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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Matt Anderson & Aubin Vanns @ The Jazz Café – Dec 18

Matt Anderson (tenor saxophone) & Aubin Vanns (guitar)
(Review by Russell)
It was Black-Eye Friday, apparently. At the Jazz Café it was Fantastic Friday! Heading home for Christmas, albeit by a circuitous gigging route, tenor man Matt Anderson and guitarist Aubin Vanns called into the Jazz Café to play a Friday night duo gig. Outside, those looking to present a seasonal shiner went their merry way; those looking to avoid any such prospect, kept their head down, their metaphorical guard up, on the ‘office do’  merry meander.
Everything I Love opened the Anderson-Vanns’ set. Expansive, authoritative tenor from Anderson reaffirmed the view that the Royal Academy postgrad is a major voice on the national scene. Breathy Getzian tenor with a modernist edge dovetailed seamlessly with Vanns’ rich chordal vocabulary. Anderson’s Burning Man – usually heard in the set list of the Wildflower Sextet – and Vanns’ I Have Something to Say, But I’m Not Saying It held the attention of a select audience. An Apple Mac set-up (delays, loops etc) gave an altogether different take on Hoagy’s Skylark. Now listen here: one shouldn’t mess with a classic tune…Wonderful music, faint as a will o’ the wisp. Yet…somehow this treatment worked! The next time the duo visit Newcastle Skylark must be on the set list.
Kenny Wheeler’s Everybody’s Song But My Own has become something of a favourite of many musicians. It’s a marvellous melody and no doubt the Canadian brass master would be tickled pink to know how much others thought of his music. Anderson and Vanns paid due respect to the tune. The Jazz Café had a laid back feel to it; an oasis of calm amidst a night of bedlam out on the street. The adjoining Black Swan absorbed every jazz gig-goer for miles around as the hugely popular Strictly Smokin’ Big Band played the first of two nights to a full house. The Caff duo resumed their set with George Shearing’s Conception and followed with another Anderson original; Ralph’s Cross refers to a Yorkshire Moors’ waymarker – musicians seek and find inspiration in myriad ways! Thelonious Monk has become something of a spiritual guardian on Pink Lane. A staple of jam sessions and the subject of the ongoing Graeme Wilson-Paul Edis duo project heard only last week at No 25 Pink Lane, Anderson and Vanns’ played a samba-inflected Ask Me Now. As it is the season to be jolly/blotto (delete as appropriate) the evening’s entertainment ended with In the Bleak Midwinter. No one – bah humbugging types included – objected. May you find much jazz on your merry meanderings.
Russell.               

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