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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chris Sharkey Trio @ The Jazz Café. February 22










Chris Sharkey (guitar), Andy Champion (double bass) & Joost Hendrickx (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Mike Tilley)
Shiver and trio VD – just two of guitarist Chris Sharkey’s twenty-first century pursuits. A Chris Sharkey Trio debut gig at Newcastle’s Jazz Café played classic jazz material with a focus upon cultural developments in late fifties New York. Miles to Monk, the GASbook and much improvisation, this was Sharkey the restless experimenter in alternative mode.   
Regular collaborators were on the gig with the Gateshead-born guitarist – fellow Geordie, bassist Andy Champion, and drummer Joost Hendrickx. All Blues, A Night in Tunisia – it later occurred to Sharkey that the Jazz Café audience would know the material. Yes, good jam session material (Jazz Café first and third Tuesdays in the month!) explored at length by a virtuosic trio. The visceral power of trio VD absent, this was Sharkey in ‘jazz guitar’ territory, although it was unmistakably Chris Sharkey. Stella By Starlight makes demands on the musician, as does Autumn Leaves – don’t mess too much with the tunes, departing from timeless melodies would be folly and this new project of Sharkey’s paid due respect to the composers featured during the evening.
The Jazz Café audience comprised a good number of younger listeners and the self-styled ‘power jazz commandos’, the Taupe boys, dropped by to check out Sharkey and co. From Joe Henderson we heard Isotope (Champion’s masterful arco bass feature), and The Inner Urge, a Latin feel on Night and Day and a heavily disguised, slowly unfolding My Funny Valentine. Sharkey broke a string, the first time since 2011, said the guitarist, re-stringing as Champion and Hendrickx hit a groove. A long second set (too long at 75 minutes?), an enjoyable evening drew to a close with Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.

The Chris Sharkey Trio will be at the Jazz Café again on 8th March – a second gig of five in a short residency running through to April – to play some more standards and, perhaps, some original material.      
Russell.

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