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Sunday, April 29, 2012

DAGDA w. JEAN TOUSSAINT - Splinter @ The Bridge, Newcastle.

Jean Toussaint (ten/sop); Tom Harrison (alt); Billy Adamson (gtr);  Tom West (bs); Mike Clowes (dms).
I can count on one finger the number of times I've heard a former Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers' tenor man play the Bridge Hotel. Somehow, Benny Golson, Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter etc. didn't get around to it. Fortunately, Jean Toussaint did!
And he was in good company with the London based DAGDA - who'd drove up after a lunchtime gig at 7Arts Leeds
The late Chris Yates would have described Toussaint as "a tough tenor" and he'd have got it right!
The lithe alto solos of  Tom Harrison added to this musical experience and they  represent everything that is so good about many of the young players today. Tom has a lucidity about his playing that many older players would struggle to match. He simply soars like a Bird (and I use the word advisedly) breaking through the sound barrier at the speed of light. Breathtaking!
As for Jean Toussaint, you don't get to hold down the tenor chair with Art Blakey unless you're the hottest horn on the planet which, at the time, he was and indeed still is. Body and Soul (click here to watch YouTube clip from Adrian Tilbrook) was Coleman Hawkins updated to the twenty-first century and then some. These days he's also an educator which must surely be like a writer having Billy Shakespeare or Charlie Dickens for a teacher. There was much education laid down tonight.
The rhythm guys did the necessary with Adamson's solos adding another ingredient to the mix and bass and drums providing a solid foundation.
Gig of the Year material without doubt.
C'mon Arts Council England we can't afford to lose concerts like this!
Photos by Adrian Tilbrook.
Lance.

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