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12,344 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 63 of them this year alone and, so far, 63 this month (Jan. 13).

Saturday January 16


Friday, March 09, 2012

Vole @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. Thursday 8th March

Roland Ramanan (trumpet), Roberto Sassi (guitar), Alex Hawkins (keyboards) & Tom Greenhalgh (drums).
Jazz North East’s latest On the Outside gig at Newcastle’s Bridge Hotel featured the quartet Vole. A large gathering – young and old – listened intently to every last note.  
Trumpeter Roland Ramanan, a tall, imposing figure, possessed a full, fat tone yet he chose to play sparingly, not one to over-play. Guitar and drums…now they played -  they really did play. Guitarist Roberto Sassi (a wunderkind) harnessed the raw power of drummer Tom Greenhalgh (another wunderkind), frequently at frightening speed, to unleash an infinite variety of lines all the while utilising pedals to great effect. The intricate broken beats invited keyboards virtuoso Alex Hawkins to the party. Furious, at times humorous interplay between guitar, drums and keyboards saw Ramanan in a state of contentment and when the trio had said its piece he stepped up to make his mark with an incisive contribution. Hawkins cut loose, taking no prisoners on Tim’s Frosties, drawing huge applause as the first set drew to a close. 
An interval beer in hand (the locally brewed Ouseburn Porter), sales of CDs were brisk to say the least. On resumption of the music Slow Burn was just that – a slow burner. At its climax it just about set the place alight. Staggering playing from the quartet put this gig firmly in contention for Gig of the Year (with ten months to go!). Infinite variations on riffs, lines, textures and tempi were exemplified on Vole Infinite the eponymous (apposite) track from the soon-to-be-released new CD Vole Infinite. Pre-release copies available at the gig sold out – recommendation in itself.

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