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Friday, June 07, 2019

Time & Place: Paul Edis Quartet, Jo Harrop, Vasilis Xenopoulos; Ed Cross String Quartet @ Sage Gateshead - June 6

(Review by Lance/Photos by Russell). 

Wallace and Gromit may have pulled in Sage One and, down the road, at the Stadium of Light, the Spice Girls attracted the hoi polloi but for the more discerning muso, Sage Two is the only game in town.

Time and Place, an intriguing concept conjured up by Paul Edis and executed by an A-list team that, in jazz terms, outstripped the competition from here to breakfast time.

The idea, semi-premiered at the 606 Club, involved Edis selecting a selection of songs both standard and self-penned that related to the theme so, what better way to start than with Time After Time. Jo Harrop, looking stunningly statuesque in a white creation that didn't come from Primark, took Sammy Cahn's lyrics and Jule Styne's tune and made it her own. The icing on the cake, a sensitive tenor solo by the Greek God of the tenor - Vasilis Xenopoulos.

The Ed Cross string Quartet augmented the ensemble for April in Paris with Edis taking a solo so logical it's nothing less than perfection. As he also did the arrangement (indeed all of them) the strings slotted in harmlessly bringing a Parisian feel to the tune.

The first of Paul's own compositions - a two-part piece entitled Breathing. Inspired by a TS Eliot poem, the first part a quirky instrumental waltz, the second a vocal by Jo.

Things became somewhat vague after this. Writing in the dark with a temperamental pen and no idea of 'time and place' on the page my notes became a jumbled lexicon.

Too Little Time, by Henry Mancini, I recall as a beautifully emotive song. Wise Words  and When I Was Young (both Edis with a vocal by the maestro on the latter.); A Foggy Day (complete with verse); 63 Years (an Edis composition celebrating a couple's 80th birthday after being together for the above number of years); Autumn in New York (great vocal terrific tenor).

Embrace the Silence, a tension building original, Michel Legrand's Once Upon a Summertime; Rome Wasn't Built in a Day and le pièce de résistance Some Other Time. Just voice and piano, this was surely the vocal performance of the year which is no reflection on Edis' own vocal that followed - Taking the View - but this was special.

The evening finished up with West Coast Blues and In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. A memorable evening with superb singing, some of the best tenor sax playing around, a top rhythm section and some effective string quartet writing by Edis and played faultlessly by the string quartet.

As for Paul Edis, is there no stopping him? Surely his talents will eventually take him beyond these shores. If they do we will be both gladdened and saddened.

For those who want more of Paul and Vasi, don't bother going to The Gala this lunchtime - it's sold out! However, along with Andy Champion and Russ Morgan, they perform a quartet gig at Ushaw College near Durham tonight at 7:30pm.
Lance

Time & Place: Paul Edis (MD, piano, vocal); Jo Harrop (vocals); Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor sax); Andy Champion (double bass); Russ Morgan (drums); Ed Cross String Quartet: Ed Cross (violin); Jo Montgomerie (violin); Chrissie Slater (viola); Ele Leckie (cello).

5 comments :

Patti said...

Well - words fail me - this was such a superlative gig, and Lance - you've summed it all up. It was wonderful - nothing less than that!

Chris Kilsby said...

Thanks Lance - a good summary of a great evening - what a showcase for the north east scene. For me, this eclipsed the recent (packed) Ronnie Scott's "All Stars" gig in every respect - vocals, originality, sax, piano, rhythm section, taste...

I was very keen to hear Paul's originals which have been played by Jambone. These didn't disappoint - especially my favourite, "Embrace the Silence", which never fails to send chills down the spine. NB though - the Jambone versions are different, but no less musical and accomplished!

Altogether, Paul and his superb crew did themselves (and Sage) proud - never mind talk of leaving these shores, how about investing in and building jazz here even more?!

Ian Paterson said...

I think it’s fair to say Chris that the Sage deserves little praise here....given that they are shutting down the jazz degree that Paul is head of and making him (and the rest of the department) redundant....it’s hard to see how that is investing in jazz....

Anonymous said...

In agreement with everything above, really quiet superb in every way. The only thing Paul Edis doesn't do is juggle and I wouldn't be surprised if he did that too.
Musicianship on this was top notch from everyone, simply fantastic playing and vocals. My wife who is not a jazz fan (but came for the wine) loved it too so it appealed to more than just the jazz crowd.

Russell said...

Paul does juggle...gigs, bandleader, tutoring, promoting, writing, arranging, festival organiser etc!

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