Darren English, a South African-born resident of Atlanta Ga, combines the best of both worlds with six standards and four originals – three of which are part of a suite that pays tribute to Nelson Mandela.
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“Pledge For Peace” cleverly intertwines a radio interview with Mandela who talks about being a freedom fighter. English blows a chorus without a mouthpiece, Tardy is far from tardy on tenor and English retrieves his mouthpiece to great effect.
“The Birth” represents the birth of a new nation with some frenetic tenor playing – an agonising, ultimately triumphant representation of the battle against apartheid.
Carmen Bradford adds her distinctive vocals to “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” and “Skylark”
Three trumpets blow on Cherokee – perhaps the best trumpet tear up since Ellington’s Trumpet no End! Maybe the best trumpet carvery ever!
Russell Gunn (one of the trumpets) recalls that English’s request to sit in at one of his gigs was the first time any of the students on the “Jazz Programmes” of the local universities had done so. This indicated to him that this young man was serious, that he knew that jazz is a life choice, not a fallback career, a supplemental income or something to do until you’re tired of being broke.
Also featuring: Darren English (tpt); Kenny Banks Jr. (pno); Billy Thornton (bs); Chris Burroughs (dms) + Carmen Bradford (vcl); Greg Tardy (ten); Russell Gunn (tpt); Joe Gransden (tpt).
Showtimes: 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Admission: $29