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Bebop Spoken There

Ambrose Akinmusire: “I love teaching, and I love the exchange. And I’m starting to accept my role as a mentor. That sounds weird to say. But I can’t avoid the fact that there are younger musicians who are watching me.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Mike Gibbs: “Rehearsals are a chance for players to learn my degree of vagueness.” – (Jazzwise September 2017).

Archives

Today Tuesday September 19

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Black Bull, 98 Front St., East Boldon NE36 0SG. 1pm. Free. 0191 5365127. New residency 2 mins from East Boldon metro.
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Evening
Jam Session - Jazz Café. 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. Free.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

2017 BJA Nominations announced - vote now

The British Jazz Awards are with us once more and the nominations, for this the 31st consecutive year, have been announced. To place your vote, follow the link below. There is, as you will see,  an excellent list of quality musicians in many different fields of jazz. There is also, should you disagree with the nominations, space for your own nomination. You can vote by following the link below (voting closes October 30).
Lance.

Emily Bacon’s Good Time Gang @ The Globe - September 17

Emily Bacon (piano, vocals); Liz Bacon (clarinet); Peter Wright (trumpet); Jeff Milner (trombone, vocals); Sarah Thatcher (banjo, tenor guitar); Spike Kennedy (bass); Paul Bacon (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex)
‘B flat’ said Paul Bacon as I entered the Globe for some lunchtime entertainment. The Old Spinning Wheel In The Parlour was played, good time, danceable, New Orleans music, vintage jazz straight from the jazz history books, but well worth listening to today for its irrepressible tunes and sheer sense of fun. Essay question for music students: ‘Discuss the differences between today’s performance and the bebop style jazz played by the Safe Sextet at the Globe on Thursday.’  Jazz indeed covers a wide spectrum. 

CD Review: Claudia Morris - Here's to Life

Claudia Morris (vocals); Liam Dunachie (piano/keys); Conor Chaplin (bass); David Ingamells (drums); Al Cherry (guitar); Alex Garnett (sax); George Hogg (trumpet/flugel); Laura Stanford, Penny Ainscow, David Lopez (violins 1,2,3); Daisy Spires (viola); Jessica Cox (cello); Claire Finley (backing vocals).
(Review by Lance)
I first encountered Claudia Morris back in 2011 on her album  Twelve O'Clock Tales. I was hooked.
Two years later, Ann Alex was equally impressed with Secret Love - Claudia's Doris Day celebration.
Now, the ball's back in my court with her latest - Here's to Life.
The standard hasn't dipped - far from it! The voice has mellowed, the theatrical approach has lessened without any loss of emotion and there is warmth exuding by the thermload.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Black Notes from The Deep

(Preview by Russell)
Last year Courtney Pine appeared with Zoe Rahman at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival. Sage One’s audience heard Pine playing exclusively bass clarinet. Of late, Jazz Warriors’ alumnus Pine has returned to playing tenor saxophone for the first time in something like ten years. Music to the ears of some jazz fans!
A young Courtney Pine blew some great tenor in a small group format and his forthcoming concert with British soul singer Omar at Sage Gateshead promises, once again, a touch of tenor madness!

Hand to Mouth @ Blaydon Jazz Club - September 17

Lindsay Hannon (vocals) & Bradley Johnston (guitar)
(Review by Russell)
Hand to Mouth – it could be a commentary on the precarious existence of many a jazz club. This Hand to Mouth is Lindsay Hannon and Bradley Johnston. Less than one year ago at Newcastle’s Jazz Café the duo produced a stunning debut performance. They followed up at the Lit and Phil, and now, a Blaydon Jazz Club engagement at the Black Bull.
Ella Fitzgerald recorded a series of late career duet albums with guitarist Joe Pass. Essentially a definitive take on the Great American Songbook (Ella garnered a Grammy award), the material is timeless, and here we are in the early years of the new century with Lindsay and Bradley looking afresh at the cannon. A couple from Take Love Easy (1973) for starters – the title track and Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You? Lindsay’s phrasing and recall of a lyric is nothing short of remarkable; not a lyric sheet in sight and a high stakes playfulness with the words. Bradley has studied online archive footage of the great Joe Pass. To hear the Wearside based guitarist recreate the master guitarist’s signature sound proved to be spellbinding.

