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Number 22 in World Jazz Blog Rankings

Number 22 in World Jazz Blog Rankings

Bebop Spoken There

Alan Luff: “The general view is that Ella’s songbook recordings are the supreme exemplars of sophistication, fine diction and creative voice in the wide field of popular music.” – (Jazz Journal May 2017).

Steve Voce: “Most of us have been crashed into by cretins who walk along the road absorbed in the screens of their mobile phones.” – (Jazz Journal May 2017).

Today Tuesday May 23

Evening
Davina & the Vagabonds - Sage Gateshead. 8pm. £18.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
Zoe Gilby: Pannonica - The Fox Inn, West End Tce., Hexham NE46 3DB. Free. 9pm.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

RIP Mickey Roker

Mickey Roker died yesterday (May 22). A drum legend, often cited by Dizzy Gillespie as his all-time favourite, recorded and toured with many of the hardbop stars of the 1950s onwards including Duke Pearson, Herbie Hancock, Lee Morgan and many others including Sonny Rollins. As I type I'm listening to Sonny Rollins on Impulse! where Roker spurs the tenorist on on the up tempo numbers and provides a cushion on the ballads.
Sadly, I never got to hear him live.
He was 84. Rest In Peace
Lance.

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Seaton Sluice Social Club - May 21

This gig took me back to the good old days of live jazz when even national bands would play in social clubs
It reminded me of a night in the 1980’s when I’d gone to Seaton Terrace Club in Seaton Delaval to hear Humphrey Lyttleton’s band with South Shields born Kathy Stobart on reeds. (The crap support act was a guy who was a star from New Faces who did impressions of aircraft taking off by blowing into the mic.) It was at this gig that Humph and Kathy did the two clarinet thing, which I thought was a one off and I’ve never seen it done again.

Dulcie May Moreno @ The Globe, May 21

Dulcie May Moreno (vocals); Stephen Bridgland (guitar); Paul Grainger (bass)
(Review by Ann Alex) 
I must say that it’s lovely to be wearing my reviewer’s reins, after recovering from an awful
stomach bug which left me exhausted for about 2 weeks. And this gig was just the job to cheer
me up. The singer and guitarist usually work together as a duo, and they’d just had an hour or so
with Paul before the gig. Ms Moreno said she had a frog in her throat, (didn’t show), but none of this
hindered the band from giving us a thoroughly enjoyable evening, which was also part of the
Late Show events.

Monday, May 22, 2017

London Vocal Project - Jon Hendricks’s Miles Ahead (Kings Place, London N1), Sunday May 21

(Review/Photo by Peter Jones)
The room was swarming with family, friends and admirers, but most of all, singers on Sunday night in the acoustically perfect Hall 1 at London’s Kings Place. Yes, there were more singers than you could shake a tuning fork at. And it seemed as if they all personally knew choirmaster extraordinaire Pete Churchill and his wife Nikki Iles, or had at the very least participated in a vocal workshop at some time with the dynamic, charismatic Churchill. It was, in short, a musical love-fest.
The pianist, composer and arranger has been immersed for seven years in rendering the Gil Evans/Miles Davis Miles Ahead album into vocalese, and performing it with the 23-strong London Vocal Project. In order to achieve this Churchill has crossed the Atlantic a number of times to collaborate with the legend that is Jon Hendricks, helping to add the great man’s lyrics to the themes and solos on that epoch-busting album. Way back in 1957, Hendricks, Dave Lambert and Annie Ross prepared the ground with their Sing a Song of Basie album, an early exercise in multi-tracking, on which all Basie’s instrumental parts were sung rather than played.

CD Review: VEIN - The Chamber Music Effect

Michael Arbenz (piano), Thomas Lähns (bass) & Florian Arbenz (drums & tabla)
(Review by Russell).
VEIN’s new album traverses the history of the jazz piano trio from Bill Evans to the present with a nonchalance that is the preserve of the supremely gifted. An all-original album of eight tracks with  writing credits shared between the musicians (primarily the Arbenz brothers) The Chamber Music Effect  pays homage to the jazz piano trio format and seeks to explore and extend possibilities as jazz moves into its second century.

