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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

GIJF - Day 2: Northern Spirits. Ian Carr's Northumbrian Sketches; Lighthouse Trio; Tim Garland, Northern Sinfonia - Songs to the North Sky

(Review by Debra M.)
When the GIJF programme was issued some time ago, it was frustrating that the 2 gigs we most wanted to see clashed on the Saturday night… Birelli Lagrene vs Lighthouse Trio & Northern Sinfonia. Being democratic, & also trying to accommodate the teenager, we gave him the casting vote. Northern Spirits it was….
The first part of the programme was a performance of late north east trumpeter Ian Carr’s ‘Northumbrian Sketches’. Featured soloists were Henry Lowther on trumpet and flugelhorn, Tim Whitehead on soprano saxophone & bass clarinet, and Andy Champion on double bass, with Northern Sinfonia conducted by Clark Rundell. The four sections – Open Country, Interiors, Disjunctive Boogie, Spirit of Place – gave ample opportunity for the horn virtuosos, yet this was integrated effectively with the strings of the Sinfonia, many of whom appeared to be relishing the experience.
Following the break, we were then treated to a short set by the Lighthouse Trio, with Whitley Bay’s Tim Garland on saxophones, Gwilym Simcock on piano & Asaf Sirkis on percussion. Garland was clearly thrilled to be on home territory, and he & Simcock were engaging personalities. Garland first encountered Simcock as a student when he was teaching at the Royal Academy, and they have been playing together ever since. This was probably the favourite set for the jazzers  – outstanding musicianship from all 3, exciting and unpredictable, yet remaining accessible – so maybe they won over some of Northern Sinfonia’s fans in the audience.
And finally, Tim Garland’s ‘Songs To The North Sky’, a world premiere in which Lighthouse Trio and Northern Sinfonia combined. Garland introduced the work of 5 pieces, each in 2 sections & partly improvised, beginning with ‘The Road Into Night’ and ending with ‘Sage and Time’. There were so many textures and moods, and whilst the local influences of the Tyne, the sea and Northumberland may have been predictable, the music was not. An utterly compelling journey.  The Sage should get the The Lighthouse Trio back as soon as they can, and give them the full house they deserve.
Debra.

2 comments :

Nigel Tully said...

I completely agree - The Lighthiouse Trio deserve a full show of their own at The Sage. For me they are the mist stimulating and impressive small group on the jazz scene at the moment - every member of the trio a world-class virtuoso, and the fact that they have been eworking together for more than 10 years shows in an extraordinary degree of musical empathy. Wonderful music !

Stocksfield Jazzer said...

Thanks for this review, Debra. Due to circumstances beyond my control(as they say), I was unable to attend this gig.

I would reiterate your suggestion of a return visit from the Lighthouse trio ASAP. Their eponymous CD is a masterpiece. A recording of Songs to the North Sky must surely follow!

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