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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Marie Curie Fundraiser - A Concert For Margaret Barnes @ the Lit & Phil, Newcastle - July 20

(Review by Lance/photos courtesy of Pam Young)

A lot of familiar faces turned up at the Lit & Phil for JNE's Marie Curie Fundraiser in memory of Margaret Barnes. A wonderful person whose devotion to jazz made her known and loved by many whether local musician or international name. To steal a hackneyed and yet very apt saying - to know her was to love her and so it was that this Saturday afternoon concert (there's an evening one to follow) came about.

Debra Milne (voice); Steve Glendinning (guitar).
The opening slot on these occasions is never an easy one but Debra and Steve dug in playing six original compositions all with words by Debra and music by Steve, Alan Glen or Bradley Johnston of whom more later.
My personal favourite was a clever tune called Too Busy For Thinking. A tongue-twisting lyric sung over a complex angular voice/guitar line that seemed like a recipe for disaster but, I guess it's been well rehearsed as no safety net was needed
Paul Edis (piano/vocal); Graham Hardy (trumpet).
A rolling left hand from Edis and some down home muted trumpet on a number, Brotherhood of Man, that turned out to be from an Oscar Peterson/Clark Terry album. Bearing in mind that Oscar and Clark had bass and drums to assist, Paul and Graham did fine. Start Over, an Edis original had a nice lilt to it whereas Ellington's Black and Tan Fantasy once more had Hardy taking the plunger. Edis must have transplanted a couple of extra fingers to play those big fat juicy chords.

I Could Have Danced All Night featured Edis the singer whilst Hardy exited stage left before returning for Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? A boppy number that I recognised but couldn't name brought us to a surprise finale La Vie en Rose inspired, not by Edith Piaf but by Louis Armstrong!

Hand to Mouth: Lindsay Hannon (vocals); Bradley Johnston (guitar).
Exquisite singing, tasteful guitar playing. Just as Joe Pass and Ella hit it off musically, so do these two. Indeed much of their material is based on material featured by Joe and Ella.

The Very Thought of You; All Too Soon; Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues; Tea For Two. I Love Being Here With You and Someone to Watch Over Me. This last tune, complete with verse, rounded off the set. Nobody reads a verse better than Lindsay nor accompanies it more sympathetically than Brad. Particularly impressive was the rendering of the verse to Tea For Two that they also, somehow managed to slot into the ending. If only more singers would sing the verse - that's what it's there for!

Thomas Dixon Band: Thomas Dixon (alto sax); Ben Lawrence (piano); Michael Mather (drums); Inês Gonçalves (keys).
One thing about this afternoon's concert was that it offered variety ranging from early Ellington to more contemporary sounds of which this band was a good example. There were moments of excitement - all four are excellent musicians - although, as a unit, I think it's still a work in progress - watch this space.

So, all in all, a fitting tribute to Margaret with more reports on the evening concert to follow as and when.

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