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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.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sue Ferris Quintet @ Gala theatre Durham - October 14

Sue Ferris (saxophones & flute); Graham Hardy (trumpet); Paul Edis (piano); Neil Harland (bass); Dave McKeague (drums)
(Review by Brian Ebbatson/photo courtesy of Jerry Edis)
It was good to welcome Sue Ferris back to the Gala Lunchtime Concert series. She featured in one of our first concerts – three years ago - in a trio she co-led with Roly Veitch on guitar, and then with her quartet in 2014. She is on her home turf here, and harked back to her days playing with Will Todd, almost twenty years ago, by featuring a piece Will had ‘gifted’ her then, and she has kept in her repertoire since.

The first two numbers set the mood for the concert – the swing of Ellington and (more emphatically) the hard bop of Horace Silver. The Quintet warmed up the audience with a lively version of Ellington’s Just Squeeze Me. Graham and Sue played in the theme on horns, exchanged choruses, and then set off to solo. Sue solo gave us the first taste of her mellow flowing tenor – more Hawk than Lester –, Graham followed, brought in Paul’s piano, and the ensemble bowed out with the Ellington theme.
The band followed with Silver’s Song For My Father. Neil’s bass set the rhythm, tone and hard bop feel of the piece, tenor and trumpet played through the theme, Sue soloed first, Graham cautiously explored the theme, before switching to classic hard-bop phrasing. Paul slowly explored the possibilities of the tune accompanied by Neil’s arco bass and sensitive percussion from Dave, then upped the tempo bringing the ensemble back to a funk groove to restate the theme before a slow fading end.
For Bill Evans’ Peri’s Scope Sue switched to baritone sax, where her sound is full, round and resonant and her story lines always fluent and inventive. After theme and horn solos, Paul – appropriately for a piece written for piano – set off on an upbeat solo of what must be a favourite tune. But the feel remained hard bop. Sue, Graham and Neil each took solos before returning to the gentle rhythm of the tune.
The next tune took us further back to the roots of bop, with Clifford Brown’s Sandu, a regular in Sue’s repertoire. All band members featured on solos, Sue remaining on baritone.
The mood changed with Will Todd’s ballad I Thought About Who? Sue now switched to flute and Graham to flugel. Both found new heights in their solos, Sue in particular soaring away on the flute. For me one of the highlights of the concert.
After the slow ballad the tempo was restored with Cy Coleman’s Witchcraft. Sue started quietly enough on the lowest register of the flute, then climbed through the octaves to develop the theme, before handing over to Graham, the band now swinging energetically behind his Clifford Brownish phrasing. Paul produced a(nother) carefully constructed solo, bass and drums adding emphasis at the right moments. Sue’s flute took flight again before bringing the band back to low slow ensemble finish.
Secret Love was delivered at a similar pace and hard bop mood. Bass and drums opened, piano joined in the groove, then the deep tone of the tenor and the high register of the flugelhorn. More excellent solos from Sue, Graham and Paul, with able support from Neil and Dave.
The time was now up, but there was no stopping the band who played two more numbers to make sure the audience got more than their money’s worth. The first, One Hand One Heart from Bernstein’s West Side Story, gave the musicians the opportunity to re-establish their gentler side, while with the finale, a (new?) composition from Paul, McCoin a Phrase, they got back into their swinging hard bop groove. After a 70 minute set the sell-out audience went home very satisfied.

Brian Ebbatson

1 comment :

JERRY said...

Agree with all that - an excellent gig. Special mention for the drummer - a last-minute dep. who settled in with a solo and some fours and was excellent on the samba-style Secret Love.

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