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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Abbie Finn Trio @ The Fox Inn, Hexham - Feb 18

Abbie Finn (drums); Harry Keeble (tenor sax, soprano sax); Paul Grainger (double bass) 
(Review by Russell)

Duke Pearson, Chick Corea, Cole Porter, John Coltrane, Paul Grainger - these the first tranche of composers on the Abbie Finn Trio's set list. Hexham Jazz Club was up and running once more with a first gig of the year at the Fox Inn on West End Terrace.  

Drummer Abbie was making a first visit to the Northumberland market town with her trio - Harry Keeble (tenor sax) and Paul Grainger (bass). An amiable, no nonsense trio, Abbie and the boys set up without fuss, chatting to all and sundry as gig-goers walked through the door. Jeannine (D Pearson) for openers played to an attentive crowd, many of whom were hearing Abbie and Harry for the first time. Windows (C Corea) a 'contemporary' selection then a GASbook choice, the perennial favourite Love for Sale. Three numbers, more than enough for Hexham Jazz Club's regulars to conclude that these guys could play. John Coltrane no longer frightens the horses and our Tyne valley residents took it all in their collective stride as Keeble stretched out on Moment's Notice

Abbie handled the majority of the announcements and in introducing Paul Grainger's Swim its composer said words to the effect: From Coltrane to me, thanks very much! Much hilarity ensued with our bandleader saying to PG: No pressure, then! And it can be reported that our double bassist's composition more than justified its place in the set list. A fine first set drew to a close with more mirth as Abbie introduced a Don Grolnick chart, a chart which originally featured Michael Brecker. AF was about to say: And Michael Brecker isn't here tonight when Keeble interjected: [Brecker]...is standing here! There's nowt like self confidence!

An indication of a good gig has to be a one room community pub's clientele listening as one. And that's what the Fox's jazz  - and non-jazz regulars - did. A second set comprising the likes of Juan Tizol's Caravan (slow tempo, Finn excelling), How High the Moon into Orinithology, Keeble laying down a brilliant tenor solo on Joe Henderson's Recorda Me and more of the same on Giant Steps made this February night out in Hexham one to remember. 

The Abbie Finn Trio went out on Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise and Victor Feldman's Seven Steps to Heaven. It had been a great start to 2020, there is more good stuff scheduled at the Fox over the next couple of months or so and, on the evidence of this performance, the Abbie Finn trio will be welcome to return anytime.    
Russell  

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