Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1089

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Average White Band: Ronnie Scott’s, London 25/07/18

Average White Band @bluesandsoul.com
Average White Band @bluesandsoul.com

The Average White Band reached legendary status about 40 years ago. The current reincarnation goes from strength to strength having expanded to the 7-piece band which sold out two weeks at Ronnie Scott’s.

The two original band members, Scots Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre, lead five talented American musicians to form the hottest soul/funk band on the planet.

A high-quality and sophisticated support set came Jim Mullen, one of the UK’s premier jazz guitarists, accompanied by Russ Stanley on organ and Tristan Maillot on drums. A long-time friend of the AWB, Mullen gave a sparkling display of his guitar brilliance with dazzling runs in abundance.

The AWB came on stage to a recorded intro by Billy Connolly, with the Scottish comedian giving it large (as the YouTube clip describes) over an AWB mix.

"When Will You Be Mine" opened, one of four tracks from the band’s 1979 album "Feel No Fret", followed by the classic rendition of Burt Bacharach’s "Walk On By".

"The Jugglers" from the band’s 1979 debut LP had originally been previewed to the media at Ronnie Scott’s so it fittingly had another run out.

The musicians took their time in the spotlight with aplomb. Chris Lyons with the solo on "Love Of Your Own" set the crowd alight, Freddie “V” Vigor on "Work To Do", drummer Rocky Bryant and keyboardist Rob Aries on "Jugglers".

Ex-Tower of Power singer Brent Carter fronted an outstanding version of "Cloudy", with the two founders providing beautiful backing vocals. This was something special and the arrangement has been subtly altered to suit Carter’s incredible soul falsetto.

A light-hearted moment came when a Freddie V solo in a quiet moment was accidentally interrupted by an audience member who sneezed. Vigor, not missing a beat, calmly said “Gesundheit”.

Returning for the encore of "Let’s Go Round Again" Gorrie brought his customary whisky onstage, saying, ”Thank you friends, here’s a little Highland toast to you.” The band gave a storming finish with the Montreux version of "Pick Up The Pieces".
Words CHAZ BROOKS

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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