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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ben Richardson @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University - Feb 8

Ben Richardson (piano)
(Review by Russell). 
Newcastle University’s weekly music student performances feature classical, folk, rock and, from time to time, jazz. This late afternoon, hour-long gathering included pianist Ben Richardson and a first sighting of guitarist Tom Martin. It was Richardson who was up first to perform in front of his student peers and interested members of the public. As he took his seat at a Steinway grand our pianist was joined by fellow members of Ada Francis and the Italic Quartet and two other student musicians.

A few days earlier the Italics played a gig in town, and here they were, reuniting to support friend and pianist Richardson as he set about fulfilling this performance element of his degree course. A short set of about ten to fifteen minutes featured two vocalists. The first, Megan Savage, sang out loud in King’s Hall on Jamie Cullum’s You and Me Are Gone (Cullum would wish his co-writers to be credited – Geoff Gascoyne and Sebastiaan de Krom). Richardson, in his final year, performed confidently with assured support from the Italics; Jimmy Jefford, tenor, Luke Gaul, bass and Harry Still, drums, plus Simon Hirst, trombone. To conclude his set Richardson invited the Italics’ singer Ada Francis to join him on Chick Corea’s 500 Miles High. Here in the magnificent surroundings of King’s Hall Francis confirmed ‘first impressions’ on hearing her at that pub gig in town – Francis is a fine singer. And Richardson can play, no doubt about it, stretching out in style.

The afternoon’s performances concluded with a solo set of two numbers by guitarist Tom Martin. Taking a back seat, literally, Martin sat with a Telecaster to play Li’l Darlin followed by Moon River. Martin is one to hear again, the Jazz Café’s jam session would be as good a place as any.   Russell                       

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