Sunday, July 29, 2007

MCR Jazz Festival '07 - The Funky Finale

So yesterday was sadly the last day of this years jazz festival. We managed to get into town in town to catch the first act, Sax Assault, featuring a nine piece saxophone section including 'Sir' John Helliwell from Supertramp amongst other notable players. Good strong horn lines were to be expected and were duly delivered with strong direction from the main man, Andy Scott. Really great stuff and a good start to the day even if we didn't manage to get a seat. Amazingly the weather was sunny and the seating area was packed by the time we got there.

We missed the next act but came back for Vibration Music Society featuring Eryl Roberts on drums and my guitar tutor, Mike Walker on guitar. I'd already checked out their MySpace so I knew it was likely to be good one. The local jazz guitar fraternity were there in force - I spotted Jim Faulkner, Nick Mellor and Paul Farr for starters. Eryl was a bit shy about announcing the tracks which made it feel a little impersonal at first but it was great stuff when they got going. My favorite was the track '364A', a Soft Machine style bluesy workout. 364A is the house number of one the band members apparently. We got the CD - highly recommended.

The finale in the square was 'Soul Daddy' featuring our friend the phenomenal Cinematic Orchestra drummer Luke Flowers and Steve Brown on keys. I haven't seen Luke play for a little while as he's been away on tour with the CO so it was fab to catch him. He was on great form and really kicking with some tasty funk grooves that I haven't really heard him play before. The Soul Daddy set was very enjoyable collection of own material and covers very much in the classic funk and soul vein. Probably not the sort of thing I'd go and buy but great fun to swing your pants to nontheless.

Funky Soul Daddy:

The final gig of the festival was over at Matt and Phred's - The Myke Wilson Trio and Stuart McCallum Quartet. Gigs at M&P normally start at 10pm so I was caught out and missed the 8.30 start. They did carry on to do another 3 sets so I caught the 3rd and 4th from about 10.30pm. Stuart was on good form both playing and with his inter song banter that was quite witty. It's good to see him confident like this as he's normally quite a quiet bloke. Some of the solo CD tracks such as 'Rain Cycle' were nicely delivered with the addition of Finn Peters on flute and saxophone. I hadn't come across Finn before, a London based player and part of the Fire Collective. A really great player. The gig had a really nice Manchester jazz community feel. Chatted to Stuart's sister Jo McCallum, Lucy Howells from the The Music Place, Jon Cervantes, Luke Flowers and Steve Brown at various points during the evening. Most of the mcr jazz posse were in attendance.

Well another fab festival over. I'm determined to get my act together and put something in for next years festival. Whether it gets accepted is another matter but it'll be an achievement to at least put something in. Must get back out on the jam scene as well as I've really let that slip this year.

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