You Don’t Know What Drink Is

You don’t know what drink is
Until you’ve learned the meaning of the booze
Until you’ve bought a round you didn’t choose
You don’t know what drink is

You don’t know how lips hurt
Until you’ve drunk and had to pay the cost
Until you’ve flipped your glass and your drink’s lost
You don’t know what drink is

Do you know of a lost weekend?
Friends tell you if you’ll listen
And how lips that taste real ale
Lose their taste for Guinness

You don’t know how eyes burn
For nights spent in the pub and on the street
Until you’ve had a hangover complete
You don’t know what drink is
 Ann Alex

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pocket-sized jazz at a capacity Dun Cow

Bebop Spoken Here’s roving County Durham correspondent Tony Eales reports a full house on Friday (Sept. 15) for a first ever jazz gig at the Dun Cow. The pub on Old Elvet in Durham City offered the Pocket Jazz Orchestra* a gig and it paid off all round. After a slow start the pub filled up with jazz and non-jazz (converts?) fans making it a standing room only affair. The publican could be on to something and the band could well be back. Watch this space! 
Russell. 
*Mark Toomey, alto, Paul Donnelly, guitar, Jeremy McMurray, piano, Peter Ayton, bass.

Berlin Jazz Quartet @ St James’ & St Basil’s Church, Newcastle - September 16*

Ulrich Hübner (tenor saxophone), Max Arsava (piano), Leo Helgert (double bass) & Jonas Sorgenfrei (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Four young music degree students drove from Germany to Tyneside (autobahn, a cross-Channel ferry, motorway) to undertake a tour playing five gigs in five days – two churches, a church hall, a sixth form college, and a recently revived community music venue. Studying at prestigious music conservatoires, members of the quartet had worked together in numerous combinations but it was this short tour that afforded them a first opportunity to perform together as the Berlin Jazz Quartet.
St James’ and St Basil’s Church in the Fenham area of Newcastle is one of many venues utilised by Master Musicians International to facilitate performance opportunities for classical musicians – emerging and established – and this Saturday lunchtime concert featuring the Berlin Jazz Quartet was a new venture. Happily, the event was well supported. Those thinking they were about to hear something like Acker Bilk were in for a surprise!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

CD Review: The Brass Funkeys - Rabble Rouser.

Rob Smith, Matt Letts (trumpets); Tom Green, Vij Prakash (trombones); Dave Robinson (tenor); Rob Slater/John Caddick (sousaphones); Scott Jowett (drums); Chris Brice (percussion) + Jack Banjo Courtney (trumpet on 1 track); Chris Saunders (trombone on 2 tracks).
(Review by Lance).
The jazz brass band marching tradition may have begun in New Orleans at the turn of the last century but it has long since spread far beyond its Louisiana roots. In the northeast of England, the Northern Monkey Brass Band, nee Horndogs, have long been firm favourites. Moving further south, the New York Brass Band are familiar figures in and about Old York whilst, even further south again, London has the Brass Funkeys heard here on this, their second album.

CD Review: Sam Boshnack Quintet - The Nellie Bly Project

Samantha Boshnack (composer, trumpet, vocals); Beth Fleenor (clarinet, bass clarinet); Alex Chadsey (piano, keyboards); Isaac Castillo (upright/electric bass); Max Wood (drums); Valerie Holt, Anne Mathews (vocals tracks 1 and 3); Anne Whitfield (spoken vocals tracks 2 and 4)
(Review by Ann Alex).
Sam Boshnack, a bandleader based in Seattle, works with various ensembles and has been influenced by free jazz, Cuban rhythms and modern jazz. She has at least 4 previous albums to her credit, such as Go To Orange (2013) and Exploding Syndrome (2014). I enjoyed The Nellie Bly Project, which was as I expected from the notes supplied, full of a free jazz feel, lots of repeated riffs and unusual sounds.  In fact I must quote from the blurb in Downbeat ‘...’open voicings, jaunty tempos and buoyant timbral mixes have a friendly monster feel that achieves a bittersweet and elegiac mood of orchestral grandeur.’ 

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Safe Sextet with Debra Milne @ The Globe September 14

Debra Milne (vocals); Don Forbes (trumpet); John Rowland (tenor sax); Steve Summers (various saxes); Joel Brown (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Mark Robertson (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex)
A stonkingly good night of jazz, which could even be an ‘I was there’ occasion for at least 2 reasons:-
Joel Brown, depping for Alan Law, gave a stunning performance on the keys, which made me wonder if he’s lying about his age. His lively, inventive, performance matched that of the other musicians, who must surely be 30 years (ahem!) or so his senior. And we witnessed the first performance of a new tune in the making, as Don gave out scores which were the basis of a tune which played out initially as a slow steady trumpet, with each instrument gradually picking it up and culminating with a slow bass solo. I think Don said it was called Silence and it was somehow connected with John Cage, but Don was giving lots of entertaining chat anyway.

