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Bebop Spoken There

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Eyes Shut Tight @ Free Thinking, Sage Gateshead. October 25

Paul Baxter (double bass), Tom Taylor (piano) & Kristoffer Wright (drums)
(Review by Russell)
The annual Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead began with In Tune, Sean Rafferty’s weekday programme of convivial conversation and diverse musical offerings. Novelists Lionel Shriver and Michael Chaplin had books to plug, New Generation Artist Kittie Whateley had songs to sing, bearded thinker John Gallagher thought and Eyes Shut Tight had much jazz to play.
Our host spoke of the Geordie welcome, surveyed the arts led regeneration of the riverside and with an easy charm demonstrated he was on top of his brief. Bassist Paul Baxter’s trio opened and closed the show, chatted with the affable Rafferty and played some more. Baxter’s bass was a tad quiet, Tom Taylor could be heard just fine at the Steinway and the self deprecating Kris Wright - ‘I hit it [the drum kit] with sticks’ - came across loud and clear.
Out there in radio land the sound balance was sure to be just right. Baxter had been on Tyneside several times in recent years with Eyes Shut Tight or other line-ups at Sage and at the Bridge Hotel at the other end of the High Level Bridge in Newcastle. T and C, typically restrained, introduced the trio, Transition gave space to all three and as Rafferty wondered out loud if there would be an incendiary number we heard The Precipice (incendiary, Eyes Shut Tight style). A live broadcast on a flagship Radio 3 programme will do nothing but enhance the trio’s profile not withstanding Rafferty’s expressed fear that he would refer to the band as Eyes Tight Shut. He avoided the pitfall until nearing the end of the broadcast when twice committing the sin! Eyes Shut Tight, Eyes Tight Shut…close enough for jazz!
Russell.                      

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