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Friday, November 07, 2014

Paul Edis @ The Lit & Phil. November 7

(Review by Russell/photos by Jerry)
More seats were brought into the Loftus Room at the Lit & Phil, a sure sign that many people wanted to be at today’s concert. Pianist Paul Edis performed a solo programme consisting of eleven compositions (five of them written by Edis).
The first three tunes in a varied programme were by Edis; Pulse (the melody unfurling quietly), From Nothing to Nowhere and Not Like Me (typically Edis!). The Rodgers & Hart standard Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered followed and instantly became the odds on favourite for this reviewer’s ‘Performance of the Year 2014’. Within minutes Rodgers & Hammerstein’s My Favourite Things topped it, then an unlikely contender – Percy Grainger’s English Country Garden – jockeyed for pole position! The playing couldn’t have been better. The audience loved it, one hour of sheer joy.
Distraction, Edis’ commentary on the iPhone generation’s nano-second concentration span, flitted from hardcore hammered pianism to brilliantly executed fleeting classical references, to walking, syncopated bass lines, by way of a swinging jazz piano trio. In the absence of bass and drums this was something else! Horace Silver’s Nica’s Dream and John Coltrane’s epic Giant Steps reinstated the standard; Edis explored both tunes without ever losing the melodic essence at the heart of them.
Bring Me Sunshine. Eric and Ernie’s signature tune (comp. Kent & Dee) brought a big smile to many a face. It swung. Good piano players can make anything swing. Dr Edis ended his ‘recital’ (we were in the Literary and Philosophical Society, after all) in the same we he started it, with a mellow original, Sunrise. Paul Edis can be heard later on tonight at the Jazz Café on Pink Lane in the company of Mick Shoulder (double bass) and drummer Adam Sinclair. First set 9:00pm, get there early to secure a seat.  
Russell. 

1 comment :

JC said...

This was an almost perfect concert. Starting from the pleasure of walking into the Lit and Phil; an oasis of calm in the chaos of whatever is being done to Central Station. A quick look in the library to be reassured that actual books still exist, a cup of tea and some (free) biscuits and then into a room that just had a grand piano and plenty of chairs. They were needed as there was a big crowd, which was great. In his review, Russell has described very well the artistry in the playing of Paul Edis but I was also struck by the craft in his composing and interpreting of tunes. He explained that From Nothing to Nowhere (one of my favourites from his solo album) was not, in fact, a musical version of one of Samuel Beckett's happier plays but was originally intended to be a bridge between two other pieces. In the end he liked it enough to have it stand on its own. He played his version of Giant Steps because he recognised it as 'a very good tune'. His reconstructions of old tunes whether of Victorian, music hall or stage musical origins are always just familiar enough to bring out a pleasurable smile of familiarity followed by the thrill of hearing them extended and explored. The concert ended with the audience grabbing their coats and hats and strolling happily along the Sunny Side of the Street.
The slight imperfection? The show was far too short.
JC

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