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Monday, November 19, 2012

Paul Baxter Quartet @ The Bridge Hotel. November 18

Paul Baxter (double bass), Tom Harrison (alto saxophone & flute), Tom Taylor (keyboards) & Jon Ormston (drums)
 (Review by Russell). 
Darkish, a darkish tune opened the set.Tom Harrison’s biting alto set the tone with the spirit of Coltrane in the air. Pianist Tom Taylor sketched out Monuments and Harrison eagerly stretched the canvas. The musicians clearly enjoyed one another’s company - a smile, a joke - with Baxter anything but the task master. The material was, for the most part, the bandleader’s, yet the standard My Foolish Heart stood out; intense alto, a beautiful piano part, measured bass playing and sensitive percussion from Jon Ormston. 
A chart by Egberto Gismonti saw altoist Harrison switch briefly to flute resulting in the one occasion in which the sound balance was less than perfect. No such problems on  A To and a Fro (Tales from the Lane) and A Day in June - these were open pieces inviting near free form explorations. If Peggy Knew What Happened To featured the talented   Tom Taylor and the man at the keys excelled on the closing number Loads More Blues, as did alto star Harrison, likewise bass man Baxter and drummer Jon Ormston had some fun with a solo before Harrison’s alto took it home. 
This was another good Splinter gig. One thing…where was the audience? Was Charlie Parker on the telly? Well, whatever, you missed a damn fine alto player, indeed a damn fine band. Maybe next time…and make ‘next time’ next week - Sunday November 25 – when there is an intriguing double bill of Sonsale and the Tom Gibbs Quartet. Splinter has joined forces with Jazz North East to present a world premiere performance by Sonsale featuring four musicians, three of whom are known to Tyneside audiences. Gateshead lad (and Splinter supremo) Andy Champion hooks up once more with vibes star Corey Mwamba in a collaboration with two leading French musicians – the brilliant drummer Sylvain Darrifourcq and Valentin Ceccaldi (cello). The other half of the bill features pianist Tom Gibbs with Will Vinson (alto) and the bass and drums pairing of Euan Burton and James Maddren. Make a note – the session starts half an hour earlier than usual at 7:30 pm.      
Russell.
   

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