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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Ayanna/Kairos 4tet @ The Sage, Gateshead. Tuesday November 6

Ayanna (cello/vcl).
(Review by Lance)
There was almost a sepulchral silence in The Sage’s Northern Rock Foundation Hall. No welcoming background music, no boozy chit-chat – only silence. I’ve been in noisier libraries. I felt that perhaps I should say a few Hail Mary’s. However, I didn't and by the end of the first set I was saying Hail Ayanna!
I’d seen Ayanna (Witter-Johnson) at The Cluny a year or two back and she left an impression on me then.
The girl did the same tonight.
Slender and graceful, Ayanna bows the cello, then slaps the strings with the bow, and then moves into pizzicato mode. Oh yes, and she sings as well. In fact Ayanna sings very well. It’s a voice that sounds as if it’s travelled the Freeways as well as the country roads. Occasionally the cello becomes a percussive instrument as she gently taps the back and sides of the mellow toned instrument.
After Roxanne, for a well deserved encore, Ms. Witter-Johnson moved to the piano and sang and played a piece entitled Truthfully and, truthfully, this had been quite a delightful set.
Kairos 4tet: Adam Waldmann (ten/sop/composition; Ivo Neame (pno); Jasper Hoiby (bs); Jon Scott (dms).
The set opened with a piece written by Waldmann for a friends wedding. Listening to the long, drawn out theme I wondered what the bride’s mother thought of it all. It was interesting. His soprano seemed to be in need of some TLC and he exited stage right to effect some temporary repair with an elastic band. Where would sax players be without elastic bands?
In the meantime, pianist Neame played a stonker of a piano solo that brought to mind the late Michel Petrucciani – Man of the Match award for Neame surely?
Not that the others were far behind. Waldmann, particularly on tenor, was outstanding, Hoiby carried on the tradition of great Danish bass playing (remember NHOP?) and Scott impressed in his extended drum solo.
This was a Jazz Services sponsored/Sage/JNE presentation that was enjoyed by the 50 or so present.
Lance.

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