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Monday, April 08, 2013

GIJF Day 2: Jazz from the North.

(Review by Russell).
The Jazz Lounge (aka Northern Rock Foundation Hall) sold out. This session has grown into a ‘must get’ ticket at the Sage Gateshead over the years. Four bands over four hours at a bargain price. 
First up Eyes Shut Tight led by the amiable bassist from Pontefract Paul Baxter. The trio played a set at Splinter at the Bridge a matter of weeks ago to a small but appreciative audience. To be greeted by a full room must have gladdened the heart. Baxter was joined by regular drummer Kris Wright and late dep Jamil Sherif on piano to play a forty five minutes set without a break to promote their latest CD. Sherif coped admirably with the music in front of him and the EST ambient vibe tested the stamina of the attentive crowd. The second band on stage did what one would hope they would do at a festival - they were so very different. 
The Verneri Pohjola Quartet from Finland arrived on Tyneside with a big reputation following their critically acclaimed CD Aurora. Led by trumpeter Pohjola, the young quartet played as if they knew they were good - and they were! Pohjola projected a big sound across the jazz lounge checking out melancholic Miles and flat-out Freddie Hubbard. Pianist Aki Rissanen impressed and bass and drums - Antti Lotjonen and Joonas Riipa - played with confidence. Pohjola is some player and worth travelling to hear be it in Gateshead, London or Finland. Drummer Tom Bancroft, a regular visitor to Tyneside, gave a mature performance in the company of regular Trio Red partners Tom Cawley (piano) and Norwegian double bassist Per Zanussi. Serious, accessible, fun compositions (Opportunity Lonely Woman, The Mole of History Takes a Bow then Trips).
Closing the afternoon session fell to ACV. Andy Champion’s power house five piece rocked up fresh from a triumphant headlining appearance at the Vortex with a new CD - Busk - about to hit the jazz world and beyond. Regular gigging has honed the quintet into a cohesive unit and it showed in this high profile performance. Tunes from Busk (Nutmeg State, Degree Absolute, Giant Mice) and classic earlier material (A Line Made by Walking, Without Bones) afforded solo opportunities for all the band - Paul Edis (keyboards), Graeme Wilson (reeds), Mark Williams (guitar) and drummer Adrian Tilbrook – during a storming set.   
Russell.                       

1 comment :

Dave Parker (on Facebook) said...

I completely agree with Russell. An afternoon of superb jazz at a bargain price. Now I want to visit Finland.

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