The Forge Arts Venue, in 'cafe' configuration extended out into the bar for this event, was packed to the rafters for Terryazoome - Launch of their album Xana.
Sadly, it became clear from the outset that the usual wonderful, friendly ambience of The Forge with its friendly, efficient staff, could not compensate for what was the rowdiest, noisiest crowd I had to suffer in any venue in a very long time, especially in the bar area. There was no stopping this crowd from continuing their extremely noisy conversations - obviously more important to them than the music - and general noisy mayhem even right through both of Terryazoome's sets. A more disrespectful behaviour towards the musicians and their music it would be hard to imagine! With the exception perhaps of a young couple who really ought to have got a room.
However, detracting though all this mayhem was from the fullest enjoyment of the music, the first set of Terryazoome - Launch of their album Xana proved something of a revelation. With almost the same line-up of Terry Hunt on bouzouki and guitar, Diane McLoughlin on soprano, alto & tenor saxes, the lead bouzouki and vocals of Angelos Georgakis, Alison Rayner on bass and Winston Clifford on drums, with guest vocalist Lorraine Jordan, and consisting mainly of the material of the album, it was simply phenomenal. Much as I loved Xana the album, this live performance put it somewhat in the shade by comparison. This had become world jazz with a much heavier emphasis on the 'jazz,' and with some very strong jazz cred. The latter came especially from some outstanding bass lines from Alison Rayner, and amazing soloing from saxophonist Diane McLoughlin, with solid grooves from drummer Winston Clifford. The 'world'/Greek side was emphasised by the fabulous bouzoukis of Terry Hunt and Angelos Georgakis. As perfect a blend as one could wish for, and a very tight band too.
Georgakis also contributed some excellent vocals, as did guest vocalist Jordan, who also appeared on the album.
All in all, this first set was as excellent as it was enjoyable, despite the best efforts of the noisy crowd.
The ensuing break provided a welcome opportunity to temporarily, briefly get away from the noise and get some fresh air.
The second set was more world jazz/world music oriented than the first, and mostly consisted of material that was new to me. Nonetheless, there were still a good number of opportunities for soloing, of which particularly McLoughlin again made excellent use. Some blog, quoted in the blurb, recently described McLoughlin's voice as cool and Jan Garbarek-like. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth! McLoughlin's voice, whether on soprano, alto or tenor, is rich and warm. (It is also highly debatable whether Garbarek could be considered any kind of serious jazz player, making comparison all the less valid.)
The playing all round was as excellent as it had been in the first set. And yet, the second set somehow did not seem to quite live up to the brilliant sparkle of the first for me. The undiminished and if anything increased noise of the crowd of course did not help and rather wearied one, so that may have taken some of the shine off the performance. Or, more precisely, off one's perception and enjoyment of the performance.
Terryazoome really deserved a better kind of crowd than this. One that would not have detracted from the excellence of the music and the performance.
However, the appalling mayhem of these philistines notwithstanding (and, I have to add, who were mostly - alas! - well over 35 and ought to have known better!), Terryazoome - Launch of their album Xana was still a memorable musical event that I would not have wished to have missed. And, in spite of what I said earlier, I still would not be without their album Xana either! It is still a very much recommended buy, and do try and catch Terryazoome live. They are a class act. And one would hope that there will be many more live appearances to come.
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