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Concert review: Tam White - A Night of Celebration, Edinburgh Pleasance Theatre
By Alison Kerr
Published on Tuesday 18 October 2011 00:14
AS THE singer Liz MacEwan noted in her moving speech at the Scottish Jazz Awards earlier this year, the Edinburgh singer/stonemason Tam White – who was being inducted into the Scottish Jazz Hall of Fame – was someone whose life touched many people from many different backgrounds.
Even within the music world, he straddled so many genres – what John Byrne described as “down’n’durty rock’n’ roll”, blues and, to a lesser extent, jazz – that any event celebrating his musical life was bound to be a diverse and colourful one.
Sunday night’s memorial concert – the first “formal” memorial since White’s sudden death in June 2010 – lived up to those expectations. Organised by two of White’s closest musical pals, pianist Brian Kellock and guitarist Neil Warden, it brought together musicians from across the board – a veritable Who’s Who of the Edinburgh scene – and attracted a sell-out audience.
A dynamic set by the Dexters, White’s band from the 1980s, led by Liz MacEwan, whipped the crowd into festive mood: a bawdy, funky Let the Good Times Roll establishing the party atmosphere that characterised the evening’s proceedings.
Singer-guitarist Stevey Hay took the reins for a funky, bluesy set which featured some electrifying guitar work from Neil Warden, notably on Got My Mojo Working.
There were quieter moments too, courtesy of a gorgeous duet on the ballad Nancy With the Laughing Face, by tenor saxophonist Julian Arguelles and Brian Kellock, and a poignant song, Dear Mr White, written by saxophonist Bobby Heatlie who joined Liz and Co to perform it.