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COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Jeremy McMurray-Mark Toomey Quintet @ Blaydon Jazz Club. September 19

Jeremy McMurray (piano), Mark Toomey (alto saxophone), Paul Donnelly (guitar), Peter Ayton (bass) & Paul Smith (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Roly Veitch)
Jeremy McMurray and Mark Toomey made a return visit to the Black Bull with former Djangology guitarist Paul Donnelly a welcome addition to the line-up. The Teessiders are seasoned performers - one of bassist Peter ‘Tubby’ Ayton’s claims to fame is a gig with Spike Milligan and Paul Smith (drums) boasts a you-name-them-I’ve-played-with-them  CV - and this Blaydon Jazz Club date was all about Bird.  

All about Bird? Well, Mark Toomey plays authoritative Charlie Parker-inspired alto, and there is no getting away from it…thankfully. A man of few on-stage words, Toomey took turns with pianist McMurray to announce the tunes. Kicking off with Au Privave, they hit the ground running, taking off into Birdland, a round of solos introducing the band to the select Blaydon audience. A broader offering unfolded with Latin-infused selections and a standard or two. Lover Man up-tempo, There Will Never Be Another You (Toomey unable to resist a Bah bah you/ewe quote), and the altoist firing on What’s New?

Guest Paul Donnelly upped the ante leading off on Four Brothers. A Djangologist turned bebopper, the harmonic language fully assimilated, this was great guitar playing. To close the first set Toomey dipped into his soul jazz bag, pulling out Work Song. Paul Donnelly shone once again, Wes Montgomery would have been impressed!

An out of town party arrived, baulked at the extortionate door charge, retiring garrulously to the adjoining bar to continue their conversation. Jazz fans? Not really, ‘out on the hoy’ is the expression. Toomey began the second set with Ornithology prompting the note: He knows his way around the alto! Similarly, Donnelly found his way around the fret board with consummate ease on Joy Spring and again on A Day in the Life/Black Orpheus. The man at the keys, Mr Jeremy McMurray, is familiar with the 88s and a sense of enjoyment is evident in his playing. On this Blaydon date he peppered solos with fleeting quotes. No time to stop and think: That was… just go with the flow. If one tune is heard at the Black Bull more than any other it could well be Stella by Starlight. The McMurray-Toomey set list just happened to include the tune and met with audience approval. One of the all time great numbers. The quintet closed the evening on Wee. Mark Toomey’s gigs on Tyneside are few and far between. Next time, get along to hear some first rate alto playing.

Next month sees the return of Vasilis Xenopoulos. The London-based Greek saxophonist is one of his generation’s finest exponents of swinging, mainstream tenor saxophone. His friendship with pianist Paul Edis brings Vasi ‘up north’ on an annual basis. Last year they played a memorable gig at the Black Bull. The place was understandably packed out. There is every prospect of October’s visit (Sunday 23) resulting in another full house at Blaydon Jazz Club. Xenopoulos and Edis will once again be working with Andy Champion (bass) and drummer Russ Morgan. Four top class musicians, this promises to be one of the gigs of the year. The first set starts at 8:00pm. Admission a mere £7.00., pay at the door. You haven’t been to a jazz gig in years but you regularly read this blog? Right, here’s the plan …switch off the television (and PC), all roads lead to Blaydon. No excuses!

Russell.          

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