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Monday, September 15, 2008

Bird Lives! Audience Dies! Mark Toomey Quartet - Side Café

Don't let the low turn out fool you; this was a gig to remember. I'd even go so far as to say that it was comparable with anything that had gone before at The Side.
Mark Toomey is unashamedly a Charlie Parker disciple; the tone, the phrases, all can be traced back to, arguably, jazz's greatest innovator. However, along the way, there has been more than a touch of Mark Toomey added and, unlike so many who adhere to the theory that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Mark does it from a songbook of his own original compositions; compositions that would indeed be worthy of the great man himself.
As Mark's alto playing soared overhead, on the ground, inspired by the challenge of new material, Paul Edis also excelled - even by his high standards he excelled. Mick Shoulder too was on form as was drummer Kevin O'Neill, who drove the band along with the same sense of purpose as the pilot of a Lancaster Bomber.
Shame about the missing audience; I'd like to refer them to Shakespeare's Henry V, the part in which, on the eve of Agincourt, the guy Ellington referred to as 'Hank Cinq,' gives out with a rousing speech, on St Crispin's Day:
"Shall think themselves accursed they were not here."

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