Monday, July 23, 2007

Vibes, Echoes and Angular Twangs

I was feeling a bit weary and kinda sad yesterday morning (booze downer maybe) so didn't really feel like making the effort. Managed to drag myself out and fortunately day 2 of the MCR Jazz Festival didn't disappoint. It was in the foyer of the Bridgewater Hall and very well attended.

First up was Lewis Wright, a quite amazing vibes player at only 19. How someone gets that good at that age is amazing. His own material was great and some good standards choices such as a couple of Chick Corea tracks made for a fab set. One to watch I guess.

Wasn't sure about the next act, The Graeme Stephen Sextet in the first track or so but it drew me in after a bit. Very unusual guitar improv. The green Line 6 echo loop box the guitarist plonked on the floor is always a good sign. Not really sure what the hell he was doing but the force and tight timing in his playing made it work. Could have been unusual scales or free playing - prob mixture of both. As anyone who knows me knows, I'm a sucker for a good groove which they duly provided about half way in and that was good enough for me. Def worth checking out.

A local fave, Neil Yates and his New Origins were up next. They seemed nervy and the first few songs lacked confidence and drive but they found their feet after 4 songs or so. New band members so to be expected. Another one of those celtic/folk/jazz fusion type things that makes me fear a Spinal Tap fiasco with druids, stonehenges and riversdancing but he made it work. There were definite jolly folky melodies in there but another tack he seemed to take was using fast celticy folk rhythmic figures with more jazzy chords and sequences. Worked for me as I bought the CD.

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