Jazz on Sunday

Les Bull Band

Les Bull Band - Jazz on a Sunday
Reporter: Tony Sheldon
Date online: 31/03/2009

At “Jazz on a Sunday” we only have good bands and better bands.

Despite the financial obstacles bands are queuing up to be invited to visit Castleton, and the first visit of Cumbria’s Les Bull Band was the perfect example.

The ‘hidden gems’ which are unearthed in the Jazz world never fail to surprise me. A healthy crowd turned out to witness the visitors from upper space, never stopped applauding and the band were thrilled with the venue, the ambience and the friendly welcome.

Trumpeter Les Bull leads a band full of musical talent and professional cohesion. His intros are informative without being intrusive and his vocals blend perfectly with the arrangements.

A long first set opened with “Jazz Me Blues” and the Bull vocals included “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home”, “Keeping out of Mischief”, with the full musical input of Dave Lee’s sax, Pete Major’s piano, Lawrence Cantys bass guitar and the drumming of Peter Boocock. “Thanks a Million” with piano solo, “Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans” and the rarely played “Hustlin’ and Bustlin’”. Lee’s clarinet and Major’s vibes did due diligence to Goodman and Hampton and turning to tenor sax Lee complemented Major’s piano and vocal in “Deed I Do”.

A gentle arrangement of “Blue Turning Grey” gave way to Bull’s powerful trumpet, clarinet and Matthew Woodhouse’s trombone with Boocock’s drum solo for good measure finishing a superb set with “That’s A Plenty”.

A rousing re-start had the band “Doggin’ Around” before changing mood with the sleepy soft soprano sax and trombone sounds accompanying Bull’s vocal “Old Rockin’ Chair’s Got Me”. Canty’s bass guitar solo interspersed the quirky “One, Two, Button my Shoe”, and the melodic tones of Lee’s clarinet with gentle rhythm had a silent room attentive to the French composition “Nuage”. “You’re a Sweetheart”, Major’s vocal party piece faded away to the ‘choirs’ “I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl”.

“Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream on” played with sensitive desire and sung wistfully by Bull was then dramatically contrasted with Boocock’s mesmeric drum solo leading “Hindustan” to the break. This band is really something and everyone listened aghast as bull’s trumpet and Major’s sax did perfect justice to Bix Beiderbecke’s “Davenport Blues”- superb.

“California” had Bull vocalising in full swing and full of surprises, we were treated to a perfect rendition of Theolonius Monk’s “Blue Monk”, soft drums, piano, trombone and guitar with bluesy clarinet solo - as Les Bull said “I never thought that as a trad musician I would be playing this number, but it is quite special.”

“That’s my Home” produced a great blend led by Bull’s vocal and trumpet - “I’m a Bilk Fan” - and Bull’s Alex Welsh reverie gave license for “Sleepy Town Girl.”

The band were having a ball and although “Royal Garden Blues” was announced as the closing number they extended it with a medley and the saints who really had to “Go Marching Out”. They will be back in August.

Contact Information

Jazz on Sunday

Newtown National Club
Nixon Street, Off Manchester Road
OL11 3JN

Tel: 01422 823 479

Meeting times