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Monday, May 20, 2019

Sue Ferris Quintet @ Blaydon Jazz Club - May 19

Sue Ferris (tenor sax, flute); Graham Hardy (trumpet, flugelhorn); Paul Edis (piano); Andy Champion (double bass); Rob Walker (drums) 

(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Jerry)

The Sue Ferris Quintet plays too few gigs so this Blaydon Jazz Club date was an opportunity to catch up with the fine County Durham based saxophonist. The quintet comprised longstanding collaborators with one enforced change. Frontline partner Graham Hardy made it to the Black Bull, as did pianist Paul Edis and drummer Rob Walker with the one absentee, bassist Neil Harland, somewhere south of the Watford Gap. Ferris gave Andy Champion a call, he was available and, following an afternoon engagement on Newcastle's Quayside, arrived in good time for the seven-thirty start.
Ellington's Just Squeeze Me reminded the Black Bull's audience just how good Ferris is. Terrific, bold, full-toned tenor playing, the band leader set the standard and her bandmates rose to the challenge with top solos all round. The Double Up put Graham Hardy under scrutiny and the Northern Monkey came up trumps, our man knows his Lee Morgan.

A brace of Horace Silver upped the ante - The Natives Are Restless Tonight (Hardy's killer trumpet) and Song for My Father (Edis' astounding piano playing with fleet-as-you-like quotes from Milestones and Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise) - and My Romance maintained the highest of standards with Ferris' fine flute playing accompanied by Walker's delicate brushwork. Paul Edis' homage to McCoy Tyner closed a marvellous first set. 

The Deuchar's IPA was in paticularly tip-top condition demanding it be sampled again...and again! The raffle came and went...

Bill Evans opened the second set - not in person, of course, although, close your eyes and Paul Edis could make you think the late American superstar had returned to Planet Jazz, choosing to drop in at GASbook Central (aka Blaydon Jazz Club). 

It seems everyone is dedicating a tune to Roy Hargrove and Ferris chose to play Soppin' the Biscuit. Excellent, with more great piano courtesy of Dr Edis. Graham Hardy likes West Side Story and Ferris was more than happy to play the trumpeter's arrangement of One Hand, One Heart from Bernstein's masterwork (Hardy, flugelhorn). 

Blaydon Jazz Club's new, early start time of seven thirty ensured Ferris and co finished up for the evening not long after ten o'clock. The quintet went out on a funky Black Coffee. The next time you see a Sue Ferris gig listed make the effort to get along, the quintet is well worth catching. The next Blaydon Jazz Club concert is on Sunday 16 June (7:30). Members of the Francis Tulip Quartet will be flying in from all parts. These guys can play - big time! Don't miss them!   
Russell

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