Alter Ego @ Blaydon Jazz Club - May 21

Keith Robinson (alto saxophone), Niall Armstrong (tenor saxophone & flute), Dave Hignett (trumpet & flugelhorn), Andy Hawking (keyboards), Tony Abell (bass) & David Francis (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Roly Veitch).
You can hang your pork pie hat on some bands - Alter Ego is one of them. An accomplished sextet with a pad of original compositions and smart arrangements of classic material, Alter Ego play gigs for the fun of it with a commendable no nonsense approach. Alto saxophonist Keith Robinson pulls together a set list confident that his band mates will be up to the job with some of them contributing one or two charts which proudly take their place alongside tried and tested numbers. This Blaydon Jazz Club date found the sextet in fine form.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Johnny Hunter Quartet @ the Jazz Café - May 19

Mark Hanslip (tenor sax); Graham South (trumpet); Seth Bennett (bass); Johnny Hunter (drums).
(Review/photos courtesy of Ken Drew). 
Friday night at the Caff with a co-promotion by Jazz North East & the Jazz Cafe - what to expect? Playing all original material by master percussionist Johnny Hunter was something to look forward to, particularly following the reviews from last year’s Manchester Jazz Festival.  Although some regular faces were absent the audience numbers were swelled by many new ones – great to see!  
All tunes felt quite accessible through their interesting compositions and delivery by the band. What a tight band (when needed), interspersed with much free playing, yet always collectively in sync. Most tunes had extended solos from 2 or 3 of the band each time, giving the opportunity to freely develop some space around each tune. I was surprised but pleased to see an extended drum solo in the second piece which provided a perfectly formed segue into the third. There were many fine solos yet no immediate applause for them.  Thankfully the applause at the end of each set showed the true measure of the audience's appreciation, bringing smiles of delight to the band.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

If Only the number 27 stopped on Park Avenue ...

Sorry Daryl, maybe next year! Still, in the meantime, a lot of CDs to listen to. Have a great gig.
Lance.
http://www.newyorker.com/goings-on-about-town/night-life/daryl-sherman-trio-2

Discover Your Alter Ego at Blaydon Jazz Club

The spirit of the Jazz Messengers will descent on the Black Bull, Blaydon tomorrow night (May 21). Blaydon Jazz Club will welcome the return of bop heroes Alter Ego on Sunday evening and it could well be a full house. The best advice is to arrive early to secure a seat. The first set starts at eight o’clock, seats will be snapped up by about seven thirty, so, make the effort to get along in good time. It is a pay on the door gig – a mere fiver – and the Black Bull pub on Bridge Street offers a well-kept pint for the discerning imbiber. On street parking is available adjacent to and opposite the pub, and the nearby Blaydon bus station provides reliable quick links to Newcastle, Gateshead, and west to the Tyne valley. You say your kind of jazz is swing or Dixieland, perhaps the GASbook. Be a devil, let your Alter Ego take you to bop paradise…Sunday 21 May, Black Bull, Blaydon, eight o’clock sharp.   
Russell.

Newcastle Grainger Market Late Shows - May 20

If last year’s Grainger Market Late Shows is anything to go by this year’s event promises to be breaking at its Victorian seams. Every alley was crowded with Late Show attendees shopping, eating pizzas and drinking coffee. Some listened to musicians performing on temporary stages dotted around the Grade I Listed building. This year’s line-up includes Brent and the Brads on Stage 1 playing two sets: 5:30-6:00 and again at 7:00-7:30. Jazz Riot (don’t worry they're not dangerous!) hold court at 7:45 for half an hour, and over on Stage 2 from 6:30-8:00 there is Lindy Jazz Swing Music. 
Russell. 

CD Review: Tom Syson Sextet - Green.

