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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Joe Morris Quartet @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle - Dec. 6

Joe Morris (gtr); Mat Maneri (viola); Chris Lightcap (bs); Gerald Cleaver (dms).
(Review/photo by Ken Drew).
Making a single day stopover visit to Newcastle for their one and only appearance in the UK during their current European tour, the Joe Morris Quartet were on the button with two sets of free improvisation. Despite travel delays and a demanding tour schedule, they performed as fresh and as keenly as ever.  
The audience at The Bridge (circa 40) came from far and wide (including Wakefield) and listened intently to the two sets. This was improv performed by well-established exponents of their trade.  The music flowed effortlessly, or so it seemed between solos, duos and quartet.  It is, of course, far more complex in its structure and creative inventiveness, than its natural flows would initially suggest.   Their concentration was sometimes hidden through their flawless playing and seamless movement between pieces, each nicely linked by the full force of the quartet, giving way to solo-space where solos were allowed to fully develop.
It’s worth searching out their last CD “Balance” (2014) if only to sample a few tracks.  If you were at this concert then it’s a good reminder of the music and the rather unique occasion we all enjoyed, and if you weren’t there then it’s the next best thing, although lacking the live visuals of concentration and interplay between these masterful players.
What a superb gig – a real coup for Jazz North East, and a memorable gig for those who helped pack the upstairs room at the Bridge. A final word from Joe himself, was to thank the audience not so much for coming along, but for their dedicated concentration which for the band adds to the enjoyment and value of performing this music. Much appreciated, all-round !
Ken Drew

1 comment :

Paul Bream said...

Ken's review of this is spot on . . . the gig was a masterclass by four of the finest and most empathetic improvisers you could find anywhere . . . the spontaneous interaction between them was surely telepathic. But don't just take my word for how good this gig was . . . this is what Joe Morris himself has subsequently emailed: "Wonderful space and audience". And it gets better, because the whole thing was recorded by Jazz North East's in-house engineer Charlie McGovern, and Joe goes on to say: "I'll be writing to Charlie to get the recording. We think it might be the next JM4tet CD, that's how good we felt about the gig".
I don't know of too many live recordings that have emerged from the Bridge Hotel, but when there's a prospect of something from a group of this international brilliance, well, that's next year's Xmas presents all take care of!

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