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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.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Bonga, Champion & Mwamba - Bridge Hotel, Newcastle - September 4

Ntshuks Bonga (alto & soprano sax); Andy Champion (bass); Corey Mwamba (vibes) 
(Review/photo courtesy of Ken Drew).
This was the long awaited ‘follow-up gig’ to the original performance by the trio who first appeared at Jazz North East’s January 2014 Fundraiser Event.  Hitting the ground running, the trio worked through an edgy feeling introduction with brief solos to establish themselves and to each stake their claim.  Then a brief introduction to a piece with a more in-your-face exploration of improvisation and the sonics which emerge from all available sources. Andy providing deep bass sounds with interjections/sonic outbursts from Ntshuks and Corey - the interplay was always evident. 
Some quiet and reflective sections, then further outbursts – Ntshuks exploding on sax, Corey on fire attacking the vibes with mallets, then fingers, then fists, then swiftly wafting the air above the vibes to excite the sound.  Andy also on fire as strings were manually plucked, then percussively hit with a mallet (from Corey’s kit?) giving way to a section of rhythmic drumming on the bass woodwork. All coherently executed by the trio to an enthralled audience in an atmosphere where you could hear a pin drop.
Set 2 was straight in with a frantically percussive start focussing on a Bass – Vibes interplay.  Then more exploration from Andy of the instrument’s bass sounds including an extended bowed section, with Corey running along the blocks of the vibes with fingers and mallets and fists. Ntshuks adding to the mix with his own percussive sounds from the sax. All in all a very contemplative section, slowly giving way to a rhythmic section long enough to establish a recognisable groove.
At the end of the second set the enthralled audience showed their appreciation, and the trio were urged to give an encore. A more concise but very dynamic piece still full of the exuberance and energy of the earlier pieces. Enthralling and exhilarating!!
This gig launched the trio’s debut CD ‘The Paperstone Suite’.  Or rather the cover of their CD since the physical CDs are promised to follow due to a last minute delay. This wasn’t seen as a  deterrent for those wanting to hear the music again at close quarters, particularly as pre-purchasers were also to receive a download of tonight’s gig as a bonus.
Ken.

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