TVBB at the Sunderland Big Band Festival

This event has got to be the highlight of our year attracting some incredible Big Bands from all over the country in a weekend of friendly rivalry and great playing.IMG_2781Here we see our vocalist Miss Barbara Hignett, no relation, firing up the crowd with a down and dirty ‘Minnie the Moocher’ a part she was born to sing apparently.

As always our friends at ‘Bebop Spoken Here’ covered the event giving us a great write up

The Hexham-based Tyne Valley Big Band travels in numbers. Last year’s raiding party comprised something in the region of thirty musicians. MD Dave Hignett doesn’t do things in halves (nor does he drink halves!), boundless enthusiasm is key, and this year’s away day jaunt delivered the band’s usual power-packed performance. Trombonist Simon Hirst impressed on Sammy Nestico’s Switch in Time, the ebullient Barbara Hignett was born to sing Minnie the Moocher and a set-concluding Cajun Cookin’ served up several helpings of hot playing from, amongst others Kevin Wright, piano and a chilli peppered blast from Andrea de Vere, tenor, and the man sailing the high Cs, Alastair Lord, trumpet.

IMG_2773Our lovely Saxes relaxing before the ‘Eyes Down’ bit

We were excited to get some really supportive and encouraging feedback for the Judges who thought we had put on our best performance to date at the festival.



On Sunday our MD, founder, friend and mentor Dave Hignett returned with the Tyne Valley Jazz Ensemble and the Tyne Valley Youth Big Band. He was given a justly deserved special Adjudicators award for his services to the Youth Big Band scene in the North East.



Those who know Dave are aware of his tireless enthusiasm in promoting all kinds of music to young and old alike but in particular we are grateful for his drive to keep opportunities open for young people to get involved in Jazz. Thanks to his enthusiasm Hexham has become the epicentre for Big Band music in Northumberland.

Well done Dave! The man’s a legend.




TVBB Hit the Big Time

IMG_0095Our name in lights at last, might not be Broadway but Carlisle Civic Centre is still pretty impressive!IMG_2764Thanks to our Bassist Mike Cunningham who pulled a few strings and organised for us to play at the now dried out ‘Old Fire Station’ What a  fantastic venue.IMG_0097We had a great audience with the added bonus of a Swing Dancing Club livening up the dance floor.IMG_0102

Thanks also to the organisers for making us so welcome, the great news is that we have been booked to return on the 8th October for a rematch so see you there.

Ridley Hall, thank you and goodnight.

Sadly we had what is likely to be our last ever residential rehearsal weekend at Ridley Hall last weekend.


This fine venue is on the market to be sold so we made the best of the weekend with intense rehearsal and even more intense merriment into the small hours. What an excellent way to while away a Saturday afternoon.  We are looking forward to our next couple of big Gigs at the Old Fire Station Carlisle and the annual Sunderland Big Band festival.

Many thanks to our sponsors Wylam Brewery for providing welcome liquid refreshment for the thirsty.  Thanks also to Jan and her team at Ridley Hall for making us so welcome over the years.

Here we see the band relaxing between numbers.

Keen eyed viewers will spot Tom Cantwell stepping in for our regular Guitar Hero Kev otherwise engaged. Thanks from all the band for helping us out Tom.



KEV1 Gig Morpeth


What a great night of Big Band Music we had at King Edward V1 School Morpeth, sharing the stage with our own Youth band the ‘Tyne Valley Youth Big Band’ and ‘King Edward V1 Community Big Band’

Barbara Hignett, our lovely vocalist seen here performing ‘Minnie the Moocher’ made famous by Cab Calloway in the Blues Brothers’  Spot MD Dave Hignett, (no relation), on lead trumpet and sink plunger.

Here we see our very own crooner Kevin Moore taking a break from his guitar with Barbara Hignett in a seasonally apt version of ‘Baby its Cold Outside’




Tall Ships North Sea Regatta Blyth

We played our biggest Gig to date featuring on the impressive main stage as part of the celebrations to mark the Tall Ships North Sea Regatta making port in Blyth.