Perpetual Motion Machine + A.S.B.O @ The Bridge Hotel – September 10.


 PMM: Riley Stone-Lonergan & Ben Lowman (saxes); Sam Dunn & Jamie Taylor (guitars); Garry Jackson (bass); Steve Hanley (drums)
A.S.B.O: Adam Sinclair (drums); Ian ‘Dodge’ Paterson (bass); Paul Edis (Moog Bass Synth) + Graham Hardy (trumpet)
 (Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).
After the heady experience of Spirit Farm the previous week it was no surprise that there was standing room only for Jazz North East’s latest offering - last Sunday night’s eclectic double bill at The Bridge.
Perpetual Motion Machine hail from Manchester and have an interesting line up which includes 2 saxes and 2 guitars. Their set comprised of a number of styles: - jazz funk, jazz rock, cinematic jazz and, for the final piece, spoken word. There was some interesting interplay between the dual guitars and saxes which kept one’s attention throughout. I imagine that would they be better heard in a livelier, stand up, venue since the music certainly had a dancy feel to it.

Theatre Review: The Suitcase @ Northern Stage - September 14

(Review by Russell)
Timi and Namhla gather up their few possessions and step off a train. Wide-eyed, a new chapter in their lives is about to begin, village life behind them, life in the big city is their future. Centre stage a simple raised platform functions as a train, later as the Ngobese’s home. Looking for work day after day, Timi strides the stage, knocking on countless doors, to no avail. Pregnant Namla occupies the platform – the couple’s humble abode. Pitso, our storyteller, steps forward, developing the narrative as the on-stage musicians frame the unfolding drama.
The Suitcase is James Ngcobo’s adaptation of a short story written by Es’kia Mphahele. Apartheid South Africa in the fifties, unjust laws, pass books, daily discrimination, yet the story is one of great humour and, initially, hope. Timi, played by Siyabonga Caswell Thwala, is the butt of jokes and the victim of apartheid's ugly ideology. A character wholly good, the audience knows of Timi’s one and only lapse in judgement, yet few would consider criticising his actions. All the characters in the play are likeable sorts, who, to all intents and purposes, are Timi.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Preview: Hand to Mouth - Lindsay Hannon & Bradley Johnston @ Blaydon Jazz Club.


(Photo courtesy of Mike Tilley).
In the centenary year of the birth of the one and only Ella Fitzgerald, Lindsay and Bradley pay tribute to Ella's unsurpassed duets with legendary guitarist Joe Pass. 
Black Bull, Bridge St., Blaydon NE21 4JJ.
Sunday, September 17 - 8pm - £5.00.
Roly

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2017 All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards Nominations Announced

(Press release)


The nominations have today been announced for the 2017 ParliamentaryJazz Awards, Britain’s premier awards for the jazz loving public and fans of the music from both Houses of Parliament.

The nominees include a broad array of jazz talent from the UK jazz scene.
Supported by PizzaExpress Live and sponsored by Peroni the award categories reflect the ever-increasing scope of talent from within the UK’s jazz scene: Jazz Vocalist of the Year; Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year; Jazz Album of the Year; Jazz Ensemble of the Year; Jazz Newcomer of the Year; Jazz Venue of the Year; Jazz Media Award; Jazz Education Award; and the Services to Jazz Award.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September at The Jazz Cafe - from the 1920s to Infinity

(Press release/Fisk/Birkett photo by Lance - Noonan photo courtesy of Ken Drew))
The Jazz Café will be hosting two major events during September: Emma Fisk’s Hot Club Du Nord plus Birkett and Fisk on Friday 15 and Sean Noonan’s Memorable Sticks on Friday 22.
Both Hot Club Du Nord and the duo of Birkett and Fisk are led by the virtuoso jazz violin of Emma Fisk and feature the walking compendium of early jazz guitar styles, James Birkett. The duo recreates the music of Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang, the Italian - American pioneers of hot violin and guitar jazz in the 1920s and 30s. The quartet takes a fresh look at the classic 1930s and 40s Hot Club repertoire of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli who, influenced by Venuti and Lang and, in Django’s case, under the noses of the Nazis, became the first European jazz stars. A welcome return by both bands to The Jazz Café and a treat for connoisseurs of swinging string jazz and lovers of all things vintage. www.hotclubdunord.co.uk

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Suitcase arrives at Northern Stage

Timi and his pregnant wife Namhla leave their rural home for the bright lights of the big city. The
newly married couple hope to make their fortune but the reality of unemployment hits them hard.  One day a desperate Timi makes a life-changing decision when he steals a suitcase left on a bus.  
Written and set in 1950s South Africa, Es’kia Mphahele’s short story The Suitcase is based on a true story and this stage adaptation by directorJames Ngcobo explores the dramatic twists and turns and frightening consequences of Timi’s impulsive action.