Tom Syson (trumpet); Vittorio Mura (tenor); Ben Lee (guitar); David Ferris (piano); Pete Hutchison (bass); Jonathan Silk (drums) + Lauren Kinsella (vocal on 1 track).
(Review by Lance).
Syson is quite an amazing young trumpet player. A product of the Birmingham Conservatoroire that is currently rolling them out by the dozen, Syson must surely be listed in the 'Most Likely to Succeed' category. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle - May 19

Dean Stockdale (piano), Gavin Barras (double bass) & Adam Dawson (drums)
(Review by Russell).
The welcome return of Dean Stockdale to the Lit & Phil, on this occasion working with the west of the Pennines bass and drums pairing of Gavin Barras and Adam Dawson, presented a first opportunity for Newcastle gig-goers to purchase the pianist's new CD. What's more, this Friday lunchtime concert was recorded for, at the very least, posterity, if not future release.
Adam Dawson's last minute arrival via the always busy M6 and the recording engineer requiring a few minutes to mic-up the kit resulted in the usual one o'clock start being delayed slightly. The published programme of eight numbers actually ended up with nine tunes being played - more of that later.

Frankly Sinatra - Stephen Triffitt @ Sage Gateshead, May 18.

Stephen Triffitt (vocal) + 3 saxes; 2 trumpets; 1 trombone; piano; bass; drums and Suzi Woods (guest vocalist)
(Review by Lance).
Level One of Sage One was 99% full. The faithful had turned out to pay tribute to the late legend as seen through the eyes and voice of the generally acknowledged next best thing.
Stephen Triffitt.
He looks like Old Blue Eyes, moves like him and, most importantly, sounds like him. At times it was uncanny such was the resemblance.
It wasn't the hippest of audiences, even though I'd warrant that a fair percentage of them had had hip replacements in recent years, and many of the Sinatra style quips went over their heads. Nevertheless, one and all seemed to enjoy the music with the big winners being New York New York and Strangers in the Night, oh yes and, natch. My Way.
A choice selection of gassers included Come Fly with me; I've Got the World on a String; Pennies From Heaven; Please be Kind; The Summer Wind; Tender Trap; Witchcraft; Way You Look Tonight; Night and Day and New York New York.
This brought the first set to a close - time for a Jack Daniels.

Strictly Smokin' Big Band at Ushaw College - Friday 26th May 2017

(Press release)
Michael Lamb's Strictly Smokin' Big Band are excited to make their first appearance at Ushaw College as part of Paul Edis' programme of jazz events featuring guest vocalist Jennifer Davies; alongside the band's renowned line up of soloists including Keith Robinson (Alter Ego), Dave Kerridge, Jamie Toms (Not Now Charlie), Paul Gowland, Sue Ferris, Pete Tanton (Riviera Quartet), Kieran Parnaby, Graham Don and Pawel Jedrzejewski.
The audience can look forward to a heady mix of expertly performed big band jazz, including the UK premiere of music written by international trumpeter Gerard Presencer for the Dutch Radio Big Band's recent collaboration with Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts.
For more information and ticket sales visit www.strictly-smokin.co.uk

Ushaw College, DH7 9RH. 7.30pm | Tickets £7

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lickety Split @ The Globe, Newcastle - May 18

Eddie Bellis (trombone), Alan Marshall (alto saxophone), Paul Gowland (tenor saxophone), Kevin Eland (trumpet & flugelhorn), Bradley Johnston (guitar), Alan Rudd (bass) & Paul Wight (drums)
(Review by Russell).
Take it to the Bridge is an institution. Dave Weisser’s weekly ‘workshop’ has been going since the  year dot. From time to time the institution’s leader invites a band to come along and play a set. This week’s guests were fulfilling a twice postponed appearance at the Jazz Co-op’s Globe HQ.
Lickety Split is a no nonsense band. Turn up, play, job done. Band charts depleted due to a thief’s keen ear for something of real value – yes, stolen notes of the musical kind, of much greater value than a swag bag full of five pound notes – didn’t deter Eddie Bellis’ outfit. Minus the band’s absent pianist, Bellis and co were ready for Lift Off! Exhilarating, drilled brass and reeds, an object lesson in dynamics, the ideal calling card. 

