All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Live From Birmingham: The Manchester Camerata Orchestra, The Gloaming & Kirk Fletcher

Live From Birmingham: The Manchester Camerata Orchestra, The Gloaming & Kirk Fletcher
Martin Longley By

Sign in to view read count
The Godfather, with live accompaniment by The Manchester Camerata Orchestra
Symphony Hall
September 16, 2016

There seems to be a growing tendency for talkie screenings with live musical scoring. Back in the day, it was only silent movies that received the fleshly musician treatment. Current digital technology makes it easier to use a 'print' that excises the original score, allowing an onstage group to drop in their real time performance, noticeably, yet unobtrusively. This is the key to live scoring. The whole idea is not to be too much of a distraction, but when the audience has shelled out their top dollars to witness a live show, surely they'd like to at least notice the players on some level. It's a very delicate balance. This is, after all, a movie, and not a gig. Even so, the Manchester Camerata Orchestra were actually arrayed on the stage, rather than down in the pit, the screen suspended from the hall's high ceiling.

Ultimately, all was well, despite the constant presence of subtitles on the 2008 digital restoration, even though most of the dialogue is in English, albeit mumbly Mafia English, its subtleties matched in with the eternal gloom of the film's first half. It's a long stretch, by the way, almost three hours of epic, but thankfully with an old school cinema intermission. Oddly enough, the only portion lacking in subtitles was the brief outbreak of actual Italian dialogue. Even though, whilst personally experimenting with ignoring the subtitles, a few phrases might be missed, it's arguable that this is a reasonable sacrifice, if they were to be dropped altogether. Sometimes, even these lines sounded at odds with what the characters were actually saying.

Initially, there were fears that the 1972 classic had dated, with its early progress operating on an extremely low curve, murky in the extreme. But as the carefully-told tale unwound, and the audience settled into the clotting-blood flow, the film gradually got better and better. A modern-times crowd might be too desensitised by the high event-count of the present day televisual box set experience, where every moment features a shock revelation, or a sudden orgy of emotional or physical excess. The dimness flashed into Sicilian colours for the second half, and Michael Pacino began to fully surpass Marlon Corleone in ruthless body-counting. The Camerata weren't even massively noticeable. That's how good their interpretation of this classic Nino Rota music was, seamlessly inhabiting the dramatic subjectivity. The early wedding ceremony scene gave the opportunity for folk dances, heavy on the basses and percussion, with the orchestral swellings perfectly cued throughout, the themes mostly acting as a reflective, tension-releasing facilitator, following a bout of near-silent drama. So, mostly, the players were not in competition with the dialogue, their true potency revealed during these thematic swellings. We await the MCO's interpretation of The Godfather: Part II with keen anticipation!

The Gloaming
Symphony Hall
September 25, 2016

As with most traditional folk bands, The Gloaming enjoy stringing two or three tunes together, but their difference is that these are often original compositions, and are also stretched out for an extended development, slowed, savoured and sliding through several movements. This isn't a riotous, friction-filled session, as these mostly Irish players possess the delicate grace of the classical chamber group, their two fiddles criss-crossing lines with faint harmonies and seamless softness. This is to The Gloaming's advantage, making them stand out alone in this field. The two fiddlers are Caoimhín O Raghallaigh and Martin Hayes, the latter famed for his duo work with Chicagoan guitarist Dennis Cahill, who is also a band member. New York pianist Thomas Bartlett (also known as Doveman) and Irish singer Iarla O Lionáird complete the line-up, the latter sometimes playing harmonium. The Yorkshire composer Gavin Bryars has written several pieces for O Lionáird (who specialises in the delicately haunting sean-nós style) and he was present in the audience. O Lionáird delivered several songs a capella, deepening the atmosphere, but continuing the same concentrated feel. The fiddlers will also work together for stretches, before being joined by the remaining players. All of these permutations added to the varied dynamics of a set that hovered around the 100 minute mark. Towards the finish, "Song 44" provided a particular highlight, with Bartlett gently hammering his keys, the other hand lost under the piano lid, O Lionáird making a rhythmically enunciated vocal progress, whilst the fiddles sung along in melancholy sympathy.

Kirk Fletcher
Tower Of Song
September 26, 2016


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Adam Rogers' Dice Trio at Hong Kong Arts Center" Live Reviews Adam Rogers' Dice Trio at Hong Kong Arts Center
by Rob Garratt
Published: May 30, 2018
Read "The NJE at Indo, Whitechapel" Live Reviews The NJE at Indo, Whitechapel
by Gareth Thompson
Published: February 5, 2018
Read "The Dixie Dregs at Scottish Rite Auditorium" Live Reviews The Dixie Dregs at Scottish Rite Auditorium
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Kerava Jazz 2018" Live Reviews Kerava Jazz 2018
by Anthony Shaw
Published: June 1, 2018
Read "WDR 3 Jazzfest 2018" Live Reviews WDR 3 Jazzfest 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "Detroit Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018