The Ushaw Ensemble: St Cuthbert’s Suite and The Sound of Achill @ The Gala Studio, Durham - August 25


(Review by Brian Ebbatson)
The Ushaw Ensemble was put together by Musical Director Paul Edis to perform Paul’s St Cuthbert Suite on the occasion of St Cuthbert’s Day 2016 at Ushaw College and in the Chapel in Durham Cathedral. This was - to my knowledge - only its third public performance.
Paul was somewhat nervous as to how the Durham Gala Lunchtime concert audience would respond to longer compositions, requiring more engagement. However, his two pieces were received with the warmth and appreciation now customary at these concerts. Many in particularly commented on the depth and inventive narrative of the music, as well as its interpretation by the band.

CD Review: Enrico Pieranunzi Trio - Yesterdays.

Enrico Pieranunzi (piano);  Mads Vinding (bass); Alex Riel (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Recorded live in 1997, at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse, and released 20 years later, Yesterdays may seem an appropriate title. However, listening to the Jerome Kern tune of the same name that occupies the first 11:30 of the album, I'd have plumped for Today. The album notes make comparision with Keith Jarrett and maybe there are similarities but, to me, Pieranunzi is much more accessible and he swings. Swings, not in a historical way but in the present time. It may have been recorded 20 years ago but it could have been recorded 20 minutes ago and no one would have known!

Preview: Emily Bacon's Good Time Gang @ The Globe Sunday September 17, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM. New Orleans style traditional jazz

Emily Bacon (vocal); Peter Wright (trumpet); Liz Bacon (clarinet); Jeff Milner (trombone); Sarah Thatcher (banjo/tenor guitar); Spike Kennedy (bass); Paul Bacon (drums).
(Press release)
A special Sunday lunch time trad jazz session (bar food - bacon? - will be available).
Paul and Liz Bacon were formerly known as "The Mississippi Dreamboats". However, time has seen the band evolve and their daughter Emily is now heading up "The Good Time Gang". They are still rooted in the New Orleans style of jazz, surrounding themselves with musicians who are inspired by the Good Time Bands of the 40s, 50s and 60s.
Jeff Milner on trombone is a true exponent of the Jim Robinson style from the George Lewis Band and Liz continues to be inspired by George Lewis. Sarah Thatcher on banjo and tenor guitar works in a great partnership with Spike Kennedy on bass and Paul on the drums, playing the solid beat of the dance halls of New Orleans. Emily's vocal repertoire includes well-known jazz standards, blues and spirituals.
Admission £5 on the door.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Blue in Green

I got in the car yesterday afternoon, put the radio on and what should be playing but JRR and the unmistakeable sound of Grant Green. What a great player with a joyous solo style. The track was Jean De Fleur
Next track was pianist Barry Green (pictured with Emillia Martensson back in 2012 - ed.) in duo with bassist Dave Green! A lovely rendition of I'll be Around. He stayed fairly close to the melody but what a great pianist with an intimate style that really draws you in. I found it quite compelling. I already knew his name but not much about him. Had a look at his website. Some really beautiful playing. Anyone who doesn't already know of this fine UK player might like to check him out. 
Roly

Jazz Café October, 2017, Press Release.

Andersson / Pringle / Banner /Pereira 7th October and Michael Messer’s Mitra at The Jazz Cafe 27th October 2017
The 7th October visit to The Jazz Cafe of Andersson / Pringle / Banner / Pereira marks the third appearance at the venue by the group’s pianist Mark Pringle. He first appeared in September 2015 with his critically acclaimed Moveable Feast Trio (The Independent described Mark at this time as “stupendously talented”) and returned in 2017 in a stunningly good duo with trumpeter Tom Syson.

Virtuoso Jazz Trio @ St George’s URC, Morpeth - September 9


George MacDonald (clarinet), James Birkett (guitar) & Bruce Rollo (double bass)
(Review by Russell)
Heritage Open Days’ weekend happened to coincide with a concert appearance by the Virtuoso Jazz Trio. St George’s Church, standing on the River Wansbeck, participating in the open doors event, temporarily closed its doors to ensure the virtuosi could perform without distraction. A one hour set presented a selection of George MacDonald’s favourite numbers, and his fellow virtuosi,   James Birkett and Bruce Rollo, no doubt share the enthusiasm of the Northern Sinfonia’s former principal clarinetist for a good tune.

