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Bebop Spoken There

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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.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Adrian Cox: Profoundly Blue @ The Watchtower Gallery, Berwick - January 18

Adrian Cox (clarinet); Joe Webb (piano); Simon Read (double bass); Gethin Jones (drums) 
(Review by Russell)

A first visit to Berwick's Watchtower Gallery, the purpose, to hear Adrian Cox perform his Profoundly Blue concert. A capacity audience repeatedly thundered its applause during a thrilling, high octane gig that comes along once in a (profoundly) blue moon. 

The Watchtower Gallery, built in 1848 to house a Presbyterian church, stands on West End on the north bank of the Tweed and, for a number of years, has functioned as an art gallery, principally to exhibit the work of the late Ian Stephenson. Large abstract canvases formed a backdrop to clarinetist Cox, fellow Kansas Smitty's member, pianist Joe Webb, bassist Simon Read and drummer Gethin Jones. 
Dardanella, the first of twelve tracks on Cox's Profoundly Blue album, opened this evening's concert with the bandleader effortlessly projecting to the far reaches of the gallery accompanied by an ace rhythm section. A 1941 studio date produced clarinetist Edmond Hall's Profoundly Blue, the now historic recording that gave Cox's project its name, and here in Berwick, the excitement levels, already at fever pitch, threatened to go off the scale with pianist Webb, himself a dazzling performer, shouting encouragement as Cox wailed, and wailed again. 

Hall, the subject of Cox's research, made his way from Louisiana to the bright lights of NYC, along the way working with many of the jazz greats. Cox presented his scholarly efforts in an informative, entertaining manner and we were left in no doubt that Profoundly Blue is a labour of love. 

A super-charged High Society elicited whoops of delight as the quartet upped the ante; this was brilliant stuff, surely the standard couldn't be maintained? Maintained? Make that 'surpassed' as Rodgers and Hart's Where or When ensured the blistering pace blistered some more. Brilliant, quite brilliant. Cox peppered his commentary with the big names Hall knew, worked with or simply revered - Emmett Berry, Charlie Christian, Baby Dodds, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Art Tatum...

On a previous visit to Berwick Cox offered a free CD to anyone who could come up with all six titles in an Ellington medley. No such offer this evening as Bebop Spoken Here ticked-off the Duke's masterworks. Cox's quartet worked late into the night playing Hall's riotous Rumpus on Rampart St.Neighbors (a rare slackening of the pace) and the ballad Rose in Her Window

Adrian Cox's Profoundly Blue tour dates continue into the spring. For those in BSH's northeast of England catchment area put this date in the diary - Saturday 2nd March (12:30pm) at Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club (St Augustine's Parish Centre). You won't believe how good it'll be. If you need convincing further, consider this - in July Adrian Cox is taking his show to Dizzy's Club Coca Cola at Lincoln Center, NYC. Yes, it's that good!

Russell               

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