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Not Now Charlie + Trio FCT  -  Fri Sep 14, 2018  |  08:00 pm
One of the great things about the contemporary jazz scene in the UK is just how diverse it is, with young, immensely skilful players drawing on a huge range of influences to create their own distinctive music. It’s a refreshing variety that’s evident here in the North East, and this double bill showcases two local bands with very different but equally exciting approaches.

Not Now Charlie, led by saxophonist Jamie Toms, arrived on the scene in 2014, with a sound that was grounded in the jazz tradition, but tinged with their “mutual love of many other genres such as rock, Neo-soul, pop and R&B”. What this means in practice is music that is largely driven by melody and groove, but with all of the band members using it as a platform for consistently inventive improvisations; at its best you can almost imagine that this is how Coltrane might have sounded had he chosen to take the fusion route rather than embracing the free jazz revolution.

Trio FCT could hardly be more different stylistically, although the quality is equally impressive. Faye MacCalman, pianist Toby Illingworth and percussionist Callum Younger came together in 2015 as a research project, but found the experience so rewarding that they’ve continued to play gigs together, blending their skills to create a unique sound that combines traditional folk aesthetics with open improvisation. The slowly evolving exploration of different timbres is a far cry from Faye’s work as leader of alt-rock-jazz trio Archipelago, but shows just how versatile she is.

Which brings us back to the sheer, exhilarating diversity of today's jazz scene. Not Now Charlie and Trio FCT are just two of the kaleidoscopic array - but certainly amongst the brightest.

Tickets are available from the Jazz Café (0191 222 9882), Reflex CD (0191 260 3246) or online from