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Friday, January 18, 2019

Mark Williams & Joel Byrne-McCullough @ The Globe - January 17

Mark Williams (guitar); Joel Byrne-McCullough (guitar) 
(Review by Russell) 

Friends from their days in Northern Ireland, students together in Newcastle, upon graduation Mark stayed on, Joel made for Manchester. Years later Joel returned to Tyneside and the two guitarists picked up where they left off.

Mark Williams and Joel Byrne-McCullough play jazz guitar and here at the Jazz Co-op's Railway Street HQ the duo entertained a wonderfully attentive audience playing a selection of GASbook to contemporary classics. 

There Will Never be Another YouWindowsAutumn in New YorkLittle Green Men from the pens of Harren Warren, Chick Corea, Vernon Duke and Peter Bernstein, the latter by way of contrafact, the New Yorker's tribute to Grant Green. Williams and Byrne-McCullough sat side by side, bottles of Hobgoblin at their feet, no need for music stands or iPads, they knew the material inside out. First one then the other stated the theme, their light-of-touch improvisations guided by their partner's assured bass string playing. Wes Montgomery's West Coast Blues closed a fine first set. 
 

Fittingly, Wes Montgomery's Four on Six opened the second set, offering a kind of symmetry to the evening. Williams' fingerstyle intro (plectrum placed on thigh) to Darn That Dream maintained the standard, the kind of playing that, if you closed your eyes, you could be in, say, the Village Vanguard, NYC rather than the Globe, NE4. Girl TalkAll the Things You Are, more from Chick Corea with the guitarists' test piece Spain (full marks awarded!) to I'll Be Seeing You. Mark and Joel played their duo gig without ego, there was mutual respect, that's for sure. The Globe's audience wanted another one...a blues suggested Joel. A third set wouldn't have gone amiss.    
Russell.

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