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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Watson Walker Edis @ The Lit & Phil. May 10, 2013


Lewis Watson (tenor saxophone), Rob Walker (drums) & Paul Edis (piano)
(Review by Russell - Photo by Jerry)
Another in the monthly lunchtime series of jazz gigs at the Lit & Phil and another full house. For some reason the jazz public has taken to the city centre venue from the get go; central location, a warm welcome from the Lit & Phil’s staff, quality bottled beers, tea, coffee and…top class jazz. It isn't rocket science, simply jazz.
The trio of Watson Walker Edis made its debut at the Lit & Phil something like two years ago and since then a further four or five performances (in Newcastle and at the recent Gateshead International Jazz Festival) have garnered glowing reviews. And so to this latest outing. Tenor saxophonist Lewis Watson was at pains to point out that the music was ‘difficult’, that melody would become apparent should the listener ‘stick with it’. Central to the performance was the spirit of Albert Ayler.
Compositions were shared between the three musicians. Two pieces - On the Plus Side (comp. Edis) and Bells 2 (comp. Walker) - played without a break, opened the programme, Watson’s rich, full tenor sound is that of the consummate working musician, drummer Rob Walker, perhaps best described as a ‘musicians musician’, exudes taste. A ‘listening’ player, reading the parts, creative and expressive, Walker is the perfect fit in this trio.
The Albert Suite, comprising nine parts, ran for something like forty five minutes. On In the Ether Walker played with open hand - palms, fingertips, then forearm, elbow, palm, fingertips. This was a superb demonstration of the art of the percussionist. Pianist Paul Edis immersed himself in the music, creating motifs, ascending, descending, as Watson’s authoritative tenor delved deep into Ayler territory. Carried on the Wind (comp. Edis) and another Edis composition - Rumbles - drew the best from Watson, then, the heart of the concert - Albert (comp. Watson) - drew the breath from the composer. Sustained intensity covering the free landscape sculpted by Coltrane and Ayler reaffirmed Watson’s pre-eminence in the ranks of the great tenor players. Watson Walker Edis perform together rarely. Each occasion is a treat.
Watch out for their next gig. If there is any justice then a CD recording should document the work of this trio. Gig of the year. 
Russell.                  

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