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Swing That Music!
Swing That Music!
Price: £13.80

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Star Quality!, 22 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Swing That Music! (Audio CD)
The musicians in Phil Mason's New Orleans All Stars are without exception all men at the top of their profession having had experience over many years with the best names in British jazz, including Alex Welsh, Bruce Turner, Cy Laurie, Alan Elsdon and Acker Bilk. Christine Tyrrell who sings on three of the tracks is a jazz/blues singer who has an exceptional talent and deserves a CD all of her own. I recently saw this band live, which prompted me to buy this CD. They are great entertainers in the traditional New Orleans style and the tracks on this CD are a good representation of their live performance. There are wonderful solo performances by Jim McIntosh and Trefor Williams but each of the musicians excel in ensemble, not least Micky Cooke on trombone. Phil Mason has gathered together a band of musicians who work extremely well together. There is a slightly spiritual theme about this CD with Phil Mason's vocals on 'In the Sweet Bye and Bye' and Christine Tyrrell's stunning vocals on 'What the Lord Has Done For Me' and 'When I Come to The End of My journey'. This is a CD that often accompanies me on car journies and I always arrive more cheerful than when I started! Highly recommended.


With Nat in Mind
With Nat in Mind
Price: £17.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally fine jazz!, 16 Jun 2009
This review is from: With Nat in Mind (Audio CD)
This CD comprises of a high standard of performance jazz. Each musician brings to the recording good individual and ensemble performances of jazz classics celebrating Nat Gonella's life. Digby Fairweather bought together some of the best possible musicians for this recording including the fabulous John Barnes and the late Pete Strange as well as guest performances from Wild Bill Davison and former Georgian band members Tiny Winters and Pat Smuts. This, combined with vocals from Lisa Lincoln, who I had not heard before, makes it a CD that represents the extremely good value. Some of the other vocals are a little quirky but it is a feelgood CD and each of the musicians play really enjoyable jazz. I particular enjoyed the band performances on 'That Rhythm Man'. But the praise must really go to Digby Fairweather for the inspiration behind the project. He pulled it together and he made it happen and it is him we must thank for a CD to be enjoyed!


Love and Kisses
Love and Kisses
by Jean Ure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A difficult decision, 9 May 2009
This review is from: Love and Kisses (Paperback)
This is the story of the dilemmas of first love, sensitively explored. Tamsin's emotions are both powerful and real as she meets Alex and tries to come to terms with differences in age and origin.The author demonstrates respect and understanding for Tamsin's feelings and for her journey to resolve the many conflicts that inevitably arise. It is a story of twists and turns, relationships and humour, visitors from near and far and two delightfully dotty aunts who inadvertently help Tamsin to reach a decision. In 'Love and Kisses', the author takes risks in tackling a subject that could be controversial but which expertly weaves its way towards a difficult but decisive conclusion. This is a story insightfully written. A must for all teenagers facing the power of love for the very first time


Fortune Cookie
Fortune Cookie
by Jean Ure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner!, 13 Feb 2009
This review is from: Fortune Cookie (Paperback)
A well crafted story of two best friends: Fudge and Cupcake, who discover how easy it is to find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Cookie, a puppy they rescue, is adopted by brother Joey who has a special reason to worry about the puppy's welfare when it becomes injured.

The girls quest to pay the vet's bill combines a series of moral dilemmas with some creative ways of fund raising!

Jean Ure writes with warmth and good humour exploring feelings and friendships in a compelling and believable way. It is a real page turner with some quite unexpected challenges for all concerned.


Notes from a Jazz Life
Notes from a Jazz Life
by Digby Fairweather
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.67

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable jazz life, 13 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Notes from a Jazz Life (Paperback)
From a librarian in Southend to a successful and award winning band leader, Digby Fairweather has led an interesting and at times quite remarkable jazz life.

Only deciding to turn professional at the age of thirty, he worked hard to gain recognition in the highly competitive and often uncertain world of professional jazz.

As Digby learnt his craft, he soaked up inspiration from the likes of Louis Armstrong and Nat Gonella and soon found himself playing alongside Ray Crane, John Picard, Jimmy Skidmore, Bruce Turner and Eric Silk.

Developing through his own 'Half Dozen', 'Jazz Legend' and 'Ron Russell's Band', he worked with many great names in Jazz and soon gained both experience and reputation.

But 'Notes From A Jazz Life' records the story of a man who at times was uneasy with himself and never quite believed in his own potential. Even his remarkable composition 'Songs for Sandy' he referred to as a 'modest suite'.

