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Tad Newton’s Jazz Friends with Simon Spillett

Simon Spillett - tenor sax
Tad Newton - trombone 
Gary Wood - trumpet & vocal
Trevor Whiting -clarinet and tenor sax 
Mike Graver - piano   
Tomas Pedersen - bass 
Ronnie Fenn - drums

Venue: The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth, Northants
Timeline 12 noon, Sunday, 18 December  2011

Another excellent session was held in the Ellington Room, with the Jazz Friends in fine form, playing with the winner for tenor sax in this year’s British Jazz Awards, Simon Spillett.

This was another occasion of inventive solos and great ensemble work, with some welcome new numbers such as Jive At Five, Big Shoe and Topsy added to earlier favourites: Just Friends, It Don’t Mean A Thing et al.

Simon played three outstanding solos Where Are You, a most beautiful ballad, Lester Leaps In and his speciality ‘signature tune’, played at breakneck speed, Cherokee - all with sympathetic backing from Mike, Tomas and Ronnie.

He and Trevor played an intimate version of Body and Soul and the whole band ’played a blinder’, with Gary and Tad also in fine form, on Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, on which Trevor played the captivating clarinet solo in his inimitable style.

What an inspiring sight it is to see a front line of four jazzmen in full flight, backed by a steady, swinging rhythm section.

With much good-natured banter between Tad and Simon to add to the great jazz, this really did have a ‘Christmas Party’ atmosphere. If you missed it, you missed a real treat!

Review by John Shaw  of The Gayton Jazz Appreciation Society  
20 December  2011