Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia Live ‘05: Theaterhaus Stuttgart, 15th November 2005

This review was published on: January 31st 2015
Barbara Thompson 
Paraphernalia Live ’05 (DVD)
Review by William Upton 

This DVD is a major addition to Thompson’s legacy. Her struggle with Parkinson’s disease led to a recent decision to retire from live performance for the foreseeable future. This is a strong release in its own right and confirms that her energy and drive will be sorely missed on the live music scene. The unlikely frontline combination of saxophone, violin and synthesisers is redolent of late Steps Ahead and the group swings from Django Reinhardt inspired trad jazz to reeling folk music with ease. Although Thompson is the star of the show violinist Bill Thompson is the perfect foil, contrasting her gritty solos with virtuosity and finesse. The footage is traditionally produced allowing the music to do the talking but the simultaneous use of multiple camera angles cleverly reflects the interaction between these musicians. The DVD communicates Thompson’s stage presence and Paraphernalia’s obvious camaraderie in a way that would be lost on CD. The set is drawn largely from her album Never Say Goodbye, and takes off when Andy Scott and Rob Buckland make a cameo appearance in On the Wings of a Prayer. As if to remind us that Paraphernalia can rock with the best Jon Hiseman is almost invisible, although not inaudible, driving the music from behind a fortress of cymbals and drums.

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The Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No. 3010228, whose registered office is at Flat 51, Parkview Apartments, 122 Chrisp Street, London, E14 6ET. Email: membership(@) Tel: 01642 769 558

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