Jazz at the Amble Club

Posted on 28th June 2013 | in James Calvert Spence College - Acklington Rd , What's On

It is often said that ‘men of a certain age’ have leanings towards fast cars and playing in a band. The former temptation may have been avoided – just – but three teachers (Miles Buxton, Tom Garbutt and Andrew Brook) indulged the wish to perform on Friday night, April 26th at the Amble Club. Adding an ex-pupil (Adam Harvey) on drums, the players formed a jazz quartet and entitled themselves ‘Amjazz Experience’ – a title chosen by their pupils at James Calvert Spence College.

The band linked with an established school initiative led by another staff member, Patricia Davies – an exchange visit to Johannesburg, South Africa, involving teachers and students. There was also a supporting presence from other members of the local community who were interested in seeing what the evening had to offer.

The jazz quartet launched into numbers such as ‘Take Five’ – the signature tune of the Dave Brubeck quartet whose line-up (saxophone, bass, piano and drums) inspired Amjazz Experience. The audience appreciated reworking of the ‘classics’; Embraceable You, Bye Bye Blackbird were typical. But there were also sophisticated arrangements from the likes of John Coltrane, Kenny Gee and Charlie Parker.

Just before the break between sets, Georgia Soan stepped up to the stage to give a presentation on just how much the South African trip had meant to her and her friends who participated in the exchange with Southlands High School, Durban. She communicated the excitement of integrating with host families, experiencing a different culture, viewing wildlife at Ushaka Park and elsewhere, being on safari and gaining some awareness of the challenges facing a society very much involved in change and focussed upon the underprivileged.

Back to the music, and there was really only one tune to play –John Dankworth’s ‘African Waltz’. A raffle in the break collected £80 which will go towards costs of the next exchange.

Although Amjazz Experience had played in schools before, this was their first club performance and they received much praise from an enthusiastic audience. Jazz in all its forms, including ‘folk jazz’ was there to be heard and the use of soprano, alto and tenor saxophones further extended the musical range and attraction.

For a couple of hours, the Amble Club, Bede Street became Ronnie Scott’s Club, Frith Street.  All this talent and enterprise by the travelling youngsters is purely ‘home grown’. Amble can be proud.