Sarah Ellen Hughes' Big Band @ The Manor – 24th July 2011

In The Band: Sarah Ellen Hughes (vocals/flute) & Anna Hughes (vocals/flugel) co-leading Rob Taggart (keyboard); Tim Thornton (bass); Paul Robinson (drums); Jack Davies, Gabriel Garrick, Tommy Walsh, Rob Greenwood (trumpets); Natalie Witts, Adrian Fry, Graham Hughes (tenor trombones); Barry Clements (bass trombone); saxes: Frank Griffith & Dave O’Higgins (tenors), Sammy Mayne & Richard Shepherd (altos), Erica Clarke (baritone).

Set 1: That Old Black Magic (v) (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer, arr. Billy May) [Sarah (voc); solo: Dave] : Midnight Sun (v) (J Francis Burke/Johnny Mercer, arr. SEH) [intro & solo: Anna (flgl); Sarah (voc)] : Never Will I Marry (v) (Frank Loesser, arr. SEH after Joe Zawinul) [solo: Dave] : Gone With The Wind (Allie Wrubel, arr. SEH) [soli intro: tmb section; solos: Adrian, Geoff, Natalie, Barry, Tim] : All Of Me (Seymour Simmons, arr. Billy Byers) [intro: Rob T & Tim; solo: Rob T] : Someone To Watch Over Me (v) (George & Ira Gershwin, arr. Miles Collins) [Sarah (voc) over muted tpts)] : Someone (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Evan Jolly) [Sarah (voc) over Gabriel (muted); soli: sax section] : Centrepiece (v) (Harry Edison/Jon Hendricks, arr. SEH) [Tommy + Anna + Sarah chorus (vox) over Gabriel (muted); solos: Jack, Frank; scat (vox); chorus (vox) a capella, then with Paul].

Set 2: Too Close For Comfort (v) (Jerry Bock/Lawrence Holofcener/George Weiss, arr. Patrick Williams for Patti Austin) [Sarah (voc); no solos] : Cute (Neal Hefti, arr. Phil Knights) [intro: Paul (brushes); solo: Paul] : When Sunny Gets Blue (v) (Marvin Fisher/Jack Segal, arr. SEH) [intro: Dave (flt) with Rob T; Anna & Sarah (vox) duet over Dave; solos: Tim, Dave] : Sunday Samba (Sarah Ellen Hughes) [theme: Anna (flgl) & Sarah (flt) with rhythm; solos: Sarah (flt), Sammy, Paul] : A-Tisket, A-Tasket (v) (Van Alexander/Ella Fitzgerald, arr. Chick Webb) [Sarah (voc); band (vox); no solos] : Looking Forward (v) (Bill Ashton, arr. Evan Jolly) [no solos] : I’ve Got Just About Everything (v) (Bob Dorough, arr. SEH) [Sarah (voc) with Gabriel (muted), Adrian, Sammy (flt); soli: sax section; solos: Gabriel, Richard, Adrian] : Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off (v) (George & Ira Gershwin, arr. SEH) [intro: Tim; solos: Frank, Dave, Sammy, Richard, Erica. Rob T, Tim, Rob G, Tommy, Gabriel, Jack, Adrian, Natalie, Barry, Geoff, Paul; Sarah & Anna (vox)].

( denotes Quartet number)

Jottings: A decent crowd turned up to participate in what the Harrow Observer rated as their Number 1 thing to do in Ruislip this particular weekend… an accolade indeed!

Sarah Ellen Hughes' Big Band @ The Manor – 24th July 2011The concert also marked the Manor debut of one of the UK’s top saxophonists, Dave O’Higgins (left), and he was busy from the off, providing a storming solo on That Old Black Magic and some Cannonball Adderley-esque accompaniment to Sarah Ellen’s Nancy Wilson stylings on Frank Loesser’s Never Will I Marry.

Other vocal highlights included: Sarah Ellen’s tender evocation of Someone To Watch Over Me, underscored by Gabriel’s delightful muted trumpet voicing; the co-leaders’ deft duetting over Dave’s flute and Rob T’s piano on a quartet version of When Sunny Gets Blue; Sarah Ellen’s phrasing on Bob Dorough’s rarely-heard I’ve Got Just About Everything, which also gave Adrian a solo opportunity; and, of course, the beautifully-worked Centrepiece, on which Tommy, Anna and Sarah Ellen were Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.

Special instrumental mentions go to: Sarah Ellen’s lovely arrangement of Gone With The Wind, which featured the trombone section, collectively and individually; All Of Me, Rob T’s classy Basie-esque feature; Paul’s dainty brushwork contribution to Cute; and Sarah Ellen’s and Anna’s fine flute ‘n’ flugel duetting on Sunday Samba.

Review: Steve Harris/IanFielding : Photo: Contributed