Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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The James Hunter Six & The Chris Corcoran Trio, The Hideaway 15/11/12

The James Hunter Six: The Hideaway 15/11/12 (pt The London Jazz Festival)
The James Hunter Six: The Hideaway 15/11/12 (pt The London Jazz Festival) The James Hunter Six: The Hideaway 15/11/12 (pt: London Jazz Festival) Chris Corcoran: The Hideaway 15/11/12 (pt: London Jazz Festival) The Chris Corcoran Trio: The Hideaway 15/11/12 (pt: London Jazz Festival)

With the DJ’s evocative sounds of early R‘n’B having perfectly set the mood for the show, The Chris Corcoran Trio launched into Ike Turner’s “The Rooster”. Already, the limitations of a dining venue, however salubrious, presented itself; I wanted to push away my table and get dancing...

With Corcoran on guitar, Dave Lagnado on double bass and Peter Greatorex on drums, the band, formed just last year, created a full sound, whether it be swinging jazz, funk or traditional blues. In a varied set that included originals, such as “Swingo”, “The Plunge” (from their debut album, “The Getaway”) and “Killer Shuffle”, the theme from “The Pink Panther” and the classic, “Chitlins”, Corcoran proved to be a dynamic guitarist. During “Whims of Chambers”, he walked among the delighted audience playing his guitar, while Lagnado, who we were told was celebrating his 50th birthday today, ably held his own on stage. “T-Bone Shuffle” rounded off a polished and hugely enjoyable set. The Chris Corcoran Trio is one to watch out for, and James Hunter, enjoying their performance from the side, couldn’t have wished for a better act to get the audience well and truly warmed up.

After the break, The James Hunter Six emerged to the swinging theme of the 1960 film, “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning”; a favourite of the band’s, from the era characteristic of Hunter’s music. They then jumped straight into the punchy “She’s Got a Way”. The band, consisting of Hunter on guitar, Andy Kingslow on keyboards, Jason Wilson on double bass, new kid on the block, Rob Pokorny, on drums, Damian Hand on tenor sax and Lee Badau on baritone sax, demonstrated their musicianship throughout, with thrilling guitar riffs and impressive sax and keyboard solos. Hunter’s soulful vocals rode sublimely through it all. Evident in his fabulously funky rendition of “No Smoke Without Fire”, Hunter’s upbeat sound is made for dancing, and, to enable this, a rebellious table-shifting mutiny was suggested. This typically irreverent humour came to the fore with “Watch and Chain”, when it became clear that, unusually for the band, there were a few timing issues. However, Hunter’s professionalism and entertaining theatrics kept everyone more than amused.

The set was filled with favourites, such as the title track of the wonderful Grammy nominated “People Gonna Talk” and “Riot in My Heart”, and “Carina” and “Jacqueline” from “The Hard Way”. Fans were also excited to hear several unrecorded songs, which will feature on the new album due for release in the spring. The first, “Goldmine”, was introduced in a self-parody (“This one’s called “Goldmine” ‘cause it’s about a mine what’s got gold in it!”), which belied Hunter’s fresh and witty lyrics, which have a modern twist that takes them beyond mere nostalgia. “One Way Love”, which followed, was a prime example. Other great new additions were the beautiful “Let the Monkey Ride”, “Drop On Me”, and “Look Out”. While most of the set consisted of original material, we were treated to blisteringly good renditions of The “5” Royales’ “Baby Don’t Do It” and “Think”, and Leiber and Butler’s “Down Home Girl”, which certainly had potential for mutiny, with their wild guitar and crazy keyboards. All too soon came the final song, “Believe Me Baby”, with its New Orleans vibe; the band walking off to the usual cheers and high spirited whistling. They returned for a rollicking “Talking ‘Bout My Love”, with guitar stunts galore and enthusiastic audience participation. If the gig had had its hiccups, the audience wasn’t bothered. It was an exhilarating ending to a fine show.

Photos: Steve Foster
Words Sharnalee Foster

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