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Bebop Spoken There

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Wednesday February 24

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE BICKERSTAFF, BECCY OWEN, REMI HARRIS & GWILYM SIMCOCK

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12,535 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 254 of them this year alone and, so far, 105 this month (Feb. 24).

Thursday, February 20, 2020

After Hours #4: The Music of Stéphane Grappelli @ Cafédral Durham - Feb 19

(Review by Russell)

DUJS is an active organisation. Student run Durham University Jazz Society promotes jazz events across Durham City and most of them are open to the public. One such occasion is 'After Hours', a regular series focussing on a particular subject. This latest get together in Cafédral Durham on Owengate looked at the work of Stéphane Grappelli. 

Sonia Rae, a second year music student, is principally a student of classical violin with a love of jazz. Stéphane Grappelli was an obvious, but no less appealing, choice for an After Hours' gig at Cafédral Durham, a quirky, first floor student haunt just off Palace Green. The core band for the evening featured Rae with a Hot Club-style, all-strings line-up of two guitars and double bass.    


Minor SwingJ'attendrai - classic Quintette de Hot Club du France fayre. Erstwhile Durham University Big Band guitarist Tom Burgess adopted the role of Django Reinhardt with Jack Theaker as Roger Chaput or, perhaps, Joseph Reinhardt on rhythm guitar and Isaac Costello as bassist Louis Vola. The berets were absent but the ambiance wasn't. Cafédral Durham's beverages consisted of tea and coffee, no alcohol. A pot of tea it was (no coffee due to the cafe assistant's self-confessed inability to work out how to use the espresso machine!). Cafédral's amiable proprietor encouraged one and all to make a quick trip to the nearest supermarket to acquire a bottle of red, perhaps a white. What's more there would be no corkage charge. Whoosh! A mass exodus to raid the shelves of the nearby branch of Tesco met with the approval of Mine Host!

A bottle of white, bottles of Old Peculier, this was more like it. Ms Rae introduced each number and as the performance unfolded, her fellow musicians. How High the Moon brought drummer David Byfield to the stand, brushes in hand. Later in the evening pianist Angus Shennan joined Rae to provide additional chordal accompaniment. The room full of talents included Clara Falkowska who would share the spotlight with Rae, first playing fluent flugelhorn, later violin! A room full of talents, that's for sure! 

Tom Burgess brought in Nuages, Angus Shennan soloed impressively, Rae took it out with a flowing classical cadenza - yes, they're a talented bunch these Durham University students. Violinists Rae and Falkowska swapped licks on Jealousy and, as Rae commented, she would be Grappelli to Falkowska's Stuff Smith on This Can't be Love. Were we on the Left Bank? We could have been, yet, in reality, we were on Owengate in Durham City. Très bien!         
Russell 

Sonia Rae (violin); Tom Burgess (guitar); Jack Theaker (guitar); Isaac Costello (double bass); Angus Shennan (keyboards); David Byfield (drums) + Clara Falkowska (flugelhorn, violin).  

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