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Bebop Spoken There

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11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

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SEPTEMBER

IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON

THURSDAY 24

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

FRIDAY 25

SouLutions Sistas - Hoochie Coochie, Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. 8:30pm (7:00pm doors). £10.00. SOLD OUT!

SATURDAY 26

Boys of Brass - Tyne Bank Brewery, Walker Road, Newcastle NE6 2AB. Tel: 0191 265 2828. 7:00pm. £10.00. + £1.37 bf for table for two. Other packages available. See www.tynebankbrewery.co.uk.

SUNDAY 27

Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. Tel: 0191 691 7090. Free.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

CD Review: Jimmy O'Connell Sixtet – Arrhythmia

Jimmy O'Connell – trombone; Andrew Gould - alto and soprano sax; Tim Basom – guitar; Tuomo Uusitalo – piano; Peter Slavov – bass; Jimmy MacBride (drums).
(Review by Hugh)
Jimmy O'Connell moved to New York City from his native Detroit in 2009.  Since that time he has become firmly established as an in-demand trombonist on the scene, sharing the stage with the likes of Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Paquito D'Rivera and Randy Brecker.  O'Connell has assembled the “Sixtet” from among those who have made a big impact on him, both as a musician and a person.
Arrhythmia, O’Connell’s debut recording, brings together the many influences experienced during his sojourn in NYC.  The opening track, O'Connell's take on trombonist JJ Johnson's Lament, contains lyrical solos from each of the musicians, gently supported by their colleagues.  This approach is maintained throughout the album, O'Connell allowing sufficient space for each constituent musician to solo, but in the context of the musical development of each track.  

Although a studio recording, it has a distinct “live” feel - as I listened, I heard imaginary audience applause after each solo. 
Gray Matter, the first of O'Connell's own compositions, commences with a bass ostinato, setting a framework for each of the soloists to improvise over.  Cedar Walton's Bolivia follows on, maintaining the pace set by the two previous tracks.
The title track, Arrythmia (apparently so named after O'Connell's lifelong heart condition), starts with a bass solo from Peter Slavov, the other instruments joining in sequentially – the bass line forming the “heartbeat” of the piece.  Arrhythmia is slightly less frenetic than the preceding tracks and a bit more laid back.  The class musicianship of this sextet, particularly evident here, is present throughout the album.  This is the longest track coming in at just over nine and one half minutes.
In the Wee Small Hours (David Mann) is the only other “standard” on the album, all the other items being original O'Connell compositions.  This ballad gives musicians and listener a well-earned rest before the pace hots up again with the playfully swinging Millie (named after O'Connell's dog). 
Crayons (the only writing implement available to O'Connell when he finally had the tune he wanted!) follows next. 
Solidarity was originally composed as a closer for the live set, a groove over which O'Connell would speak to the audience, but he liked playing it so much he stuck it at the end of the album too - no talking on this one – but my review copy gave up half way through this track and all I heard was a set of clicks from then on... (a quick clean sorted that).

When presented with CDs to review by BSH, I find they generally fall into one of three categories:  thoroughly enjoy on first listening; unsure on first listening, but the music grows on you, not over-impressed on first or subsequent listening – Arrythmia resoundingly falls in to the first of these categories.  This album is a cracking debut and a pleasure to listen too.  All the members of the sextet achieve a beautiful tone on their individual instruments (yes even the drums – drum solos are muted, but exquisite!).

Arrythmia is out now, released by Outside in Music as a digital download or limited edition (300) CD. 
http://outsideinmusic.bandcamp.com/album/arrhythmia

Hugh.

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