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Bebop Spoken There

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13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Zoë Gilby & Paul Edis @ Ronnie Scott's - July 20

Zoë Gilby (vocals); Paul Edis (piano)

Mid-summer, temperatures nudging 30°, the capital city appeared to be as busy as ever. An early morning Azuma - first stop King's Cross - arrived bang on time, not to the minute, rather, to the second. A good start to the day. Things couldn't get any better, certainly not worse, could they? 

The plan...hit the art galleries, browse - and almost certainly buy something from - the bookshops, go to the pub then on to Ronnie's. The masterplan was to take in two gigs at Ronnie's, the early evening show 'Upstairs @ Ronnie's' and, later in the evening, the second house in the main room. The latter event featuring pianist Emmet Cohen's NYC trio hit the buffers when uncertainty over travel/quarantine regulations forced a postponement.* The former event, an edition of the weekly Braziliance session Upstairs @ Ronnie's, presented two north east of England born and bred stars of the British jazz scene. APPJAG award-winning vocalist Zoë Gilby travelled down from her Tyneside home to meet up with her London based friend and master pianist, Paul Edis. 

Arriving in Soho shortly before seven o'clock, Frith Street had taken on a carnival atmosphere with the road closed to traffic - it was pavement-to-pavement tables and chairs. Evidently, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurant businesses were looking to make up for lost time - and income - in these post lockdown times. Ascending the stairs at 47 Frith Street, the first person to come into view was our very own superstar, Ms Zoë Gilby! An elbow bump greeting, a short exchange, it ain't easy when wearing face coverings! And there was Mr Edis, a similarly brief exchange. The upstairs room was a sell out, most tables reserved. Ignoring a 'reserved' sign, your correspondent duly occupied a front row table to write a first set-only review. Another gig elsewhere would determine an early departure. 

At seven on the dot, Zoë and Paul took to the floor. Zoë looking elegant and über cool, as always, Paul looking business like in a lounge suit, opened their set with In Walked Bud. If you're out to impress a Ronnie's crowd it's an idea to hit the ground running. Zoë and Paul know all about that and this was the perfect way to introduce themselves. Zoë in fine voice, commanding the room from the first note, Paul reminding us, if we needed reminding, that he is as accomplished a pianist as anyone - Tyneside, London...watch out New York! 

Shadowed in Solitude, the first of two cuts from Zoë's Tom Harrell 'Aurora' project, held the attention of the cocktail-drinking audience, our AAPJAG award-winner joking her Geordie-American lyrics to Harrell's Moon Alley were seemingly understood by everyone in the room. Wye aye, man! This being a Braziliance gig, our duo made an effort to stick to the remit. A rhumba take on Ellington's Do Nothing till You Hear from Me more than fulfilled any requirements, Paul knocking 'em dead with rhumba and a whole lot more rhythmic variations. If anyone present was thinking: Who is this guy?, they know now! 

The Midnight Bell is a Zoë Gilby composition. Your correspondent has heard Zoë sing the Patrick Hamilton (The Midnight Bell, novel published 1929) -inspired song on countless occasions. Here at Ronnie's she didn't disappoint, Zoë will do well to come up with something to match it, both compositionally and lyrically. The only thing missing was Mark Williams' invariably sublime guitar solo! To conclude a fine first set, Zoë and Paul selected two cast iron winners, first, On Green Dolphin Street and a corking Blue Monk. Zoë and Paul are a class act, performing at a world famous venue is quite something. Whenever and wherever our duo turn up - Tyneside, London, NYC - don't miss them! 

* Emmet Cohen will be at Ronnie Scott's on Wednesday 13 October. 

Russell

Set list (first set): In Walked BudShadowed in Solitude (Moon Alley)Do Nothing till You Hear from MeForget the Past (April Mist)DindiThe Midnight BellOn Green Dolphin Street; Blue Monk

1 comment :

Lance said...

Although I wasn't at the gig, our roving reporter was, and his mention of The Midnight Bell based on the first part of a trilogy by Patrick Hamilton - Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky - invariably has me pulling the book down off the shelf and re-reading it. I don't know how many times I've done this but it probably equates with the number of times I've heard ZG sing it. Her lyrics completely capture the mood of the book.

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