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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jamil Sheriff Trio @ Jazz Café. September 13

Jamil Sheriff (piano), Pete Turner (double bass) & Dave Walsh (drums)
(Review by Russell/photo by Mike Tilley)
The Jamil Sheriff Trio played a Saturday night gig at the Jazz Café and what a gig! One question arises – where was the audience? A handful took their seats to listen to a piano trio of exceptional quality. Sheriff, an academic staffer at Leeds College of Music, made a return visit to Newcastle having previously performed at the Lit & Phil, and as on that occasion, he had with him his regular partners Pete Turner (double bass) and drummer Dave Walsh.
Sheriff mixed standards with original compositions across two sets. Body and Soul, The Old Country, All the Things You Are and Billie’s Bounce were interspersed with Sheriff tunes including The Contortionist, Trio Piece No.1, the bluesy Bluish, The New One and a new one, as yet untitled, known as Untitled. The bandleader gets inside the tunes, head tilted to one side, muttering inaudibly, playing two-handed piano. Neo-classical left hand motif, right hand jazz improvisation – how does he do it, other than intense concentration and hours of practice? Fabulous piano playing and two utterly reliable musical partners – a winning combination every time.
Bassist Turner, unfamiliar with The Old Country, did an amazing job considering Sheriff said no more than C minor, E flat major. Sheriff knew Turner could do it and he did! The New One departed from the norm with an extended free section with no diminution in the quality of the music. Dave Walsh bided his time, taking his solo opportunity on a corking Billie’s Bounce as the set finale. The amiable Sheriff thanked the few for turning out. The few thanked him, Pete and Dave for a great night of swinging jazz. In the coming months a new CD will be released (Jamil Sheriff said the recording went well) and a British tour to promote it would be in order, with, of course, a Newcastle date on the itinerary.        .
The Jazz Café continues to present jazz of the highest quality. What does it take to get the Tyneside jazz fan to attend gigs? The Jazz Café, the Lit and Phil, the Bridge Hotel. Don’t forget Hoochie Coochie and soon the Newcastle Jazz Co-op’s pride and joy, the Globe on Railway Street opens for business. You’ve never had it so good. ‘I knew nothing about it’ …’I was watching the telly’…’I’ve never heard of him’…’I’m afraid of the dark’…Boo!    
Russell.             

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