Vasilis Xenopoulos Quartet

Friday 27 May 2022

Vasilis Xenopoulos Quartet

Vasilis – tenor sax, Rob Barron – piano, Simon Thorpe – bass, Matt Home – drums.

Originally planned to be with us in 2020, but unavoidably delayed, this visit from Vasilis and the quartet playing the music of Dexter Gordon was certainly worth the wait. Swinging straight-ahead jazz heard through a rich-toned tenor with immaculate backing, each player being featured with their fine musicianship. We started with ‘Evergreenish’ then ‘Hanky Panky’, followed by stories of how Vasilis began his passion for this music from an early age, and he continued to inform us of various aspects of Dexter’s life and music whilst introducing each tune. A Latin version of ‘A Swinging Affair’ featuring the superb drumming of Huddersfield’s Matt Home followed. Playing many of the standards associated with Dexter, Vasilis related how he often learns a new tune through the phrasing of singers, highlighting that, we next heard Billie Holiday’s ‘I’m a Fool to Love You’ and the first set finishing with Jule Styne’s ‘It’s You or No One'. I was good to see Vasilis deep in conversation with several members of the audience during the interval, something encouraged at CJC, it transpired that two of the members had seen Dexter Gordon live in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. The second set swung into life with ‘The End of a Love Affair’ recorded back in ‘61. From his period living in Denmark, we had the compositions ‘Tivoli’ inspired by the famous gardens and then ‘Montmartre’ by the Montmartre Jazz House in Copenhagen not the area in Paris. It was then suggested that it was time to play some blues with a really hip version of ‘Society Red’. The second set finished with the ballad ‘Guess I’ll hang My Tears Out To Dry’ and ‘Second Balcony Jump’ from the classic 1962 album ‘GO’. I can’t remember an evening of live jazz passing so quickly.

Photos from the event

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