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11,772 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 912 of them this year alone and, so far, 49 this month (August 13).

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August

Saturday 15: Anth Purdy - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Purdy’s solo ‘Swing Jazz Guitar’ show. Limited capacity.

Thursday 20: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St. Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, 27 Sunniside Rd., Gateshead NE16 5NA. 8:30pm. Free.

Friday 21: Lindsay Hannon - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Francis Tulip Quartet @ The Fox, Hexham - August 13


Francis Tulip (guitar); Ben Lawrence (piano); Michael Dunlop (bass guitar); Matt MacKellar (drums)
(Review by Russell)

The train pulled into Hexham. What's this? The Platform Bar was open for business! Three years and more in the planning, ten days ago Matfen Brewery's micro pub opened its doors for the first time. Several Tyne Valley commuters had called in for a swift half, the temptation to join them was there but the Fox on West End Terrace beckoned. 

Trains, planes and automobiles, they arrived from all four quarters - Birmingham, Durham, London (UK), Boston (Massachusetts, USA) - to meet up with family and friends and play a few gigs (and jam sessions) together. Two days on from a Jazz Co-op date the Francis Tulip Quartet stopped off at Hexham Jazz Club to play a final gig on the band's 2019 'summer vacation' tour.


Hexham Jazz Club's August session featured a return visit by the popular Francis Tulip Quartet. Last time the place was busy, this time the place was busy. The set list mirrored that at the Globe (Jazz Co-op HQ); Kenny Dorham, Mulgrew Miller, John Lewis' Milestones (no, not the department store and not that Milestones, the other one, composed by pianist John Lewis of MJQ fame), a sensitive Body and Soul featuring Michael Dunlop's five-string bass guitar solo, the FT4 played a blinder. It helped that sound levels were lower than at the Globe, all four instruments could be heard and an attentive audience showed its appreciation for consistently good solo and ensemble work. An enjoyable first set concluded with Joshua Redman's Soul Dance.

Wayne Shorter opened the second set - well, the man himself wasn’t in Hexham but his influence certainly was with four young musicians checking him out. Berklee student drummer Matt MacKellar’s intro to Arthur Altman’s All or Nothing at All maintained the high standard as punters settled down having recharged their glasses (Theakston’s Light Foot). Time for a blues - Sonny Rollins’ Solid produced the evening’s highlight with superb solos from band leader Tulip and the shy, retiring Ben Lawrence (piano) as bassist Dunlop walked them through it with MacKellar playing, as the great blues men and women would often say, ‘with  a feelin’’.

Wayne Shorter’s Penelope took it down a notch with carefully crafted contributions from Lawrence and Tulip topped off by Dunlop’s oh-so-quiet solo, all of which was underpinned by MacKellar’s exemplary brush work. Hexham Jazz Club’s regulars wanted more and Terrence Blanchard’s Breathless from the trumpeter’s current E-Collective project sent them on their way.                 
Russell

4 comments :

Steve T said...

Just a slight correction to your notes Russell. Breathless was the final piece and the encore - as at the Globe - was Hancocks' One Finger Snap; a highlight of both gigs as far as I could make out.

Russell said...

You're right Steve, clearly my note taking and memory aren't up to scratch.

steve t said...

It's your age.

Russell said...

What's that? Speak up sonny!

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