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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, March 22, 2019

Andy Lawrenson Trio @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - March 21

Andy Lawrenson (violin, vocals); Simon O'Byrne (guitar, vocals); Paul Grainger (double bass)
(Review by Russell) 

Andy Lawrenson described those taking their seats in Prohibition Bar as being part of a 'select' audience. On such occasions there seems to be a closer bond between musician and audience - the musician is there to play and the audience, such as it was, was there to listen.

The Andy Lawrenson Trio knows Prohibition Bar well having performed there last year although there was one major difference - Mitch Mitchell's gaff has since packed up lock, stock and barrel and crossed the Tyne from Brandling Street, Gateshead to Pink Lane, Newcastle. Otherwise, the place is much the same and, what's more, the late Keith Crombie would surely have approved of the changes made to what was once his gaff - that's the old Jazz Café - minus the clutter!  


Violinist Andy Lawrenson cuts a disarming, sober figure. Sharing the stand with him were Darlington's Simon O'Byrne playing guitar and singing one or two numbers and local lad, bassist Paul Grainger. Django and Stéphane featured, bien sur, cue Minor Swing. A good start here on Pink Lane as the soberly disarming Lawrenson swiftly moved on suggesting to his bandmates: Straight in. O'Byrne interjected, enquiring: What is it? Ah! said Lawrenson, It Had to be You

O'Byrne is a man with an interesting vocal style...imagine an east European baritone-to-bass larynx lubricated by liberal quantities of the local hooch brewed on the Russian Steppes, this is O'Byrne, one suspects not taking himself entirely seriously. The man's take on After You've Gone bristled with a playful vengeance as he enunciated the lyric. 

Mozart, yep, it was that kind of gig, to J'attendrai (O'Byrne's vocals) to Coquette, the AL3 certainly entertained the select few during a first set of fifty minutes. During the interval, your correspondent's attention was drawn to a discreetly hidden frieze depicting a series of saucy drawings/etchings/paintings. Your correspondent was shocked, yes, shocked...that he hadn't previously known about these masterworks!

Lawrenson teased us with a slow, convoluted intro to...ah! Honeysuckle Rose which then took off at a lick. A Celtic jig - Monaghan Jig - continued the eclectic nature of the evening before segueing into more familar Hot Club territory on Sweet Georgia Brown. Fado, of sorts, found O'Byrne indulging in a fun melodramatic interlude singing All of Me ahead of two attractive arrangements - Nuages and Django's Tiger - the latter featuring a fine solo from the man occupying the middle of Prohibition Bar's bijou stage, bassist Paul Grainger. 

Mozart first set, Bach second set (Tocata and Fugue in D minor) to an encore then a second encore, both featuring O'Byrne's vocals - I'll See You in My Dreams and a darkest of dark vodka-soaked Dark Eyes - rounded off a Hot Club and beyond evening's entertainment.       

Russell.

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