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Saturday, July 09, 2016

Emma Fisk & James Birkett @ The Jazz Café - July 8.

Emma Fisk (vln); James Birkett (gtr).
(Review by Lance).
A violin/guitar duo in The Caff on a Friday night had me wondering if they'd be able to compete with the Friday night ravers - a body not noted for taking vows of silence. However, this was a tribute to the timeless music of Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang who, I'm sure, had noisier audiences to deal with back in the days of prohibition in the speakeasies of Chicago and New York.
As it happened, until The Caff's bathtub gin kicked in, the audience were respectful and only made with the decibels when it mattered i.e. loud and prolonged applause at the end of each number.
Make no mistake, this was a gig that mattered. Truly outstanding performances by two top draw instrumentalists totally au fait with the music they were recreating. 
Emma Fisk swings like few violinists do whilst Jim Birkett (I can't get used to calling him James) can cover just about any style from Lang to Metheny via Django and Christian. Together, it was a musical marriage made in Pink Lane.
The repertoire was the familiar, the not so familiar and occasionally the unknown.
The opener, Pardon me Pretty Baby, set the benchmark which was pretty high and, as the evening progressed, just got higher and higher!
Cheese and Crackers; Summertime; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; I Found a New Baby; Hiawatha's Lullaby; Sunday; Dinah; Georgia on my Mind and Raggin' the Scale.
Halftime and France v Portugal will have to score ten goals each to match this!
My Honey's Lovin' Arms; I'm Confessin' Blue Bottom; Someone to Watch Over me; It Had to be You; Kickin' the Cat; It's Only a Paper Moon; Sunshine and Autumn Leaves brought my evening to a close - Metro beckoned. I say 'brought my evening to a close' but it didn't. The songs, the fiddling, the guitar chords were in my head and I was oblivious to the Friday night mayhem around me. I now know what it's like to live in a parallel universe!
Photos.
Lance.

1 comment :

Lance said...

After this inspiring session I dug out my old Venuti CDs (I've got a couple of 78s too but that would really have been gravedigging!) My thoughts; Firstly, Venuti and Lang were jazz innovators who gave identity to instruments that were still outside of the jazz parameters that history relegated them to and secondly, Fisk and Birkett have carried that flame into the present century without the help of bass sax and piano! I think my Venuti disc is probably deleted which suggests the time is ripe for a Fisk/Birkett Blue Two disc!

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