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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mark Williams Trio + Claude Werner @ Jazz Café January 11

Mark Williams (gtr); Paul Susans (bs.gtr); Richard Brown (dms) + Claude Werner (ten).
(Review by Lance)
I arrived early and although there were as yet few in attendance the signs were promising. Zoe Gilby's latest CD was playing in the background which was only right and proper as two thirds of tonight's trio were on the CD. Bottles of real ale jostled with the inevitable Peroni and, whilst the walls still need jazzing up a bit, overall the feel was good. As the free admission cut off time (9pm) approached the room filled up and by the time Williams and co hit the deck running there was a respectable sized audience.
The set comprised Mark Williams' originals that served to display the jovial Irishman's facility. Shades of Schofield and Metheny (as Russell pointed out) were interspersed with passages of soulful lyricism including one incredible stretched out cadenza-like break. In particular, Weird Waltz displayed the ease with which he coped with ever changing moods and modes. Unsure what Mark's final chord was  but it must have included ruptured ninths and flatulent fifths - a well named and brilliant composition!
Not that Mark was the only driver on the bus., in one of several fine bass guitar solos, Susans defied the prevailing winds with a solo of such rare and delicate beauty that the room became enveloped in a hushed silence before erupting with tumultuous applause.
Throughout all these contrasting emotions Richard Brown was rock solid, going with the flow until his moment arrived. Richard may look the epitome of cool but, beneath that outward demeanour, lurks a volcanic interior that, when ignited, erupts with such a rhythmic complexity the listener could be fooled into thinking he had an extra arm, maybe two.
Time to re-charge our glasses, exchange the latest jazz gossip and eagerly await the second set and the pre departure arrival of Claude Werner - surely Chile's greatest gift to Newcastle and I haven't overlooked the Robledo brothers (football reference)! Claude is heading south so this was his north-east swansong.
What can I say? He leaves behind a wonderful legacy. Tenor playing that exudes emotion, technique and just so much soul.  Surely he was born with a silver saxophone in his mouth! Man and machine as one - joined at the hip and I use the word advisedly.
From the opening belter via the rhapsodic You've Changed to the final Williams  opus Booze Blues (Bloos?) the Santiago Supersax left us with a night to remember,
not least the final exchanges with Mark which saw the pair musically entwined.
Phew!
Photos.
Lance.

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