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Roland Kirk died on Dec. 5, 1977.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Abbie Finn Trio: Northern Perspective album launch @ Prohibition Bar - Oct. 29

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

In the middle of a pandemic what do you do? Stay at home, switch off the light and persuade yourself the end of the world is nigh? How about if you play an album launch gig with a socially distanced audience? Enterprising? Crazy? Enterprising drummer and bandleader Abbie Finn isn't crazy (as far as we know) and, and with the willing participation of Harry Keeble and Paul Grainger, proceeded to play two sets to a full house at Prohibition Bar in Newcastle.
Northern Perspective is Abbie's debut CD as leader and this late-October concert served not only to promote the album but to celebrate the fact that this was a significant milestone in what is sure to be a long, fruitful career. Those of us expecting something from the new CD were wrong-footed as Abbie chose to open the set with Hank Mobley's Remember from the tenor saxophonist's Soul Station album. Tenor saxophonist Harry relished the material and Invitation gave him another opportunity to stretch out, post bop-style. 

Abbie's Walkabout, the opening track on the album, could well be the County Durham based musician's early-career signature tune. Boppish with a subtle swing feel, it's certainly a confident, introductory statement. Another one new to the trio's set, Body and Soul, was set up for Harry, wasn't it? A sax and bass intro, then the floor was Harry's. Listening, thoughts turned to what this young man will be capable of in, say, ten years time...

It would seem Harry has an interest in Norse mythology and such like. Whatever, Ginnungagap was a taut, tense tussle between Nordic gods and our rising tenor sax star. Harry lived to tell the tale. And that was it, the end of the first set. A short interval and the Abbie Finn Trio would return to play a second set.

Night and Day (Harry in overdrive, Abbie knocking out a great solo), Abbie taking Seven Steps to Heaven, then another cut from Northern PerspectiveThere Will Never Be Another You (arr. Finn) featuring Mr PG, that's bass man Paul Grainger, conjuring a most musical solo. To play material other than from the album was a refreshing departure from the usual 'hard sell' one has come to expect at an album launch but we did want to hear these, and other, numbers from the new album. 

Who would plan, and play, an album launch gig on their birthday? Abbie Finn, that's who! What's that about being crazy?! No birthday cake, no blowing out candles, yes, we are living in strange times. Our birthday girl waltzed through Chick Corea's Windows (PG contributing a mid-tune, down beat sneeze, adding to, rather than distracting from, the composer's much-loved number!). 

Abbie, centre stage, literally and metaphorically, addressed her audience in a relaxed, engaging manner. In a few, short years Abbie has come a long way...Durham Music Service providing learning and performance opportunities, Leeds College of Music, Trinity Laban (London), securing an on-stage part in a Harold Pinter play, gigging, teaching, and now, a first album. In typical self-effacing style, Abbie gave the last word to Paul. The last word, and the last track on Northern Perspective, our bassist spoke about composing Umlazi Morning. The trio played it. Music speaks louder than words and all that. To find out more about Abbie and her current activities visit: www.abbiefinn.com.  
Russell      

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