Vin Garbutt and Duke Ellington

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Vin Garbutt and Duke Ellington

Vin Garbutt and Duke Ellington

Posted: 20 Oct 2015

Vin Garbutt

1 November

Sage Gateshead

It’s over 20 years since I last saw Teesside troubadour Vin Garbutt. I’d tried to see him a couple of times in that period but been unable to get into already packed-out folk clubs.

A former winner of BBC Radio 2’s ‘Best Live Act’ award, Garbutt is, in his own words, ‘a shadow of his former self’ after some serious health issues. Nonetheless at 68, his voice is still intact, as are his senses of humour and social justice, along with impeccable timing and ability to find fun in the complexities of language

A Teesside twang isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but Garbutt’s charm makes it seem as warm as it is undeniably rich and varied when he sings with such depth of passion. Many of Vin’s, mostly self-penned, songs are about people he has known, such as ‘Teacher from Persia’ about Iranian asylum seekers he befriended in his home town, or ‘The College’ which deals with the brutal religious education experienced by many of his friends in the fifties.

While the subject matter of Garbutt’s songs is mostly thought-provoking, his patter in between remains as laugh-out-loud funny as it was when I saw him regularly in the 1980s.

Vin Garbutt has long been one of the folk circuit’s very best artists. Starting with ‘Land of Three Rivers’ celebrating the Tees, Wear and Tyne he reminds you that the North East doesn’t end just south of Sunderland but includes the industrial heartlands of the steel-making area he belongs to, an industry of course suffering now as mining and ship-building have suffered in the decades Vin has been chronicling life in the region.

You can catch him at the Copper Beech in Darlington on 10 December and the Normanby Hotel, Eston, Middlesbrough on 22 December. See him if you can – he’ll make you think, sing and laugh, and that’s been his trademark for a lifetime.

 

www.vingarbutt.com

 

Rob Mason

 

  

The Buck Clayton Legancy Band

A Celebration of Duke Ellington

Sage Gateshead

30 October

 

Led by Alyn Shipton on bass, and German Matthias Seuffert on tenor sax and clarinet, an eight-piece band produced an evening high on technical proficiency but low on momentum or atmosphere.

Hall Two of the Sage was close to capacity, ready to enjoy the music of Duke Ellington. Alyn Shipton is an accomplished musician and guardian of the genre. As a long-standing broadcaster and lecturer, the current host of BBC Radio 3 Jazz Requests has done much to safeguard the legacy of many musicians, not just Duke Ellington. Indeed Buck Clayton, whose name forms the title of the band, was a famous trumpeter of the Swing era.

While it is good that Shipton carefully elucidates the title and background of every number, the downside of this is that ultimately the show is more radio programme than concert. It is consistently interesting and listenable but there are no high points and no build-up of excitement. Only Ian Smith on trumpet outwardly seemed to be enjoying himself in what, after all, was billed as ‘A Celebration.’ Beginning with ‘Stomp, Look & Listen,’ by the end of the evening it seemed as if only the looking and listening had been achieved.

 

 

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