Fergus McCreadie Trio @ The Jazz Coop September 9

Fergus McCreadie (piano); Mark Hendry (bass); Graham Costello (drums)
(Review by Steve H). 
What a great night was had by all at the Globe Jazz Bar on Saturday night. This young trio hailing from North of the Border gave a thoroughly uplifting and entertaining performance, delighting the Jazz Coop audience. McCreadie, despite his youth, is a phenomenal piano player - the speed and drive of his playing was at times breathtaking but he was also able to display a soft gentle side when playing a ballad. 

Saturday, September 09, 2017

CD Review: Gareth Lockrane Big Band - Fistfight at the Barndance

(Review by Lance).
I first heard the Gareth Lockrane Big Band at the Spice of Life one heady afternoon at the 2013 London Jazz Festival. I was knocked out then and I'm knocked out now - with an album of this name, how could I not be!?
Fistfight at the Barndance: What a great title for both the album and the opening track!  Inspired by a riff his dad used to blow on harmonica Lockrane has expanded it into a number that does give image to a barn dance brawl with Dickinson, Lockrane and Stanley the ones slugging it out.

Vintage Chart Toppers Returns


Our Man in Hong Kong, trumpet player, bandleader and nostalgic disc jockey, Colin Aitchison returns to the Asian airwaves tomorrow (Sept. 10) with the third series of his popular radio show Vintage Chart Toppers which goes out on RTHK Radio 3 at 8:30am local time which, I think, equates with 00:30am in the UK.
To find out more. follow this link.
Lance.

Friday, September 08, 2017

The London Jazz Players - The News Where You Are (download).

Steve Lodder (piano); Davide Mantovani (bass); Marc Parnell (drums).
(Review by Lance.)
I rarely review singles and downloads and this would have been no exception had it not landed on the doormat in CD form even though it is only available as a download via the usual suspects.
As it only runs to a mere 3.21 mins., and the players are of high standing in the UK jazz scene, I decided to lend an ear. With just over 3 minutes to go, I was lending both ears! This was due to Mantovani's sonorous double bass introduction which struck a chord with me immediately and I sensed that this was going to be 3 minutes and 99p well spent.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Change of policy at Hoochie.

Warren Thomson: Pushing water up hill in Newcastle for live music these days. 2018 re-think for us I'm afraid. 6yrs ago I could sell tickets for up & coming artists. now there is absolutely no chance. Sorry for real musicians it must be a nightmare, unless of course you only play festivals. Our country will deeply regret losing so many smaller live venues.
I was saddened to read the above post from Warren on Facebook re Hoochie Coochie. Saddened but respectful of the decision by a guy who has given his support to many genres, jazz included, in trying to present quality live music in comfortable surroundings in Newcastle town centre. Gregory Porter; Chaka Khan; Courtney Pine; Soweto Kinch; Mica Paris a few of the bigger names. At a local level Strictly Smokin' Big Band; Jason Isaacs; King Bee; Gerry Richardson plus the many up and coming bands given vital exposure at Hoochie.
Warren, I'll raise a glass of London Pride to you and say: May the good times roll (again soon).
Lance.
PS: Tomorrow, Friday, September 8, Vanessa Hayes, lead singer of Incognito who recently appeared at the Royal Albert Hall in the amazing Swing No End Prom concert is at Hoochie - for £8! Clip from 606 Club.

Big Muddy @ Ashington Jazz Club - September 6

Dave Weisser (cornet & vocals), Gordon Brown (alto saxophone & clarinet), John Haylock (baritone saxophone), Nigel Robson (trombone), Lionel Hehir (guitar), Jude Murphy (bass & vocals) & Stu Halliday (drums) + Bob Wade (trumpet)
(Review by Russell)
Ashington Jazz Club has endured tough times, not least declining audiences, yet the spirit remains to continue come what may. The Elephant on Newbiggin Road is a big barn of a place, the upstairs jazz room recently redecorated, just in time to welcome Big Muddy. A potent mix of jazz and blues, funk and rock, the seven piece, fronted by multi instrumentalist Jude Murphy, were to make friends with many here in Ashington thanks to a committed, good time performance.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club - September 6

