Arts events in Fulbourn Cambridgeshire
Becki Biggins? A little-known Dickensian pie-shop proprietor? A Tolkien escapee? A Channel Five children’s presenter? No – I hadn’t heard of her either – but I suspect hers is a name that we’ll all hear a great deal more of in the future.
Organised by Lynne Olney on behalf of ‘Fulbourn Arts’, Becki appeared with her ‘Dream Team’ at The Six Bells early in February. Something of a coup this; a 2009 Grammy award nominee for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, winner of the Marlborough Jazz Festival’s ‘Best Newcomer’ Award, Becki has had a No 1 album in the US Smooth Jazz charts and has toured extensively in the US and Europe and has appeared on numerous British TV shows – so – Los Angeles, New Orleons, ‘The Big Breakfast’, ‘This Morning’ – and now The Six Bells, Fulbourn High Street…
The Function Room was transformed into a very intimate ‘Jazz Club’ – the event was sold-out and 120 people packed the venue. The ‘Dream Team’ opened the evening – Becki later remarked on how lucky she felt playing with such musicians – and it was easy to hear why. Here were three wonderfully skilled musicians thoroughly enjoying the seemingly effortless interplay between instruments. Harold Fisher on drums was just a blur of brushes in the background from where I sat but I have seldom heard a drum kit played more expressively, Dave Olney on double bass was the rhythmic engine room but incorporated deft and delicate touches of originality and wit and Malcolm Edmonstone on keyboards was simply stunning – a virtuoso performance.
Becki sang a wide range of songbook classics and jazz standards, a timeless selection, but reshaped and reinterpreted them. Her versions are melodic, hook-filled, warm and beautifully arranged to take advantage of her voice and the easy cohesion of her ‘Dream Team’ . The set sensibly began with the well-recognised ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ but it was Becki’s version of ‘Black Coffee’ that I particularly enjoyed; it began with just rich-roasted voice and slow, well-stirred bass – a delicious blend! Becki opened both halves of her set with songs that featured her tenor sax and I felt that we could have heard much more of that – her sax playing seemed to complement the phrasing and tone of her voice beautifully. The second half featured more songs from Becki’s new album ‘The Positive’ or, to give it its trendy or jazzy official title, ‘The +Ve’. ‘Accentuate the Positive’ was certainly great fun but it was Becki’s highly original version of ‘Alfie’ that showed off both the extraordinary range and control of her voice and also the individual and combined skills of her ‘Dream Team’. Dave Olney’s bass brilliantly complemented and occasionally gently sparred with Malcolm Edmonstone’s beautifully atmospheric keyboard solo and, whilst I am of an age to remember with some trepidation the twenty minute drum solos featured on some 1970’s Prog Rock albums, Harold Fisher’s drum solos showed how extraordinarily varied and exciting a set of drums can sound in the right hands.
Fulbourn was indeed privileged to host an artist of Becki Biggins’ standing. Well over a hundred of us enjoyed an evening of fine-quality, well-chosen jazz songs from a singer and her trio demonstrating absolute mastery of their material and instruments and conveying it with warmth, ease and genuine enjoyment to an appreciative audience.
Becki Biggins? Simply a very fine interpreter of classic jazz songs and a great entertainer. We definitely will hear more of that name in the future…
Comment – 2010/02/07 at 11:57am
I came in the hope of getting a ticket as I had been told by Horace a couple of evenings before that you were fully booked. Thanks for letting me in. It was worth every penny. As Becki said ” It will cost more next time!”
Persuade her to come back next year but please find somwwhere we can dance to that sort of music!
Gerry Cowley – Bottisham
From Becki Biggins Blog – www.beckibiggins.com – The +Ve and Fabulous Fulbourn
It’s been a great week; not one, but two really exciting things have happened:
The first was the delivery of my new album, The +Ve (“The Positive”) on Tuesday. I sat down at the kitchen table and listened to it twice through, not quite believing that it was actually finished and that seven boxes, filled with 1173 CDs, were piled up in my living room. The album’s here, it’s done, and I’m very, very proud of it. I’ve already posted the tracks as downloads in the Shop part of the website, but hang on for audio clips – I’m on the case! When the audio clips are available, I’ll put physical copies up for sale on the website…
The second was Friday’s sell-out gig at the Six Bells in Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire, organised with military precision by Lynne Olney, Dave’s (the bass player) wife. From start to finish, it was an incredibly enjoyable evening, which began with the most chilled-out sound-check I think we’ve ever had. Then it was back to Lynne and Dave’s for a much-needed and much enjoyed supper, and on to the gig. My goodness – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a small room so full of absolutely lovely people. And the music was so good too. I was only slightly concerned by Malcolm’s personal challenge of playing the entire 1 hour 40 minutes’ worth of music without, well, any music but, of course, it was Malcolm and so there was no problem… As I’d just received the CDs, I had to start selling them then and there, and I was actually slightly concerned that I’d under-estimated the buying power of the audience and that I’d run out. It was a close thing!
Thanks to everyone who was involved in the success of Friday, and if you think we could play in your village/town/amphitheatre and fill the place, get in touch!!! (Just make sure there’s a home-cooked supper waiting!)
More exciting news about my work with Paul Hardcastle is next, so be sure to check the blog again soon,