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In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

ACV @ The Black Swan, Newcastle - March 29

Ollie Dover (reeds); Chris Sharkey (guitar); Matthew Bourne (keyboards); Andy Champion (bass); Joost Hendrickx (drums).
(Review by Steve H/Photo courtesy of Ken Drew)
Tuesday night saw the relaunch of ACV. The only common factor in the new incarnation of the band was Mr AC himself.
At the start of the evening, Andy explained that the music is inspired by world-renowned land sculptor Richard Long. Both the first and second set consisted of a single continuous piece, each able to evoke the feeling of being witness to the construction of a grand organic sculpture. 
The first piece Here and Now and Then was evolved in several different nuanced forms - it ebbed and flowed as layer upon layer of complex soundscapes enticed the listener in. It took a while to really get into what was going on but at a certain ,there was a passage of just a single repetitive electronic note piercing the silence creating a hypnotic effect. Andy Champion then augmented this with some dramatic bowed double bass enhancing the atmosphere further. From here on in, it was all systems go as the band really picked up momentum and blasted their way to an invigorating swashbuckling finale leaving everyone at the interval slightly shell-shocked and awestruck.
The second set began where the first left off with the world premiere of Hours Miles. If anything, this piece was a little bit less fragmented then the previous number and the band really seemed to hit the groove from the start and just kept it going and going. It is perhaps unfair to single anybody out, such was the quality of the entire ensemble, but there was one particular saxophone solo from Ollie Dover which blew me away. To see and hear someone really go with such glorious abandon was both memorable and exciting.
This was certainly a magnificent start to the new ACV era. All members seemed be in such harmony with one another you would have thought the whole band had played together for years. On exiting the Black Swan I joined a couple of people who were discussing the gig; we unanimously agreed what a great night it was although hard to categorise. Independently two of us came up with a single word description which perfectly summed up the evening – Exhilarating!
Steve.

2 comments :

Paul Bream said...

Exhilarating is absolutely the right word, although I could add plenty of others, such as 'magnificent' and 'stunning'.
The first incarnation of ACV was a tremendous band playing some great tunes, but this gig with the new line-up marked a huge step forward, with the long-form pieces - composed and improvised sections sliding seamlessly into each other - demonstrating just how deeply Andy has thought about his music and how the structural skills in his writing have progressed. But he hasn't abandoned his past - the "invigorating swashbuckling finale" to the first set was in fact the theme from 'A Line Made By Walking', the opening track from the first ACV album, so there is real continuity in there as well.
Of course it's complex music (although handled with relaxed panache by the A-list team Andy has now assembled), and Steve is right in his review to say that it took a while for the audience to "get into" what was happening, but the best art doesn't throw up obvious signposts and never fully reveals itself at first acquaintance. So I really look forward to hearing this again . . . by which time I would expect it to be vaguely familiar yet gloriously fresh!

Richard Waddington said...

Great night, thoroughly enjoyed. Loved the first line-up too.

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