Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bernie McGann Quartet

Ahh, Bernie. How I love your sound. The Quartet is Bernie on his trusty alto, Warwick Alder on trumpet, Brendan Clarke on bass and Andrew Dickeson [aka smiley] on drums. (pictured here with two anonymous but enthralled backs-of-heads in shot)

I'm sure that 'smiley' is not an official nickname for Andrew Dickeson. I made it up after watching him play with Bernie's Quartet. He smiled through nearly the whole thing.

Songs played were a piece based on George Gershwin's 'So What', which Bernie calls 'ACNR' (All Care No Responsibility), then [yaaaay!!] Spirit Song which is a Bernie McGann anthem, probably his most famous piece. 'Memories of You' and then 'The Breeze and I'. Bernie was wondering who wrote it. I checked on Wikipedia and they said "The song is based on a Spanish language song, "Andalucia." The music to the original song was written by Ernesto Lecuona, with Spanish lyrics by Emilio de Torre; the English language lyric was written by Al Stillman." Okey dokey.

This band is tight, good, thrilling for the same reasons it's always thrilling. Spirit Song is a treat, particularly for me. I'm humming it now...

Brendan Clarke was really working hard; his sound was great... his playing tonight was particularly wonderful to watch and to hear. Brendan can do great things. I remember I was listening to the radio when they were playing his set in 2001 (the year he won the National Jazz Awards for bass). I was late for something but sat glued to the car radio, listening until he had finished. He was playing like that tonight.

A great set by all. I was surrounded by hundreds of happy punters who felt the same.

Thank you!

1 comment:

Ken said...

Hi there, found your blog looking for info about Spirit Song and Bernie McGann.

Yes indeed, Lecuona wrote the music for Andalucia, a piano suite, from which the tune for The Breeze and I was taken. Lecuona was a famous Cuban composer. TB&I was made famous by Cateria Valente in the 50s, among others.

One interesting trivia is that Andalucia was written for triple meter, but TB&I changes this to quadruple meter, and sounds very different.