JNE: Early Nite + Pete Tantons’ Riviera Quartet @ the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle May 14

Early Nite - Otto Wilberg (bass); Harry Smith (tenor sax); Alexander Tod (drums)
(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew.)
Early Nite are a Manchester based trio who performed a thoroughly entertaining set at The Bridge on Sunday night. Their music is highly frenetic and full of good humour. Think ‘Flight of the bumble bee’ meets Ornette Coleman. The band certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves and their bonhomie translated itself to the audience. Saxophonist Harry Smith was virtually jumping around the stage as he performed whilst Otto Wilberg on bass was both innovative and great to watch, at one point using his bow as a plectrum. Not to be outdone drummer, Alexander Tod, was excellent on drums incorporating various percussive additions to the normal kit to great effect. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CD Review: Samuel Eagles' SPIRIT - Ask Seek Knock

Samuel Eagles (alto); Duncan Eagles (tenor); Ralph Wyld (vibes); Sam Leak (piano); Max Luthert (bass); Dave Hamblett (drums) + Jean Toussaint (tenor on 2 tracks).
(Review by Lance).
SPIRIT's new album - Ask Seek Knock - is a timely reminder that this exciting, innovative band is booked to appear at The Globe, the Jazz Coop HQ, on June 13. It's one to look forward to. Not just for the Brothers Eagles but also for Ralph Wyld who is one of the best vibraphonists around. On a previous visit to The Globe with Samuel Eagles, to say that he impressed would be putting it mildly! Wyld is the business.
This album is the perfect appetiser for the gig - well almost.

Cookin’ @ The Jazz Café - May 16

(Review by Russell)
The superlatives have been exhausted. A regional jam session can’t be this good. People would pay good money to hear Mark Williams, Paul Grainger and Rob Walker. The trio played three or four numbers before guitarist Williams and drummer Rob Walker stood down to allow an endless parade of first rate musicians to sit in. A piano player just turned seventeen, a drummer eighteen, joined by a twenty-ish trumpet-playing university science undergraduate, an early twenties guitar virtuoso…who needs Messrs Williams and Walker? Rumour has it they went for a curry.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

DJAZZ : The Durham City Jazz Festival Friday 2nd – Sunday 4th June

(Press release)
A new festival in Durham will bring together the region’s best jazz musicians with the city’s most intriguing music venues.
From big bands to duos and jam sessions to club nights the festival is a chance to experience jazz in all its forms – in a host of unique settings.
Empty Shop CIC and Durham University Jazz Society have teamed up to put together this eclectic weekend which celebrates the fact that Durham is a city falling ever-more in love with the sounds of jazz!
Featuring more than 25 events taking place across seven different venues the festival has something for everyone and in its first year a weekend ticket is just £10!

Monday, May 15, 2017

CD Review: Quinsin Nachoff's Ethereal Trio

Quinsin Nachoff (tenor); Mark Helias (bass); Dan Weiss (drums).
(Review by Lance).
The releases from Whirlwind Recordings continue apace from either side of the Atlantic. The latest one to arrive at the BSH Head Office overlooking the Tyne and Wear Metro Line features New York based, Canadian born, saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff and is well worth checking out. I wasn't too sure as to how ethereal the trio actual was so I took the easy way out and Googled 'ethereal synonyms'.
Airy, Celestial, Exquisite, Ghostly, Intangible and Sublime were the top answers and the trio ticked all the boxes. Not all the boxes on every track but, over the course of the six pieces, managed to touch down on at least one and occasionally all.

The Jazztones @ The Quakerhouse, Darlington - May14














Shaune Eland (trumpet), Alan Thompson (tenor saxophone), Steve McGarvie (keyboards & soprano saxophone), Alan Smith (bass) & Stephen Fletcher (drums) + Beth Roberts (alto saxophone) & Ted Pearce (keyboards)
(Review by Russell)
Blues for Duane, One Mint Julep, Bernie’s Tune, three gems for starters. The Jazztones returned to play another set at the Quakerhouse, the de facto HQ of the long-running Darlington Jazz Club. The Mechanics’ Yard pub hosts regular gigs – blues, rock, and, twice a month, jazz. A six o’clock start attracts listeners and performers across the age spectrum – teenagers to octogenarians. An illustration of this early evening gig policy presented an established small group (the Jazztones) a been-there-done-that musician invited to sit in (pianist Mr Ted Pearce), and star of the future, Ms Beth Roberts playing alto saxophone.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Philonious Funk @ Jesmond Library - May 13

 (Review by Russell)
The 2017 Jesmond Community Festival includes a couple of student jazz offerings. Later in the month members of Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra return to play a set ranging from swing era standards to bop and beyond. Last night’s jazz concert in Jesmond Library presented a new outfit – new to BSH that is – playing a funk set.
Philonious Funk is a student band from Northumbria University. The former polytechnic doesn’t offer a music degree but what it does have is a group of students playing music for fun and this public performance of two short sets of funk and soul entertained festival-goers in leafy Jesmond on a mild Saturday evening. 

