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Sunday, December 02, 2012

trio VD @ The Sage December 1

Chris Sharkey (guitar & electronics), Christoph de Bezenac (alto saxophone & electronics) & Chris Bussey (drums & electronics)
(Review by Russell)
The Sage was busy. The Messiah in Hall One and Martin Simpson in Hall Two both doing brisk business. In the Northern Rock Foundation Hall it was a different matter. For some reason trio VD didn't pull a crowd. Last time, in the same room (during the Gateshead Jazz Festival) the Leeds based outfit drew a big crowd and won many new admirers. So, where were these converts last night? Fair weather jazz (festival) fans? Stay at home CD types? trio VD (a word of explanation - it is lower case t in trio) further confuse matters by disparaging the J word, although in truth they are telling the truth - what they do isn't jazz (or is it?). 
Have you noticed that jazz is the one form of music that practitioners (and listeners) frequently feel compelled to ‘explain’, in some cases issuing a pre-performance apology! Was it really daggers drawn back in the day…Traddies versus Dirty Boppers? trio VD take the argument into another realm. What these guys have is chops…jazz chops, schooled at that. They have chosen a different path. Good on them. They play it loud. They incorporate electronics. It sounds like rock music (to some). Dig it, put it in a bag…or not.

The support act, for one reason or another, didn't appear, so trio VD decided to play a support set too…trio VD! Sharkey, de Bezenac and Bussey walked onto stage without fanfare and without name. 

A short first set (in the tradition of support acts) made full use of the electronic gadgetry. The Apple Mac, loops, delays, pedal boards (guitarist Sharkey’s array lit up like fairy lights strewn across the flight deck of a transatlantic airliner), all preoccupied the trio for some time. 

Suddenly Chris Bussey remembered he was a drummer. He picked up his sticks and started to play. Altoist de Bezenac blew a few notes then took time out to process them. Meanwhile, back on the flight deck, Sharkey set off a sonic boom, twiddled and recycled it. Scary stuff. Time for a break. The trio’s new CD Maze was available for sale. Family and friends of the band were in attendance. 

Second set, more electronic manipulations and more playing, real playing. At times - it is a stated objective - lines became blurred. Was that sound played by Sharkey? Did de Bezenac play that or did it come from Bussey? Precision playing, at lightening fast tempi, Bussey delighting in changing time - time and time again. Stunning. I don’t know how they do it. Yes I do, they are superb musicians. Was it jazz? Discuss.    
Russell.                       

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