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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.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

JNE/Splinter @ The Bridge, Newcastle. - MoHaWi/Square One Quartet

MoHaWi
Graham Hardy (trumpet & flugelhorn); Mark Williams (guitar); Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review photos courtesy of Ken Drew)
This first outing for a new trio pulled together for Splinter by Graham Hardy.
First tune, settling quickly into a gentle rhythmic groove with subtle electronic treatments to Graham’s trumpet, reminiscent of Ingrid Jensen’s sound at her recent JNE gig.  A good workout for the trio to establish their space. A good number to open with – despite the slow fade and long pause (false ending) before launching back into the main theme at full pace. 
Watch Your Step then segued into Moonless Views - a dreamlike sequence, again with tinges of Ingrid Jensen’s trumpet playing of a few weeks ago. Very restful, segueing in to something more expressive and dynamic but flowing nicely, carrying the audience along. Then into a gentle guitar solo from Mark with subtle accompaniment from Russ on drums. A nice contrast to the opener.   
On to a blues-based tune with each chasing each other, sneaking around the basic theme.  Recurring theme, but quite quirky with a fervent rhythm and some deft and skittish percussion by Russ. The sudden end took me by surprise!
Cities in the Night - a depiction of ships moored outside the Tyne piers in the dead of night. A seascape!  Introduction by wind noises from Graham’s trumpet are looped for the duration providing a nicely subtle background to the piece.   Near the end, Graham switches to electric bass to develop the feel and intensity of the tune.  This was quite a substantial and dynamic piece – quiet trumpet to start, louder rock-like guitar to end fading back to the dreamy lapping of the waves.  Cue rapturous applause!!  
SQUARE ONE QUARTET
Joe Williamson (guitar); Peter Johnstone (keyboards); David Bowden (bass); Stephen Henderson (drums)
Straight in to a driving yet interesting rhythm led by a guitar solo from Joe for Quicksand  [SH]  Nice theme set up and passed around the band, ending rather suddenly - a nice opener to establish everyone.  Then a segue into a much slower paced tune with a drifting feel which turned out to be just a massive slowing of pace which presumably depicted the final stages of quicksand? This concluded with a brief piano solo with hints of Messiaen through some complex but ever-so-subtle chord changes.  Initially (but only briefly) the band had hints of a modern Scandinavian piano-bass-drum trio but the addition of guitar along with their self-penned tunes gives it a markedly different feel.
12  [SH]  comprised a simple theme, passed around the members of the quartet now sounding well established as they worked together very enthusiastically with an energetic drum solo  at the end. The third tune, In Motion, was commissioned recently by Glasgow Jazz Festival so this was only its second time out!   Very dynamic with complex rhythms yet leaving plenty space for solo players.  Then Ending Song [DB] – a much slower pace with a longer bass solo. A nicely lyrical piece too.
The last tune  was Square One   Again sounding well established moving ultimately towards a big energetic crescendo. Wow ! What a piece to close with - it blew everyone away.
Overall, a great night, worthy of the Splinter spirit where new bands or new band mixes come along with fresh self-penned material. Well worth it.  More please !
Ken D.

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