REVIEW: Jazz duo serve up a real treat at Bite Bistro

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JAZZ duo Paul Edis (piano) and Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor saxophone) presented diners with the perfect after-dinner entertainment at the newly-opened Bite Bistro, within New Mills Trout Fishing Park at Brampton on Sunday October 23.

Paul Edis and Vasilis Xenopoulos
Paul Edis and Vasilis Xenopoulos

Linda and David O’Brien opened Bite Bistro, on the first floor above their Bite Café, earlier last month, and as great jazz fans, decided that the chance to showcase their new venture with an appearance of Edis and Xenopoulos was too good to miss.

Hailing from Athens, but now residing in London, Xenopoulos ventures this far north once a year to team up with his North East pal Edis and make beautiful music. Fresh from playing Ambleside’s Zeffirellis on Saturday night, the duo called into the Bite Bistro on the way to Newcastle, for their evening's gig, to deliver a stunning performance that included many numbers from the great American songbook and some pleasant surprises too.

Kicking off with How High the Moon, made famous by Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and many others, the duo soon set the tone for a set which would demonstrate their mastery of their instruments, with no sheet music in evidence, and extraordinary improvisation whilst still paying due respect to melody of each number.

With Edis introducing each number with a brief insight into composers, performers who made the songs famous and some of the legends surrounding the creation of such jazz masterpieces, each song took on a greater significance for the audience.

This was perfectly illustrated with their second number, Alfie’s Theme, from the 1965 film Alfie, which starred Michael Caine and was shot in London. Edis told the audience that it’s composer, legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins, arrived in London to meet the Paramount Pictures producers without any pre-written scores for the film’s soundtrack. He just soaked up the atmosphere of Soho and along with an understanding of the script and its central character began to create the music on the spot – so the legend goes.

Anyway, it produced a magnificent theme tune which still sounds fresh today and was expertly delivered by the duo.

With numbers such as When You Wish Upon a Star, Falling in Love with Love, I Get a Kick Out of You, My favourite Things and The Nearness of You, the full house at Bite Bistro weren’t short of tunes they would recognise.

However, one number which isn’t so well known produced a real surprise and one that the audience and the artists themselves were not ready for. This number was Meditation, by Antonio Carlos Jobim, in which Xenopoulos, who had played the flute on a couple of tunes prior, decided to tell the audience that the flute actually belonged to Edis and he was better at playing it.

At this point the audience suggested that Xenopoulos should take the piano chair to let Edis play his flute and after a little more encouragement, plus some debate on key and tempo, the duo launched into a superb rendition of Meditation which further highlighted the amazing talent and musical empathy they had together.

For a finalé, the duo turned to the gospel classic I Wish I Knew How It Felt to Be Free, in which the blues tinged piano and wailing tenor sax brought a rousing, and fitting, end to a most enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

Good food and good music should ensure that the Bite Bistro becomes a popular choice for the people of Brampton and beyond.

Review by DAVID GOSLING

Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 11:12AM
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