Saturday 29th February 2020
Hall 2, Sage Gateshead

Some cats can some cats can’t.

Mike Lovatt can!
Mike Lovatt can do what?
Mike Lovatt can hit the high notes – those notes that only dogs can hear, those notes that can crack a glass at 50 paces.

It’s long been the eternal question among brass players as to whether it’s an inborn thing or whether it comes with practice or by using a special mouthpiece. Every trumpet player has his own theory with the proviso that just because it works for him doesn’t mean it works for you. Buy a piano and you know you’re buying an instrument capable of playing 88 notes. Buy a trumpet and the sky’s the limit – or maybe not!

With Mike the sky certainly was the limit and even then they’ve maybe moved the sky to accommodate our man! It was a stunning performance and I was pleased to see that the three tier full Sage Two included quite a few of our local brass men, their jaws touching the floor.

Not that it was all pyrotechnics, Mike Lovatt also has a rich, round, middle register tone that many high-noters don’t have and his varied programme of mainly standards brought the applause it deserved.

The arrangements came from a variety of sources including Stuart McLean-Fowler, a Tyneside based teacher, composer, arranger and trumpet player who actually played with SSBB at their memorable gig with Paul Booth a couple of years back.

The band were on form having, over the years, had much experience backing name singers and instrumentalists and nothing phases them. All the usual suspects soloed with some sparkling exchanges between Lovatt and Summers on – was it St. Louis Blues? – I was enjoying it too much to take notes. Another number – Jazz Connoisseur (I think) had the trumpets interacting with Mike with Gordon Marshall dishing out a few high notes of his own!

Ms. Grace sounded fantastic – her handling of Metheny’s Timeline was quite breathtaking for both audience and singer.

Another successful evening for Michael Lamb and his flock. Next year’s concert features Pete Long and some Ellingtonia – tickets are on sale now! Review: Lance Liddle, Be Bop Spoken Here