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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wilbur's Fate @ The Head of Steam, Newcastle. August 17th

Jordi Cooke (guitar), Matthew Forster (tenor saxophone & bass clarinet), JohnPope (double bass) & David Francis (drums)'
The Head of Steam's basement performance space was the ideal setting for the debut of Wilbur's Fate. A good crowd of well-wishers turned out to hear the quartet. Bassist John Pope has been gigging for a numbers of years, so too the ubiquitous David Francis (an accomplished drummer in any idiom). Pope and Francis are of the younger generation of jazz players in the north east yet the other half of the quartet made them look like veterans. Guitarist Jordi Cooke and reedsman Matthew Forster first appeared on Bebop Spoken Here's radar at the short-lived Boiler Room sessions just down the road at the Bridge Hotel. Cooke, contributor of much of the material heard, has developed an on-stage presence and is at ease talking to the audience. He is a distinctive stylist in the making; contemporary yet ''retro Modern''.
The Downbeat and the New Orleans Jazz Club are legendary jazz haunts of Newcastle, sadly long gone. Modern jazz combos, were, I'm sure, playing just about every night of the week in those places. Listening to Wilbur's Fate had this listener imagining that these latter day Modernists would have found a niche back in the day. Tenor player Forster looked the part and he too has adopted the sound of the Modernists. The opening number - Twisted Tales - was a punchy, brief affair. A Cooke ballad - Poem - revealed a lyrical side before a return to up-tempo material - Praying Mantis and All Bets Are Off - defined an excellent first set.
A varied beer selection occupied the thoughts of the barflies during the interval and there was much chatter amongst a who's who of the local jazz scene in town to check out Wilbur's Fate.
The audience decided to hang around for the second set to hear Absolute Destination, the ballad After Everything featuring a tenor solo from Forster and other tunes. A tune with no name became The Man with No Name with Forster forging a powerful solo on bass clarinet!
The senior members of the band - Messrs. Pope and Francis - were on top form and contributed typically effective solos. The band certainly knew how to swing and from time to time did just that.
Wilbur's Fate should be heard live. It is a new project of course but on this first hearing there is much more to come. The band's next gig is but a stone's throw across the railway tracks at the Telegraph pub on Orchard Street, Friday 23rd September. Recommended.
Photos. Russell.

1 comment :

Lance said...

Agreed Russell, a tight band, I loved them. The material was original yet melodic - the two don't always go hand in hand!

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