As he worked with the 'Midnite Follies Orchestra' and 'Fairweather Friends' he seemed to be continuing his search for his true identity and direction. But what is clear from the book is that Digby Fairweather is much more than a jazz musician. His broad and enthusiastic passion for the cause grew into writing, broadcasting and the very important development of the 'Association of Jazz Musicians' and the 'National Jazz Archive'.

His 'Tribute to Nat Tour' and his Jazz College work with Stan Barker provided new interests and opportunities and overcoming lip damage and problems with his embouchure, he began to occupy an increasingly important place in British Jazz.

Touring with 'The Great British Jazz Band' and continuing to write and broadcast, he then began to create and perform his own style of jazz with his carefully selected 'Half Dozen'.

The book ends before his association with George Melly but it is hard not to be impressed by the very valuable influence Digby Fairweather has had on British Jazz performance in recent years. But perhaps his most enduring contribution will be the work he has undertaken to ensure that British Jazz has a permanent archive to record its important place in the cultural development of Britain.

'Notes From A Jazz Life' is the truly inspirational story of a man with a passion, who clearly still has many more ambitions and a great deal more to achieve.

Well worth a read!


On The Road With George Melly: The final bows of a legend
On The Road With George Melly: The final bows of a legend
by Digby Fairweather
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Commendable Balancing Act!, 13 Feb 2009
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Digby Fairweather's account of his touring years with the late George Melly, at times irreverent and outrageous, provides a wonderfully evocative portrait of this once iconic jazz hero.

Digby, an established and well respected jazz musician in his own right had to juggle for six years, the competing demands of Melly's ego and progressive ill health.

It is at times an extremely funny and deeply moving portrayal of a man who was fast losing his rogue identity as a rebellious and decadent jazz maverick, as infirmity cruelly took hold.

But for the author, he also had the personal and professional dilemmas of managing the sometimes frosty relationships of the irascible and outspoken agent Jack Higgins and George's wife Diana, as she coped with her husband's increasing frailty.

Digby at times underrated the important role he played in keeping the show on the road whilst protecting George's reputation, coping with his unreliability and managing his rapidly declining health. Despite leading the band and ensuring that George got to the venues, he even acted as merchandise manager during the intervals, demonstrating commendable humility in helping George to manage his business affairs.

In the course of being at times unfairly dismissed by George, as his 'backing band', Digby and the Half Dozen in fact grew in stature and esteem as they competed to establish their own jazz style.

George Melly was a huge and popular character in the world of jazz but like many iconic heroes, he was no doubt a difficult taskmaster both as a colleague and as a family man.

Digby's open and revealing story provides a fascinating insight not only to the demands and complexities of touring but also to the competing egos and eccentricities of the jazz life.


Star Crazy Me
Star Crazy Me
by Jean Ure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carmen's story, 9 Aug 2008
This review is from: Star Crazy Me (Paperback)
I like the way that the author uses Carmen's somewhat unlikely relationships to tell her story.

Carmen is not a stereotypical young rock singer in her appearance but she does have talent and ambition. Her friendships with Indy, Josh and Mrs P are all important in influencing her decisions and overcoming her self-doubt.

In her attempt to become a success, Carmen's strength of character emerges. She learns to overcome obstacles, develop her talent and to learn some important lessons in life.

The storyline is well supported by some strong and credible characters who each in their turn have an important part to play in telling Carmen's story.


Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
by Jean Ure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dorian's Discovery!, 2 July 2007
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This review is from: Hunky Dory (Paperback)
Dorian is far more interested in dinosaurs and archaeological digging than girls. But, he soon discovers that girls are interested in him.

His friends Aaron and 'Herb' help him with his excavation project whilst his sister 'Microdot' annoys him with a series of psychological tests designed to try his patience.

As even his best friend Aaron deserts him for other interests, he begins to wonder if he alone suffers irritation and inconvenience from his growing band of female admirers.

But his journey of excavation eventually reveals a quite unexpected discovery.

A nicely observed story told by Jean Ure with both humour and credibility.


Gone Missing
Gone Missing
by Jean Ure
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good story, well told, 11 Jan 2007
This review is from: Gone Missing (Paperback)
Jean Ure is a good storyteller without ever becoming predictable or following a formula. In this story Jade and Honey decide to leave home and they encounter the inevitable anxities and insecurities of being alone. But it is encouraging that a most unlikely 'hero' comes to their rescue and that the end of the story combines a feelgood return on the one hand with a break for freedom on the other. The characters in this book are all believable and the illustrations, as with all of Karen Donnelly's are wonderfully observant. The body language in the drawing on on page fifty is perfect! A throughly good read with a pace that is maintained right to the end. Highly recommended!


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