A packed house was treated to an evening of musical dexterity and improvisational alacrity by violinist Chris Garrick and pianist David Gordon known together as Paper Jam, promoted by Shropshire Music Trust at Wem Town Hall.
Peter Gabriel, The Beatles, Cole Porter and George Shearing were among the many legendary composers that featured in their repertoire as well as contributions by other composers from The Great American Song Book such as George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.
Several South American melodies were featured which contained an array of percussive sound effects played on the body of the violin or by dampening the strings of the piano. My particular favourite was the “Waltz For Young Children” which included David singing subliminal “la-las” along with the melody whilst Chris tapped out Latin American rhythms on the soundboard of his violin. These melodies also featured the introduction of the “Melodica” played by David with his right hand, whilst accompanying himself on the piano with his left hand!
Chris paid a special tribute to his tutor and mentor Johnny Van Derrick by playing his arrangement of “Here, There and Everywhere” by Lennon and McCartney that provided us with a reflective moment in the concert.
David featured one of his own compositions “English Isobars” which I thought to be much in the style of Dave Grusin given the chordal patterns and harmonic structure of the work.
The more progressive of the audience were treated to some avant-garde moments such as the haunting version of “The Coventry Carol” and an excellent, though bizarre rendition of “Summertime” involving the use of stretched twine to create some unusual and humorous effects.
The two maestros finished the evening by paying homage to Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt with their rendition of Gershwin’s “Lady Be Good”-now this really was a show-stopper!
The entire concert was performed from memory and Paper Jam provided a wonderfully eclectic mix of both well-known and original contributions. Their improvisational skills were exceptional and the musical understanding between the two musicians was quite uncanny considering they do not play as a duo that often, and it was abundantly clear that they thoroughly enjoyed the musical interplay between themselves, as indeed did the audience!
Michael McDermott 7.2.20