Concert review The Chilli, Newcastle Upon Tyne
May 2011 By Lance Liddle (Bebopspokenhere)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... First it was Thursday, then it was Wednesday. It was at The Corner House, then it was at The Chilli. This Jazz North East promoted gig had had so many ups and downs it was amazing that it ever got off the ground but it did - and how! Arguably, the North-east Gig of the Year (so far) it wasn't surprising that even after it was all over there were still a few twists and turns... The Best of Times: What a magnificent performance this was! Tommaso, soaring like the post Cannonball/Bird player that he is, impressed the crowd, and it was a decent sized crowd, with his sheer virtuosity. Every note was on the money - no aimless meandering, no honks and screeches - straight down the middle modern jazz. On keys, Michele di Toro matched and complemented his paisano every step of the way - the unison passages were quite incredible and his solos something else. Woosh! this was some playing. The tunes - mainly originals - too were beautiful. The ballads were played on soprano tugging at the heartstrings whilst the grooves got the feet activated. Not surprisingly, my personal favourite was Simply Bebop - straight from 52nd St., via Milano - it dazzled and beguiled. As one friend remarked "Three letters - W-O-W!" Summed up the whole gig. Bass and drums did the necessary with Collier - depping for Lawrence Cottle - slotting easily into the role of both anchorman and occasional soloist. Nickolls had an extended solo early on punctuated with an infectious riff from alto and keyboard that helped set the tone for an evening that swung. As an added bonus I had the priviledge of hearing them rehearse and do a soundcheck. If there was a downside, it took a while to get the keyboard sound/balance spot on but, as the evening progressed it just got better and better. The Worst of Times: After the mix-up of dates and venues there had to be a sting in the tail! Walking down the path to Chilli Road Station I was met by a fellow Star(ace)gazer who told me the westbound platform was closed and that we had to cross over and get an eastbound to Walkergate then cross back over and head west once more. This meant missing the train and, ultimately, my South Shields bound train from Monument. Boarding instead one which terminated at Pelaw - 3 miles from home. Fortunately, a fellow traveller was in a similar situation so a taxi was the answer with us sharing the fare. After a gig like tonight, I'd have happily walked home from anywhere and never noticed the miles.