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For the second concert in our new home at Kendal Rugby Club we experimented with an all-table set-up, which seemed to meet with general approval, so that's the route we'll take in future unless there's a huge demand for theatre style seating - unlikely?   I thought it certainly looked good, an opinion which was confirmed by Nicola Farnon's opening remarks about the new venue.   So the setting was good, but what about the music? Well, simply great.We have heard this band twice before and been impressed - or they wouldn't have been re-booked - but this time they excelled themselves.   Right from the opening 'Old Devil Moon' they had the audience on their side, and thanks in part to Nicola's endearing introductions things stayed that way all night - although really the music was so good that the spoken links were just the icing on the cake.   The programme consisted of quality standards, one or two of them undeservedly rarely heard ('Summer Wind', 'This Masquerade'): the first set, presumably by design, consisted entirely of songs about either days or moonlight until they got to the closing 'But Not For Me'.   During that number, things might have fallen apart when it seemed that an expert, exciting but loud drum solo may have tripped the sound limiter, causing a power failure, but these three pros took it in their stride and finished the set acoustically.Phil Johnson's drumming was superb all night, driving the trio hard when required, but providing sensitive fills on the quieter songs, while Piero Tucci played an absolute blinder on keyboard and tenor sax, occasionally combining the two to very good effect.   But the night belonged to Nicola Farnon, surely one of the best of the rare breed of female bass players who sings.  Offhand, I can only think of one other in the same class ( Esperanza Spalding), but on this showing I'd take Sheffield over Spalding.   Nicola only took a few solos all night, all beautifully played, but it was her work in support of the piano which really took my ear - an object lesson in swing.  And of course her singing was as good as ever, recalling Anita O'Day at up-tempo, but sounding more like a less limp Astrud Gilberto on the quiet bossas. It has been two years since we last heard this trio, but I hope it won't be as long as that before they return.

Spats Langham  has been with us several times in recent months and years, but it's been a long time since we heard him at the Jazz Club with his own 'Hot Fingers' trio, so we're very pleased to have secured them, along with their regular vocalist Emily Campbell, for our Christmas night on Tuesday, 12 December.   Tom is now so well-known that I hardly need to describe what he does.   Suffice it to say that he is possibly the best all-round entertainer in the country - vocalist, virtuoso guitarist and banjoist, and master of the humorous introduction.   Be there!