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Tad Newton and friends at The Walnut Tree
Blisworth 20th October 2013

On the 20 October 2013, the Walnut Tree’s Ellington Suite at Blisworth boasted three great bands in a sell-out celebration of Tad Newton’s 30 years of hosting jazz in the Northampton area.  It was fitting that this musical odyssey was honoured with performances mirroring different ages and genres of jazz: the largely’ trad’ repertoire of the Savannah Jazz Band; the gypsy style of the Hot Club of Cambridge; and the ‘Basie and beyond’ offerings of Tad’s Jazzfriends.
The level of entertainment was further raised by the guest appearances of Ben Holder with the Hot Club and Alan Barnes with the Jazzfriends.  Mike Kemp’s trio kept the music flowing between the main gigs, its performance enhanced by Denise Gordon on vocals.
The Jazz Friends opened proceedings withg Hiya.  Alan Barnes joined for Just Friends and remained throughout, also including solo spots with Line for Lyons and Don’t Take your Love from Me.  Alan’s presence on tenor and baritone enabled Trevor Whiting to feature some reed playing par excellence on clarinet and soprano sax.  Tad Newton and Gary Wood kept the party swinging on trombone and trumpet respectively, supported by Alan Haughton’s impeccable piano.  Ronnie Fenn, drums, and Tomas Pedersen, bass, maintained the rhythm with precision and energy.
The Savannah Jazz Band delivers well-known classics with a freshness and infectious sense of enjoyment.  Bill Smith fronts the band, reminding everyone that he is one of the best blues harmonica exponents on the UK ‘trad’ jazz scene.  Denise Gordon’s rendition of I Will Fly Away was enough to make you think that if all religious music was like this, they’d be selling tickets for church. 
The Hot Club of Cambridge has become associated with violinist, Andy Aitchison. By contrast, the normally frenetic Ben Holder stepped into the fiddling slot with ease, and although, to start with, he was, at times, almost serene by his own standards, the quality was undiminished.  Ben’s physical exuberance returned later and the melodic exchanges between Ben and, lead guitarist, John Wheatcroft, were magnificent. 
This was British jazz at its best - a feast of music peppered with laughter and a perfect tribute to Tad’s efforts in keeping live jazz going for three decades.

This review was sent in by a Northants Jazz reader Iain Andrews who has produced a number of videos for Tad Newton.
Northants Jazz did not attend the event and is simply publishing this readers review. We cannot agree or disagree with the review