Sue Ferris @ Opus 4, Traveller's Rest, Darlington - May 12

(Report by Russell/photo from BSH archive)
County Durham correspondent Tony Eales has filed a brief report to inform BSH readers that Sue Ferris played a storming gig at last night’s Opus 4 Jazz Club gig at the Traveller’s Rest. The West Auckland Road pub’s upstairs room was well populated as Ferris blew some tremendous tenor (a first set played on a borrowed tenor from the well known reeds man Paul Edis). Ferris made a call to Noel Dennis who readily accepted a dep gig for the otherwise engaged Graham Hardy. Not too shabby a replacement! Paul Smith took the drum chair, Neil Harland, bass and Dr Edis assumed a familiar role – that of pianist, his day job! Second set, having made running repairs, Ferris played her trusty tenor. All in all, another highly successful Darlington jazz gig.
Today (Sunday) at six o’clock Darlington Jazz Club meets in the Quakerhouse with the house band – the Jazztones – playing a few tunes. Recommended.
Russell.         

BLT on video

Ben Lawrence (piano); Alex Shipsey (bass); Dylan Thompson (drums).
Paul Edis kindly sent me these three videos recorded by BLT yesterday afternoon. The musicians, average age 15, are students studying at Sage Gateshead with CAT/Jambone. 
An afternoon productively well-spent I would say!
Lance.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Joy Ellis Quartet @ The Jazz Café - May12

Joy Ellis (piano & vocals), James Kitchman (guitar), Henrik Jensen (double bass) & Adam Osmianski (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Mike Tilley)
This Newcastle Jazz Café date previewing her forthcoming CD Life on Land was a first opportunity for a Tyneside jazz audience to hear singer-songwriter pianist Joy Ellis. The London-based Ellis is fortunate in being able to work with many of the best musicians on the scene. Three of them made the journey north to perform two sets of Ellis’ compositions, some of which feature on her new CD, some yet to have a title. A select gathering on Pink Lane thoroughly enjoyed listening to Ellis and her band – James Kitchman, guitar, Henrik Jensen, double bass, and drummer Adam Osmianski.

CD Review: Polly Gibbons - Is It Me...?

Polly Gibbons (vocals); Tamir Henderson (piano/arr.); James Pearson (piano/arr); Shedrick Mitchell (B3); Graham Dechter (guitar); Kevin Axt (bass); Ray Brinker (drums); Willie Murillo, Vinny Dawson (trumpets); Bob McChesney, Andy Martin (trombones); Bob Sheppard, Brian Scanlon, Keith Bishop, Tom Peterson (reeds).
(Review by Lance).
Steve T suggests that all jazz singers should listen to some soul. Well, I don't know if Steve and Polly are acquainted but the latter is one lady who most certainly has, albeit not to the exclusion of other related genres. Before I'd read the notes my reaction upon hearing several of the tracks was Gladys Knight. Lo and behold, it turns out Gibbons was the support on the 2016 UK tour by Knight and George Benson.
On I Let a Song Go Out of my Heart the influence is Ella but, whether it be Gladys or Ella there's also a whole lot of Polly in there which doesn't mean she does it parrot fashion.

Paul Taylor @ St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle - May 12

This Friday lunchtime performance, one in a regular recital programme at St Nicholas Cathedral, featured Paul Taylor in a set of forty minutes or so playing solo piano improvisations. The recital programme presents artists from far and wide (an organist, a classical guitarist, a soprano voice perhaps), today a musician based in the region expressed his delight at being offered a platform within such imposing surroundings.    
Paul Taylor specialises in solo piano improvisations. Elegant, impressionistic, cascading lines, a confluence of ideas, Taylor seemingly abandoning a line of thought in favour of another before a return to an earlier statement. The audience listened, some with closed eyes, contemplating who knows what? Taylor is a quietly spoken man, his introductory remarks audible to those seated in the pews nearest to the piano situated in the nave. Other audience members sitting several rows behind struggled to hear, but no matter, Taylor’s music spoke for him. At the conclusion of his set Taylor stood up, acknowledged the audience, and walked off with a backward glance at the piano.
A concert performance of quiet, reflective piano playing.
Russell     

