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Sunday, October 11, 2009

On the Outside Festival. Saturday October 10.

Day two...
Saturday dawned, bleary - eyed from being ensconsed the previous evening in one of Tyneside's great pubs to sup a post Festival pint (or three) in the company of musicans performing at the On the Outside Festival. The first set of the afternoon session featured three Europeans; the good humoured pianist Cor Fuhler, Geman Rudi Mahall (bass clarinet) and genial Scot Raymond MacDonald (alto & soprano sax) and one American visitor, the laconic Chad Taylor (drums). The set was just what was needed; one to wake the dead (perhaps not for those nursing hangovers!) Blistering stuff with Mahall in top gear from the off. The following set was, as they say, ''something else''. The delayed appearance at Gateshead Old Town Hall of percussionist Gunter 'Baby' Sommer was well worth the wait. Professor Sommer (he is indeed an academic) gave a stunning performance in two duo settings. First with Marc Ducret then Raymond MacDonald. Sommer, a striking looking character, is a visual treat. He gave a theatrical masterclass. Kansas City swing to avant improv with technique to spare. The theatrical side is straight out of the Han Bennink school of drumming. Guitarist Ducret enjoyed the experience as did reedsman MacDonald. The audience was enthralled. Set three pitted local hero Andy Champion against Americans Rob Brown and Chad Taylor. Alto saxophonist Brown is a formidable player, Taylor likewise, yet our boy Andy got in there and did the business! The final set of the afternoon introduced the unavoidably delayed French double bassist Bruno Chevillon. The Frenchman arrived at the venue straight from the airport having travelled all day (missing a connection along the way!) and I for one had been eagerly anticipating his participation. Chevillon is a long time musical associate of Marc Ducret and it was fitting that they were together on stage during Bruno's first contribution to On the Outside. A five piece gathering (Alan Tomlinson, trombone, Marilyn Crispell, piano and Graeme Wilson, reeds) gave Chevillon the chance to settle in with Tomlinson prominent from the outset. Ducret established the soundscape in tandem with Wilson and Crispell. Chevillon impressed from his first note. He produced a beautiful tone and showed a flawless technique. Russell.

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