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12,365 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 84 of them this year alone and, so far, 84 this month (Jan. 17).

Monday January 18


Friday, February 05, 2010

John Hallam & The Roly Veitch Quartet @ The Saville Exchange, North Shields.

John Hallam (clt/ten/bar), Jeremy McMurray (pno), Andy Champion (bs), Roly Veitch (gtr), John Hirst (dms).
When I was young(er) if someone had asked me to choose my dream concert line-up I may well have came up with; Artie Shaw's Gramercy 5, the Stan Getz Quartet/Quintet, the Gerry Mulligan Quartet and possibly a Benny Goodman small group.
Nobody ever did ask me and, although they are now all dead, tonight the dream came true in the form of John Hallam.
On a wet night in North Shields the somewhat less than capacity audience who braved the unpleasant conditions were rewarded with an evening of musical magic from Manchester's John Hallam and the local Roly Veitch Quartet.
Deep Purple and Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans - both had a Shavian fluency about them - the phrasing and, most of all the sound, were neo-Artie. Later John switched into Goodman mode for Stealing Apples.
On tenor he achieved the cool, without being cold, feel of Stan Getz. Whether on the uptempo Blues in the Closet or the almost sensuous take on A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square he conjured up an image of Getz's classic 50's small groups.
The same effect on baritone 'cept this time it was Gerry Mulligan who provided the inspiration. Line For Lyons, a few Ellington's including Love You Madly and I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart - all that was missing from this "Mulligan's Stew" was a Chet Baker vocal (wonder where we could have found one of those in this band?).
Behind John, the Roly Veitch Quartet provided not just the kind of support a strolling player needs but they also held their heads up high individually.
Roly, modest and restrained as ever, on his mildly miked-up Epiphone was the epitome of taste and tasty solo flights. Jeremy McMurray, this was his kind of gig and his solos proved it. Andy Champion - the jury returned on Andy a long time ago. The verdict was unanimous: 'guilty as charged of being one of the best bassists around.'
And on drums! John Hirst. A young man capable of crossing many genre and able to say more in his four bar exchanges than some others do in a ten minute solo.
This was an evening of sheer pleasure and a laudable attempt to introduce the Saville audience to jazz sans banjo.
Next month Daryl Sherman and Digby Fairweather.

1 comment :

John said...

Thanks for your very generous review of the concert.
It was a pleasure to come along and play with a cracking rhythm section and have such a very attentive audience.
Hope to be able to come up again sometime.

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