Fears that there may not be enough room on stage for our big big band proved unfounded with an amazing stage and sound rig.

Sadly time was tight but we played a great set to an appreciative audience once our MD had concluded a brief coach tour of Blyth and managed to join us.


Hear we see Mr Moocher himself with Barbara (no relation) Hignett performing ‘Minnie the Moocher’



MacArthur Park is a band favourite showing off our talented soloists, and in particular Alastair Lord on Flugel



and Heidi Griffin on Tenor Sax


Thanks as always to ‘BeBop Spoken Here’ for a great write up of our slot

Sunday, August 28, 2016
Tall Ships Day Two
It’s the first time I’ve heard the Tyne Valley Big Band. Bigger than the SSBB and unbelievably well turned out for such a hot day. A better performance than by some professional bands with some fantastic solos.
Lost for words to say how good they were
Sorry pic from the mobile phone does not show much of the band but just lots of happy punters.



Thanks to Noah Knapton for the off stage photos and Juliet Williams for her ‘In Flight’ photo below.





A special day for TVBB



Joint Summer(ish) Phoenix Night Gig

We had a fantastic Phoenix Night gig featuring all three of Hexhams big bands. We said goodbye to all the leavers from TVYBB who have just finished school and are off to pastures new. Best wishes to them all.


TVBB also said goodbye to our veterinarian trombonist Charlotte who is moving to a new position down south. Good luck Charlotte!

We got another great review from our friends at Bebop spoken here thanks Russell.

Advertised cautiously/prophetically as a ‘summer-ish’ end of term party, Dave Hignett’s amazing assembly of big bands gathered at rehearsal HQ to give a public performance in preparation for several forthcoming prestigious concert dates. The ‘ish’ weather forecast proved to be accurate as Hexham was, at best, ‘cloudy but dry’.

Three competing events in spitting distance of one another fought it out for an audience – Hexham Abbey hosted an EU in/out ‘You decide’ debate, Queen’s Hall screened Cinema Paradiso as part of the Wild Skies Film Festival, and the Phoenix Bar and Club offered a triple bill of big bands. Many Tyne Valley residents voted BIG BAND JAZZ!!!

The Phoenix Club on Chisholm Place was a hive of activity: the indefatigable Hignett ran around doing three things at once: putting out music stands, setting up the PA and finding the time to talk to all and sundry. An audience arrived: supportive parents, siblings, proud grand parents. The junior band, the Tyne Valley Jazz Ensemble, looking the part in black t-shirts (kindly sponsored by a local business) with red lettering telling you they’re proud to be the Tyne Valley Jazz Ensemble, took to the stand first. A band big in number (seven trumpets, two trombones, four saxophones and a piano, bass and drums rhythm section), a band big on talent, an upbeat, varied set list met with much applause. A Marcus Miller number – Maputo – surprised, then Uncle Milo’s Shadow, Horace Silver’s The Preacher, all good stuff giving all in the band the chance to show what they could do. A young man in the trumpet section – height approx 3’6” in old money, age approx 10 – will make it as a trumpet player…if that’s what he wants to do. Similarly, a scarily good drummer is just a few short years from being an A-lister on the scene. Every solo, by every performer, met with applause. The set flew…Pass the Peas, then a calypso, closing with Lady Madonna.

The Tyne Valley Youth Big Band is to lose three or four members from the ranks. Exams finished, they’re heading off to university. It is the way with ensembles such as this. The band’s rip-roaring set list ticked all the boxes: the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, the Young Blood Brass Band’s arrangement of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s chart hit Ain’t Nobody, the sing-along Sweet Dreams, a cracking Mission Impossible and a Dave Hignett favourite – Chuck Mangione’s Children of Sanchez. A band of award-winning musicians, a trumpet player of Grade 8 (Merit) ability, a band with bundles of enthusiasm, Tyne Valley Youth Big Band is developing the stars of tomorrow.

