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Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Today Wednesday January 29

Afternoon

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Blues/Soul/Funk etc.

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Lauren Kinsella Ensemble @ Black Swan Arts Centre, Newcastle – September 8

 Lauren Kinsella (voice); Tom Challenger (sax); Dan Nicholls (keyboards, electronics); Conor Chaplin (bass); Simon Roth (drums)
(Review/ Photos by Ken Drew).
A mid-week gig, part of Jazz North east’s ‘Women Make Music’ series.
Following a quiet intro from Challenger on piano, Kinsella begins to sing, reminding us instantly what we like about her voice and the instant stage presence she has. Then the full band join in to establish themselves, giving us time to contemplate just what is ahead.   A short piece, but welcome nonetheless.
Next a voice introduction (vocalese style) accompanied by Challenger’s sax – what a nice pairing that is, with a somewhat Nordic flavour to it with, dare I say it?, a hint of Bjork’s vocal tones, yet blissfully sublime. Then the full quartet join in with a gently lilting rhythm quietly supplied by Chaplin on bass together with Roth on drums, providing a simple yet lively rhythm giving way to a solo section from piano with the whole ensemble then completing the piece.  After just two pieces, we were all comfortable with the sound, and listening with relish for the next interpretation to unfold.

Then more vocalese - or rather scat singing interspersed with a sung rendition of what would otherwise be a spoken text. Kinsella noted that she had written the text for all these pieces, apart from the last in set 1 which were taken from David T(??) diaries.  Next up was a quick lyrical scat-plus-sung text with a rather bouncy rhythm. And to close, a piece with a quiet start building dynamically. A typical Kinsella composition and voicing / delivery with good contributions from the rest of the band.

The interval gave us time to reflect on Kinsella’s vocal ability. Purity, flexibility, accuracy and clarity. Plus pitch control - perfectly landing in the right place with a well-controlled glide-path.

Set 2 started with their take on Paul Motion’s Once Round the Park. Quite an extended piece nicely done in Kinsella’s style.
Then a vocal-plus-sax improv with scat, giving way to a sung text subtly accompanied by ‘noises off’ – Nicholls turning to his Laptop to provide a nicely subtle and gentle background ‘audio wash’ underneath the voice/sax pairing. The subject it seems was that of Kinsella at 8 years old !  The next piece started with another interesting rhythm, with a hint of a Tom Waites style (well, in my mind anyway !).  The sax was soft and lilting, reminiscent of Bobby Wellins’ sound in Tracey’s “Under Milk Wood”.  This then segued through a piano solo with nice use of the keyboard’s voicings, to another lilting vocal from Kinsella mixed with more vocalese/scat.

The final piece started with improv’d sax with piano together with gentle accompaniment from bass & drums, building more and more with stunning  vocals, then a fine sax solo followed by an equally superb piano solo.  An interesting piece with a good feel to it amounting to a 10 min encore of superb musical composition and ability.

And in conclusion - Kinsella noted that most of these pieces were a result of a commission by Marsden Jazz Festival. What a delight for us that it was re-staged for us in Newcastle.  Yet whilst the audience numbers were fewer than expected, the final comment from Lauren was reassuring, even uplifting ‘Newcastle listens to the music, giving a good vibe [to us] on the stage".

1 comment :

JC said...

What a sublime concert this was!
I had read very positive reviews of earlier gigs involving Lauren Kinsella (the emphasis is on the first syllable not the second) in Newcastle so I was keen to hear her and her band, and the fact she is from Dublin added extra interest. However I never expected the gig to be as good as it was.
The pure sound of Kinsella's voice and vocal embellishments, the quality of the band and the soundscapes that they created together were breathtaking.
She has worked in a number of duo formats so the ease with which she slipped into duets with particular instruments within an overall band piece was fascinating.
But it is the poetic quality of the lyrical improvisation that is most enthralling. Vocalising sounds and scatting demand considerable jazz singing abilities but to sing abstract poetic lines that 'fit' without sounding just random or meaningless is a special skill. Lauren Kinsella said a little about her composing inspirations during the gig mentioning the influence of David Henry Thoreau, Patti Smith and Simon Armitage and in other work she has also drawn from other poets like Ted Hughes and W.B. Yeats. However, it is something she said in an interview that is revealing of where her lyrical inspiration comes from: 'My Dad owns a bookshop (and) I worked in the second-hand department...you'd open a box of books and get to look at people's lives. I like improvising with poems because the nature of their structure lends itself to music. I look at some words or passages and it jumps back at me as sound'.
At times the overall effect of the words and music recalled the abstract and mysterious quality of Carla Bley's Escalator Over the Hill so I was intrigued that one piece was a Paul Motian tune that Kinsella had added lyrics to with the repeated incantation: 'Breathe like a tree. Sway sideways in motion'.
A special gig to remember.