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Monday, May 14, 2018

Deep Cabaret @ Jazz Café - May 11

Steve Lewis (guitar, voice); Matt Robinson (clarinets); Maja Bugge (cello); Paul Sherwood (hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes); Ben McCabe (percussion, vocals); Jayson Stilwell (overtone vocals)
(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew.)
So a band comprising of a bass clarinet, drums, hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, guitar, cello and assorted vocal techniques, playing a fusion of world, folk and jazz styles, in front of a sparse audience sounds like it could have been a recipe for disaster but as it turned out this musical kaleidoscope turned out to be a triumphant and highly enjoyable artistic extravaganza. Although the tunes are nearly all original the lyrics are taken from journals, poems, novels and quotes. Most of them, it has to be said, were of a fairly melancholy nature. 
Matchless recounts the drowning of 34 after a shipwreck off the coast of Morecambe Bay, whilst Saboo is about the slow death of a slave. Blue is based on a quote from the great painter Wasilly Kandinsky. Meanwhile, Bad Idea comes from a quote by Nick Cave from this film 2000 days on earth (‘to act on a bad idea is better than not to act at all’). Steve Lewis sings most of the song in cabaret-like style ably backed by drummer McCabe and, extremely interestingly, by Stilwell who, amongst various techniques, incorporates throat singing into his repertoire.
Lewis’ African style guitar riffs somehow blend superbly with the more classical approach from cellist Bugge, whilst Robinson excels on bass clarinet. However, a whole new dimension is added by Sherwood occasionally on bagpipes but more often on hurdy-gurdy. To those not there, this may seem to be one step too far but I can absolutely assure you that the atmospheric effect conjured up was quite mesmerising.
To conclude proceedings, the band threw in a GAS standard; a very unique version of Cole’s Porter’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin. A memorable finale to a very memorable evening – highly recommended.
Photos.
Steve H.

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