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Bebop Spoken There

Walter Trout: "I don't know why John Mayall put up with me for so long. But I've been sober for 32 years now, not a beer nor a joint," - (Blues Matters! Aug/Sep 2020)

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11,740 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 880 of them this year alone and, so far, 17 this month (August 4).

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August

Thursday 6: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Abbie Finn Trio: Jazz on a Summer's Day @ The Hammer & Pincers - August 1

Abbie Finn (drums); Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Paul Grainger (double bass)

Lockdown eased, lockdown not eased, the government's shambolic handling of the ongoing pandemic continues apace. Between times a couple of tremendous gigs by the Abbie Finn Trio have drawn large crowds in Newcastle and Preston le Skerne, one in the manicured grounds of a church, the other in the unlikely setting of a tipi. Drummer Abbie is from around these here parts and many of her Durham Music Service friends turned up to show their support.


The Hammer and Pincers is in the 'back 'o beyond' deep in the County Durham countryside, the kind of pub that has closed its doors for good due to its remote location, yet, here in Preston le Skerne near Newton Aycliffe, the current owners have transformed the place by making imaginative use of available land adjoining the hostelry. It isn't every day that you would sit with a drink in a tipi or a chalet-type wooden lodge but this is exactly what scores of people were doing on this mild Saturday evening.

As the trio was about to begin the first of two sets, bassist Paul Grainger offered odds on how long it would take them to clear the place! Well, PG needn't have worried, looking around the tipi and open spaces it became apparent that more than a handful were there to listen to the jazz. And, to their credit, the many non-jazz types happily continued to imbibe and take advantage of the pub's summer time BBQ. Night and Day, most present knew the melody, anyone could sing along (in their head), what wasn't there to like? And for the 'jazz heads' tenor saxophonist Harry Keeble took it out there, not too far out, just far enough to maintain the interest. It looked like being a winning combination...entertainment and jazz! 

One week earlier Abbie, Harry and Paul had played a successful first post-lockdown outdoor gig in Newcastle and much of the material heard here at the Hammer and Pincers had been given a workout up on Tyneside. Mr PG swung a powerful solo on There'll Never be Another You. Harry set the Hammer and Pincers' Caravan on course, controlling the tempo which, against expectations, didn't see  all and sundry careering down the country lane at break-neck speed. This was a masterful display of tenor sax playing from HK as Abbie's hi-hat worked overtime alongside Paul's drop-anchor bass playing. Tangerine peeled back layer upon layer of fruitful 'fours' to conclude a fine first set.          
  
The interval: another bottle of Double Maxim to help sustain/revive the jazz economy, a catch-up with a few of the jazz heads, the weather set fair, pandemic, what pandemic? 

Moonlight in Vermont resumed matters. Harry's killer solo on Softly as in a Morning Sunrise made the trip to the back 'o beyond worth the effort and, not to be outdone, PG chipped in with a most musical solo. Bandleader Abbie's exemplary fizzing cymbal work on Autumn Leaves framed HK's swifter than swift navigation of the keys on his tenor sax. This was great stuff! Then, that was it. We could have listened, if not danced, all night. Live jazz is back, that's for sure, although rapidly changing guidelines will, no doubt temporarily, put the brakes on. Hang on in there.   
Russell

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