The intimate Great Northern Railway Tavern in Hornsey may seem a little out of the way but is easy to get to, perhaps five minutes walk for most from Turnpike Lane tube. And well worth it, with its many preserved wonderful Victorian features including a superb stained glass roof over the performance room. Not to mention of course its excellent live music.
Last night it was the outstanding Terryazoome Live at The Great Northern Railway Tavern,
Hornsey we had come to see. Terryazoome - pronounced Terry-ah-zoomeh - are one of those wonderful bands that is impossible to pin down and pigeon-hole, but could perhaps be described as world music/world jazz with strong Greek as well as African flavours.
Not only are Terryazoome a terrific band, they are moreover something of an all-star band, led by superb bouzouki and electric guitar player as well as composer Terry Hunt, and including one of the leading jazz drummers that this country has produced, Winston Clifford, all round jazz star saxophonist Diane McLoughlin, ace jazz bassist Alison Rayner, and world music bouzouki ace Angelos Georgakis, supplemented last night by versatile all round rising star jazz singer Brigitte Beraha.
It should come as no surprise that I enthuse about Terryazoome, having attended their launch gig for their album Xana (pronounce ksana) at The Forge in Camden Town last year and absolutely loved it. And they certainly did not disappoint last night. On the contrary, they reinforced my admiration of them considerably still.
The audience was to prove suitably attentive and enthusiastic, and the atmosphere was just wonderful and electric. If there was one problem, it was that in the first set the over all sound was perhaps a little too loud for this intimate venue, and the bouzoukis and even electric guitar were a little hard to hear when tenor sax and bass were playing at the same time. However, this did not detract too much, and the problem was sorted for the second set.
The material presented at Terryazoome Live at The Great Northern Railway Tavern,
Hornsey last night consisted of a fascinating blend of pieces from Xana, as well as new material from their forthcoming album.
Terryazoome kicked off the first set with the title track from said forthcoming album, Wasa Mata, which in the Nigerian Hausa language means 'women playing (music, or games) - a reference to Terry Hunt's place of birth and childhood (her mother moreover is Greek, so she absorbed a healthy mix of cultures!). As one might expect, this had a suitably African feel to it and was an uplifting up-tempo. up-beat instrumental number (except for two lines at the beginning and end that had the whole band singing somewhat raucously) that set the tone, more or less, for the evening.
A particularly outstanding song was a contrasting, gorgeous ballad that might have been taylor-written for K. D. Lang - Break My Heart. The big surprise was to see Clifford coming out front from behind his trap set and sing this beautifully. One suspects one should hear more of Clifford's vocals.
The rest of the numbers in both sets were a delightful mix of jazzy and Greek-ish ones, with Acid Rose being a lovely blend of both. Altogether, this was an excellent blend of instrumentals and songs.
The superb bouzoukis of Ms. Hunt and Georgakis emphasised the Greek flavours, obviously, while the sax of Ms. McLoughlin, the bass of Ms. Rayner and the trap work of Clifford emphasised the jazzier flavours. If the ensemble playing was outstanding, the solos, where they occurred, were sometimes extraordinary. Particularly notable were Angelos' bouzouki, McLoughlin's tenor and Clifford's drum solos in An Evening With Chris & Chrys, which nearly brought the house down. Also of note were Ms. Beraha's vocals. It was surprising and amazing how relatively well she had acclimatised to this stylistically alien to her material over a relatively short period of time. Of course, one has to mention Ms. Hunts outstanding compositions as well.
All in all, Terryazoome Live at The Great Northern Railway Tavern,
Hornsey was an unforgettable event and highly enjoyable - just Terry-fic! The crowd evidently agreed, responding to each number and each solo with raucous and well deserved applause.
You really have to catch Terryazoome live, and you can do so again at the same venue on 20th September.
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