Bob Wade (trumpet), Jim McBriarty (clarinet & vocals), Lawrence McBriarty (trombone), Brian Bennett (banjo & vocals), Dave Percy (bass) & Fred Thompson (drums & vocals) + Don Armstrong (clarinet & alto saxophone) & Miles Watson (trumpet & vocals)
(Review by Russell)
Who’s Sorry Now? asked Fred Thompson as the Vieux Carré Jazzmen’s regular Wednesday gig at the coast got under way. The audience a few short on numbers, some, perhaps, still on holiday. The Crescent Club on Cullercoats Bay has been hosting jazz sessions for many a year and for some this lunchtime gig is a fixture – same seat, same beer, same cheese toastie. And now’t wrong with that.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Jam Session @ Jazz Café: September 5

Steve Glendinning (guitar); Katy Trigger (bass guitar); Tim Johnston (drums) Plus Paul Gowland (alto sax); Keith Barrett, Francis Tulip (guitar); ? (piano); Matthew Fairhurst, ? (drums); David Gray (trombone) Kath Gowland, Julija Jacenaite (vocals).
(Review by Ann Alex)
My usual folk music Tuesday workshops haven’t yet started, so I was pleased to be able to go to the first Jazz Café Jam of the season. I wasn’t disappointed, although it was a slow start, not many people there before 8. But the house band soon got things swinging with Stella By Starlight, a sweet romantic guitar, then Katy straight in with a bass solo. All Blues followed, with Steve adventurous on the guitar as always, then came another touch of romance with ‘S Wonderful, a tune I haven’t heard in ages, a nice change. The guitar was beautifully crisp for Four, with busy drums and a bass solo, then 4’s.  All The Things You Are and Night And Day (chock, chock went the drums, a sound I love).

CD Review: Nat Steele - Portrait of the Modern Jazz Quartet

Nat Steele (vibes); Gabriel Latchin (piano); Dario Di Lecce (bass); Steve Brown (drums)
(Review by Lance)
Mention MJQ and two contrasting images spring to mind. The early quartet which, I believe begun life as the rhythm section of the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band who, when they left to form what was initially the Milt Jackson Quartet (same initials get it?), breathed a breath of fresh air into 1950's small group modern jazz. Driven originally by bop drummer Kenny Clarke the momentum continued, at least for a while when Connie Kay took over from Clarke.
Fast forward a few years and the music became somewhat more pretentious in keeping with the band's funereal apparel and matching sombre expressions.

Alan Glen Trio @ The Fox Inn - September 5

Alan Glen (piano), John Pope (double bass) & Paul Wight (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Hexham Jazz Club at the Fox Inn. The kind of jazz gig that shouldn’t work but it does. A one room hostelry frequented by locals there to enjoy a quiet pint, a small (old school dimensions) television, sound muted, perched above the bar (Moldova v Wales), the food offer of the traditional variety…a packet of crisps or a bag of salted peanuts. A proper pub.

An easy going publican with a sympathetic ear for jazz, a determined hard core of jazz enthusiasts booking musicians on a monthly basis and that essential element, the belief that someone will turn up. Tonight’s bass player, Mr John Pope, almost didn’t. Turn up, that is. On social media JP posted a comment to the effect that he fancied going to a jam session in Newcastle. The jazz network let it be known that he had an engagement elsewhere…the Fox Inn, Hexham, 8:00pm. JP needs a diary secretary! Hang on a minute! Eight o’clock? Several phone calls later, eight o’clock was confirmed. Jazz gigs at the Fox always start at 9:00pm. The new time, news to some, almost caught out some including the bass player, John Pope. At about ten past eight, the evening’s star attraction, pianist Alan Glen, wondered out loud where JP could be. As if by magic, JP’s green mop top appeared as his bull fiddle led him through the front door. Master pianist Glen sat unperturbed enjoying a pint as drummer Paul Wight greeted JP offering to buy him a drink. JP: I’ll have a pint of beer. Oh, well.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

CD Review: Rudy Smith Quartet - Glass World

Rudy Smith (alto steel pan); Ole Matthiessen (piano); Henrik Dhyrbye (bass); Ole Streenberg (drums); Jesper Løvdal (tenor on 2 tracks); Bjarne Roupe (guitar on 1 track).
(Review by Lance).
A few years back I was part of the horn section of the Chilli Road Band, a band that was predominately a steel band with a few horns. The panners were mainly of school age and, naively, I thought that it was a great way of introducing them to music and, hopefully, eventually, a proper instrument!
Pass the sackcloth and the ashes - steel pans are proper instruments and, in the hands of Rudy Smith who is credited as being the man who transformed them into a jazz instrument, this CD proves it.

