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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.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

French Jazz Night @ The Jazz Café. May 10











Gypsies of Bohemia: Jim Wallace (guitar), Matthew Whitaker (guitar & vocals), Frank Grime (double bass) & Sam Draper (drums)
Shamans Jazz Quartet: Claire Kahn (tenor & soprano saxophones, violin, vocals), Chris Bonno (electric bass), Amos Joseph (piano) & Fito Pierre (drums). 
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Mike Tilley). 
Mitry Mory meets Madchester or never the twain. The French contingent from the outskirts of Paris – the Shamans – opened the show at a well attended Jazz Café. A community, work-shopping band lead by electric bassist Chris Bonno, their set list comprised French popular song (George Brassens, Charles Aznavour), a standard (Autumn Leaves) and a Latin reworking of Minor Swing.
Vocalist Claire Kahn shocked the audience by singing in French. What is the world coming to?!!! School girl/boy French didn’t help much, Kahn’s soprano sax required little in the way of translation; committed, personal statements. The quartet’s sound driven by Bonno, abetted by drummer Pierre’s energetic display, had the effect of relegating pianist Joseph to that of little heard sideman.
The French theme continued with the arrival of the Madchester boys. The Mancs do jazz their way – Django the inspiration, the material whatever takes their fancy. A couple of Django’s tunes paid homage to the man, otherwise this was alt jazz at its best. Alt jazz? Alt country has reclaimed the music from the rednecks, so the Gypsies of Bohemia have set about dispatching the Mouldy Old Fig to the academic margin, deconstructing pop songs as they go. Charismatic front man Matthew Whitaker (rhythm guitar, vocals & alt beard) sat alongside former Newcastle College music student Jim Wallace (guitar) and as they looked up all they could see was a sea of faces – all seats long since taken, pretty young things sat at their feet, the ‘mad for it’ crowd standing ten deep, bouncing off the walls such was the energy generated by the Bohemians.
The rhythm boys – Whitaker, propulsive bassist Frank Grime and ex-Newcastle College student Sam Draper (yes, another success story from the Geordie seat of learning) had it, them, the whole shebang, in their collective back pocket. The eclectic set list – Blondie, Radiohead,, Britney Spears’ Toxic (not as we know it, this was something else, truly toxic!), Soft Cell – struck an acoustic chord with the audience. The Smiths (for some soporific, the Bohemians take on their fellow Mancs somewhat different!), the Prodigy and the Outhere Brothers aren’t obvious jazz material. This gig subverted the obvious, only those with a sense of humour bypass would have failed to get it. The band’s principal soloist, Jim Wallace, studied with James Birkett, some ten years on Dr Birkett would be mightily impressed with his ace student. Superb technique, adapted to the group sound, Wallace is a most impressive player. As the Jazz Café’s mosh pit gathering bounced off the walls the Bohemians enquired triumphantly: Let me hear you say Way Oh!  Boom Boom Boom.         
Russell.

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