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Bebop Spoken There

Kenny Davern: "Now I like traditional jazz, but I don't like Dixieland per se, and the reason is that there's not enough ensemble playing or interplay." - (Melody Maker September 22, 1979)

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11,807 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1047 of them this year alone and, so far, 74 this month (Sept. 28).

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IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON.

OCTOBER

THURSDAY 1

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

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Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00 -10:00pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish. CANCELLED! Back on October 8

Smoove & Turrell (Unplugged) - Hoochie Coochie, Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. 7:00pm (6:00pm doors). £25.00. Limited capacity, book at www.hoochiecoochie.co.uk.

FRIDAY 2

Smoove & Turrell (Unplugged) - Hoochie Coochie, Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. 7:00pm (6:00pm doors). £25.00. Limited capacity, book at www.hoochiecoochie.co.uk. SOLD OUT!

Lee Bates - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity. A Blind Pig Blues Club event.

SATURDAY 3

Emma Wilson Blues Band - The Globe, Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7DN. 8:00pm. Limited capacity, in the first instance register for the live stream (£5.45.) at: www.jazzcoop.

SUNDAY 4

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

Gerry Richardson Quintet - The Globe, Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7DN. 8:00pm. Limited capacity, in the first instance register for the live stream (£5.45.) at: www.jazzcoop. The band’s 25th anniversary celebrations!

Friday, June 07, 2019

Vasilis Xenopoulos & Paul Edis @ The Gala Theatre, Durham - June 7

Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor sax); Paul Edis (piano)

As usual the Gala Theatre's monthly lunchtime jazz concert was an advance sellout and, as usual, a printed programme indicated the day's set list. On this occasion, the proposed selection of numbers - standards and originals - was largely abandoned by the duo of Vasilis Xenopoulos and Paul Edis. Friends since their days working together in London, they decided to play a whole bunch of other tunes. 

As the concert was about to begin a member of the audience mentioned that she hadn't heard today's saxophonist adding that she was a big fan of Snake Davis. Your correspondent suggested she was in for a treat. Lerner and Loewe's On the Street Where We Live opened the programme - Snake Davis this wasn't! From this point, 'Vasi' (it saves typing out Vasilis Xenopoulos) chose to make the announcements and proceeded to turn It Ain't Necessarily So inside out. Superb, masterful tenor playing.

A brace of Rodgers and Hammerstein - the first, It Might as Well be Spring (it won the composers an Academy Award for Best Original Song, State Fair, 1945) with its worked-out coda entrancing the full house, followed by My Favorite Things. Vasi alluded to Coltrane's famous take on the popular song, however, here in Durham we got Vasi in full flow, GASbook style. Magical!

Pianist Edis, fresh from a triumphant gig at Sage Gateshead the previous evening (as was Vasi), dovetailed seamlessly with his pal from London. Sans rhythm section Edis' left hand worked overtime and his solo flights were as dazzling and inventive as always. Vasi is as fond as any horn player of inserting fleeting quotes into his solos, although compared to Alan Barnes he rationed them to two or three during the one-hour performance rather than two or three every two or three bars! 

Vasi observed that guitarist Nigel Price considers a gig incomplete without a blues. Quite right, sir! Cue Bluesology which turned out to be another killer number as our tenor man took it apart and, considerately, put it together again. Two o'clock, time to go, no way...encore! JS Bach-like counterpoint (they're clever lads Vasi and Paul) set up Autumn Leaves. World class jazz here in Durham and, what's more, Messrs Xenopoulos and Edis will be doing it all again - with a markedly different set list, it should be said - this evening at Ushaw College (7:30) in the company of fellow A-listers Andy Champion, bass, and drummer Russ Morgan. World class? You bet!        

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