The big boys and girls – the Tyne Valley Big Band – wound up the evening with a set of their own. In the Mood (don’t groan, this was the Doc Severinsen arrangement), Quincy Jones’ Soul Bossa Nova (Hignett quipped he put it in the set because the band needed to work on it!), the Heathian Hot Toddy (a favourite of, and feature for, baritone man John Knapton), the ensemble wasted no time, rattling through the numbers. The band’s saxes were on form – Andrea DeVere (tenor) and Kelly Rose (alto) trading, Alexis Cairns on alto. The Average White Band’s Pick up the Pieces is an ideal tune one for a band like this – the option is there to go round and round and round. Barbara Hignett belted out a fun Minnie the Moocher with audience participation encouraged/obligatory. Hayburner
vied for the tune of the night accolade. Excellent ensemble work, a big band at its best.
A Tower of Power number (Attitude Dance) and top of the kitsch list, MacArthur Park (Maynard Ferguson’s arrangement), sent the band into overdrive. A late arriving Alistair Lord made up for lost time making a fabulous contribution on trumpet and flugelhorn. A very late arriving David Gray squeezed into the trombone section and played as only he can – that’s with full on commitment. Talking of commitment, for the record it should be noted that Niall Armstrong and Peter Drake gave their services sitting in the sections of the junior ensemble.

The Tyne Valley Big Band can be heard at this weekend’s Tynedale Beer Festival. A big marquee stands on the pitch at Tynedale Rugby Club. It’ll cost you £12.00. to get in, the beer is reasonably priced, and if you are reasonably sober at four o’clock on Saturday you will hear – and remember listening to – a fantastic community big band.



Sunderland Big Band Festival 2016

We made our annual pilgrimage to Sunderland for the Big Band Festival this weekend.IMG_2116Whilst we may not have won any prizes this year, we had a great day, and performed what we felt to be an exciting and entertaining set which went down well with the crowd at least!

Heres what our friends at ‘Bebop Spoken Here’ had to say on the matter!

The Tyne Valley Big Band. MD Dave Hignett, an irrepressible force of nature is a man on a mission. Seemingly every Tyne Valley resident is being signed up to participate in the biggest band on Planet Jazz! Familiar faces jostled for a place in the various sections; Alexis Cairns (alto) and Andrea de Vere (tenor) two of a ten-strong reeds’ line-up, Ben Heathcote and Alistair Lord, two of seven trumpets and a regulation rhythm section comprising Finton Keeley (piano), Kevin Moore (guitar and pork pie hat), Michael Cunningham (bass) and drummer Mark Bolderson. A six-strong trombone section, one was beginning to lose count. In the Mood (like a limpet, it’s all but impossible to shake off) began the programme. Well, all was forgiven with Dave Hignett leading from the front. The man blew some seriously good trumpet. He got out of harm’s way in the nick of time as a Tyne Valley drumming samba seven swelled the numbers. Basie’s Jumpin’ at the Woodside never fails and star vocalist Barbara Hignett belted out Gospel from the film Monsters University aided by an additional vocal quartet recruited from Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth High School. Every one of the THIRTY SEVEN (make that ‘AT LEAST THIRTY SEVEN’) members of the ensemble gave out the command: Rise Up! Win, lose or draw, what a performance!

And the judges comments.

IMG_2117IMG_2119Our secret weapon this year was to close the set with the fantastic street band piece ‘Gospel’ from Monsters University featuring our special guests ‘A Batida Da Rua’ a Brazilian Samba drum group based at Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham.IMG_2088Practicing for the gig at our rehearsal venue the lovely Phoenix Club HexhamIMG_2084


IMG_2106Our oh so tight rhythm section.IMG_2107Our multinational Sax section, Kelly, ‘All the way from Australia’ via Consett.IMG_2110Simon (needing no encouragement) with our lovely tromboners

We are now coming up to a bit of a lull in proceedings before we get into our tour of Tyne Valley Beer festivals so back on familiar territory there.

