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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Jam session @ Empty Shop, Durham. Nov 13

Matt Jacobs (keyboards & melodica), Duncan Walker (tenor), Matt McKernan (tenor & soprano), Tristan Bacon (drums) + keyboards, bass & drums
(Review by Russell)
A Sunday evening on Framwellgate Bridge, the door to 35c firmly closed. Buzz for jam session read the handwritten note pinned to the door. Speakeasy-like, the Empty Shop’s main man Carlo (pictured) opened the door with no little suspicion. Upon recognising the jazz fans standing on the doorstep, the main man granted admittance to Durham’s best kept secret.
Trane could be heard on the ascent to the first-floor venue, floorboards creaking in semi-darkness…your everyday welcoming jazz joint. Durham’s recently established jazz jam session is the place to hear what’s going down. 

Members of the award-winning Durham University Big Band form the core of the session with all-comers welcomed to sit in. On this Sunday evening, Duncan Walker (an occasional face at the jam session up the road at the Jazz Café in Newcastle) and Matt McKernan were trading tenors on a heavy Coltrane vibe supported by an on-the-money trio, a McCoy Tyner thing going on. Students dotted around the room were into it, the contents of numerous (empty) cider bottles in them. At a paint-splattered table (this is student land!) a studious type sat engrossed over a laptop, a future Nobel Prize winner in one of those awfully difficult sciences, no doubt.

Inspiration struck: DUBB’s piano player Matt Jacobs leapt up from a bottled beer-strewn table, grabbed his melodica and joined the jam. A lung-busting solo, the tenors stilled, an inspiring moment. No PA at this too-cool session, Tristan Bacon assumed the drum chair, the vibe continued. Two minutes from North Road bus station, seven or eight minutes up to the railway station, this is a session worth catching. It’s an irregular, term-time Sunday jam session. Musician or listener, you will be most welcome. Check Bebop Spoken Here for details of the next one.   
Russell.          

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