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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Matthew's Farewell Jazz Party @ the Jazz Café (Upstairs & Downstairs) - July 13

(Further thoughts by Steve T)
The day began a little earlier for me, the ongoing search for an amp FDT is wholly happy with and arrangements for a first and last-minute run through for a band who've never played together. In fact, Michael and Joel have never played with each other at all and it continues to amaze me that Jazz musicians, even so young, can do this.
Ben Lawrence has been exploring the possibilities of the classic Fender Rhodes sound, which is exciting for a self-confessed piano trio philistine like me, reared on seventies Jazz-funk when it was so prevalent but, here restricted to the downstairs upright acoustic piano, he gave for me the best performance yet of this combo to watch, his original standing up with a classic and a current big-name American.
Early Birds are reliably great these days, Dr Phil, another keyboardist improving in leaps and bounds on his way to Leeds, the band retaining the Jazz-funk of Herbie Hancock, or is my mind playing tricks on me and it was actually Zawinul via Cannonball Mercy Mercy Mercy, another perennial. The uncertainty of memory!
I've only come across John Wilson once before, when FDT had a lesson about a year ago, and he proved an entirely different and original stylist, perhaps because his background isn't necessarily jazz, and I enjoyed it very much. I for one never doubted Matthew would know his way around a guitar.
The amp problem resolved by the kind offer of a loan from Early Bird guitarist Matthew Downey, it was only as we made our way upstairs I realised the anticipation of the first of three gigs in the North East this summer by Francis under his own name - (shameless plug). I always like to hear guitarists rock it up, one of many ongoing discussion (arguing) points, and tastefully giving a hint of Hendrix to standards is irresistible. A year in the smoke hasn't done Michael any harm either: far more intense and into it than I remember. As Simon Cowell (or some such twit, twet, twot, twut would say) it just got serious.
Who else could follow it but his lordship but by now the downstairs caff was heaving, bouncing, chocker, meaning only those in the posh seats could really get the whole thing, when it dawned on me it would all end in less than a couple of hours.
Mathew’s dad, who'd arranged a night we'll remember forever, thanked some of the major players behind Matthew’s meteoric, overnight rise to become the pre-eminent young Jazz drummer in the region, which as always actually took years of practice, dedication and hard work, but nobody, apart from Matthew himself, has done more to get him there than his dad George. As his voice faltered, he took us all with him.
I only caught a part of the Weisser set and it was welcome to see a stage full of musicians, and ladies for the first and only time, but good seats for the jam were at a premium.
The riddle was who would make up the house-band; the Pope never stays on the sidelines for long, Ben Lawrence resumed the piano stool for his third band of the evening. A shame brother Dan didn't get to play but when you're spread across Manchester, Penrith and Durham, it wasn't clear whether he’d make it at all. Anybody know a drummer?
Early Bird trooper James Metcalf did sterling work holding the melody until Weisser (pictured) arrived, Bird like, muted cornet already playing before slightly rusty FDT, with Downey holding down the guitar chair, gave a short, rare public (or private) burst on trumpet.
Next time somebody leaves for Berklee, let's make it a festival.
Steve T.

1 comment :

Russell said...

You're right Steve, MacKellar Senior did Matthew proud. A Berklee festival is a great idea. So, who else has got their sights set on Boston, USA?

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