"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Saturday, December 01, 2012
THE BIG CHRIS BARBER BAND
BIG CHRIS BARBER BAND
the Civic Theatre
last heard your band in 1955 …" people are always saying to
Trad legend Chris Barber, back at the Civic last week.
has always wanted to recreate the Cotton Club sound, and though he
also evoked the three-piece, and the sextet, of his youth, it was the
Ellington that really impressed, with the seven-strong front line.
gig was remarkable for what it lacked. No music stands, no banter, no
endless encores, no concessions to advancing years. Barber did all
his own solos, sang vocals, gave drily witty introductions, and
sprinted out to the foyer in the interval to chat and sign CDs. And
he has assembled an excellent group of players for this tour. His
chart hit from the 50s, Petite Fleur, was brilliantly recreated, with
Richard Exall on clarinet. The other trombone – excellent in the
bluesy numbers – was Bob Hunt, who did many of the arrangements for
hours of first-class jazz – Bourbon Street, Wild Cat Blues, Jubilee
Stomp, Rockin' in Rhythm – with pin-point lighting and sound
reinforcement sympathetic to the venue. Climaxing with When The
Saints, given a virtuosic chorale opening to showcase these superb
jazzmen [and the outstanding flautist Amy Roberts].