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2010 Festival Shorts – A Night in awe of the Duane Andrews Quintet

July 23, 2010

By Justin Ried

On Thursday night (July 15) the Duane Andrews Quartet made their contribution to this year’s Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival at the Masonic Temple. Duane and his band lead the audience through a spine-tingling experience with their own take on many Django Reinhardt tunes, manouche infused traditional folk songs, as well as some of their own breathtaking compositions.

The atmosphere of the night was similar to that of a traditional Newfoundland kitchen party rather than just a performance given by four strangers. With Duane’s parents, brother, wife and child in attendance it gave the vibe similar to that of a house party, where Duane, Steve, Pat, and Dave where merely entertaining their guests rather than performing for an audience, eliminating the feeling of distance between musician and listener. Not only did Duane provide his audience with his mesmerizing gypsy jazz, but he also captivated them between songs with short stories and brief history on the tunes played. The stories seemed to continue after he had finished speaking and began playing his guitar almost as if the song was a continuation of the words he spoke, making for not only a remarkable musical performance, but a wonderfully entertaining evening as well.

What added to the enjoyment of the performance was the chemistry between the band members that was strikingly evident throughout the show. Steve Hussy, on rhythm guitar would often look back and forth between the audience and Duane and couldn’t help but flash an occasional smirk, displaying how much fun he was having providing the backbone for such a substantial ensemble, despite filling the role for as long as he has. Also adding to the personality of the quartet’s performance was Dave Rowe, who would occasionally crane his neck over his double bass to catch a glimpse of Duane to follow his lead, each time looking on with a huge smile on his face looking as though he was experiencing something new and wonderful with each note being played. Completing the bands persona was Patrick Boyle who sat still, looking as if he were listening to the music very intently until it reached the trumpet section when he would take a deep breath and work his magic, playing the tunes with dizzying solos or smooth sounds with his muted trumpet, rounding out the entire performance.

As the night progressed there was evidence of the bands energy spilling into the room as the crowd began to take on a life of its own with heads nodding, bodies swaying, and feet tapping everywhere you looked. With their brilliant performance and their contagious energy, the Duane Andrews Quartet made for an amazing evening and a colourful piece of this year’s Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival.

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