Fashion Magazine

The Concert Review: Charles McPherson

By Jessicainyourear @JessInYourEar

"I'd like to collect my tickets for the concert I'm here to review," I remember asking as I walked through the entrance to The Venue at the Leeds College of Music last week. "Are you press?" asked the man behind reception. "Well, kind of," I awkwardly replied, "I'm a blogger..."
Luckily, my credentials were deemed sufficient to receive my tickets and proceed to the concert. And, wow, was it worth it. Charles McPherson, an alto-saxophonist, is known as one of the all time greats of the jazz world, with a career spanning from the 1950s to the present. He is most well known as a member of Charles Mingus' band in the '60s and for his recordings in the soundtrack to the Clint Eastwood film 'Bird.' This concert was a rare opportunity to see him perform and a bargain at £15 (£13 concessions).
Tonight he performed as part of a jazz quartet, leading Barry Green (piano), Jeremy Brown (bass) and Stephen Keogh (drums) through two challenging yet enjoyable sets. The musicians kicked off with a cover of 'Billie's Bounce' in a suitably vibrant fashion to start the night. All musicians were immediately given a chance to demonstrate their solo skills, along with their communication and connection with each other. Barry Green on piano was particularly good, capturing that 'effortless cool' which so defines jazz and effectively carrying the band as McPherson took the opportunity to change his reed.
McPherson followed this with an original entitled 'Nightfall,' a entirely different tone of piece which demonstrated the versatility of the musicians on the stage. My personal favourite, I found this piece to be sonorous and lilting, evoking the image of its namesake effectively thanks to the mellow tones of McPherson on saxophone. The rest of the set was well balanced with its mix of slower tempo and more upbeat works, including both covers and originals. McPherson frequently gave his musicians the chance to shine which gave the night a laid-back and involved feel for both the band and the audience.
After a short interval, McPherson and co began the second set with the vibrant 'Spring is here.' This piece was my boyfriend's favourite, probably due to the bouncing lyrical motion and light and airy depiction of Spring. Similarly to the first set, the second half mixed both covers and McPherson's own work, following the first number with a blues-inspired original entitled 'A tear and a smile.' After a couple more pieces, the set ended with an inevitable encore which rounded off the evening as it had begun - technically excellent, vibrant, light-hearted and ultimately enjoyable.
Leeds College of Music offer an excellent variety of artists and genres of music in their concert season at affordable prices (even more so if you are a student). Located just a few minutes from the train station, it is an easily accessible and high-quality venue for something a little different to a standard student night out!Go on, grab yourself some culture and have a look at what's on. The Autumn/Winter concert season brochure is available to download here. 

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