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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Vasilis Xenopoulos & Paul Edis @ The Lit & Phil - October 20

Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor saxophone) & Paul Edis (piano)
(Review by Russell/photo courtesy of Jerry)
Vasilis Xenopoulos stepped off the train at Central Station and walked all of two minutes to the Lit and Phil. This was to be the first of two gigs in a day for London-based Xenopoulos. This reunion with friend pianist Paul Edis found the duo surrounded by audio-visual recording equipment. Their excellent 2016 album A Narrow Escape deserves to be heard by a wider audience and promoting the ‘product’ to interested parties won’t do any harm at all.
A first time visitor to the Lit and Phil (literally walking in off the street having noticed the billboard on the pavement advertising the gig) was assured that he would hear world-class jazz. Our visitor had a city centre meeting to attend but opted to take a chance on Xenopoulos and Edis. One hour later would he think it a worthwhile diversion?

In the best tradition of salon concerts Vasilis and Paul will be playing a selection from […] including – and so they did. Jimmy Van Heusen and Dexter Gordon for starters; It Could Happen to You and,  as Vasilis subsequently informed the attentive audience, Fried Bananas, a contrafact of the former. It had been almost exactly a year since Vasilis’ last visit to the region and on hearing the first notes of this lunchtime concert it confirmed the view that Vasi X, as he is known in some quarters, is one of the finest tenor players around. Dr Paul Edis, playing the Lit and Phil’s Kawai grand piano (a real treat) needed little in the way of introduction to the Newcastle audience.

Bobby Timmons’ Dat Dere demonstrated that Vasilis has it all covered – GAS book interpreter par excellence and swinging purveyor of bop – with Paul succeeding in generating the Art Blakey drive. Other selections included two original compositions from A Narrow Escape, Vasilis’ Piazza Navona and Paul’s composition, the album’s title track, A Narrow Escape. Cole Porter, Fats Waller (What is this Thing Called Love?, a magical Jitterbug Waltz) – who could ask for anything more?

Our first time visitor – earlier given an assurance he would hear world-class jazz – departed saying:  You weren’t lying.          
Russell.        

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