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Monday, October 13, 2014

Shatner’s Bassoon @ The Bridge Hotel. October 12

Craig Scott (guitar), Johnny Richards (keyboards), Michael Bardon (electric bass), Andrew Lisle (drums) & Joost Hendrickx (drums)
(Review by Russell/photo courtesy of Ken Drew)
In the last week Newcastle has seen audience numbers ranging from single figures to a sold out show turning people away. Sadly, this week’s Splinter promotion at the Bridge must be added to the former category. Leeds’ hothouse product Shatner’s Bassoon gave an intimate, if loud, performance to a drawing room select audience.
Rehearsed to the nth degree, the regular sextet worked as a quintet with the absence of Ollie Dover detracting little, if anything, from the performance. The band’s fulcrum is a constantly shifting beast; Johnny Richards (keyboards), Michael Bardon (bass) or local lad Andrew Lisle (drums). Richards’ three keyboards (one on a conventional stand, one perched on two stools, another periodically in his lap) dictated the direction of the music until a shift in focus to Bardon using his instrument as a giant baton, then the Zorn-like precision of the brilliant, brutal Lisle. Joost Hendrickx, no shrinking violet, to a degree played second fiddle (drums, actually) to the man originally from Morpeth.
Two highlights; Hendrickx engaged Craig Scott (guitar) in a thrilling exchange on Boat Comforts. Not to be outdone, Lisle went toe to toe with Scott in a brutal bout, slugging it out at a million miles per hour. The ability to do such things comes from wood-shedding  for hours on end at Leeds College of Music. It is unlikely that Shatner’s Bassoon and the Newcastle University power-jazz trio Taupe ever crossed paths. One thing is for certain – if they did there would be a mutual admiration.
The low turn-out a disappointment, those into trio VD, Zorn and Sylvain Darrifourcq would have got it. They should have been at the Bridge. Next week’s gig (Sun 19 Oct) is a Splinter-Jazz North East co-promotion featuring the north of England improv tentet Engine Room Favourites. 
Russell.

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