance or listen to.
RADIUS. At the second Muso’s concert of the year to a very good house, Radius, Justine S and Harry Harrison entertained with originals from their cd’s “Seven Tales” and “The Big Picture”. Harry’s command of his vast array of instruments, a Gibson Archtop guitar, banjo and resonator guitar and his brand new made in Wellington laptop Weissenborn guitar copy is stunning and intermingling with Justine’s lyrical and haunting flute work, her tenor sax (another new acquisition) and soprano playing, the duo presented a performance second to none. Harry’s tastefully inserted loops and band backings were very subtle and added texture and colour. On stage they seemed almost as one in their musical craft which was interspersed with banter and quips and tales of how the tunes came about. Justine came specially dressed for this show wearing her new boy scouts belt. I presume it also aids her breathing technique. Radius’s concert programme featured nearly all their own unique originals except for two covers, “Locomotive Breath” which featured Justine playing some very slick flute in the style of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame and a Jimi Hendrix number called Angel.They played The Big Picture, the title of their second cd, In a Dream, then All you Need, Manjo, The Way Home and Broken, which was written after a guitar strap mishap which required a guitar tech to work his magic. We were treated to a new number called “Give it a Twirl”, which left me with the impression that every new instrument they purchase gives them inspiration to create a new composition. RADIUS is a very original and musical duo and should not to be missed because, yes, they definitely have the “Wow” factor.
AGBB. The Girls are back in town. Yes, the All Girls Big Band kicked off the first musicians Ara concert for 2017 with Kate Taylor in very fine voice and the band playing with a quiet confidence flavoured by some very strong arrangements from famous composers such as Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Nat Adderly, Count Basie, Joe Zawinul and Stevie Wonder. The band kicked off playing the Sesame Street theme followed by Kate singing “I Get a Kick Out of You”. The Band treated nearly a full house to some fine swing and funk numbers which also featured some excellent solos from the guitar, tenor sax and trumpet. On a slightly sad note the girls wished their young drummer Karen Hu a fond farewell as she is moving to Auckland to pursue her musical career. MD Lana, led the band and for this concert featured on Alto sax where previously she had played Baritone Sax. Nanako again played excellent piano and also featured with some fine soloing. Kate Taylor shone when she sang “Skylark” and “You are the Sunshine of my Life”. Another standout was the Tenor sax player Rachael Travaille who played some thrilling solos. South Parks “Fun Time”, a soulful “ Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, made for a very eclectic instrumental setlist and Kate sang, Nina Simones “Feeling Good”. For a final number Lana and Rachael indulged in a mad sax frenzied musical duel that had the crowd shaking with delight. An encore was requested and Kate and the band delivered their own version of “All the Single Ladies”. Once again the All Girls Big Band sent everybody home very happy and musically entertained. Dave Saunders, our Sound and Lights man, once again did a great job making the band sound special.