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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Andy Lawrenson Trio @ Prohibition Bar, Gateshead - July 28

Andy Lawrenson (violin, vocals); Simon O'Byrne (guitar, vocals); Paul Grainger (double bass)
(Review by Russell)
Prohibition Bar's lovingly crafted homage to an era of US bootleg liquor, European decadence and good times came into its own this evening with an appearance by the Andy Lawrenson Trio. A select audience listened intently as a swing dance couple - Anja and Alec - effortlessly evoked the period. 
Le Cafe Parisien is violinist Lawrenson's latest project encompassing the jazz of Reinhardt and Grappelli with Celtic and Romani influences alongside one of the great improvisers of this or any era...JS Bach. Minor Swing established the mood and Lawrenson's first vocal of the evening - It had to be You - suggested the trio's approach would be one of casual virtuosity.  
Guitarist Simon O'Byrne took his share of the vocal numbers - After You've Gone the first of them - and between them the fiddler and guitarist, positioned either side of double bass lynchpin Paul Grainger, created the illusion that we were in a cafe on the Left Bank of the Seine rather in a converted railway arch on the south bank of the Tyne.  

The classical pieces - Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca and Bach's Toccata and Fugue - sat comfortably alongside the early twentieth century jazz and popular song at the heart of the performance and, to make the evening, Anja and Alec, two familiar faces on the swing dance scene, gave a winning performance of their own. 

J'attendrai (voc. O'Byrne), Honeysuckle RoseLady be Good with its whistled coda and the trio's first public airing (a world premiere, said Lawrenson) of Bei Mir Bist du Schoen made for a balanced set enjoyed by Prohibition Bar's Saturday evening patrons. 



Elements of humour and pathos were central to the set, not least O'Byrne's tenor-to-baritone vocal take on a Russian song - Kasienka - sung in Polish and Lawrenson's delicate version of I Can't Give You Anything but Love. To conclude an enjoyable evening of entirely acoustic music the trio went out on Sweet Georgia Brown
Russell               

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