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Bebop Spoken There

Artie Shaw: “I'm not interested in giving people what they want--I'm interested in making music.” – (DownBeat October 15, 1939).

Jason Marsalis: “There's so many places that this music can go and there's a lot yet to be discovered.'” – (DownBeat April 2018)

Today Sunday March 18


Musicians Unlimited - Park Inn, Park Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Tel: 01429 233126. 12 noon. Free.

Jason Isaacs & the Ambassadors of Swing - Hoochie Coochie, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. 5:30pm (doors 4:00pm). £16.00.

Revolutionaires - Tyne Bar, Maling St, Newcastle NE6 1LP. 3pm. Free.

Somethin’ Blue - Vesuvio, 3a Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RL. 5:00pm. Tel: 01325 788564. Matt Case (saxophone) & Mike Hepple (guitar).


POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER! Zoë Gilby Quartet - Black Bull, Bridge Street, Blaydon NE21 4JJ. 8:00pm. £5.00. Rescheduled August 19.

Alter Ego - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £5.00.

Bradley Johnston - The Fire Station, High Street West, Sunderland SR1 3DT. Tel: 0191 594 7241. 6:00pm. Free. New weekly residency.

Gypsy Dave Smith - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

James Birkett & Bradley Johnston @ The Sage Gateshead. Friday August 24

James Birkett & Bradley Johnston (gtrs)
(Review by Russell).
The Sage’s Friday evenings have drawn large numbers to The Concourse. The keen jazz fan and the casual diner have for the most part happily co-existed in an informal, relaxed setting looking out across the Tyne to Newcastle.
In recent weeks the jazz vocalist, the swinging small combo, New Orleans veterans and promising student musicians have offered something for everyone. This week’s session featured jazz guitar. Master musician James Birkett and student protégé Bradley Johnston  delighted an attentive audience with a select set list referencing many of the greats of jazz guitar (and some of the great composers) from the 1920s through to the present day. Biréli Lagrêne, Luiz Bonfa, Lonnie Johnson, Eddie Lang, Django Reinhardt, Dick McDonough, Carl Kress, Pat Metheny…an impressive list of guitar greats. Gentle Rain, Uma Prece, Oleo, In Your Own Sweet Way, Always and Forever, Skating in Central Park, Nuages, Farmer’s Trust, Wave, Chicken a la Swing, Perfect and Spain…numbers made for two great guitarists.
Birkett has been there, done that and he’s got the t-shirt to prove it. The Sage is familiar territory to Dr Birkett, home ground as it were, holding no fears. So what of Bradley Johnston? Performing in front of an expectant crowd would, no doubt, set the pulse racing of many a seasoned pro. Johnston the student showed few signs of nerves let alone stage fright. Technique, tone, volume, time, taste – he’s got it all (Birkett ain’t too shabby either!).
Many north east readers will recall memorable concert appearances on Tyneside from the likes of Barney Kessel, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow, Herb Ellis and a young Biréli Lagrène. Birkett and Johnston stirred memories and evoked the spirit of these great players. Highlights were many; Johnston excelling on Metheny’s Farmer’s Trust, the duo on John Lewis’ beautiful waltz Skating in Central Park and Chick Corea’s test piece Spain. James Birkett works occasionally with fellow guitarist and academic colleague Rod Sinclair in a guitar duo. Their Suite for Two Guitars  is a challenging work. Birkett and Johnston played the last part of the opus. Johnston did Sinclair proud (watch out Rod!). The student guitarist has added another string to his bow (guitar?) – that of composer. The Sage audience heard the world premiere of James’ Waltz. The future is bright for Bradley Johnston, no doubt about it. I’m sure James Birkett will follow Johnston’s developing career with no little pride and I’d wager a bet that in a few short years Sage patrons will take their seats in one of the main halls to hear the headline act…one Bradley Johnston. Next week - Friday 31st – sees the last in the summer season of Concourse gigs. The Henchmen Jazz Sextet will be there to entertain you from 8.00 pm.

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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: I look forward to hearing from you.