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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, May 09, 2019

James Harrison & Paul Skerritt @ Jazz Cafe Mezzanine - May 8


James Harrison (piano); Paul Skerritt (vocals)

What to do on a wet Wednesday afternoon? Watch the telly? Go to the pub? How about an entertaining couple of hours listening to two of our finest entertainers? They play every kind of gig - jazz club (Huddersfield this evening), festival, function engagement, corporate booking - and the one constant is supreme professionalism, that's James Harrison and Paul Skerritt. 


Energy, enthusiasm, they can get you so far but, most of all, the key ingredient is talent and Messrs Harrison and Skerritt have got it in abundance. For all the fun and frivolity - the opening couple of numbers were about connecting with the Mezzanine audience - there is an underlying musiciality when the duo get get down to it, no more so than Skerritt's beautiful reading of Gregory Porter's Take Me to the Alley

L-O-V-E à la Nat Cole with the first verse sung in Italian, Pennies from Heaven, Meghan Trainor's All About that Bass, familiar material but none the worse for it. The duo called for requests - Dan B suggested It Had to be You, Skerritt liked the idea saying it was the song to his first dance at his wedding reception. The Gentleman is a Tramp (Skerritt decided the Lady deserved a break!) took us up to the interval.

Newcastle Arts Centre's recently opened Mezzanine floor appeared to be doing as much business on teas and coffees as alcohol beverages. Who wants to drink alcohol on a midweek afternoon? Don't answer that!

Strike Up the Band refocused the attention, My Funny Valentine presented Skerritt with more heavyweight material to work on but it wasn't long before the man himself called Sway. Our vocalist's partner in crime James Harrison is one impressive piano player. Stupendous playing, the left hand working overtime, tune after quote-laden tune, the Teessider is up there with the best of them. Earlier Skerritt sang about a Paper Moon and to close this wet Wednesday afternoon engagement the Harrison-Skerritt duo wanted to play among the stars, altogether now...Fly Me to the Moon        
Russell

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