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Bebop Spoken There

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Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. Tel: 0191 691 7090. 12 noon. Free.

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Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Lickety Split @ The Fox Inn, Hexham - June 18


(Review by Russell)

Bandleader Eddie Bellis (pictured left) remarked that it had been something like three years since the band's last gig at the Fox. In all likelihood the setlist wouldn't have changed too much in the intervening years and that's no bad thing. Lickety Split's West Coast modernist leanings lend themselves to reworkings and repeated listening.

Clifford Brown, Miles, Monk, Horace Silver, these the names Bellis turns to when putting together a set list. Blues Walk then Sandu for starters, measured ensemble playing, the solos largely succinct from various members of the band. Tenor man Paul Gowland, restored to the line-up, opened up with an expansive solo on One by One. The band's recent recruit, trumpeter Callum Mellis, showed just how well he's settled in with a fine solo contribution on I Remember Clifford. Teessider Jeremy McMurray knows his way around the keyboard and demonstrated the fact to an attentive audience with a brisk workout on Jim Martin's Curious George.

A purring Bradley Johnston adopted a Freddie Greene-like roll twixt frontline and rhythm section; volume levels set just so whether cruising or soloing, Monk's Straight No Chaser gifting our guitarist a swinging solo opportunity which he didn't waste - as if he would! On Green Dolphin Street took us up to the break. Time for another pint of Theakston's Lightfoot...

Second set, more of the same - good! A cookin' Del Sasser featured Mellis with the young trumpeter deservedly winning applause from the Hexham Jazz Club crowd. Intricate section work from brass 'n' reeds on Groovin' High demanded concentration across the line with Mellis' puffing-out of cheeks suggesting he/they had successfully negotiated the dots in front of them.  

Four was in the pad, no surprise there, Alan Marshall's alto solo and Johnston's contribution two of several high points on Miles' tune. Last orders weren't far away, just time for Sister Sadie and a well-deserved encore in the form of a West Coast anthem, Oliver Nelson's Stolen Moments.  
  
Russell 
Lickety Split: Eddie Bellis (trombone); Callum Mellis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Alan Marshall (alto sax); Paul Gowland (tenor sax, soprano sax); Bradley Johnston (guitar); Jeremy McMurray (piano); Alan Rudd (bass guitar); Paul Wight (drums). 

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