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Today Saturday January 18

Afternoon

Jazz

Early Bird Band - Lit & Phil, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SE. Tel: 0191 232 0192. 11:00am.

Evening

Adrian Cox Quartet - Watchtower Gallery, West End, Berwick TD15 2HE. 8:00pm. £10.00. Cox touring new CD ‘Now is Spring’.

Blues/Funk/Soul

Ray Stubbs R & B All-Stars - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Saturday, December 24, 2016

CD Review: Vasilis Xenopoulos & Paul Edis – A Narrow Escape

Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor saxophone), Paul Edis (piano)
(Review by Russell)
A Narrow Escape is a duo recording by friends Vasilis Xenopoulos and Paul Edis. Their musical association of many years continues to evolve and this new CD, recorded in one day in August 2015, is a fine example of jazz as a conversation, of communication born of mutual respect and countless gigs together.
Tenor saxophonist Xenopoulos has established a reputation as a leading interpreter of the Great American Songbook, pianist Edis similarly embraces the tradition. Both musicians write and arrange material for their own ensembles and others. A Narrow Escape should, perhaps, be seen as a snapshot in time, skills honed and harnessed to produce a CD flowing with ideas. Nine tracks, of which two are original compositions, follow a standard format; one of the duo stating the theme, the other developing a solo. The head-solo-head format is a tried and tested formula and Xenopoulos and Edis clearly take the view that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

It Could Happen to You/Fried Bananas introduces the duo. The juxtaposition of a Jimmy Van Heusen standard and a Dexter Gordon bop chart indicates the thought process; good tunes, regardless of origin, made the cut. Fats Waller’s Jitterbug Waltz stakes a claim, as does Bobby Timmons’ Dat Dere. Two tunes polls apart, to some ears. To the duo of Edis and Xenopoulos such rigid categorisation matters not. The title track – A Narrow Escape – is a Paul Edis composition. It stands comparison with the many familiar numbers on the recording, as does Xenopoulos’ Piazza Navona. Gershwin’s Someone to Watch over Me is given a most sensitive reading and the closing track, Cole Porter’s What is This Thing Called Love? exemplifies the subtle sense of swing which is present throughout the forty-seven minutes of the recording. This end-of-year new release makes A Narrow Escape a late contender for album of the year.                         
A Narrow Escape was recorded at Red Gables Studio, Greenford, Middlesex, 5 August 2015. Mixed and mastered by Adam Sinclair, produced by Adam Sinclair, Paul Edis and Vasilis Xenopoulos. Album artwork by Kassandra Charalampi.
For further details and to purchase a copy of A Narrow Escape visit: www.vasilisx.com or www.pauledis.co.uk.    

Russell.

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