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Friday, July 12, 2013

Djangologie @ The Lit & Phil. July 12

(Review by Hugues Panassie.)
Some years ago your reviewer attended a lecture on French cinema. The lecturer began by speaking in French. The look of disbelief on the faces of most of those present was priceless, then a look of relief when the speaker stopped and spoke in English to say that his introductory remarks were but a little joke! So to Djangologie at the Lit and Phil. 
Django-Francophile Mick Shoulder was surely delighted to see the lunchtime concert programme notes list his instrument as Contrabasse, the other Djangologists’ instruments variously listed Guitare rythmique, Guitare and Violon. The set list scheduled twelve numbers, some with their French titles, some in English and Dans Mon Endroit Tranquille (comp. Monsieur M.Shoulder)…translations on a postcard to Bebop Spoken Here. Summer at last on Tyneside, it was hot, Le Jazz Hot, in the Lit & Phil. There was a full house, standing room only. 
Tunes by Django and Mick peppered the one hour performance. The Manouche masterpieces included Artillerie Lourdes and Stompin’ at Decca, the County Durham contribution Beautiful Till 3 and Song for Izumi. The quartet’s rhythm king – Monsieur Giles Strong – played his part to perfection, the undemonstrative, reassuring presence. Shoulder, himself a master of the rhythmic art, pitched his sound just right, creating an inviting set-up for the band’s star soloists – Emma Fisk and James Birkett – to do their brilliant best. And how! 
Bandleader Shoulder thanked the audience for their rapt attention. The quality of performance ensured such keen listening! Monsieur Birkett’s solo on Stompin’ at Decca deservedly won huge applause. No, make that cheers and whistles. Minor Swing brought the house down and Mademoiselle Fisk’s superb playing on Les Yeux Noir (and all of the other tunes for that matter) engendered further deafening applause. Magnifique!
Russell.                

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