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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.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Andy Lawrenson Trio @ GCT Jazz Club - July 12.

Andy Lawrenson (violin/vocals); Simon O'Byrne (guitar/vocals); Paul Grainger (double bass).
(Review by Lance).
Sadly, the English World Cup dream was over and we didn't face a confrontation with France on Sunday which made the Andy Lawrenson Trio's presentation Le Café Parisien less controversial although, such was the strength of performance by the trio that I may have almost been persuaded to change allegiances - almost!
This was one of those mini gems that spring up on you unexpectedly. On the face of it, it looked likely to be yet another Hot Club outing - I think there are now more hot-clubbers around than there are traddies - and a large part of the ALT repertoire does stem from Django & Stephane. However, it doesn't end there, if anything it starts there before weaving its way around the arrondissements of Paris.
The most unusual aspect of this vignette was the complete lack of amplification - even the vocals were sung acoustically - yet it didn't detract, if anything, because of the intimate setting of Gosforth Civic Theatre (the musicians played at ground level enabling them to interact with the audience), it enhanced the music. A Maccaferri in full flight is a force to be reckoned with and O'Byrne is a commendable exponent of the genre. He also sings quite uniquely. I'm unsure as to whether its great drama or dark comedy but, whatever, he does it well.
By contrast, Lawrenson's voice is lighter, perhaps even romantic in the late 'twenties/early 'thirties style that heralded the arrival of the crooners.
His violin playing ticks all the Grappelli boxes just as O'Byrne's does the Reinhardt ones. But there's more to it than that. Celtic reels and jigs turn up in the most unexpected places - not least in the most swinging version of Paganini's Caprice XX1V since Benny Goodman's 1942 recording.
The classics were well and truly jazzed. Apart from Pag's Caprice, we had Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Mozart's Rondo Alla Turka once recorded by Red Ingle and his Natural 7 as Moe Zart's Turkey Trot! On top of that, we had a couple of Klezmer pieces, a few bars of Cream and a lot of repartee twixt Andy and Simon with the occasional intervention by the exquisitely coiffured Grainger who, as ever, was a tower of strength.
So, apart from Mozart and co, what else did we hear?
Minor Swing; It Had to be You, sung by Andy complete with verse; After You've Gone, vocal by Simon; Greensleeves; J'attendrai; Honeysuckle Rose; A fast waltz, Under Paris Skies; Lady be Good, crooned by Andy; Coquette; Kashtanka (or something similar) sung in Polish by Simon; Django's Tiger; I Can't Give You Anything But Love, sung by Andy; an incredible Sweet Georgia Brown that sounded as if it was intended for the Dublin Globetrotters and, finally, All of Me with a Segovia type intro by Simon and vocal by Andy.
Needless to say, all of the above numbers had swingy violin solos. Our fiddler added a mute on J'attendrai that gave the violin an almost viola-like sonority and, throughout he displayed an enviable technique.
O'Byrne too can get around the guitar. At times it sounded as though all three Hot Club guitarists were riffing away.
Paul Grainger, as elegant as any Frenchman proved he can handle music and rhythm from any continent or genre as well as soloing more melodically than most bassists.
Overall, it was a delightful evening of gypsy jazz and its spinoffs handled by three of the finest and all done in an entertaining manner,
They're at the Prohibition Bar on July 28 don't miss it.
Lance.

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