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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.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Paul Edis and Friends: A Jazzy Christmas @ Ushaw College – Dec. 20

(Review by Steve T/ Photos courtesy of Jerry E).

Tonight promised some changes from the set at Middlesbrough Town Hall the previous Sunday, presumably for us die-hards taking in more than one of the four shows this year.

The first came with the full ensemble on stage for the opening Winter Wonderland. Solos from trumpet, sax and violin; piano and guitar switching comping duties, as they would throughout the set; more exchanges between sax and violin during the extended fade.

All I Want for Christmas is You is a new one for this year, which doesn't feature on the accompanying album. Taken at a slower pace than Maria Carey's original brought out the blues, guitar taking a solo, violin cutting through above the horns. This is another Christmas song which seems to have gained some credibility recently - apparently it's currently no 1 in America - perhaps because she's a serious singer, and Paul rightly paid tribute to Jo - another seriously good singer.

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree was taken as a rhumba, before The Christmas Waltz, which, following an introduction from horns and violin, featured solos from soprano and piano, Paul's first and, in amongst everything else, it's easy to forget what a fine pianist he is.

From our vantage point I noticed the juxtaposition of the combination of horns: muted trumpet and flute, trombone and clarinet, all, trombone and trumpet, clarinet and flute.

I'll be Home for Christmas took it down to voice, piano, bass and drums and featured a lovely light-touch bass solo from the Champion.

Another new piece for this year, via Home Alone, is Carol of the Bells, a piccolo feature with another violin solo, both ladies acquitting themselves splendidly.

Paul and wife Kate's Christmas original followed, sang by Paul, and the number one spot will need to wait for another year; a beautiful, short piano solo followed by tenor unravelling for another appropriately concise solo.

The first set finished with the return of Jo Harrop for some throaty, sassy, sexy singing on Santa Baby, intermingled with Basie's Splanky.

Set two opened with my favourite track from the album (sorry Jo), an instrumental, sax led version of Chris Rea's Driving Home for Christmas. Paul noted he'd forgotten the previous week that Rea is a Boro native. I don't rate the chances of the original if this version ever gets out.

Jo was back for Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, muted trumpet taking it back to New Orleans, solos from soprano and bass before a round of fours from the ever resourceful Russ Morgan.

What are you doing New Year’s Eve? took it down to voice and piano as the band scattered to the four corners of the theatre for Once in Royal David's City, led by piano, violin, flute, trombone, drums, bowed bass and sax.

New Year New You is another new song from Paul and Kate Edis - an expanded edition of the album next year perhaps - and is a twelve bar blues with solos from sax and guitar, followed by a singalong.

The Christmas Song, complete with chestnuts metaphorically roasting on an open fire, featured a lovely violin part before the final song Sleigh Ride lost the strings and slimmed the horns down to sax and trumpet for a race to the finish, stopping for a solo piano interlude which found our maestro in Scott Joplin territory.

Edis had hinted at an encore without all the fuss of leaving the stage and White Christmas - more a Christmas anthem than song - gave Jo a last chance to pull at our emotions, Emma adding some beautiful embellishments, sharing solos with clarinet, before finishing with a lovely final flourish.

I can only imagine this is going to grow and grow. 
Steve T          

Paul Edis (piano/vocal); Jo Harrop (vocal); Emma Fisk (violin); Matt Anderson (tenor/soprano saxes); Graham Hardy (trumpet/flugelhorn); Jason Holcomb (trombone); Megan Robinson (flute/piccolo); Faye Thompson (alto sax/clarinet); Francis Tulip (guitar); Andy Champion (bass); Russ Morgan (drums).

3 comments :

Steve T said...

Watching it again at the Sage tonight (and I've no doubt Russell will be reviewing it), as the band dispersed around the three levels, I thought I'd put the wrong choon in my review of Ushaw, until Paul explained there were six carols going on, depending on where you were in the theatre. Genius.

JERRY said...

At Ushaw we were two seats away from Faye on clarinet and we got The Sussex Carol. Proper title for all was A Congregation of Carols. Pun intended, surely?

Lance said...

At Sage Gateshead we got Emma and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. That's three down and three to go!

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