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Friday, March 14, 2014

Celebrating Roy @ The Bridge Hotel. March 11

Nick Malcolm (trumpet) & Roger Turner (percussion)
(Review by Russell/Photo courtesy of Ken Drew.)
Late last year Jazz North East secured a return visit in 2014 by American free jazz trumpeter Roy Campbell to perform in a duo with British drummer Roger Turner. In January Campbell died at the age of sixty one. The Tyneside promoters had a decision to make – scrap the date altogether or attempt to stage something in memory of the man. An invitation extended to young British trumpeter Nick Malcolm was readily accepted and the pairing of Malcolm and Roger Turner would, it was hoped, be a fitting tribute to Roy Campbell.
Drummer Roger Turner had played on Tyneside on many occasions, his pedigree not in doubt. Nick Malcolm was known to the select few who had heard him a little over a year ago leading his own quartet at the Bridge Hotel. A fabulous player, would those unaware of his abilities turn out to hear him on this auspicious occasion? In the event, most stayed away. They missed a great performance by Malcolm and nothing short of a master class from Turner. A brass player suffering from a heavy cold doesn’t bode well, the more so in the exposed duo format. Fearless, if nothing else, Nick Malcolm went for it. Roger Turner didn’t make allowances for his ailing partner – play up, play on.
The nature of free jazz found Malcolm working hard for forty five minutes, the only respite came as Turner played unaccompanied for a period. Malcolm didn’t shirk but he did cough and splutter, guttural gestures triggering a coughing fit, similarly, full on blowing leaving him gasping for breath. Turner’s technique, honed over the years, is an audio-visual treat. Great sound, great feel, watching him do it is an education. Drummers were thin on the ground, perhaps they were gigging, perhaps not. If in the latter category then they should have been at the Bridge.
The second set proved to be a shorter affair; one piece, ending as it did with neither musician having anything further to say. Such is the form, there is no set list, no preconceptions, simply start playing then cease playing. A really good gig for those interested in the music. Roy Campbell would surely have approved.        
Russell.      

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