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Monday, March 23, 2015

Tam de Villiers Quartet @ The Bridge Hotel. March 22

Tam de Villiers (guitar), David Prez (tenor saxophone), Frédéric Chiffoleau (double bass) & Karl Jannuska (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photo courtesy of Ken Drew).
Tam de Villiers has been touring his Whirlwind Recordings album Panacea. A string of European dates, including British dates the length and breadth of the country, concluded with a Splinter gig at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. Sunday night regulars turned out in a show of Anglo-French solidarity. de Villiers, British born, has lived in Paris since 2003. His French is, no doubt, better than your reviewer’s English (not difficult). Would he have command of the language of jazz?
Left-handed, cream-coloured Fender Strat. Pedals. All compositions, bar one, were those of De Villiers. Playing with a plectrum, and frequently without, the amiable guitarist had the fret board covered from the off. Powerful, shredded woodshed riffs, de Villiers had a well-developed creative partnership with tenor saxophonist David Prez. Unison lines had clearly been worked on during the tour and the Bridge audience heard them at their best.
The first set of five tunes was topped and tailed by As Above, So Below and a suite of two compositions – Toner Totem and Totem Toner. It wasn’t quite the finale to the first set. A local hero provided the closer. Mr G Sumner’s Walking on the Moon happens to be a tune de Villiers likes.
Down in the bar El Clasico was on the telly. Barca ahead. A few more in the Nou Camp (90,000, approximately 89,980 more than in the upstairs room at the Bridge Hotel). The second set went up a gear. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, Soup and Morse Code Fantasy gave bassist Frédéric Chiffoleau the opportunity to show off his great sound and technique. So too drummer Karl Jannuska – another technically accomplished performer. Album sales were brisk well before the end of the gig and the final number – Duplex – heard some of de Villiers best work of the night, thus ensuring a rousing reception and more CD sales!       
Russell.

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