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Friday, December 01, 2017

Alter Ego @ The Globe - November 30

Keith Robinson (alto saxophone), Niall Armstrong (tenor saxophone & flute), Dave Hignett (trumpet & flugelhorn), Andy Hawking (piano), Paul Grainger (double bass) & David Francis (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Baby, it’s cold outside…I really can’t stay. It was cold outside, it was cold inside. As snowflakes fell the band must have wondered if anyone would turn up. A bottle of Black Sheep, a half glass, ‘hello’ to the few hardy souls (the band), quick, choose a seat. Newcastle’s Jazz Co-op on Railway Street was open for business.
Alter Ego got cracking with some familiar material. First, Blues Marx with Niall Armstrong loosening up on tenor, a brisk In Walked Bud, the band now nicely warmed up (musically speaking!), time for Keith Robinson to cut loose on Andy Hawking’s Scriabin Scraps. There’s something about the alto; cutting, calling, insistent. Ron McClure’s Sunburst turned up the thermostat (the heating was on), a flugelhorn feature for Dave Hignett bookended by flautist Armstrong on Sudden Samba, a typically good set from Alter Ego brought to a close with Kenny Garrett’s robust Computer G featuring Dave Hignett’s blues breaking flugel solo. Keith Robinson thanked the audience (there was an audience) for making the effort on a night such as this as the boys in the band headed to the bar.

Dexter Gordon’s Cheese Cake a tasty second set first bite with a ravenous Andy Hawking playing some great piano. The absent Tony Abell’s Llangranog Blues heard from Dave Hignett on trumpet – Dave, don’t blow the roof off, not tonight, it’s freezing! – and a solo feature for depping bass man, Mr Paul Grainger. Keith Robinson would later acknowledge PG’s sterling contribution in reading a snow flurry of dots on the night. Dog Leap Bounce (comp N. Armstrong) called for more alto from Robinson, and as the evening drew to a close with Bobby Watson’s cleverly constructed A Wheel within a Wheel featuring the swooping horns of Robinson, Armstrong and Hignett, the man at the back, drummer David Francis, job done, packed away his Art Blakey drum tutor for another day.        Russell

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