All too often the bands behind stars are left in the shadows, writes Claudia Lee.
For those playing behind figures as iconic and controversial as Van Morrison, it can be even harder.
The Van Morrison Alumni Band is made up of musicians who played thousands of concerts and recorded hundreds of songs with Mr Morrison.
Headed by saxophonist Leo Green, Van Morrison’s band will take to the stage at the London Coliseum for one night only this December – without Van the Man.
Leo Green will play host and saxophone, Matt Holland on the trumpet, Alec Dankworth plucking the bass, Robin Aspland on keys, Ralph Salmins on drums as well as guitar by Al Cherry and vocals Mim Grey and Wayne Hernandes.
Leo Green said: “This will be a real honour and a great joy for this group of musicians to come together for one night only as part of this
celebration of the words and music of Van Morrison – I can’t wait.”
The band will perform a broad selection of Mr Morrison’s tracks over a period of transition when the artist was making some of his most successful albums including 1995’s million selling Days Like This and 1997’s The Healing Game.
Music from the night will be firmly rooted in Mr Morrison’s staple blues, jazz, and R&B genres from the musicians who know the songs best, without the Covid denialism and mind control conspiracies that splashed the singer across headlines in 2020.
To his millions of fans, the Northern Irish singer and songwriter is one of pop music’s greatest and most enduring talents.
But to his critics he is one of the industry’s most notorious figures, whose unpredictable temperament has given him a reputation for being a bit of a menace.
Between them, these musicians have accompanied Mr Morrison in more than 1,400 concerts around the world and have amassed more than 500 recording credits on the singer’s albums dating back several decades.
Choosing from more than 44 studio albums, the concert will feature the works from throughout Mr Morrison’s career, firmly rooted in familiar genres — mainly blues, jazz, and R&B, fixations.
Mr Green has played on seven albums by Van Morrison and appeared on stages with him all over the world.
And what better place to perform than the London Coliseum, the largest theatre in London’s West End with 2,359 seats.
This event promises its audience a rare opportunity to witness these musicians all together in action.
Van Morrison said: “These songs are meant to be sung and heard and I am really happy that Leo is carrying the torch.”
Tickets can be found on Ticketmaster for the concert on December 7 at the London Coliseum in St Martins Lane, Westminster.
Picture: Leo Green on the saxophone. Inset, Van Morrison Pictures: Deacon Communications
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