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Saturday, June 09, 2012

John Hallam with the Paul Edis Trio @ Blaydon Jazz Club.June 7.

John Hallam (tenor & baritone saxophones, clarinet), Paul Edis (piano), Mick Shoulder (double bass) & Adam Sinclair (drums).
(Review by Russell).
The forecast storm clouds gathered overhead during the journey from Newcastle to Blaydon. They did little to dampen the enthusiasm for a much anticipated gig. A return visit by reeds virtuoso John Hallam working in the company of the Paul Edis Trio enticed a good number of folk to Blaydon & District Club and Institute.


Hallam, an assured player on clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophones, chose a well-balanced programme and opened on tenor with a leisurely Just Friends. Mick Shoulder (double bass) shone on Love Me or Leave Me and the trio – make that the quartet – hit the heights on Blues in the Closet. Hallam switched to clarinet for a couple of numbers before leaving the stage to Edis, Shoulder and drummer Adam Sinclair to deliver a sensitive reading of Stella by Starlight
Hallam picked-up the baritone to further demonstrate his command of the reeds with a brisk Dream a Little Dream Of Me and closed the first set with the Duke Ellington/Mercer Ellington/Don George Time’s A Wastin’. The consensus of opinion during the interval was that it had been an excellent first set with much praise for the local lads. Tyneside has an enviable history of first class rhythm sections working as the support to visiting guest musicians from Britain, America and further afield. The Paul Edis Trio – Edis piano, Mick Shoulder (double bass) and Adam Sinclair (drums) –  is right up there with the best of them. 
The music resumed with What is This Thing Called Love? and Hallam, on tenor, continued to offer generous solo opportunities to the trio. Edis responded with yet another brilliant solo and a round of fours spotlighted the exuberant Sinclair. The trio took in their collective stride a bossa intro on Out of Nowhere followed by - a highlight amongst highlights - Bernie’s Tune. Hallam, once more on baritone, was, surely, delighted by the high level playing of all on the stand. Benny Carter’s When Lights Are Low revealed Sinclair’s immaculate brush work and Edis’ sublime solo incorporated fleeting references to other GAS book gems; was that Surrey with the Fringe on Top? Hallam the clarinetist played it near-hot on Irving Berlin’s Puttin’ on the Ritz, drummer Sinclair somehow evoked Fred Astaire’s unsurpassed tap dancing routine and Shoulder anchored it. Review notes said, simply, PERFECT!. Say no more. 
The Edis Trio slowed the pulse rate with a measured Body and Soul before John Hallam (on tenor) called time with Apple Honey. Blaydon Jazz Club is the place to be if first rate mainstream jazz is your thing. John Hallam’s visit was made possible thanks to Gateshead Council supporting the event during Blaydon Races Festival week and of course the regular supporters turning-up in good numbers. Next month  - Thursday July 5 – get along to hear master guitarist James Birkett and reeds virtuoso Graeme Wilson working in quintet format. It starts a little earlier than usual – get there by 8:15 pm. Make the effort – ample parking space in the car park on Garden Street, late buses to Gateshead and Newcastle, excellent bottled beers and a warm welcome at Blaydon Jazz Club ensure you won’t be disappointed.
Russell 

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