"Wow!" was LondonJazz's Mystery Chelsea Shopper's verdict on the Gareth Lockrane Big Band at the 606 (September 27th 2009, lunchtime, 606 Club)
Your mystery shopper had a great time - the band was on excellent form despite having several deps - or properly changes of personel! Am not sure just how any big band in this day and age can hope to keep the same 18 people together all the time. Anyway they were great.
Lockrane is an excellent leader as well as flute player - and piccolo on the last number. I imagine he does all the arranging and this is fluid enough to give everyone a chance to show off a bit - a great guitar player Mike Outram, and Julian Siegel rather than Alex Garnett on one of the tenors.
The rhythm section including Kate Williams was terrific - a feat when backing such a big agglomeration - there was a twenty minute medley at the start of the second set and they did a great job of changing the pace between numbers. Gareth dashed in and out to bring things to crescendos, to encourage the brass section, and to finally wind it up when all had been said!
There were several really interesting numbers including We'll Never Meet Again and Mel's Spells where Gareth played his piccolo to good effect and I look forward to the next time I can hear them and hope that the whole enterprise meets with the support it deserves - A Big Band surviving in London ! Wow.