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COVID-19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

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.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Ada Francis & the Italic Quartet @ North Terrace, Newcastle - Feb 3

Ada Francis (vocals); Jimmy Jefford (tenor saxophone); Ben Richardson (piano), Luke Gaul (bass) & Harry Still (drums)
(Review by Russell) 
North Terrace in Spital Tongues is within walking distance of Newcastle city centre and on the doorstep for hundreds of students. Recently reopened following a makeover the pub is once more keen to offer musicians a platform. Upon arrival, the upstairs room was already busy with animated, loud chatter filling the air. They – predominately students – were there to hear Ada Francis.

Ada Francis and the Italic Quartet is/are a Newcastle University-based student band featuring Ada Francis singing a wide-ranging selection of standards supported by the Italics. The Italics comprise Jimmy Jefford, tenor saxophone, Ben Richardson, keyboards, Luke Gaul, bass and drummer Harry Still. Several familiar faces on the stand (Jefford runs the Bold Big Band) this was a first opportunity to hear Francis. Fly Me to the Moon, This Masquerade, so, this was to be the fayre. Initially, volume levels didn’t help our vocalist – the instrumentalists a little too loud and/or Francis a little too low in the mix. However, drummer Harry Still switching to brushes on You’ve Changed heard Ms Francis to best effect. More, please!

Autumn in Paris, with Francis sitting out, afforded the band the luxury of stretching out with Jefford commanding on tenor as Still engaged in a round of fours, seated bassist Luke Gaul impressed on a Latin-infused It Don’t Mean a Thing and pianist Richardson did everything, and more, required of him.

Francis continued to impress, not least first singing the verse to Someone to Watch Over Me. This was good stuff although, students being students, the audience (by now it was standing room only) made it difficult to hear our vocalist – shush! Cry Me a River, Agua de Beber, a brisk Summertime with Jefford flying and again on Giant Steps, North Terrace was the place to be. Our oh-so-noisy bright young things fell silent as Francis, with impeccable accompaniment from bassist Gaul, sang My Funny Valentine. Spine-tingling, absolutely fabulous! Our bright young things applauded long and hard.


Nature Boy flew, Over the Rainbow sambaed and Chick Corea’s 500 Miles High, with Francis’ vocals, concluded an enjoyable evening of straight ahead jazz. Ada Francis and the Italic Quartet can be heard fortnightly Thursdays at Las Iguanas on Grey Street, Newcastle
Russell                        

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