Berlin Jazz Quartet on tour!

(Preview by Russell)
The Master Musicians International network has a long history of promoting concerts in numerous venues throughout the north east of England. Concert series primarily focus upon established and emerging classical artists. Autumn 2017 marks something of a departure with a four date tour by a German jazz quartet. Ulrich Hubner, tenor saxophone, Max Arsava, piano, Leo Helgert, bass, and Jonas Sorgenfrei, drums, call themselves the Berlin Jazz Quartet.
Four concerts in four days – one in Durham, one in Newcastle, and two in North Shields – give the gig-goer every opportunity to hear a modern jazz quartet playing standards and, we’re promised, a few original compositions. Details of the performances during September are as follows:


It’s the Dun Cow for the Pocket Jazz Orchestra

Gig goers in the Cleveland area will be familiar with the Pocket Jazz Orchestra. A ‘Jazz and Tapas’ residency at No.60, ARC, Stockton goes from strength to strength (next one Thursday 21) and the orchestra (Mark Toomey, alto, Paul Donnelly, guitar, Jeremy McMurray, piano, Peter Ayton, bass) can be heard at the Dun Cow on Old Elvet in Durham a week on Friday (15th). It’s an eight o’clock start, why not get along and give the night your support? You never know, it could lead to a regular session in Durham
Russell          

Monday, September 04, 2017

The Spirit Farm @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle – September 3

Christophe de Bezenac (alto sax); Adam Fairhall (keyboards); Corey Mwamba (vibes); Anton Hunter (guitar); Dave Kane (bass); Johnny Hunter (drums)
(Review by Steve H/Photo Ken Drew). 
On Sunday night, Jazz North East kicked off their new season and a near capacity crowd were treated to a right old humdinger of a gig. If Newcastle United could make signings like JNE then the Toon would soon be gracing the top of the Premier League.
Spirit Farm are the brainchild of keyboard player Adam Fairhall and the sextet are a kind of Northern based improvisers’ super group hailing from such ‘Northern’ outposts as Leeds, Manchester and Derby. To be honest it took me a few minutes to get into the action as the fairly introspective start took a while to latch on to but once I’d been hooked I was well and truly caught.

Book Review: Serendipity Doo-Dah by Edward Allan Faine.

You know how it works, or rather how it used to work back in the day when the GASbook ruled the airwaves - or do you?
The songwriter, usually a Jewish or a Russian immigrant, writes a catchy melody, adds a lyric (or else knows a guy who has a way with words to form a team) and starts pestering all the music publishers in Tin Pan Alley. Eventually, he succeeds in getting his masterpiece published and before you know it, he's moved from Skid Row to Park Avenue and married an heiress.
Right?
Wrong!
The first thing our young tunesmith discovers is that 9 times out of 10 the moguls who make these decisions don't know a crotchet from a hat check girl!
So how does his/her song get published and become a smash hit?
Luck, fate, happy accident, maybe someone up there had sympathy with our composer.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Walter Becker dies age 67

(By Russell)
The death has been announced of Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker. Becker and Donald Fagen met at college in New York. A move to California marked the beginning of their hugely successful songwriting partnership. Their first album Can't Buy a Thrill (1972) yielded Reelin' in the Years.* 1974's Pretzel Logic produced their biggest hit Rikki Don't Lose That Number and the jazz-influenced duo recruited Wayne Shorter to play on Aja (1977). Becker and Fagen didn't care much for touring and over the years they employed numerous top flight session musicians to record and play occasional concert dates.
Upwards of 40 million album sales must have steered some listeners to the dark side..the jazz world. Donald Fagen said of his Steely Dan co-founder: '...smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter.'  On medical advice, Becker was advised to pull out of concert dates this summer. Walter Becker died September 3.
* The guitar solo on Reelin' in the Years wasn't Becker's, it was played by Elliott Randall.    
Russell

AMBLESIDE DAYS – A celebration of world class contemporary music Thursday August 31 to Sunday September 3, 2017












(An appreciation by Hugh C/Photos - apart from final one - courtesy of Nadja von Massow https://nad.works/

Nestling below Fairfield, where West Coast meets East Coast at the Northern end of Windermere, lies Ambleside, perhaps an unexpected location for a venue boasting world class musicians in the line-up. 
Some thirty-seven years ago, Derek Hook, one-time rock drummer and butcher, first opened Zeffirellis, a compact complex of cinema, vegetarian restaurant and jazz bar.  Over the years Hook has managed to attract a host of jazz luminaries to perform at Zeffirellis, many of whom were represented at the festival.  In 2016 Gwilym Simcock, Mike Walker and Iain Dixon played at Zeffirellis as part of the Lake District Summer Music Festival.  It was following this event that Derek Hook had the idea for a celebration of the best in contemporary music.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Ushaw Jazz Festival. Jazz Lounge. Saturday Night - August 26