Friday, May 12, 2017

BABMUS @ The Jazz Café - May 11

(Review by Russell)
A bumper BABMUS session. Sage Gateshead students’ regular gig at the Jazz Café on Pink Lane took on an extra dimension with the presence of tutors in assessment mode. It’s that time of year… students getting the beers in, partying…sorry, studying late into the night, burning the midnight oil,   future careers at the forefront of their minds. The upstairs room comfortably full, Paul Edis handed an unsuspecting Thomas Dixon MC duties for the evening. Saxophonist Dixon thanked Dr Edis for putting him on the spot…a sink or swim moment!

Last night at the Globe

There were three gigs in Newcastle last night that I'd wanted to go to, but this was the one that most appealed. Sadly, the dreaded lurgi intervened and I could but play the band's recent CD and imagine I was there.
Fortunately, Dave Parker was there and he penned this succinct review on Facebook (Take note Steve T). Lance.
Great gig at The Globe inspired by the music of Fats Waller. I've had my ears opened!
Mark Lewandowski (bass); Lia Noble (piano); Paul Clarvis (drums).

Look! The Broken Doll! The Globe!

(Report by Russell)
Currently on show at the Literary and Philosophical Society on Westgate Road in Newcastle is an ongoing exhibition of photographs from the West Newcastle Picture History Collection. The theme is ‘pubs and clubs’ to be found within a few square miles west of Newcastle city centre. Stretching west of St James’ Boulevard to Scotswood Bridge (within spitting distance of Blaydon Jazz Club!) and north to Stamfordham Road in Westerhope, black and white prints on show in the Lit & Phil’s ground floor exhibition space give an indication of west Newcastle’s once flourishing pub trade.

Visual Jazz – Gina Southgate Exhibition @ the Gallery In the Hills - Saturday 6 May to Sunday 25 June

(Review by Hugh C).
Following up on Dave Clarke's BSH posting with an Art Invite we “headed to the hills” last  Sunday afternoon.  Although we often travel out West along the A69 corridor and to Hadrian's Wall we found ourselves in unfamiliar territory once past Ridley Hall and on the road towards Beltingham and beyond.  The route to the Gallery is well signposted by green fluorescent signs - it does seem further than it looks on the map though!  On arriving at South Barn there is ample parking.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Led Bib @ the Bridge Hotel May 5











Chris Williams, Pete Grogan (alto saxes); Toby McLaren (keyboards); Liran Donin (bass); Mark Holub (drums)
(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).
Led Bib have been frequent visitors to Tyneside ever since JNE supremo Paul Bream heard them playing on a boat in London in 2005 and thought they were worth a punt. I have been lucky enough to see them several time over the years and have always thoroughly enjoyed them.  I reviewed their last gig in Newcastle, at The Jazz Café almost 18 months ago, very positively.  However, on Sunday night the band seemed to have taken a quantum leap such was the quality and level of their performance. I would say it was the best gig I had seen from a British based band in years. The capacity audience, some of whom had travelled from far and wide, seemed to be in agreement. The band always play thumping, raucous, rocking jazz but on Sunday the performance seemed more nuanced, taking us all on a marvellous, uplifting, exhilarating journey.

CD Review: George Colligan - More Powerful

George Colligan (piano); Nicole Glover (tenor/soprano); Linda May Han Oh (bass); Rudy Royston (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Whiffle Ball kicks off this appropriately titled album*. It's a goer! Four musicians with whom I hadn't previously been acquainted with although I should have guessed that anything from the Janisch/Whirlwind stable ain't going to be a gelded selling plater.
Far from it, an unblinkered front runner - a stayer.
Colligan, this is album number 28 for him as leader (where have I been all these years?), plays powerhouse piano, driving, supporting, soloing - a name to reckon with.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Keep an eye out for the Miriam Ast Quintet

