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Van Morrison on Sax

Halfers

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I had the pleasure of seeing Van the Man last night at the Roundhouse. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but vocally, he was in magnificent form and if last nights performance was anything to go by, he's lost none of his range and power. His band was great, consisting of Guitar, Bass, Drums, Backing Singer, Vibes and Keyboardist doubling up on Trumpet.

I wasn't expecting Van to play so much Saxophone. He walked on stage with an Alto slung around his neck and played on probably 9 out of the 15 or 16 songs played during the evening, including some nice doubling up with the Trumpet and some solo work. Although his playing was reasonable, I think if he was auditioning himself for his Band as Sax Player, he'd give himself short shrift ;) Perhaps knowing the Band Leader helped him get the gig!

Unfortunately, he ignored my polite scream, asking him what mouthpiece he was playing, so I can't give any further information on his setup for those interested....

Chris Farlowe came on stage for a couple of songs and it was great to see a big smile on Van's face in the company of his mate. The rest of the gig, he was pretty much what I was expecting. A few grunted words, stoney faced, no encore, just an evening of great music.
 

BUMNOTE

Senior Member
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558
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Wolverhampton West Midlands
Hi would like to have seen him myself,i was there Friday to see maceo parker,he did not do a great deal of sax playing,but what he did do,to my ears was great could also see james brown influence in his movement,while I am here,then on Saturday saw stevie wonder and lionel Richie at hyde park,two great shows,was never a big fan of lionel Richie or the commodores except for the single the zoo(the human zoo)which went down well on the northern soul scene,but he put on a great show,also great to hear stevie wonder sing some of his old songs,both had great bands with horn section....also best wishes to stevie wonder on his kidney transplant.
 

Saxlicker

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Breakfast room since '06 UK
Back in 1992 a band I was decided to cover 'Don't look back' stealing it from this very clip (but on VHS of course) and I did an abridged version of the Baritone solo on its first gig. I got to the riff at the end hit about the 1st 6 notes which sent the drunkards absolutely wild. It put me off my stroke so much I fluffed the rest of it badly.
Well....
We never played the tune again after that on the grounds it didn't really fit with the rest of our set but I have my suspicions it was somewhat down to my faux pas stage fright.
Well I think Van the Man would have let me go :mad:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUrWXFhzHzE
 

GJ77

Senior Member
Messages
637
Location
Dunmow, Essex.
I saw him about 20 years ago in Dublin. He didn’t play sax but it was a great night, despite his grumpiness. If you’ve never heard a live album of his called “It’s too late to stop now”, it’s well worth a listen. Great ensemble playing and a real live ‘in the moment’ performance.
 

Ballymenaboy

Member
Messages
57
Location
Ballymena.Co.Antrim
I had the pleasure of seeing Van the Man last night at the Roundhouse. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but vocally, he was in magnificent form and if last nights performance was anything to go by, he's lost none of his range and power. His band was great, consisting of Guitar, Bass, Drums, Backing Singer, Vibes and Keyboardist doubling up on Trumpet.

I wasn't expecting Van to play so much Saxophone. He walked on stage with an Alto slung around his neck and played on probably 9 out of the 15 or 16 songs played during the evening, including some nice doubling up with the Trumpet and some solo work. Although his playing was reasonable, I think if he was auditioning himself for his Band as Sax Player, he'd give himself short shrift ;) Perhaps knowing the Band Leader helped him get the gig!

Unfortunately, he ignored my polite scream, asking him what mouthpiece he was playing, so I can't give any further information on his setup for those interested....

Chris Farlowe came on stage for a couple of songs and it was great to see a big smile on Van's face in the company of his mate. The rest of the gig, he was pretty much what I was expecting. A few grunted words, stoney faced, no encore, just an evening of great music.
If I recall correctly from my early showband days in N.Ireland Van was "playing" sax back in the sixties and still likes to keep his hand in - I suspect his grumpiness is probably due to tight underpants
 
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Halfers

Halfers

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If I recall correctly from my early showband days in N.Ireland Van was "playing" sax back in the sixties and still likes to keep his hand in - I suspect his grumpiness is probably due to tight underpants
I think he played the Sax solo on Moondance, so yes. clearly been playing a while.
 

Devon

New Member
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13
Location
Klamath Falls, OR, United States
"Moondance" has been on my perform list for a LONG time. Lately I've been doing keyboard improv over it (I need the practice!) but it's a great tune for some sax.

Reminds me: my new group needs some Van tunes......
 
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Halfers

Halfers

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"Moondance" has been on my perform list for a LONG time. Lately I've been doing keyboard improv over it (I need the practice!) but it's a great tune for some sax.

Reminds me: my new group needs some Van tunes......
It's good to play on the Tenor as it involves a lot of playing across the break.
 

MMM

Senior Member
Messages
806
Location
SW of London Town
Hi would like to have seen him myself,i was there Friday to see maceo parker,he did not do a great deal of sax playing,but what he did do,to my ears was great could also see james brown influence in his movement,
Hey I was there for Maceo too! I agree he didn't play much but gave a lot of room for his band to show off their talent.
Shame I couldn't see Van Morrison though.
 

Devon

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Klamath Falls, OR, United States
Perhaps you could share a recording of the sound sour milk makes so the rest of us can judge. Or perhaps you need a better sound system. Be sure to post some of your own playing for additional comparison.
 
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Clivey

Senior Member
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862
Location
Edinburgh/Hot Rock off African Coast
Van's sax sounds like sour milk to me!
Wow. I sure think you courted a bit of controversy for your first post. Like it or not VM is a seminal figure in the world of Pop and Rock and so its pretty well always "open season" when it comes to taking potshots. Most folks here tend to agree to disagree over "brand name players" though, primarily to retain the friendly atmosphere on the forum ,Coltrane and Parker spring to mind.Plenty squabbles all over the internet on these two.
 

Pete Thomas

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McLean, Virginia
Sour milk like music is subjective and this is the first time i have seen such criticism of another musician on this site.
I have seen plenty of criticism of Kenny G. There is nothing wrong with personal opinions about any musician or performer, whether it's Coltrane, Nicki Minaj or Tiny Tim.
 

Pete Effamy

Member
Messages
771
Location
Hampshire
Van isn't a great player by any stretch of the imagination. It's a stretch to say that he's good or intermediate. In fact, he's the worst player in his band by a long shot. Whether we think that his style of playing fits his own music, then fine. Open to debate. My personal gripe is when players get touted as being 'great' and are obviously playing 'along with' a style that is beyond them. A few years ago I went to see Diana Krall. Very good pianist and singer, great band. She was supported by a 'name' woman on sax. Terrible player. She wouldn't even be in the top ten of people I've taught let alone being put out there as a world class player. She can barely improvise, and messes about on the tonic chord throughout, not even outlining the V7 chord with the 3rd rising to tonic etc or keeping away from the tonic key note on the V7. As an encore they started to play 'Round Midnight. Oooo, I thought, how on earth are you going to negotiate those chords when you solo... The band played the regular changes, and for her solo they played a 'square 4' sequence (I-VI-IV-V). Amazing.
 
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