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11,644 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 779 of them this year alone and, so far, 43 this month (July 11).

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.

Friday, June 24, 2016

James Birkett & Bradley Johnston @ The Lit & Phil. June 24 James Birkett (guitar) & Bradley Johnston (guitar)

(Review by Russell).
A large turn out at the Lit & Phil today, extra seating required, and little wonder, given that not one, but two, of the finest jazz guitarists around were there to entertain another attentive audience in the ongoing lunchtime concert series. A master and pupil working duo – James Birkett and Bradley Johnston – presented a potted history of jazz guitar.
The one-hour programme flew by. We got the blues, skated through the park, meditated, waltzed up to a castle, met Alfie and went to Spain. The programme was familiar, yet it mattered not a jot. Some in the audience were new to the Lit and Phil and new to James and Bradley’s superb interpretations of classic material and the presentation of some of their own compositions. Birkett’s Blues for BJ and John Lewis’ most elegant Skating in Central Park delighted the audience and on Eddie Lang’s Stringin’ the Blues Dr. Birkett suggested we imagine Johnston as Joe Venuti…from one virtuoso to another! A tune by Antonio Carlos Jobim is always welcome and Meditation was the tune on this occasion.

Bireli Lagrene set the place alight. Well, not Lagrene the arsonist, more his composition and our dynamic duo’s take on it. The junior man of the partnership – BJ – tore it up and went one-nil up. Birkett wheeled out Sonny Rollins, not in person, more in spirit. Double helpings too – first Doxy, then Oleo. Birkett hit the back of the net. 1-1. Django is all but compulsory, it should be the law. The law-abiding duo played Django’s Castle.

An immaculate reading of the Bacharach and David masterpiece Alfie was accompanied by the beautifully timed banging and clanging of scaffolders at work. The Lit and Phil is in need of restoration, the work must go on. Anyway, what’s all this jazz about? Into the last five minutes, 1-1 between JB and BJ. Spain would decide matters. Not the EU state, Chick Corea’s Spain. A party piece if ever there was one, extra time, then penalties, the final score was an honourable score draw. Brilliant guitar playing, two nice guys, a full house. Vote JAZZ!

July’s date features Paul Edis playing a solo piano concert. It’s on the last Friday in July, 29th, starting at one o’clock. Recommended. 
Russell.                      

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