Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2012: Orange Kellin & Morten Gunnar Larsen

Orange Kellin & Morten Gunnar Larsen, Spiegeltent, Monday July 23rd ****

Rain beating down on the tent’s roof, damp coats, uncomfortable Spiegeltent seats, and two guys onstage who looked like they’d taken a wrong turn en route to a convention for Latin teachers: the early evening jazz festival gig on Monday did not promise to be a joyful affair. But the duo concert featuring the versatile Norwegian pianist Larsen (last heard here last year accompanying a singer on a programme of cabaret songs) and Swedish-born clarinettist Kellin proved to be well worth running the risk of contracting trench foot from the George Square mud.

These musicians are keepers of the flame of early and classic jazz styles and, on Monday, they exhumed tunes from the repertoires of three pioneering jazz men – and made them as fresh and thrilling as they must have been when they were written, in some cases almost a century ago. With their rousing opener, Jelly Roll Morton’s Big Fat Ham, any thought of this music being of purely historic interest went out the tent window; this was thrilling, exhilarating stuff which instantly hooked the audience and kept everyone pinned to their seats for a solid 90 minutes.

With his squawky, authentic New Orleans clarinet sound, Kellin complements Larsen’s delicate, refined piano style perfectly and what was particularly appealing was the fact that each of the musicians had a direct link to one of the other two composers whose work was featured: in the 1970s, Kellin worked with the great trumpeter Jabbo Smith, whose tender ballads I Owe It All To You and Must Be Right; Can’t Be Wrong were highlights, while the young Larsen met the legendary ragtime pianist Eubie Blake at around the same time. In other words, Monday’s audience was three degrees separated from a certain Scott Joplin…

First published in The Herald, Wednesday, July 25th

Programme:

Big Fat Ham

Wild Man Blues

Shreveport Stomp

Absolutely

How Could Cupid Be So Stupid?

I Owe It All To You

Katie Red, Who’s Been Sleepin’ in My Bed?

Love Will Find a Way

Chevy Chase

Must Be Right; Can’t Be Wrong

Bandana Days

You’re Lucky to Me – Memories of You

Frog-i-more

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1 Comment

Filed under Concert reviews

One response to “Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2012: Orange Kellin & Morten Gunnar Larsen

  1. Charles Joseph Worsdale

    Attended the Orange Kellin / M.G.Larsen concert with my brother Frank and was pleasantly delighted at the ‘turn-out’ for the early evening event, which we totally enjoyed and look forward to paying a return visit to the Edinburgh Jazz Festival and elsewhere in the UK!!

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