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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).

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Get The Blessing + Ceitidh Mac @ Gosforth Civic Theatre – Feb. 7 (Take 2)


(Review by Tom Dixon/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew)

Get The Blessing: Jim Barr (bass guitar); Clive Deamer (drums); Jake McMurchie (sax and electronics); Pete Judge (trumpet and electronics).

Great melodies and a driving intensity, Get The Blessing did not disappoint. They maintained the energy and groove of their trip-counterparts (Portishead) without sacrificing on the integrity of the improvised sections. I've seen 'fusion' acts experiment with this type of approach before and fall on the wrong side of repetitive for me, but this performance was full of spontaneity and intrigue.

Clive Dreamer has a fairly busy drumming style which gave the soloists plenty to work with, but still kept the time really nailed down and, with Jim Barr, really pushed the band forward through every piece. The creative use of backings and effects pedals from the sax and trumpet more than made up for the lack of a traditional harmony instrument and continuously took the music in surprising directions. I really liked the weaving horn ad-libs which were scattered through the night.


The set took us to many different places, from lazy trip-hop ballads to cosmic afro funk flavours on Sunwise. Late on there was a really raucous number with clapping from the band and audience, and a wild saxophone solo, which was obviously my favourite.

The last number had a tense interlocked hi-hat and bass pattern which built and built up to an explosive pay-off. For the rhythm section that had spent much of the night so far being very supportive of the horns, this was a great way to shed some light on Clive and Barr to end the set.

Ceitidh Mac (voice and cello)

Despite seeing Ceitidh a few times now, this was the first solo set I've caught from her and it was a real treat. She looked just as comfortable by herself as when she's with her band; the performance was captivating and she held our attention with a carefree cool.

Ceitidh's set has an interesting blend of light and shade. Her playful approach to the cello and voice is a wonderful contrast to the lyrics which have some very dark moments. I was also surprised at how good Ceitidh's sense of swing is, and she pulled the melody around with a soulful gospel inflection that I found really refreshing.

The next Jazz North East concert at Gosforth Civic Theatre is Gareth Hughes Sextet playing the music of Art Blakey on Thursday 20th February.
Tom Dixon


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