Italian Jazz Guitarist
This was the third Long Street Blues Club weekend gig on the bounce for me. Following Gerry Jablonski Band two weeks ago, and the blow-away Focus gig at The Corn Exchange last week, it was back to the familiar surroundings of the Con Club in Long Street for (yet again) something completely different.….
Support act for the evening was Eddie Witcomb, who started off with a lot of nervous chatter before getting stuck in. He played mostly his own material but also hit a cover of Nina Simone’s “Because You’re Mine”. His songs were gentle, thoughtful pieces, but definably in the downbeat and miserable categories. Describing himself as a “one song a year man”, it was obvious that his songs were a labour of love. Some of them had curious, trail-off endings, leaving the audience confused at times as to when he’d actually finished. Overall his set was entertaining, but low key. I think he needs a few more upbeat numbers to leaven the mix a little, but otherwise great stuff, much appreciated by a large and supportive audience. Chatting afterwards over a pint, Eddie said that he had indeed been nervous, mostly caused by simple lack of gigs over the Lockdown period, but that he was looking forward to getting his various solo and group projects moving again – which I’m sure will happen for such a dedicated and talented bloke.
Antonio Forcione, the main act of the evening, is an artist who has been hailed as one of the most charismatic, unconventional guitarists at large in the musical world today. And with a host of international awards under his belt, this eclectic composer produced two fine sets that had the audience enthralled. Starting on stage with just himself and his cellist, the very first number was spell-binding and mesmeric. Then joined by bass and percussion players to fill out this international quartet, he proceeded to produce some truly stunning acoustic music. It was a mark of the respect with which the audience held him that when he was playing you could hear a pin drop in a very crowded room – no background chatter, no noise from the bar, perfect listening conditions.
The first set was slightly shortened when Antonio had to do some running repairs on his guitar, before coming out of the blocks in the second half with number after number of beautiful, nuanced playing. Dropping back to occupying the stage solo “to give the band a rest”, he proved that he is an absolute master of his craft. And then, as the band re-joined, with their sensitive and sympathetic accompaniments, adding layer upon layer of sound, much of it with a laid-back jazz sensibility, creating complex soundscapes, the magic simply continued. We had a musical trip around the world, with influences from Spain, Italy, South Africa. It was mesmerising, it was entrancing, and an absolute pleasure to listen to.
Yet again, we were very lucky to be able to listen to an international artist of such standing and musical skill in our little town. Another great booking by Ian Hopkins. And another great night out at Long Street Blues Club.
Saturday 18th December 2021- KOSSOFF…The Band Plays On
Friday 14th January 2022 Chicago Living Legends
Saturday 5th February 2022 Tinsley Ellis
Saturday 19th February 2022 Mike Zito Band
Saturday 26th February 2022 Mark Flanagan Band
Friday 4th March 2022 Black Sabbitch (Corn Exchange, Devizes)
Saturday 19th March 2022 Soft Machine
Saturday 2nd April 2022 Alastair Greene Band
Friday 8th April 2022 Billy Bremner’s Rockfile (Devizes Town Hall
Saturday 9th April 2022 Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy (Corn Exchange, Devizes)
Saturday 16th April 2022 Billy Walton Band
Friday 6th May 2022 Birdmens
Saturday 17 September 2022 CSN Express (New Rescheduled Date)
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