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Bebop Spoken There

Marc Myers: " If the original group with Baker was Dover sole, the group with Brookmeyer was beef stew." - (JazzWax, December 7, 2019).

Archive

Today Monday December 9

Afternoon

Jazz

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

St Cuth’s Big Band - St Cuthbert’s Society, 12 South Bailey, Durham DH1 3EE. 8:00pm. Free (donations). St Cuth’s Big Band ‘Christmas Concert’. Concert in dining hall, licensed bar

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Folk-Jazz Interweaving: Elina Duni / Trio FCT @ The Black Swan – May 23


Elina Duni  (voice/acoustic guitar/keyboard).
(Review by Melanie Grundy/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew)

This night of jazz-folk interweaving began with a solo set from acclaimed Albanian-Swiss singer Elina Duni. Accompanying herself on guitar, she opened with Meu Amor, a song made famous by Queen of Fado, Amalia Rodriguez. Despite the Portuguese lyrics, the heartbreak and longing conveyed by her intonation held the audience rapt from the first syllable. Moving seamlessly into a more upbeat Albanian folk-song, which contrary to its feel, expressed the longing of the migrant for home. Elina then paused to explain the motivation for her solo project Partir - the fact that we are all bound to depart, becoming potential exiles or immigrants in one way or another, separated from home, family, love and even ourselves, longing to find our way back.

This theme continued with the Italian song Amara Terra Mia (My bitter land), then moving from guitar to keyboard, Elina paired a bittersweet traditional Albanian song of marriage, which she described as “another kind of exile” with Bareshë, (The Shepherdess). Her use of scat in both reflecting the characteristic ornamental turns used in Balkan folk-singing. Pre-gig, Elina explained the Rhodes accompaniment was not one she would normally use, preferring the simpler tones of an acoustic piano, however, its’ timbre made an unexpectedly appropriate partner to the traditional lyrics. Moving to a completely different tone of longing, Elina returned to her guitar for Willow Weep for Me, a blues chosen for its female authorship. This segued into the Hungarian Vaj si Kenka (You don’t need to) blending percussive guitar and scatted vocal passages with that distinctly eastern feel. The set ended with the mournful Swiss folk-song Schönster Abestärn (My beautiful Evening Star).

Elina presented songs that are both culturally specific and universal in the common experience they document. The intimacy and vulnerability of her solo performance was cathartic, leaving the listener with a sense of being cleansed emotionally. The Jazz Café audience was left longing for more, as Elina made her own swift departure to catch a train.

Trio FCT (Faye MacCalman (reeds/voice); Tobias Illingworth (keyboard/voice); Callum Younger (snare/cymbal/bodhran).

Anything Faye MacCalman touches is stamped with outstanding creative and technical ability and this ensemble is no different. Trio FCT originally formed in September 2015, when Younger began his Master’s research into the use of the bodhran in an improvised setting. Tonight saw the group’s first performance together in 2 years since Younger relocated to Glasgow. However, the obvious rapport between the players was clear from the get-go, in the looks, gestures and spoken signals indicating changes of tempo or movement between structure and improvisation.

The trio’s opener Every Soldier Comes Back With a Bruise perfectly balances repetitive, Scottish folk-influenced patterns with freer structured sections. Peanut Butter opened with a thoughtful, almost oriental keyboard line, soft, breathy tenor and light bodhran and cymbal touches; the reflective melody gathering momentum, as MacCalman switched to clarinet, with a repeated phrase moving up and down in thirds. At a spoken signal, the tempo picked up, the hypnotic patterns then dissolving into a spacious melody. 

Discus Hibiscus saw MacCalman and Illingworth vocalizing over a repetitive rhythmic keyboard pattern, before MacCalman took up the tenor for a mesmerizing passage of long soft tones alternating with superbly controlled harmonics; the piece moved back into the sung melody, which faded into a concluding dialogue between keys and bodhran. Rhodes Decision gave us a bubbling keyboard line, weaving in and out of textural tenor, gradually building pace and dynamic, until it tumbled over the waterfall into a gloriously free pool of keyboard flurries, tenor squeaks, and cymbal scrapes. MacCalman then switched to clarinet and drew us into a new melodic line inspired by the longing of a Scottish lament, with a more traditional bodhran pulse and rhythmic piano, slowly loosening into something altogether more spacious, light and airy.

This is thoughtful, considered music, full of colour and texture, creating a soundscape open to the listener’s interpretation; there are references to Scottish folk-music, but these are never overstated. There are plans to record an EP in the near future, and for more live performances, which will be highly anticipated and are thoroughly recommended.  
Melanie Grundy
More photos by Ken Drew.

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