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Strictly Smokin' & Friends - Launch and Release: 17th May 2024
03:11

Strictly Smokin' & Friends - Launch and Release: 17th May 2024

As featured on Jazzwise Magazine's video of the day: https://www.jazzwise.com/news/article/video-of-the-day-strictly-smokin-big-band-for-new-album-launch-at-the-fire-station-in-sunderland ---- Video of the Day: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band for new album launch at The Fire Station in Sunderland THURSDAY, MAY 2, 2024 The barnstorming big band launch their latest album with an all-star line-up on 17 May Strictly Smokin' & Friends is the latest album by the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band (SSBB) which features an array of leading British musicians: Bruce Adams, Alan Barnes, Paul Booth, Polly Gibbons, Gareth Lockrane, Mike Lovatt, Mark Nightingale, Ross Stanley and Anthony Strong. Founded in 2003 by Michael Lamb – trumpeter, leader and chief arranger/composer – the SSBB is the North-East’s leading big band. Commenting on why he formed the group Lamb said: “Many people have this image of big band music being stuffy and old but that’s not the case. It’s often contemporary and cutting-edge - there’s space for musicians and writers to cut loose. I love the big band format, there’s so much you can do with it.” The new album joins the SSBB’s previous crowd funded releases, Harlem ‘58, an album based on Art Kane’s iconic 1958 photo of 57 jazz greats - and Strictly Smokin' Big Band Sings Ella with Alice Grace, a tribute to the great singer Ella Fitzgerald. Touring performances linking to the three albums have the strong ‘interactive’ element which SSBB are fast becoming known for. “We've worked on audience development for years to bring in a younger crowd, and more recently our use of visuals on our Harlem '58 and Ella & Ellington theatre shows has attracted yet another demographic,” explains Lamb. “It’s not necessarily the kind of jazz you play that keeps new audiences away, but how you present it; how you defy expectation and prejudice.” The band explore fresh takes on familiar material through the choices of tunes (standards and one original) on the new album, and the way they are presented. Ross Stanley’s organ and the brass blasts on ‘Cool Struttin’’ add power and an insouciant swagger to Sonny Clark’s immortal tune; flute king Gareth Lockrane adds cool accents to George Duke’s ‘Daisy Mae’; and there’s a mighty new Art-Pepper-inspired arrangement of Rollins’ ‘Airegin’ featuring Alan Barnes on tenor. Also featured are new interpretations of ‘Sweet and Lovely’ (featuring Mark Nightingale), ‘Pete Kelly’s Blues’ (featuring Bruce Adams), ‘Devil May Care’ (featuring Anthony Strong) and ‘Love For Sale’ (featuring a stunning turn by Polly Gibbons on vocals). The original composition more than holds its own among this exalted company – saxophonist Paul Booth’s ‘Twitterbug Waltz’ exudes confidence with its fluent, insistent grooves. Michael Lamb introduces the album on the video below and it will be launched on 17 May at The Fire Station in Sunderland featuring Bruce Adams, Alan Barnes and Paul Booth in its powerful line-up – for more info visit www.thefirestation.org.uk

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