Sunday, May 4, 2008

Yardbird All Stars tribute to Duke Ellington

I was one of the lucky few who managed to get to see the Yardbird All Starts over the weekend - both shows were totally sold out. We saw Senator Tommy Banks take the role of Duke Ellington to lead the group. At almost 9 pm a car pulled up and double parked -- I headed out to tell the occupant that we werre already sold out. "I have to see the show," he said "I've heard that the great PJ Perry is doing Johnny Hodges!' Of course it was PJ himself :-) Kent Sangster did Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney was performed by Dave Babcock. Bob Tildesley replaced Cat Anderson's toilet plunger with a modern trumpet stopper. Craig Brennan was Lawrence Brown on trombone. Mike Lent was John Lamb on bass - and Rufus Jones was performed by Juno Award winner Sando Dominelli.

Everybody who was anybody was there. I was the 'volunteer house manager' for the evening, so I got a chance to talk to lots of 'old friends'. Many who have supported the Suite for decades. Board member Craig McGill was introduced by CBC's Jacqueline Janelle. CBC taped a live GO! program the night before, left the equipment in the Suite to tape this show for a summer broadcast. Listen for it in June on CBC radio.

Tom was in his element. Leading the cream of local jazz musicians, in front of an imtimate - and apprciative crowd. We got stories about the music, and jokes about the past, and today's politics. "Bush wants to run for another term. He's been told that you can only be elected for two terms - his argument? 'but I've only won once?".

I was tempted to come by on Saturday to listen to the show again, it was so good -- and it is hard to listen carefully when I am volunteering. But I checked ticketmaster, and Saturday's show was sold out earlier in the week.

The show ended with a standing ovation, requiring an encore from the band.

Yardbird Suite Website

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