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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.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Francis Tulip Quartet @ The Quakerhouse, Darlington - Jan 14

Francis Tulip (guitar), Joel Brown (keyboards), Michael Dunlop (bass) & Matthew MacKellar (drums) + Dan Garel (alto saxophone)
(Review by Russell).
Darlington Jazz Club’s first concert promotion of the year featured a young quartet playing a fourth and final date of a tour across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and here at the Quakerhouse pub in County Durham. The Francis Tulip Quartet was about to go into abeyance as the musicians set off on their travels once again to Birmingham, London, Boston, USA and downtown Whitley Bay.
The Quakerhouse was as full as it gets for this eagerly anticipated appearance by the new kids on the block and the audience wasn’t to be disappointed. Benny Golson’s Stablemates, guitarist Gilad Hekselman’s Purim, a familiar looking setlist, the quartet, with bassist Michael Dunlop travelling up from London to play the gig, was in the groove from the off. And as if it couldn’t get any better, Dan Garel would join the band to play a couple of numbers!
Alto saxophonist Dan, in his final year of study at Durham University, is a stand out musician on the local scene (Group Theory, Durham University Big Band, Empty Shop jam session organiser and a frequent participant at the Jazz Café’s jam session in Newcastle), and his presence made this an ‘I was there’ occasion. And they played two all-time great standards - Body and Soul and Stella by Starlight. If they’d packed up there and then it would have been worth making the trip.

Francis Tulip sustained remarkably mature guitar playing throughout the two sets and another term at Birmingham Conservatoire will, likely as not, produce further wonders. As bandleader, Tulip took responsibility for making the usual announcements, and the quartet closed the first set with all four musicians contributing blazing solos on Caravan segueing into 500 Miles High.

As the second set was about to start pianist Joel Brown and bassist Michael Dunlop were nowhere to be seen. Francis Tulip filled the void playing a few bars of All the Things You Are. Cue applause. As Brown and Dunlop returned to the stand Matt MacKellar counted in Yes or No. Wayne Shorter’s number has featured on all tour dates yielding brilliant individual and group musicianship and here at the Quakerhouse it wasn’t any different. Other bands with more miles on the clock would be only too proud to match this standard. More from New York guitar wiz Gilad Hekselman as Tulip and co played March of the Sad Ones. The lads would appear to like playing the number, and why not?

Black Narcissus produced sensitive playing all round, In Walked Bud took a funk turn with Michael Dunlop’s five-string bass playing confirming a real talent as drummer Matt MacKellar had some fun on an exchange of fours. On his recent flight home from Boston Matt whiled away time transcribing Christian McBride’s Interlude for the band. Time well spent! Some seriously good playing by all four. The Francis Tulip Quartet’s now familiar finale – John Coltrane’s Impressions – featured the return of Dan Garel on alto as Dunlop and Brown struck up a most musical bass and piano conversation before bandleader Tulip assumed command taking it out. The applause said it all.    
Russell.    

                         

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