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Sunday, April 09, 2017

Edis & Wilson @ Café Monk - April 7

Paul Edis (piano) & Graeme Wilson (tenor saxophone)
(Review by Russell).
One week on from this year’s Gateshead International Jazz Festival Newcastle’s Jazz Café struck gold with the return visit of Paul Edis and Graeme Wilson. A duo performance makes demands on the listener, and some don’t always listen. This evening’s performance of the lesser-spotted works of Thelonius Sphere Monk drew a large, attentive crowd. So crowded was the Jazz Café that some sat on the floor – disciples at the feet of the masters.

A charged atmosphere, a sense of anticipation at what was to come, lights down, a few bars in to a rare performance of Green Chimneys and it was lights out! Momentarily – a split second in reality – ‘Café Monk’ plunged into darkness. A power surge on Pink Lane, the energised duo of pianist Paul Edis and reeds master Graeme Wilson lit up the room on what was to become a memorable night. Scot Graeme Wilson addressed the audience without the need of a PA, his tenor projecting to the gallery. Placing Monk’s compositions in context – early to late career – Wilson speculated as to the meaning of some of the titles. Early period Monk – We See – featured brilliant solos from Edis and Wilson, and this was to be the pattern throughout the evening. First Edis then Wilson, another tune Wilson then Edis.

The quality of performance sustained at an exceptionally high level marks out this gig as one of the great performances of the year, come to that, any year. Detailing each and every solo is somewhat of a redundant exercise – take it as read that all solos, indeed every note, played were nothing less than superb. Four in One, Ugly Beauty (with unintentional accompanying espresso coffee machine coda!), Gallop’s Gallop, Café Monk’s patrons applauded long and loud. Epistrophy (later reprised as an encore), Bright Mississippi, the wonderfully titled Trinkle, Tinkle, a ballad (Monk’s Mood), the audience would have hung around ’til midnight. Edis and Wilson concluded their masterclass with a marvellous Jackie-ing and Hornin’ In.

A packed Jazz Café attracted the usual faces, a few new faces (they’ll be back!) and a posse from the BABMUS/Jambone/Early Birders’ collective. These young musicians know their stuff – it’s good to know they made the effort to check out Paul Edis and Graeme Wilson. A five star evening.

Russell.                 

2 comments :

Steve T said...

When the cats are at play, the mouse has to stay away, which I (being the mouse) totally understand, but had I known this was all about Monk(and I'll no doubt get into more bother with Lance for not knowing), I'd have spoilt his little game anyway.
I've confessed before to being a Monk philistine but haven't given up and I'm still fascinated by him.
I wonder how much this was inspired by the historic Monk/Trane collaborations considered so vital to the latters development.

Lance said...

You're not alone re Monk. It took me a long time to appreciate the creativity of the man - as a pianist (I once heard him referred to as the 'Les Dawson of jazz') However, what was immediately apparent to me was his merit as a composer. Monk is up there with Ellington (another sometimes quirky pianist), Mingus, Stan Tracey, Gil/Bill Evans, Tadd Dameron and a handful more.

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