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Friday, May 16, 2014

Adam Stapleford – Drum Kit. Final Recital @ New Music Studios, Newcastle University. May 15

(Review by Russell).
A highlight of Tyneside’s musical year is the series of recital performances given by music students at Newcastle University. Open to the public, these occasions are always memorable – after all there is much at stake. Are the students terrified? Do they request a last meal? Do they say their goodbyes? If so, Bebop Spoken Here correspondents have yet to see any signs of terror, nerves or foreboding.
At the appointed time (6:00 pm) drummer Adam Stapleford entered the examination room, The place was packed – fellow students, friends, well-wishers and at the back…the examiners. Stapleford is a gigging musician, notably in the trio Taupe (the self-styled power jazz commando team). He wasn’t nervous, no way! He welcomed everyone, took time to talk about each of the five pieces he would play and invited Jamie Stockbridge (alto) and Mike Parr-Burman (guitar) to join him on stage (JS and MPB are the other two thirds of Taupe). Ear plugs were handed out (no kidding), your BSH correspondent declined the use of them, knowing it was going to be loud, thrillingly so!   
Ultradian (comp. Taupe) began the recital. Stapleford’s helpful notes read: This piece starts with a bang, and doesn’t really let up from there on in…They blew them away! For the music student the piece was inspired by: a complex Carnatic (South Indian) rhythmic technique… JS and MPB went for a lie down as Stapleford performed his own composition  Making sense (music students would make sense of the West African polyrhythms). The trio played more complex stuff on Coupling (comp. Taupe), things were going well. The penultimate piece – Cachitos (comp. Stapleford) – heard the examinee solo, examining rhythmic styles found in Venezuelan folk music. Stapleford had his kit positioned side on to enable the audience (and examiners) to see what was going on below decks, his feet working the pedals at a rate of knots (bass drum, two hi-hats and bolted-on cowbells). How he did it is beyond mere mortals. Huge applause. One sensed he was home and dry. The trio reunited for the final piece. Lash (comp. Taupe). This is the band’s party piece. ACV’s Without Bones is one of the great listening experiences, Lash is Taupe’s. Stapleford knew it had gone well. Ten out of ten! It wouldn’t come as a surprise if the boys went out on the lash.
For the record - Adam Stapleford – Drum Kit. Major Specialist Studies: Final Recital. Tutor Geoff Hutchinson 
Footnote – Jamie Stockbridge (alto saxophone) said his own Finals’ recital went well at the short straw time of 9:05 am. He then went for breakfast. 
Russell.

1 comment :

GUSTAV THOMAS said...

Enjoyed this review, Russell - and speaking as one of the examiners, I can tell you he was pretty much 'home & dry' indeed. Can I recommend you come along to Blue Rinse at Bar Loco this Thursday (29th)? Adam will be performing with his free trio alongside John Pope (double-bass) and Dario Lozano-Thornton (guitar). Dario was one of the Impossibility Knox performance on Thursday last. There'll also be an appearance by Taupe's Mike Parr-Burman in a duo with Charlie Bramley. As a bonus you can catch duo Yeah You delivering 20 mins of totally improvised electro-pop that combines rugged grooves with acerbic socio-theosophical concrete invective...

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