Gateshead Jazz Festival

Last Sunday I headed up to Gateshead with Dave Falcus to take in a couple of concerts and the Gateshead International Jazz Festival. It was a superb day and an action packed one at that.

We drove up to Newcastle and had lunch in a small but enjoyable pub on a road just off from the Tyne river and then did a bit of sight-seeing. I took the opportunity to take some photographs and enjoy some of the views from some of the vantage points around the city. For architecture Newcastle is an amazing city and an enjoyable one to walk through as you take in the sights of tall, well constructed Georgian buildings. There are lots of small and interesting places you can explore and having the company of Dave who used to live in Newcastle was very handy for this.

We went to two concerts at the sage concert venue; first off was Andy Sheppard and his wonderful skills as both a saxophonist and a composer. I’ve only recently gotten into his music in any serious way, but it was great to see him play live and has prompted me to go in search of more of his music. While I only own onw of his albums and haven’t many tracks from others the sound of his playing is unmistakable and gabbed me in the hall the moment he began his set on stage. It was a great concert and one I’m sure will leave a lasting impression in my mind.

The second concert was Branford Marsallis and was clearly a popular event simply based on the number of free seats in the hall (read none). I need not go into how superb Branford Marsallis is as a musician but what was particularly impressive was the band he had going for the concert. His quartet really is a musical feast and makes for the perfect evening of jazz. The set was just the right length (being at the end of the evening) but the quality of playing was quite simply stunning from everyone on stage, especially the pianist and drummer who both pulled off superb solo performances in true traditional jazz style.

After all the concerts we stayed behind to get some CDs signed and then drove back to Leeds. By the time we returned home it was gone midnight and we were pretty shattered after all the travelling and walking around but it was a trip well worth making.

For those interested I took some photos during the sight-seeing parts of the day.


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