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Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mercy! Mercy! Mercy! @ Newcastle Arts Centre March 12

Martin Kershaw (alt); Colin Steele (tpt); Steve Hamilton (pno); Brian Shiels (bs); Alyn Cosker (dms).
(Review by Lance/Photo courtesy of Ken Drew).
A cracker of a gig by five of Scotland's finest paying tribute to one of jazz's great bands - The Cannonball Adderley Quintet. It's been a good few days for alto sax players - Mark Toomey's recreation of Bird With Strings down in Saltburn and this appreciation of the late Cannonball. I never heard the alto player live although I did see his brother Nat (played here by Colin Steele - who previously had played Chet Baker at Live Theatre some years back) at the Corner House in the 1980s. 
This was a fairly faithful re-creation opening with the Theme from Fiddler on the Roof with its suggestion of an Irish reel and closing with the piece the band are named after, Joe Zawinal's Mercy! Mercy! Mercy!
In between, the goodly sized crowd heard classics from the Adderley repertoire such  as One For Daddy-o; Big P (Percy Heath); Falling Feathers - one of 'Q''s early compositions which brought out the lyricism in Steve Hamilton and Jive Samba.
Time to stop and recharge and to catch up with those folk who form the nucleus of the north-east jazz population many of whom contribute to these pages.
The second set moved up a gear as second sets usually do. The Way You Look Tonight had blistering alto and the first major explosion from Cosker, Paul Chamber's Ease It featured Shiels alongside a muted solo from Steele which may well have been his best of the night.
Shiels conjures up expressions of absolute concentration as he plays. Eyes closed, brow furrowed, is he thinking of the next set of chord changes or is he wondering if he's turned the gas off.
Steele is the archetypal trumpet player when it comes to body language! Knees bent, horn tilted towards the ceiling, the floor, wherever, shoulders back - Hollywood directors, next time you're casting a jazz trumpet player, look no further.
Kershaw gave us a sumptuous What's New? the band took Duke Pearson's Jeannine at Tempo de Lick before closing with MMM Steele on plunger and Cosker on Adrenaline. 
Lance.

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