We are also planning a trip Carlisle assuming the Old Fire Station venue has dried out after the floods earlier this year.

Our Junior and youth bands the Tyne Valley Jazz Ensemble and Tyne Valley Youth Big Band went down a storm on the Sunday in the Schools and Youth Sections with a special mention for Dom getting an award for his excellent drumming.





Ridley Hall February 2016

Another great residential rehearsal weekend at Ridley Hall.


The usual heady mix of intense rehearsal, great company, six nations rugby, Wylam Ale  & Snooker.

The revelries went on long into the night after the excitement of the inevitable TVBB ‘Perpetual’ World Snooker Championship victory by Dave and John. Won fair and square on this occasion but a close run thing!

Eldon Square Xmas ‘Carols’

Eldon Square didn’t quite know what had hit them when we played there last week during their annual charity fundraising event.

Spot Fungus the Bogeyman


We seemed to go down well with the shoppers, many thanks for your kind donations which go towards new music and other running costs to keep this great community band playing.

Heres what Bebop Spoken Here Blog site had to say about us.

Friday, December 11, 2015
The Tyne Valley Big Band & Santa’s Shoppers @ Eldon Square – Dec 10

(Review by Russell/photo from 2013 gig)
The hordes were out in force with just two weeks to go before…before that day in the year that we ‘bah humbugs’ look forward to with a curry and a bottle of beer. Santa’s shoppers were snapping up everything in sight, much of it to be put in a cupboard and forgotten about. Meanwhile, in the real world – known as the ‘jazz world’ – the Tyne Valley Big Band set up shop on Chevvy Chase. 
The TVBB, led by Dave Hignett, played some great big band tunes; Manteca, Mack the Knife, Minnie the Mooche and Joe Zawinul’s modern masterpiece Birdland. The hordes looked bemused, stopped and listened, some danced, one dude took to break dancing. A big band of twenty three (MD and trumpeter Hignett included) performed with bauble-busting enthusiasm. The band’s effervescent singer almost missed her cue on Sway. The antler-wearing Barbara Hignett had been spotted doing some last minute shopping in an adjacent branch of John Lewis! Shopping bags deposited, our vocalist strolled out front as if she’d been preparing in the (non existent) green room, took the mic and did the job! Boundless enthusiasm (expert use of triangle on Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther) is a key element to Barbara Hignett’s performance allied to a great soulful voice.
Inevitably Let it Snow, Winter Wonderland and Santa Baby made it onto the set list. Doc Severinson’s arrangement of In the Mood made the cut, as did Hayburner and Route 66. The Tyne Valley Big Band – a ten-strong saxophone section, four trombones, three hard-working trumpets and a four-piece rhythm section – is a talented, community-based band in the Tyne Valley, headquartered at Hexham. Catch one of their frequent public gigs as you’re guaranteed a great show. Stay tuned to Bebop Spoken Here for forthcoming dates.

Kev even found a handy place to hang his hat and coat while we played.




Phoenix Night

We recently had a great end of term night of Big Band music featuring the Tyne Valleys’ three flourishing Jazz ensembles starting with our junior band  the ‘Tyne Valley Jazz Ensemble’, followed by the ‘Tyne Valley Youth Big Band’ and Senior ‘Tyne Valley Big Band’.

The Tyne Valley Jazz Ensemble are growing in number and played a confident set to a packed audience.  Everyone had a solo to great applause.


Here we see Miss Andrea DeVere in fine form leading our lovely tenors during one of her storming and inspirational solos.


‘Don’t look at the trombones it only encourages them’


Any players left standing at the end were invited to play in a massed Big Band version of ‘Jungle Boogie’ to end a great night. A retiring collection was held with the proceeds in memory of our dear friend John Myers still sadly missed.

A quick getaway saw us at the Diwan e Am for our very last TVBB Curry night there as it has now unfortunately closed.


We have had many an excellent night at the Diwan e Am since the band started and we wish to thank them for their generous support of the band and putting up with us when we have descended ‘en mass’ late into the evening.