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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mark Toomey Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. May 17

Mark Toomey (alto saxophone), Jeremy McMurray (piano), Peter Ayton (bass & vocals) & Paul Smith (drums).
(Review by Russell)
Last heard leading the late-night jam session at last month’s Darlington Jazz Festival, alto saxophonist Mark Toomey made the journey up the A19 to play a gig at the Black Bull in Blaydon. Two sets featuring the music of Charlie Parker attracted the regulars to Blaydon Jazz Club’s monthly session. The region’s sax players were conspicuous by their absence - they missed a treat.
Parker disciple Mark Toomey likes nothing better than to play the music of the genius we know as ‘Yardbird’. Tunes, interspersed with a potted history of the ill-fated saxophonist, broadly in chronological order, made for an informative and entertaining presentation. An up tempo start with Cherokee almost went pear-shaped as Peter Ayton’s bass amp played up. As jacks and inputs were checked over, pianist Jeremy McMurray’s left hand worked overtime. Instrument and amp restored to rude health, Ayton delved way back to Parker’s days with Jay McShann singing Hootie Blues – great stuff!
Dizzy’s Groovin’ High, All the Things You Are…the realisation that every number was in the ‘classic’ category. Sit back and enjoy! Dial and Savoy sides (the often imperfect sides – lo-fi quality – somehow add to the legendary status accorded Parker) caught Toomey’s  ear, some transcribed by the Teesside-based altoist, such is the man’s devotion. A Night in Tunisia fizzed along (drummer Paul Smith’s rhythmic patterns spot-on) with the club’s former house pianist Jeremy McMurray laying down one of several fully-formed solos.
Now’s the Time (more from McMurray), Loverman as a samba (Smith again ‘on it’ and Ayton soloing effectively), the tunes flowed one after another. The test piece as Toomey rightly described it – Donna Lee – brought out the best in the quartet. Listening to Mark Toomey is a damn good approximation of Parker on record – ‘uncanny’ is the word. Out of Nowhere featured Smith’s first-rate brushes and an inventive McMurray solo complete with a stride pattern woven into the fabric of it. Parker’s Mood with its aching intro just about brought the evening to a close save for a brisk take on Love for Sale. A good night at Blaydon. Next month’s session (a Blaydon Festival special on Sunday, June 21) sees the return of the Sue Ferris Quintet. The diminutive Ferris is an accomplished musician (tenor and baritone saxes, flute), well respected on the local scene. Heard recently at the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival, Ferris was in stupendous form. If she breezes into the Black Bull firing on all cylinders it is sure to be a storming gig. Don’t miss it!                    
Russell.

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