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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.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Courtney Pine: Black Notes from the Deep @ Sage Gateshead - September 21

Courtney Pine (tenor saxophone, bass flute & EWI), Robert Mitchell (piano & organ), Vidal Montgomery (double bass), Robert Fordjour (drums) & Omar (vocals)
(Review by Russell)
Courtney Pine made the journey north ahead of the release of his new album. Sage Gateshead’s jazz and soul fans turned out to hear what he and Omar have been getting up to in the studio.The former Jazz Warrior is currently playing tenor saxophone for the first time in ten years. Would this re-engage some of his long-time fans who were, perhaps, growing tired of his preoccupation with bass clarinet? A half hour delay to the advertised start time encouraged ticket holders to hang in the bar and have another one.
Sage Two’s stage stood ready and waiting; Steinway grand and Korg CX-3 organ to our left, drum kit to the right, centre stage the province of Courtney and Omar. Members of the band walked out onto the stage one at a time. First, pianist Robert Mitchell, acknowledging the applause, drummer Robert Fordjour followed, then bassist Vidal Montgomery. A short pause then Courtney makes his entrance to a hero’s welcome. The ‘on the money’ band hit a groove from the get go. Omar joined the party and, for the most part, remained on stage throughout. Courtney switched between tenor, bass flute and EWI. Omar’s 24-carat vocals confirmed the man as a star – ‘soul’, ‘neo-soul’, name the genre, Omar’s got it down, great voice, simple as. Darker than the Blues featured Omar and a bass flute-playing Courtney. De Ja Vu from Omar’s 2017 album Love in Beats found Courtney on EWI and your reviewer wanting to hear more of the soul voice. Jazz gig? Who cares? Omar’s big hit – There’s Nothing Like This – had the audience singing along. Great voice, a presence, what a treat to hear the man sing!   
Pine’s new album Black Notes from the Deep due to be released on October 27 addresses current issues. A Change is Gonna Come spoke volumes in the 1960s and continues to speak to us today. Pine knows it, so he played it. The rhythm section got the chance to play with all grabbing a solo at some point during the evening. The one set of seventy-five minutes came to an end all too soon. A now standing audience wanted more but they were gone. ’Til next time.                
Russell

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