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Bebop Spoken There

Michelle Coltrane: "It was Geri Allen who told me, 'Why don't you work with a guitar player? It's a lot easier. They're mobile, all the pianos are out of tune'" - DownBeat March 2018.

Verneri Pohjola: “I've been trying to get away from being 'a young and promising trumpet player' for over twenty years” DownBeat March 2018.

Today Friday February 23

Afternoon

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Dock in Absolute - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 9:00pm. £10.00. (£8.00 concessions).

James Taylor Quartet - Hoochie Coochie, 54 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. £16.00. Doors 7pm.

Bullfrog Blues Band - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

Crooners - Forum Theatre, Queensway, Billingham, Stockton on Tees TS23 2LJ. Tel: 01642 552663. 7:30pm. £20.00. Touring comedy Rat Pack production with Chris Hibbard’s nine piece Mini Big Band.

King Bees - Magnesia Bank, Camden Street, North Shields NE30 1NH. 9:00pm. Free.

Shamans Jazz Quartet + Collective Folamour - The Hearth, Main Road, Horsley NE15 0NT. Tel: 01661 853563. 7:30pm. £5.00.

Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7pm.

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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Jazz Extravaganza

(Review by JC/ Photo by Ken Drew.)
From the little I understand about quantum mechanics, apparently a quantum particle can be in two places at the same time. This would have been a useful special power to have in order to get the most out of the feast of musical delights offered by the JNE and Splinter Jazz Extravaganza. For by having simultaneous sessions in two venues listeners were presented with multiple choices, not to say dilemmas, on an hourly basis: to hear top local musicians in an array of diverse combinations or new names from outside the region (plus mystery guests!).
And what a wonderful extravagance it was to have two jazz venues, within a trumpet's blast of each other, packed full of top musicians, going on at the same time.
Having memories of a storming gig a while back at the Corner House I decided to start with the Spillett/Anderson/ Edis Trio at the Jazz Cafe.  Unfortunately Simon Spillett was unwell but even though they were new playing acquaintances, Matt Anderson and the Trio quickly got into a groove and played a very good set.
Next up was the 8pm Corey Mwamba's Improv Mashup at the Bridge which was previewed as 'two hours of different combinations and permutations, some pre-determined, others spontaneously evolving' and added intriguingly 'Nothing is certain...' I wasn't quite clear what a 'mashup' involved but it was starting to sound like a musical version of the Uncertainty Principle. Arriving at the Bridge the room was nicely crowded and it became clear that Corey Mwamba was the conductor for this session. He outlined what was going to happen which might be summarised as in the first part various musicians will go on and off the stage, while in the second part everyone will be on stage together - straightforward enough, you might think.
However, then began fifty minutes of an extraordinarily fascinating musical experience expertly choreographed by Mwamba like an old-fashioned traffic policeman at a busy intersection. With a wave of his hand a musician would appear from the audience while another would slip away again, another wave and some instruments would play and others would stop. The ebb and flow of musicians and the sounds they produced created a striking visual effect which added to the performance. Since I didn't know most of them it was impossible to keep track of all the musicians or how many there were but there was some exquisite vocalising from the female singer who produced an extravagant array of sounds, some of which were echoed and added to by the guitarist and other instruments. Andy Champion explored all parts of his double bass as a source of music and a variety of saxophones joined in, as well as a classical looking instrument I didn't quite recognise (a bassoon, maybe), and much more besides. Corey Mwamba himself caressed sweet sounds out of the vibes with his fingers, leaving the mallets to the second vibes player.  A stunning session to hear and experience live.
Of course, at a session like this it is always a challenge to know exactly what is part of the performance and what is a casual accident. Clearly the two minutes the pianist played on the unplugged electric keyboard was a humorous nod to many such scenes in silent movies and the singer's kick to knock over the microphone seemed like a post-punk reference. On the other hand, when Corey Mwamba bent right over his vibes and started waving his hands in amongst the pipes underneath he had obviously dropped something important.
An extra bonus at the Bridge was the stall selling books and CDs and I picked up a book on Chet Baker while my friend bought a John Lee Hooker box set, a man who had no doubt been involved in the odd mashup himself in his time.
Although there was to be more 'mashing', it was time to head out into the night back to the Jazz Cafe for the 9pm slot. There had been a little bit of a time overrun and the 8 o'clock band were still playing, so we got a taste of the two sax pairing of the Jonathan Silk Quintet - very tasty it was too. This meant that the length of the final set by Paul Edis and guests was a little bit constrained. Because we were at the back of the room and the place was still full (is it my imagination or is the new bar counter quite large?) I couldn't hear the names of who exactly was playing along with Paul but they produced some tight and sparky playing and ended on a jazz-funk note to loud applause. A great finish to a terrific day. Huge appreciation is due to all of the organisers and the musicians who made it possible.
JC

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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: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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