Monday 24th April 2017, into spring now but you wouldn’t think so with a sudden cold spell bringing arctic air down to Mountnessing? Our artiste for the evening was Paul Roberts he had travelled from Manchester to be with us that day having prior to that, been in Fort William. Paul introduced himself and told us of his many travels and detail of some of the venues at which he had performed around the globe. He proposed a theme for the start of the evening, that of travel. We began with a medley from New York from the 1920’s by the composer Walter Donaldson, amongst the music played we heard Making Whoopee. We next moved to Scotland for a selection including, The Bonnie Banks, Scotland the Brave and the Sky Boat song.
Paul made a point of explaining that all music we would hear from him that evening was live with no recorded or other backing, his instrument was a thirty year old Yamaha Electone HS-8 and perhaps did not have such a facility? His music next took a look at ‘time’ and with an irony we listened to ‘When I’m sixty-four’. We progressed to an Indian theme and listened to ‘Moonlight on the Ganges’ and ‘Hindu Stan’. In the second half of the evening amongst the music was; ‘The lady and the tramp,’ ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, ‘His making eyes at me’ ‘If you knew Suzy’ and Then a dramatic change to a rendition of a Classical piece Opus 59 a chaconne by Henri Roubier. Throughout the evening the music was interspersed with relevant commentary and humour, confusion over Brentwood and Brentford caused not a little teasing between Paul and the audience, he quickly recovered and we all laughed with him. Back to music which included a move to the moon! ‘Fly me to the moon’ ‘Paper Moon’ and Moon River’ among other moon related tunes. Our last venue was Mexico for the ‘Mexican Hat Dance’ and ‘tequila’. ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ and ‘Life is a Cabaret’ brought the evening to its initial end. Paul was of course, called back for an encore which included ‘Blaze Away’ and then a tune that took me back to my youth as a member of the ABC minors , only known to me as just that ‘ The ABC minors song’ sung by hundreds of kids sat in rows at the ABC cinema Ilford on a Saturday morning. We finished with ‘Where’s That Tiger’ to great applause.
Paul’s stile of playing, some could use the word ‘Marmite’ and if you are not familiar with the term, people absolutely love Marmite or they are not so keen, it’s just a matter of taste. His music was bright and bubbly, he is a true Artiste, his stile and instrument produce the music that many would consider to be associated with traditional theatre organ music, for the purist ‘Marmite’ lovers superb, but for those who have got used to the additional instrument mimicking abilities of recent electronic organs, they may have missed the greater variety by those rendered orchestral instruments. A final comment about the evening of music brought to us by Paul, there was not a note of music in front of him it all came from his memory
Pauls Yamaha Electone HS-8
Posted in Concert Review
The first hint of spring, the clocks had gone forward; we welcomed British Summer Time and Ryan Edwards who had travelled to us from Chester. Those of us who arrived a little early did so whilst there was still some daylight in the sky. Ryan began his performance with a spirited rendition of the Light Cavalry Overture by Franz Von Suppe, followed by, ‘I wanna be like you’ from the jungle book. During the evening between pieces he explained why he had chosen each item of music and there would be a little story often with humour. Amongst the varied program were; Bring him home, Morning in Cornwall, music from Cats, ‘Goodbye to love’ by the Carpenters, which included of course its faithfully rendered famous guitar solo. There were two pieces from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, one of which was ‘Portsmouth’. Other varied genres featured a performance of Michel Flatley’s ‘Gypsy’ and another ‘River Dance’ favourite, ‘Lord of the dance’. ‘Nice work if you can get it’, ‘Cocamba’. A piece with fast and complicated looking footwork and Elgar’s ninth Enigma Variation, ‘Nimrod’.
All too soon we reached the encore which of course was called for after an accomplished evening’s entertainment, ‘Nessun Dorma’ brought the performance to a close. There had been many other and varied items in Ryan’s program the detail of which I have missed but his music spanned some classical and the last 60 years (by my reckoning) and had the audience swaying, singing, and toe tapping throughout.
The instrument played by Ryan was a Yamaha Electone EL-900. During the evening he explained that a near catastrophe occurred in the last few days whilst transporting it. The keyboard fell off its trolley and broke its right side panel. Fortunately a family member repaired it in time for the BOKC performance.
27th February 2017, Another cold evening for a concert but we were treated to a comprehensive evening of great musical variety at the hands of John Cooper, hands which he was rubbing together to warm his fingers, two of the heaters in the hall were out of order. At least by the forthcoming March concert we should be moving into spring and perhaps warmer weather? John punctuated his music with a good sense of humour between pieces. As he started to play he slipped off his shoes to operate the pedals in his socks. He didn’t want to scratch the pedals… Whilst playing, John’s father maintained a projected video relevant to the music as an inset on the screened images of keyboard and pedals.
The evening opened with music in the stile of James last, the Elizabethan serenade, we heard music from Les Misérables, a variety from Disney, Hans Zimmer’s pirates of the Caribbean. Further pieces included, The Rose, Hero, Unforgettable, Bring him home, Conquest of Paradise, Palladio, and a very soulful rendition of ‘Morning in Cornwall’. Eventually the concert reached the end of the evening and John returned to play ‘Time to say goodbye’ as his encore.
The instrument John brought with him was a Yamaha Stagea ELS-02C. Apparently these are very rare in the UK perhaps only two models including John’s. It seems one can be purchased here for £25,000 or as John did, journey to Japan and bring your own back for about £6,000 or was it £8000? Well out of interest I checked and today you can buy one direct in Japan for 1,036,800 Japanese Yen or in good old GBP £7,862.96p
John’s Yamaha Stagea ELS-02C
Perhaps it was the recent icy roads and fogy evenings or the particularly chilly night of the 23rd Jan, maybe the road closures after an explosion that evening, which took out the building front of flats in Ardleigh Green Romford. Something brought about an unusually low turnout for the music of Chris Jones.
Standing under a heater in the hall and rubbing his hands together he joked about how cold the hall was, it did though fortunately warm up during the evening.
As we perhaps expected, Chris produced a concert that provided music from many genre’s, from the classics of Gustav Mahler to Boyzone, TV themes including sleepy shores and Poirot. A comprehensive evening’s entertainment which even had his audience singing along with him.
The instrument that Chris brought with him had been adapted and reengineered by Chris to make it slightly more portable, he made a point of telling us that the equipment was 25 years old yet apparently, just as good as new.
Whilst I can appreciate good music my present knowledge of these keyboard instruments is limited and I have had to ask for details. So thanks to Dave for the following.
Chris had a self built 3 manual and pedal organ made from a Yamaha US-1 (dating back to 1990), a Technics KN7000 keyboard and a variety of Yamaha, Korg and Roland sound expanders including the Fantom XR which was used to provide some very good Theatre Organ sounds.
Posted in Concert Review