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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Francis Tulip Band @ Ushaw Jazz Festival 2017 - August 26

Francis Tulip (guitar), Will Markham (piano), Tommy Fuller (bass) & Kai Charaeunsy (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photo courtesy of Brian Ebbatson)
Francis Tulip returned to the region bringing with him three of his fellow Birmingham Conservatoire undergraduate music degree students to play a one hour set on day two at this year’s Ushaw Jazz Festival. Guitarist Tulip first turned heads as a member of the Early Birds based at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle, sitting-in at jam sessions, and subsequently working with the likes of Alan Barnes on jazz club dates – all this before commencing his studies in England’s second city!
The quartet arrived at Ushaw some twenty-four hours ahead of a Saturday afternoon slot between two accomplished duos – Emma Fisk and James Birkett and Graeme Wilson and Paul Edis – and took every opportunity to rehearse, playing for the love of it. Gig-goers across the north east were well aware of Tulip’s abilities, but what of his band mates? Coltrane and Shorter featured in the set alongside Sammy Fain, Johnny Green and Kenny Wheeler. During rehearsals the four were tightly grouped together, come performance time they were, perhaps reluctantly, a little more spread out. Ushaw’s Exhibition Hall is a large space for a quartet to occupy and connect with an audience. The Birmingham four – Tulip, Will Markham, piano, Tommy Fuller, bass, and drummer Kai Charaeunsy – focused on the job at hand, Tulip making the announcements, the quartet playing the tunes with élan. Take the Coltrane introduced pianist Will Markham and Tommy Fuller, singing the melody as he laid down a fleet solo on his Fender Jazz Bass. Joe Henderson’s Recorda Me provided further evidence that these guys could play. A ballad – Coltrane’s Central Park West – heard drummer Kai Charaeunsy’s sensitive brush work pointing up fine solos from Tulip and Markham.

Out of Nowhere, Shorter’s Beauty and the Beast with Tulip’s pedal effects, Corea’s 500 Miles High with solos from the impressive Markham, likewise Tulip, this Ushaw Jazz Festival appearance from the Francis Tulip Band did what it threatened to do in almost stealing the show.
Russell.

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