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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.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

ELT + Fairhall & Ward @ The Bridge Hotel September 9

ELT: Ingebjørg Loe Bjørnstad (vocals); Tom Challenger (saxophones); Kit Downes (harmonium/cello).
Fairhall & Ward: Tom Ward (reeds); Adam Fairhall (keyboards).
(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew) 
On entering the upstairs room at The Bridge on Sunday I was somewhat discombobulated as the performance space had been turned through 90 degrees so that the musicians were set up in front of the bay window(I shouldn’t have been that surprised, the last time Downes and Challenger played here they turned things through 180 degrees with the audience facing the back of the room). To wet the appetite even further on the makeshift stage was a whole cornucopia of fascinating looking keyboards.

Fairhall and Ward kicked off the first half of the evening. The opening number saw Fairhall play on the Dulictone a piano style instrument of about 100 years with a fascinating sound. This, coupled with Ward on alto, got us off to a flying start. The keyboards kept on changing; an Azerbaijani accordion, an Indian harmonium and a toy piano were all incorporated by Fairhall into the duo's set and, not to be outdone, he was accompanied by Ward on sax, flute, bass clarinet (quite beautifully) and, finally, on Tambien - an African pipe. A fascinating and stimulating performance enjoyed by all of the not unsubstantial audience.  

The second half of the evening saw the familiar pairing of Tom Challenger and Kit Downes joined by Norwegian vocalist Ingebjørg Loe Bjørnstad. Now Bjørnstad isn’t your average jazz singer and has a unique sound using all kinds of vocal techniques which are literally breathtaking. Even when singing lyrics in her own Norwegian dialect things are made more interesting by her removing vowels from the words (I know this not because I have a vast knowledge of Norwegian dialects but the singer ever so kindly took the trouble of explaining this before the first number). So screams, deep breaths and lyrics full of consonants were improvised perfectly with the sax harmonium/cello combinations to produce fascinating and invigorating sounds. I am sure the skeptics amongst you will probably think this is all nonsense but having actually experienced it live I can assure you (and I am confident that everyone else there on the night would agree) that this was as marvellous and uplifting a performance as anyone could hope for.

So, a great evening at The Bridge my only gripe being that I would have liked to have heard so much more from both bands. Hopefully, the opportunity to do so will come our way sooner rather than later.
Steve H

1 comment :

Ann Alex said...

Ann said, 'Lance, how about that. Summertime sung without the vowels!

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