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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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Kurt Elling & Scottish National Jazz Orchestra - Syntopicon @ Queen's Hall Edinburgh February 22.

(Review by Debra Milne).
This musical project was inspired by the ‘Syntopicon’, a cross referencing index for ‘Great Books of the Western World’ published by Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1952. SNJO director Tommy Smith bought the entire 54 volumes in 1990, and in Kurt Elling he has found the ideal collaborator to explore some of the key themes in the context of jazz. The programme included ideas of knowledge & wisdom, language, good & evil, love & beauty, life and death, with re-workings of pieces from composers including Wayne Shorter, Thelonius Monk, Leonard Bernstein and traditional Scottish music.

The evening opened with ‘Green Chimneys’ a Monk piece representing joy, which Elling embraced with gleeful scatting. He provided lyrics to several numbers, including Vince Mendoza’s ‘Esperanto’ and Wayne Shorter’s ‘Go’. In the latter, the drummer Alyn Cosker’s sinister beating rumba was particularly effective, and presaged an old man’s haunting memories of the loss of his family in the Holocaust. The highlight of the first set was Paul Simon’s ‘American Tune’ (knowledge & wisdom), arranged by the young German Christian Elsasser, and played by the orchestra to great effect with Elling’s soaring vocal.
The second set continued with themes of love, beauty and death, but these pretensions never got in the way of the outstanding delivery of some great arrangements by SNJO. Elling  gave a reprise of ‘A New Body and Soul’ from the Nightmoves album, with a faultless delivery of his extended vocalese of Dexter Gordon’s solo. Initially a duet with Steve Hamilton on piano, then joined by bass and drums, the trio provided contrast to the other pieces, and gave focus to the superb vocal performance. A new arrangement of Bernstein & Sondheim’s ‘Somewhere’ was specially commissioned from Geoffrey Keezer, and was another example of how the different parts of the band were utilised to provide contrast, dynamics and drama. The evening ended on a seriously funky note with John Scofield’s ‘Jeep on 35’, with Elling singing a vocalese with attitude by Nina Clark (‘…got my plan, gonna get me a life…’), and a blistering tenor solo from Tommy Smith. However, the band leader got to show his tender side in his solo in the encore ‘Loch Tay Boat Song’. 
This was the second night of the 3 date Scottish tour, and the performance reflected the depth of understanding that has developed during several collaborations over recent years. Elling plays with many big bands round the world, and rates SNJO as one of the best. Unfortunately the singer is yet to visit north-east England, but SNJO will be venturing south performing at The Sage Jazz Festival on April 6

Debra M.

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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.