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Gordon Marshall

As many of our followers will have seen already, we had the tragic news last week that our wonderful friend and colleague, Gordon Marshall, very sadly passed away.

Gordon was not only an immensely talented trumpet player, but he was also a gentle, modest, kind, supportive and very highly respected musician.

The scope of his playing was significant - he not only played with Strictly Smokin' and other big bands, but was a regular in theatre pits across the region on both professional and amateur productions, as well as in orchestras, pop and commercial outfits, and more besides. As much a fan of Bach as Basie - his versatility was the envy of many.

Gordon joined Strictly Smokin' around 2009 when the band was in its infancy. He had no need to join what was such a fledgling ensemble, but he loved the format and the music so he stuck around! He very quickly became a key component of the band's development. Without Gordon the band would not be playing at the standard it does today, would not have attracted the members and audience it has done and would not be performing in the venues it does.

On the rare occasions when Gordon was missing from a rehearsal or gig due to other commitments - it was always still possible to hear him in our collective approach. His phrasing, articulation and style has permitted the ensemble through his magnificent lead playing and will be there forever now in his memory.

Personally, Gordon became a close friend who I'll sorely miss. His encouragement, support and kindness has kept me on the straight and narrow on many occasions. I recall one particularly stressful Christmas show in Newcastle where a few considered and pragmatic words in my ear from Gordo rescued me, and the gig! I'll forever be grateful for those moments along with his generosity in passing on knowledge of all things trumpet and jazz. Aside from music, I'd gladly while away a few hours over a pint and/ or a curry chatting away.

This video is of Gordon playing the head on "The Nearness of You" and then a solo on "You Turned The Tables on Me". He wasn't keen on the plaudits which came with solos or feature numbers, but you know it's good when the band turn around to see who's playing! This footage was taken in Feb 2020 at our last show before Covid struck.

We'll miss Gordon hugely but we're all richer for having known him, been friends with him, and made music with him. For that, we're very grateful.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends, especially his wife and son; Alison and Andrew.

~ Michael & the SSBB x

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