BRITAIN'S internationally renowned trombonist Mark Nightingale walked out on to stage at Sage Gateshead to be greeted by an expectant full house.

The man who has performed with the jazz greats including John Dankworth and Cleo Laine appeared delighted to be working with the Strictly Smokin' Big Band. Michael Lamb's first rate band has notched up a series of high profile engagements with invited guests and Nightingale was but the latest name to be added to the roll of honour.

The set list comprised several of the trombonist's charts and a few jazz standards. Don't Mention the Blues, originally a commissioned piece for Nightingale, put the five-strong saxophone section through its paces and at its conclusion the evening's guest star was fulsome in his praise of their efforts. Johnny Green's Out of Nowhere and Horace Sliver's Nica's Dream received rapturous applause during a fine first set.

Band vocalist Alice Grace gave a knockout performance singing a selection of numbers including Mad about the Boy and It was a Very Good Year. Nightingale was impressed!

As the evening drew to a close Mark Nightingale featured once more on Benny Golson's Whisper Not and Cole Porter's I Concentrate on You.

A deserved encore heard Nightingale and the Strictly Smokin' Big Band go out on Mr BG.

Russell Corbett