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Saturday November 28


Monday, September 27, 2010

Gary Boyle @ Splinter @ The Bridge. September 26th.

Gary Boyle (guitar), Paul Birchall (keyboards), Bruce Reid (double bass), Jonathan Hartley (drums)
Gary Boyle last appeared on Tyneside with his then band Triple Echo some twenty years ago at a Jazz North East promotion at the Corner House. Last night at the Bridge Hotel Boyle had his current working band with him.
Paul Birchall, a longtime associate of the master guitarist, was afforded much solo space as they reworked tunes from an extensive back catalogue. The bass and drums pairing of Bruce Reid and Jonathan Hartley introduced two of the younger generation of excellent jazz musicians from the north of England. Hartley played it loud and Reid battled to be heard.
Boyle was unperturbed. Many of the tunes heard in the recently refurbished upstairs room of the Bridge were drawn from Boyle's early nineties CD Games.
Chick Corea has long been a major influence on the guitarist and it was the Scientologist's Windows that opened the programme. A key figure in Birchall's development was Keith Emerson; imagine an amalgam of Corea and the former ELP man and you get an idea of the electric piano sounds emanating from Birchall's fingers. Makeover, the ballad LP (with Hartley briefly using brushes), Beast of Burden and Mr. Forgetful all came from the aforementioned CD. Boyle's beautiful tone is instantly recognisable, unchanged from his days with Isotope. A fluent, unhurried stylist, he is a joy to listen to. Having a sound of his own is quite something having developed his craft from formative days with Dusty Springfield and Brian Auger.
The second set heralded one improvement - bassist Reid was heard to better effect. The musicians worked well as a unit but this was Boyle's platform, it was his moment in the Splinter spotlight. Peace Green, taking as its inspiration the work of Greenpeace, was dug out from way back and then it was fast forward once more for an excellent version of Angola (yet another selection from the Games CD). The select audience (with a select gathering of first rate guitarists) demanded an encore and it came in the shape of 4 Wheel Shuffle.
Next Sunday (October 3rd) at Splinter @ The Bridge: Splinter Group.

1 comment :

George Milburn said...

Nicely put Russell. I almost didn't come along on Sunday but that bell, Gary Boyle, kept on ringing so I googled him: Bingo! many years as a regular at Band on the Wall Manchester flashed before my eyes - there was the much younger Gary with a shock of black curly hair, staring out from one of those album sleeves you mention.
So when I arrived at The Bridge and climbed the stairs, gasping and grasping the Deuchars IPA, Gary was standing there opposite Zoe's ticket table - a perfect case of instant mutual flashback recognition.
Gary's mid-piece chat was quietly precious: "This piece was written by an old bass player of ours, for his girlfriend - she left him before we had a chance to play it - brings tears to my eyes!"
We should've requested Wheels on Fire - Zoe could have done a Julie Driscol to Paul Birchall's Brian Auger - oh the rock dreams!

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