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Fabulous Red diesel on stage at St Mary in the Castle - photo by John Sutton

Fabulous Red diesel on stage at St Mary in the Castle – photo by John Sutton

Red Diesel and James Taylor Quartet at St Mary in the Castle

A well attended night at St Mary’s and the crowd were clearly here to see both bands in action. Nick Weekes was sitting in a balcony box taking notes.

The Fabulous Red Diesel are a long established local band with a wide following. Having trudged through the downbeat wintry Hastings to get to the event I was amazed by the life and warmth in the venue. Kat Lee Ryan’s compositions struck me as a kind of Hastings cabaret telling the stories of eccentric locals and I wasn’t that far off the mark. They certainly are both quirky and eclectic. Touches of soul and jazz, 60s, funk and humour (which does belong in music).

A quick guide to the band members and instrumentation:
Kat Lee-Ryan (Ms Kitty) Vocals, Songwriter, Keys and Flute
Wil Lee Ryan-(Duke Boom) Drums
Beatrice Gullick (Miss Bea-Have) Double Bass, Tuba, Trumpet
Simon Dobell (Rabbi Jaffa Delicious) Guitar, Trumpet

I think that looks like a poem in itself. Anyway I had a couple of questions.

NW: Are the songs based on oddball Hastings characters?

Ms Kitty: The songs are based on people I (Ms Kitty) know, so I’m sure there are a couple of Hastonians in there! Our band photographer, John Sutton, has a song about him. Fur Coat No Underwear is based around an artist friend from St Leonards who came home after a night out wearing just that! Nellie Gale is about my great-great-grandmother, who worked as a Windmill girl for a few years but she was from Isleworth in London.

NW: There is clearly a jazzy streak to the band, can you explain a bit about that?

Ms Kitty: We all have an massive interest in individual jazz musicians, Ms Kitty (I) love Miles Davis, Gregory Porter, Nina Simone. Miles Davis is the first music I remember hearing as a baby. Miss-Behave loves Winton Marsallis, Rabbi Jaffa Delicious is also a Miles Davis fan but is an even bigger fan of Frank Zappa.
Duke Boom’s answer to this question is, ”Like most jazz artists we have an original take on how we construct our sound, never sticking to the norm and always trying to be us”.

It certainly was a nice chunk of groovy Hastings soul to warm up for the instrumental James Taylor set. A good pairing as they say.

And the JTQ were fairly amazing. Smooth but edgy and cool but heavy. The band hummed like a well tuned engine beneath the pyrotechnic Hammond organ work and James Taylor is quite amusing to watch as well as hear. At times whole arms were laid across the manual in reclining gestures of noise, more like passing aeroplanes at times than passing notes. Lots of fun.

Fabulous Red Diesel and James Taylor Quartet played at St Mary in the Castle on Saturday 25th January.

Band websites
Fabulous Red Diesel

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Posted 09:13 Tuesday, Feb 4, 2020 In: Music & Sound

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