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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Relaxin’ with Saxophonics on Buster Keaton’s Boat. January 24

Saxophonics: Keith Robinson (alto & soprano saxophones), Steve Summers (alto & tenor saxophones), Graeme Wilson (tenor saxophone) & Niall Armstrong (baritone saxophone)
(Review by Russell)
Saxophonics at the Jazz Café. The dedicated few up front, the chattering classes at the back. Intoxicated or cloth-eared, it is difficult to understand how anyone can’t sit with rapt attention when Saxophonics take to the stand. A pad of originals, classic numbers arranged and in some cases painstakingly transcribed, the Tyneside based saxophone quartet are up there with the best of them. New York to Camarillo to Blyth to the wine bar, Saxophonics traverse the chamber jazz globe reaching for the stars (make that the moon). Small in number, the sound is often that of a roaring large ensemble.
Tenor man Graeme Wilson’s Street of Furs opened the show, as it does on the quartet’s recently released CD The River Flows at Night. Four musicians engaged in musical conversation; convivial consensus, a joke, laughter, a discordant disagreement (amicably resolved), a point well made. The interaction is as tight as could be; sight-readers all, a knowing cue, a telepathic understanding. On more than one occasion one or more of the ensemble took a step back in admiration of their band mates’ solo flights. A new Niall Armstrong tune - Go Forth - sounded good, let’s hear it again. Wilson’s Damfino is one to hear again and again. Check out Brass Jaw’s recording of the tune, a tune to stand the test of time.
The River Flows at Night took it down, late night. Mike Mower’s charts appeal to the quartet allowing Keith Robinson’s incisive soprano to strike out and again on Armstrong’s Accidental Death. Wilson’s Stranded at the Wine Bar evoked that sense of dread - being in the wrong place, wearily accepting of the fact, hoping something (someone?) will turn up. Relaxin’ at Camarillo,  A Night in Tunisia, The New Wallaw (aka The New Wetherspoon’s!) - three fantastic tunes. More please! Bobby Watson? Yes, please! Oh. yes…Come Fly with Me. What more could one ask?
Keith Robinson alluded to the absence of a rhythm section (the Jazz Café is a little cramped). The bass player must have been hiding around the corner. Nope. The quartet’s internal rhythm section - Niall Armstrong - achieved super human feats. It was all down to Armstrong and relief rhythm maker Wilson. The altoists - Robinson and Steve Summers – soared, reaching for the stars. It was some journey. Buster Keaton’s boat? Damfino was the name, apparently.               
Russell.                    

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