Miriam Ast (vocal); James Copus (trumpet); Will Barry (piano); Will Harris (bass); Will Edwards (drums).
Danny Boy, although a longtime fixture in the Great Irish Song Book, is rarely a part of the jazz repertoire and, although I do recall a Ben Webster recording from some years back, it came as somewhat of a surprize to hear it sung in a jazz setting.
London based German vocalist Ast however, after a fairly straight interpretation, takes it on a rollicking ride ‘cross the Mountains of Mourne scatting and improvising like a horn player. Talking of horn players there's some nice trumpet from James Copus.
The other two tracks Miriam sent me are both originals of hers and showcase, not only her compositional capability but also the extent of her vocal range.
There is, I think, a suggestion of contemporary folk in there too.
Apart from Copus’ sympathetic trumpet accompaniment and short solos, Barry provides sound piano backing along with Harris and Edwards.
There is an album in the offing…
Watch this space.
Lance.

Snarky Puppy/House of Waters @ Sage Gateshead, May 3

Chris Bullock, Bob Reynolds  (tenor); Mike “Maz” Maher (trumpet/flugel); Justin Stanton (trumpet/ keyboards); Bill Laurance (keyboards); Chris McQueen (guitar); Michael League (bass); Larnell Lewis (drums); Marcelo Woloski (percussion).
(Review by Hugh C/collage by Lance & Steve T).
The Brooklyn-based collective returned to Gateshead three years after their knockout performance in Sage 2.  The last time they were here, bassist Michael League told us, they had looked admiringly into Sage 1, little knowing that they would be back with a near capacity crowd on levels 1 and 2.
Snarky Puppy's considerable retinue of equipment was already on the stage at the start of the concert.  House of Waters' gear flowed away during the interval.  The stage was set, the house was full and this time the band entered to enthusiastic applause and vocal encouragement.  They proceeded to play a more or less continuous ninety minutes of high octane music, the majority from their latest album, Culcha Vulcha.

Denys Baptiste's The Late Trane @ Pizza Express Stage, Cheltenham Jazz Festival - May 1

Denys Baptiste (sax), Nikki Yeoh (keyboards), Neil Charles (bass), Rod Youngs (drums), + Steve Williamson (sax). 
(Review by Steve T)
I'm not really a fan of late John Coltrane but, according to DSI Russell of the JP, not listening to it is, if not illegal then immoral, and I'm not one to fail to conform to the dominant belief systems of the day. I certainly consider it required listening but maybe only a couple of plays, which I suppose makes me a fan of sorts.
I should probably confess I'm not a great fan of early Trane either, but for a brief time after Giant Steps and before Love Supreme he made some of the greatest music the world has yet heard, which for me puts him second only to Miles in Jazz.

Arun Ghosh @ Family Tent, Cheltenham Jazz Festival - May 1

(Review by Steve T)
With time to kill before an early evening gig I opted for this, even though it was part of the kids program. I've seen him a couple of times and he's great, I'll always listen to a tabla player, the tickets were a bargain and men are just big kids anyway.
I arrived during one of his biggies that I recognised from one of his albums and the previous gigs, the snake charmer playing his clarinet one-handed, waving his other arm in the air. No tabla, but upright bass and kit worked remarkably well through Bird’s Now's the Time.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Paul Edis Sextet @ the Jazz Café - May 5

Paul Edis (piano); Graeme Wilson (tenor/flute); Graham Hardy (trumpet/flugel); Chris Hibbard (trombone); Mick Shoulder (bass); Adam Sinclair (drums).
(Review by Lance).
A Paul Edis gig is never without interest. Whether it be solo piano, duo, trio, sextet or big band there's always something there. It may be a group of youngsters taking their first tentative steps into Planet Jazz or a seasoned bunch of grizzly veterans who've got a wardrobe full of t-shirts; whatever, like Ellington, Edis maps out the charts to fit the crew.
Tonight's crew, A-listers all, did the music proud both individually and collectively. Most of the compositions were originals by the leader, although Graeme and Graham also contributed a couple of their own, to make for two well balanced sets.
The main things I like about the sextet are:
a): Everybody doesn't solo on every number.
b): The soloists don't do marathons.
c): Every number doesn't finish with a meaningless round of fours.
d): Bass solos and drum solos are kept at a minimum which is no reflection on Mick Shoulder and Adam Sinclair who are two of the finest on their respective instruments and appreciated all the more when they do get the nod whilst, at the same time, holding it all together like Gorilla Glue. Strong and stable was Edis' description - strong and stable indeed!

