Jazz musicians know that great truth: if you stay up late, you can always sleep tomorrow.
Although the players at a jazz party might seem to have an exhausting schedule, many of them are fueled by the encounters with their peers and heroes — thus, an after-hours jam session often happens. I was lucky enough to be awake for this one and have a fully-charged video camera. The session took place at the “Victory Pub” in the Village Hotel Newcastle, the comfortable home base for the Whitley Bay International Jazz Party.
Of course the seating arrangement scattered musicians here and there, and several flat-screen televisions remained on through the session, but the music was the focus here.
The musicians who began the session were an organized band — a great one: Michael McQuaid’s Late Hour Boys: Michael and Jason Downes on reeds, John Scurry on guitar, Mark Elton on drums, Ian Smith on drums and washboard. Then they were joined by Graham Hughes (from London) on trombone, and other gifted jammers.
FORTY AND TIGHT comes from the Johnny Dodds book, and its title is a slang expression for something (or someone) who is splendidly gratifying. How naughty the coinage is I don’t know; talk among yourselves:
MAMA INEZ certainly has a rocking, irresistible beat:
Then, they were joined by a friend from the land of Oz — the fine trumpet player and singer Geoff Bull, who nudged them into SOME OF THESE DAYS:
Thinking of Louis, Jeff Barnhart unsheathed the keyboard and sang ROCKIN’ CHAIR:
But that might have been too mournful for a jubilant occasion, so they swung into another Louis-Hoagy connection, JUBILEE, which certainly did make the rafters ring / up to Heaven:
Bassist Henri Lamaire and drummer Josh Duffee joined the festivities and Geoff suggested the pretty THANKS A MILLION, again reaching back to the Thirties Louis book (or perhaps as homage to Dick Powell, who introduced the song in “the film of the same name”):
And the session concluded with a romping JUNE NIGHT, with pianist Martin Seck and a host of other musicians joining in (again, I’ll happily credit them by name if informed). My hat’s off to Geoff Bull, who certainly knows how to get everyone going in the right direction with inspiring riffs. And the wonderful solos are surely sparked by Josh’s exuberant drumming:
And here’s a very musical solo from Josh to wrap things up in a swinging way:
If you weren’t already convinced, I think this session is further proof that good things happen in the dark.