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Bebop Spoken There

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COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

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.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Vasilis Xenopoulos with the Paul Edis Trio @ The Black Bull, Blaydon - October 27

Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor & soprano saxophones); Paul Edis (piano); Ken Marley (double bass); Russ Morgan (drums)  
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Roly Veitch).

A third gig in as many days for the man from west London as Vasilis Xenopoulos concluded his north east mini tour with an afternoon concert at Blaydon Jazz Club. The Black Bull's south facing lounge attracts the sun and on this Sunday afternoon curtains were drawn to block out a blinding light. Our welcome visitor has a new album - Dexterity - to promote and chose to open the set with the CD's sole Xenopoulos composition. 

Dexterology in concert is best described as one part Dexter Gordon, one part Vasilis Xenopoulos, one part sackful of quotes. A quick-witted member of the audience could, perhaps, attempt to write down the titles but the torrent of oh-so-fleeting quotes all but overwhelms the listener - better to sit back and enjoy the brilliance, one could say, the dexterity of it all. It was quite a start.

A wonderful bluesy opening to Hanky Panky with Xenopoulos on tenor set up Ken Marley to deliver the first of several mature, extended solos - just as the Manchester based bassist had done in Darlington and Crook on Friday and Saturday respectively. Our bandleader is renowned for blowing some seriously good tenor and he also possesses a ready wit. In teasing Paul Edis about being allocated the task of delivering a convincing shout of Soy Califa, he suggested a 'take two' to which our pianist nailed it with Soy Califa, Hinny! And off they went - Xenopoulos on soprano conjuring a Moorish-ish feel, similarly drummer Russ Morgan with brushes, sticks and hands. Fantastic!

Society Red with its two-head structure appeals to Xenopoulos and Blaydon Jazz Club's regulars were treated to chorus after glorious chorus from an inspired musician in full flow. Likewise Edis, superb, two-handed piano playing (Blue Monk was in there), ideas tumbling. Later, one observer commented: Paul never plays the same thing twice. A compliment, indeed.

Tadd Dameron's ballad If You Could See Me Now took it down with yet more masterful playing. The interval, the consensus - wonderful. 

Charlie Chapiln's Smile (heard for the first time on this visit) opened the second set. Xenopoulos was clearly enjoying himself playing with panache and 'old school' swagger. Two tunes back to back focussing on Dexter Gordon's time in Sweden - Tivoli (Marley soloing) and Montmartre - maintained the highest of standards and Second Balcony Jump provided further evidence of the swash and buckle which marks out Xenopoulos as one of the finest saxophonists of his generation. 

A bolero ballad - I'm a Fool to Want You - enticed a couple to take to the Black Bull's imaginary dance floor. Magically, Edis quoted from The Godfather. It was as if Don Corleone had taken out a contract - on whom and for what reason will forever remain shrouded in mystery...

It was time to go but not before Xenopoulos called Scrapple from the Apple. How do you think this one went? It went whoosh! It had been a fabulous afternoon of jazz. As and when Vasilis Xenopoulos returns - day or night - it's a dead cert it'll be yet another memorable occasion.     

As a postscript Greek born Xenopoulos revealed that as a young man he performed at Copenhagen's Jazzhus Montmartre jazz club as a member of the European Youth Jazz Orchestra. Two great saxophonists, generations apart, stood on the same stage. How good is that?!    
Russell

1 comment :

Patti said...

An evocative and colourful extended review here, from Russell - but I must point out that Copenhagen, of the Tivoli Gardens and Monmartre Jazz Club fame, is in Denmark, not Sweden.

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