(Review by Steve T/Photo courtesy of Brian Ebbatson from a previous gig.)
A few remaining revellers survived a busy day to collapse into the luxurious furniture of the Jazz Lounge. Lord Paul [Edis] led the jam session band of Mick Shoulder on bass and Russ Morgan on drums, playing a couple whilst coaxing musicians to come up and play. Ben Lawrence and Francis Tulip heeded the call on piano and guitar respectively for All the Things You Are and Blue Monk, Tulip, betraying his busy day, pulling up a chair. 
Paul returned to welcome Graeme Wilson, showing stamina after two gigs the previous day and two sets earlier. They went through Just Friends and Love is Here to Stay. 
The two youngsters then returned for Have You Met Miss Jones? but declined the closer - Cherokee.

2017 Proms: Swing No End - BBC4 Sept. 1










(Review by Lance)
Picking up from where I left off during the live Radio 3 broadcast, I continue with BBC 4 and the TV footage.
Compere Clare Teal brought on fellow vocalists Cherise Burnett-Adams and Ben Cipolla who had also been with her earlier this year at GIJF. The Boswell Sisters were invoked with Roll on Mississippi Roll on and now, as they did back in April, Cherise and Ben did her proud. To finish the first set the two big bands combined for a rousing Apple Honey with some fine solos all-round. Alan Barnes on clarinet even looked like Woody Herman! Some amazing trumpet in the ride-out with both drummers pushing themselves to the limit.
It was good to have Boyd Raeburn remembered. Raeburn was as progressive as Kenton and maybe got there a little earlier. Boyd Meets Stravinsky by the Rollins band.

Chris Sharkey Trio/Paul Edis Jazz Workshop @ Ushaw Jazz Festival 2017 - August 27

Chris Sharkey (guitar), Mick Barden (double bass) & Luke Reddin-Williams (drums) + Paul Edis
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Brian Ebbatson)
Earlier this year Chris Sharkey enjoyed an extended residency at Newcastle’s Jazz Café during which he explored classic material recorded in the ’50s and ’60s focusing on the in-the-moment creative impulse. The Gateshead born guitarist decided to continue with the project and concert performances elsewhere were mooted. An early Sunday afternoon set in the Francis Thompson Room at the Ushaw Jazz Festival attracted a ‘Sunday roast and broadsheet newspaper’ crowd.  

CD Review: Will Butterworth Quartet - The Nightingale and the Rose

Will Butterworth (piano); Seb Pipe (alto); Nick Pini (bass); Pete Ibbetson (drums)
(Review by Lance).
It didn't hit me first time round, nor did it on the second and third! Possibly because I hadn't read Oscar Wilde's The Nightingale and the Rose so I wasn't too sure what it was all about.
I googled The Nightingale and the Rose and, lo and behold, the story was there.
This was a whole different ball game.
Reading Wilde's prose and hearing Butterworth's music it all fell into place.
Butterworth has totally captured the essence of Wilde's fantasy. The thrill, the love, the hope, the sadness are all beautifully depicted by the four musicians.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Tom Sharp Jazz Orchestra @ Ushaw Jazz Festival 2017 - August 27

(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of John Cogan)
In 2016 the Leeds-based Tom Sharp Jazz Orchestra walked off with the National Glass Centre-commissioned trophy as winners of the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. The adjudicators at the Sunderland University Students’ Union venue were in no doubt that the quality of the band’s performance was deserving of the coveted title. Eighteen months later Tom Sharp’s tremendous big band closed the 2017 Ushaw Jazz Festival.
Eighteen-strong, the orchestra assembled on the Exhibition Hall stage, stretching from right to left, rhythm section at one end, the five-strong saxophone section at the other. Bandleader Tom Sharp, cutting a debonair figure right out of a ’30s jazz orchestra, appeared business-like, ready to go to work. Sharp’s musicians are the crème de la crème of the burgeoning Leeds jazz scene. The sections boast familiar faces; local County Durham heroes Tom Hill and Will Howard, Ben Lowman (alto) erstwhile sideman to Matt Roberts, and Danny Barley, making a second visit in three days to Ushaw having proved a more than able trombone dep for Chris Hibbard with the Paul Edis Sextet.

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About this blog - contact details.

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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