Jazz on TV (BBC FOUR ) – ‘Spring Soul and Jazz from Cheltenham’

The assembled cast of singers for the final James Brown medley. Screengrab

Sebastian writes: BBC FOUR TV has just broadcast (7 May 2023) a 105-minute show with the title “Spring Soul and Jazz from Cheltenham”.

This was a Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2023 Concert recorded at the Big Top, Montpellier Gardens on 27 April 2023.

The live concert was called “Soul Jazz Summit” and the festival’s blurb states “Kickstarting a new tradition for the Festival, the Soul Jazz Summit brings together the very best of jazz, funk and soul, including special guests Gregory Porter, Madeline Bell, Mica Millar, Ashton Jones, Vanessa Haynes, Beverley Knight and Ian Shaw.”

Gregory Porter and Beverly Knight, both on the scheduled list, withdrew. Kurt Elling and Mica Paris performed. The concert featured The Guy Barker Big Band, the BBC Concert Orchestra (a total of 80 musicians on stage). The show was hosted by Marcus Brigstocke. All the arrangements were by Guy Barker and conductor was Mike Dixon. Director for TV was Sian Parry. Any more names welcome in the comments below!


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1. Ashton Jones – Take Me to the River – Al Green/ Mabon Hodges.

2. Mica Miller Fool that I am

3. Ian Shaw Small day Tomorrow

4, Mica Paris Every Time we Say Goodbye

5. Tommy Blaize. I wish you love (Allen Toussaint)

6. Vanessa Haynes – Mean Man (Allen Toussaint ) (alto sax solo Sam Mayne)

7. Kurt Elling – All the Way (Jimmy Van Heusen / Sammy Cahn) / flugelhorn solo Martin Shaw.

8. Madeline Bell – What the World Needs Now (Bacharach/ David)

9. Madeline Bell and Vanessa Haynes – I Say a Little Prayer for You –( Bacharach / David0

10. Ashton Jones – Living for the City (Stevie Wonder)

11. Mica Milller – Just a Little Lovin’ ( Barry Mann / Cythia Weil)

12. Mica Paris – Hallelujah I Live Him So (Ray Charles)

13. Ian Shaw – My Favourite Things (Rodgers / Hammerstein)

14. Vanessa Haynes – Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon/Garfunkel)

15. Tommy Blaize Let the Good Times Roll (Fleecie Moore and Sam Theard / Louis Jorfdan)

16. Madeline Bell – Imagine my Frustration (Ellington / Ella Fitzgerald) (alto sax solo Giacomo Smith)

17 Kurt Elling – Tutti for Cootie (Ellington)

18. Whole cast: Medley for James Brown: (Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, This ia Man’s Man’s World and I Feel Good.)

BAND (with thanks to Dylan Bate):

Trumpets: Nathan Bray, George Hogg, Pat White, Martin Shaw, Guy Barker

Trombones: Barnaby Dickinson, Alistair White, Winston Rollins, Mark Frost
Saxophones: Sam Mayne, Giacomo Smith, George Millard, Chelsea Carmichael, Gemma Moore
Piano: Jim Watson
Bass: Steve Pearce
Ed Richardson
Guitar: Al Cherry

LINKS: Watch the show on BBC iPlayer

Biography of Guy Barker Big Band at James Brown (no relation) Management

Review of the live show from Building Your Own Nashville

Categories: Reports, Reviews

6 replies »

  1. Why do all BBC “Jazz” programmes concentrate exclusively on vocalists and “standards”? Where are all the brilliant adventurous musicians who appeared at Cheltenham?? Where are all the sax players, trumpeters, pianists, guitarists, bassists etc. etc. etc.??? Come back Jazz 625, Jazz At The Maltings, all the stuff that featured REAL jazz (like the first time I saw the Miles Davis 1970 electric band)! Guy Barker is a brilliant trumpeter, what’s he doing organising this bland contrivance pandering to what the populists at BBC4 think that The Great British Public THINK Jazz is? Let’s hear him PLAY! LET’s HEAR SOME REAL JAZZ!!

    • How very very right you are!So sad that it has to be summed down to suit the “patrons of the arts” Thank you John.

  2. Really enjoyed Madeline Bell’s contributions.
    Given the roster of people in the credits (no musicians though – dreadful omission) what would it take for someone to put up a caption to name the soloist on gigs like this?
    Anyway, while it’s Bank-Holiday-lite-TV, got to be preferable to a royal garden party on the other side…

  3. Big Band lineup was:
    Nathan Bray
    George Hogg
    Pat White
    Martin Shaw
    Guy Barker

    Barnaby Dickinson
    Alistair White
    Winston Rollins
    Mark Frost
    Alto 1 Sam Mayne
    Alto 2 Giacomo Smith
    Tenor 1 George Millard
    Tenor 2 Chelsea Carmichael
    Baritone Gemma Moore
    Piano Jim Watson
    Bass Steve Pearce
    Drums Ed Richardson
    Guitar Al Cherry

  4. A truly awful program, only about 1% jazz. The introduction was painful, featuring the inevitable excerpts from everything that was “coming up later”. Most of the performances were mediocre, apart from Madeline Bell and Mica Miller. Kurt Ellington was particularly bad, in spite of the hype. I’ve heard better pub singers. BBC just doesn’t seem to think we should be listening to proper jazz.

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