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Bebop Spoken There

Joey Calderazzo: "Playing the standard repertoire is a pretty good barometer of where one is as a jazz musician" - (DownBeat January 2019).

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music @ the Jazz Café: Zöe Gilby Quartet - Oct. 6

Zöe Gilby (vocals); Noel Dennis (trumpet/flugel); Mark Williams (guitar); Andy Champion (bass); Russ Morgan (drums).
(Review by Lance).
The Caff was crammed, the seats were all taken and your reviewer was relegated (eventually) to a tall stool next to the door which opened and closed frequently the cold air offering a contrast to the cool sounds emulating from the performance end of the room.
Down there, at the cutting edge, a noble effort to pay tribute to the music of American trumpet player and composer Tom Harrell was taking place with words put to many of his compositions. Words, I gather, that were written by Andy Champion.
I say 'I gather' as, at my end of the room visibility, even on a high stool, was virtually non-existent, chatter very much existent, and PA announcements unintelligible.
Despite all that, the music was magnificent.
Last time I heard Dennis (apart from chatting with him on Radio Tees re the approaching Middlesbrough Festival) he was very much in Chet Baker/classic Miles mode. These days, Tom Harrell is very much the main ingredient although the other two greats are still tantalisingly tasty ingredients of his signature dish.
I may have heard Zöe in better voice but I can't remember when. She handled the difficult material with apparent ease, her singing voice reaching the parts of the room her announcing voice didn't. This wasn't because of the acoustics it was because once she sang that first note (or Noel blew that first phrase) the chatters stopped chatting and all ears were absorbing the lyricism of 5 musicians at the top of their game.
Straight ahead renditions intermingled with her wordless vocals and the occasional free for all with the other four, rubber-stamped her credentials as one of the area's, arguably, the UK's, most original jazz singers.
Noel Dennis' style may be clean cut and melodic but nor is he afraid to talk dirty (musically speaking) when it all hits the fan. Likewise Mark Williams. He can be Kessel, Metheny, Clapton or Scofield as the occasion demands although, most of the time he's Williams (Mark not John). 
Champion, apart from his newly discovered talent as a lyricist, remains unchallenged and Russ Morgan, as ever did the business.
I didn't catch all of the titles but those I did included: a couple from the album Sail Away; Scene?; Angela; Aurora; Moods? and several others.
Truly an afternoon delight.
---- 
I came in at the back end of a set by the Tom Dixon Quartet. They were playing a piece that seemed to be going on forever. However, as I didn't hear it in full it would be unfair to comment. It was listened to in sepulchral silence until the end when the applause showed how well the band had been received.
Lance.

1 comment :

Hilary Say (on F/b) said...

Lance, Zoe actually wrote all the lyrics.

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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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