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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.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Alan Glen Trio @ The Fox Inn - September 5

Alan Glen (piano), John Pope (double bass) & Paul Wight (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Hexham Jazz Club at the Fox Inn. The kind of jazz gig that shouldn’t work but it does. A one room hostelry frequented by locals there to enjoy a quiet pint, a small (old school dimensions) television, sound muted, perched above the bar (Moldova v Wales), the food offer of the traditional variety…a packet of crisps or a bag of salted peanuts. A proper pub.

An easy going publican with a sympathetic ear for jazz, a determined hard core of jazz enthusiasts booking musicians on a monthly basis and that essential element, the belief that someone will turn up. Tonight’s bass player, Mr John Pope, almost didn’t. Turn up, that is. On social media JP posted a comment to the effect that he fancied going to a jam session in Newcastle. The jazz network let it be known that he had an engagement elsewhere…the Fox Inn, Hexham, 8:00pm. JP needs a diary secretary! Hang on a minute! Eight o’clock? Several phone calls later, eight o’clock was confirmed. Jazz gigs at the Fox always start at 9:00pm. The new time, news to some, almost caught out some including the bass player, John Pope. At about ten past eight, the evening’s star attraction, pianist Alan Glen, wondered out loud where JP could be. As if by magic, JP’s green mop top appeared as his bull fiddle led him through the front door. Master pianist Glen sat unperturbed enjoying a pint as drummer Paul Wight greeted JP offering to buy him a drink. JP: I’ll have a pint of beer. Oh, well.

Deuchar’s (the house beer), convivial company and, at twenty minutes past the hour, the Alan Glen Trio! Mr Glen doesn’t do announcements, Mr Glen plays piano. A pub quiz of sorts ensued: Guess the Tune! Glen’s modern jazz piano playing has held audiences rapt for many a year and his intros are forever foxing (ouch!) listeners. Love for Sale, Stella by Starlight, the blokes over at the bar (all blokes, it’s that kind of pub) were listening, heads nodding, as maestro Glen gave a masterclass.

Alan Glen observes the jazz piano trio format; verse, chorus upon chorus, bass solo, fours. Four as it happens led to a GAS book double delight…I Fall in Love Too Easily followed by Beautiful Love. A Deuchar’s refill as Woody ‘n’ You brought the first set to a close, interval chatter, the second set would be just as good.

The trio resumed with Solar. Glen’s improvisations never cease to amaze. Bass and drums – Pope and Wight – have been working long enough with the veteran modernist to know what he’s about. Pope’s solos frequently impressed, and Wight’s propulsive drumming spurred the trio onto greater heights. ‘Sid’ Wight’s brushwork on ‘S Wonderful perhaps makes the case for playing the majority of Glen’s set without sticks. Brushes work well in this format with sticks an option for the up tempo cookin’ numbers. Maestro Glen composes tunes and on this Hexham Jazz Club date chose to play Rolling Sid in memory of friend and band mate Ray Truscott, who, for many years, lived in this part of the world. Alan Glen’s next masterclass is scheduled for Sunday 15 October at the Jazz Co-op on Railway Street in Newcastle.                         

Russell

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