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Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music: Somersaults and Liber Musika @ The Black Swan Bar - October 3

Somersaults: Toby Delius (reeds); Olie Brice (bass); Mark Sanders (drums)
(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).

The third Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music (NFJIM) got off to an absolute flyer! Two contrasting bands linked by their ability to improvise and create spontaneous and stimulating music.

Somersaults, I assume, are so named because that is musically what they perform. Free jazz acrobats performing on the high wire of improvisation with no safety net in sight. Breath-taking stuff from the off - pile driving, exhilarating, bursting with innovation. You could almost see the ideas bounce off the trio as they interacted with one another.

To label Mark Sanders a drummer would be the equivalent of calling Capability Brown a gardener. The percussionist employs a vast range of tools, bells and whistles to create a magical soundscape and a great visual spectacle.

Olie Brice on bass really seems to attack the instrument with gusto producing mesmerising bass lines and looked like he was 100% immersed in what the band were doing.

This was the first time I had seen Tobias Delius and he blew me away with his sheer dynamism and enthusiasm not only on sax and clarinet but also with the occasional vocal squeal. Strutting and dancing around the stage like a possessed witchdoctor mid spell, he conjured up dramatic powerful storms of notes although amongst the whirlwind the occasional subtle clarinet solo would emerge.

A great start to the NFJIM with the audience head over heels in appreciation. The bar (of the non-alcoholic variety) had been set very high for the forthcoming weekend.   
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Liber Musika: Faye MacCalman (clarinet); John Garner (violin/ viola); John Pope (bass); Will Hammond (vibes/percussion)

Earlier in the evening John Pope’s latest creation, Liber Musika, got things away nicely. John created this band at this year’s Sage Summer Studio. Comprising reeds, strings, vibes and clarinet, after the first number I was wondering where the drummer was before John explained that the idea for the band was inspired by seeing Anthony Braxton’s drummerless quartet earlier this year.

Despite the lack of a drum there was still plenty of plucking, tapping and clapping to provide a percussive effect. John explained that the tunes had no titles only numbers it turned that these numbers were 1 to 5 but they were played not in numerical sequence (it transpired that the order of the tunes was 3,2,1,5 and finally 4). I found the music more contemporary classical than free jazz but the festival is not billed as purely jazz so that is fair enough. Most of the numbers seemed rather sombre every so often there would a welcome burst of energy. The unique combination of instruments together with the way the musicians interacted with one another made the whole performance fascinating and thought provoking and it will be interesting to see how the project progresses in the future.
Steve H.
Photo link.

1 comment :

Pam said...

OUTSTANDING EVENT
Genuine improvisation by talented musicians. WONDERFUL NIGHT

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