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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gateshead International Jazz Festival – some highlights

Every festival has highlights, and I’ve listed below some of my personal ones. I enjoyed all the top line acts that I saw, but it’s often the unexpected or quirky items that stay in your memory. Here goes, and in no particular order.
1/ I’d no sooner arrived at the concourse on Friday, than I was delighted to hear Zoe Gilby (vocals) and Andy Champion (bass) singing Leonard Cohen’s happiest song (and there aren’t many happy ones!), Dance Me To The End of Love, which is all about a Jewish wedding. It’s an interesting set of words with Biblical references and loads of vitality. Well chosen and sung, I hope Zoe and Andy never take this out of their repertoire.
2/ During the Marcus Roberts Trio performance, reviewed elsewhere, the band did an amazing version of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, which was loads of fun. I even heard hints of the circus bands that I used to listen to as a child, but I’d had a drink by then, so maybe I imagined that.
3/ I dropped in on The Sharkestra, to see the young band really enjoying themselves. They’d obviously put loads of work into this project. But we all got to do our bit, joining in with rhythmical clapping and a riff to sing. Great stuff. It may be a good idea to reintroduce the jam sessions to the Jazz Lounge. I remember this from the jazz festival of a few years back.
4/ I was enjoying Jambone on the concourse on Sunday, then up rose some beautiful melodic singing from 5 young people, doing a song about loneliness (I think), with words such as Why must you stay alone?, accompanied quietly by the band. Definitely a moving moment. I’d love to know if this was their own project or maybe something they’d done with Andy Sheppard. Information please.
Then just to round things off, Jamie Cullum happened to be the subject on Desert Island Discs this week, which was on Sunday Morning. It was broadcast before a live audience in Bristol, and Jamie played and sang some of his choices. Catch it on BBC iplayer.
Ann Alex.

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