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Monday, November 24, 2008

Jim Mullen and Friends at the Side Café

After Sunday's Voice of the North concert, Adrian Tilbrook, Andy Champion and later, Paul Edis, must have viewed tonight's gig with Jim Mullen as akin to going from Wagner to Gilbert and Sullivan - not that there is anything wrong with Gilbert and Sullivan or for that matter, Jim Mullen. Indeed Jim Mullen is a fine guitarist and his easy relaxed style helped to fuel the ambience as the Side season cantered to a close.
A very facile player with the unusual technique of using his thumb rather than a plectrum he played an enjoyable set of gasbook standards as well as a few Parker/Gillespie rebel rousers. "I Fall in Love Too Easily" stood out among the former whilst the latter mood was typified by "Blue 'n' Boogie".
The second set saw Jim joined by a variety of performers - it was rather like the end of term prizegiving at school.
Paul Edis duetted with Jim on a tender version of "My One and Only Love" (I think), Zoe Gilby sang "Wave" with the trio and tenorman Graeme Wilson blew "Body and Soul" rather faster than the norm; it worked. Jim also played an exquisite, unaccompanied, "I Can't Get Started" that drew an audible gasp of delight from at least one lady in the audience.
Throughout, Adrian and Andy gelled with Jim and both had plenty of exposure. Andy is the only bass player I've come across who can make a bowed solo swing whilst Adrian can muster more facial expressions than any drummer since Gene Krupa!
If I were to nit pick it might be to comment on Jim's overuse of quotes but that would be unfair as they were done with taste and humour - particularly the minor interval he often finished them off with.
Overall, a very enjoyable session.

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