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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Jo Harrop & Paul Edis @ The Jazz Café - July 27

Jo Harrop (vocals) & Paul Edis (piano)
(Review by Russell/Photo courtesy of Mike Tilley)
The second of four engagements in her native north east for London based Jo Harrop. Newcastle’s Jazz Café reunited vocalist Harrop with pianist Paul Edis for a duo performance of classic material ranging from Ellington to Gershwin, Legrand to Mancini. Four gigs in a whirlwind three days (two in Newcastle, one in Durham and a first appearance at Ushaw) working with some of the region’s top flight musicians enabled Ms Harrop to reunite with family and friends making for an extended social occasion.
This Thursday evening gig at the Jazz Café attracted a select audience. It is rare to hear a pin drop at a gig but this was the exception with an attentive audience hanging on every note. Ellington’s All Too Soon opened the programme signalling two sets of classic material. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Let’s Fall in Love, an infallible ear and enviable range confirm Harrop as being in the top echelon of jazz singers. The carefree, the melancholic – Let’s Get Lost, Don’t Be That Way – pitch-perfect Harrop was a joy to listen to. The other half of this Jazz Café equation, Dr Paul Edis, knows how to coax a tune from the Pink Lane upright. Edis provided immaculate accompaniment and, on several occasions, crafted magical solos peppered with impressive stride patterns.      

Harrop and Edis hail from County Durham yet it wasn’t until they studied in London that their paths first crossed. Black Coffee, smoky, late night stuff, an uplifting Time After Time with Edis unable to resist quoting from Singin’ in the Rain, this was a duo working hand-in-glove, masterful musicians in our midst.

Two or three in the Jazz Café hadn’t previously heard Jo Harrop sing. To coin a phrase, they were       ‘gob-smacked’. Here in the north east we’re lucky to have a clutch of fabulous singers, Jo Harrop is most definitely one of them, albeit domiciled in London. Tea for Two, sentimental maybe, but given a superb treatment courtesy of Harrop and Edis, Too Darn Hot, Michel Legrand’s You Must Believe in Spring, this an evening of intimate jazz performance. April in Paris, Fine and Mellow, never mind a second set, how about a third? So good was it that one didn’t want it to end. Mean to Me, But Not For Me (superb), I Ain’t Got Nothing But the Blues.
The following afternoon the action moved to Durham's Gala Theatre (tickets sold out weeks ago). In due course be sure to read Brain Ebbatson’s Gala review of the duo right here at Bebop Spoken Here.            
Russell.

1 comment :

Patti D (on F/b) said...

This was a top class gig - and for me, the first time hearing Jo - like others, I was GOBSMACKED! What a voice - such control, and perfect nuanced phrasing - wonderful!

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