Friday, May 05, 2017

An Evening with Lin Lee Wong @ The Cherry Tree - May 10.

(Press release)
We are very proud to welcome all the way from Malaysia the charming and very talented LIN LEE WONG for one night only. Lin enjoys playing in a number of music genres - jazz being her favourite. She plays a wide repertoire of popular songs including Misty, A Foggy Day, Moon River, Over the Rainbow, Summertime, and many many more.
This is a unique occasion for The Cherry Tree. Don't miss this opportunity to listen to a great pianist. 
Reserve your table now which you may keep for the whole evening. We will be serving our evening menu at our usual prices and there is no additional cover charge.

Doors open at 6:30pm and the concert starts at 7:30pm. 
To reserve a table call 0191 2399924 
or email:info@thecherrytreejesmond.co.uk. 


The Cherry Tree Restaurant,
9 Osborne Rd.,
Jesmond,
Newcastle
NE2 2AE.



From Cullercoats to Copacabana - The Gala Big Band @ The Gala Theatre, Durham.

(Review by Jerry)
I don’t like to see a gig go unreported but I’m currently pressed for time so, apologies to all – this will be brief indeed.
A good crowd at this lovely theatre was entertained by 15 numbers including solo piano – English Country Garden, a quintet take on Satin Doll and vocals on Moondance – with Alex Kennedy, the drummer, at the mic’ while Paul Edis, the MD caressed the drums! Different!
Either side of these variations we had a more typical big band selection with favourites such as The Power of Love, Gershwin’s Embraceable You and the tricky, frenetic Catch as Catch Can, which the band negotiated with aplomb!

Friday Night is Music Night

Tonight, BBC Radio 2 celebrates the legacy of Ella Fitzgerald at 20:00 with a recording of a live 2 hour concert at the Hackney Empire by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Richard Balcombe. Featured singers are Clare Teal, Mica Paris, Louise Marshall and Emma Kershaw. The program also includes some new arrangements by Guy Barker.  
Currently available is a recording from last week's Cheltenham Jazz Festival where Guy Barker's Big Band joined forces with the BBC Concert Orchestra for 'Rhythm and Blues + Jazz = Soul'. 
Thank you Liz for the reminder.
Lance.                

Yazz Ahmed Halfla Band @ Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, April 30.

(Review by Steve T)
With a confession from number one wife, where in the car she'd hidden my phone, time to put my photo-taking skills to the test - steady as a rock, that's the hand I shoot with - and it fell to this fringe venue to salvage a potentially disappointing day at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, not for the first time. The appearance of Snarky Puppy at Sage Gateshead three days later meant I didn't need to worry about a clash in the schedule, but I'd probably have gone for this anyway; I really like her first album - at least most of it - and on the strength of tonight, I'm hopeful her follow-up, due for release this month, will be even better.

Chris Potter Quartet @ Pizza Express Stage, Cheltenham Jazz Festival - April 30.

Chris Potter (saxophones), David Virelles (piano), Joe Martin (bass), Marcus Gilmore (drums).
(Review by Steve T)
Finally got around to buying the Aziza album as preparation for this and was struck, given Chick Corea would be the preceding gig, how it reminded me of Return to Forever. I nearly saw Aziza (Potter, Dave Holland, Lionel Louke and Eric Harland) at London last year and was surprised to be told I saw Potter with Pat Metheny a few years back.
With the education system, private tuition, brilliant educators and more money to pay for them all, it's perfectly possible to produce musicians approximating the calibre of McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison and even Trane. They can make great music but the shock factor of the propulsion into unchartered territory has gone. 

Thursday, May 04, 2017

International Jazz Day @ The Globe - April 30

(Review by Russell).
The Tyne and Wear Metro is an excellent public transport system…when it works. Due to technical issues on Sunday trains weren’t operating between Newcastle and South Shields. BSH’s Editor-in-Chief resides on sunny South Tyneside, consequently his absence from the Jazz Co-op’s big day proved unavoidable. Your reviewer stepped in at short notice in time to catch the six o’clock set by the Customs House Big Band. Ironically, the band’s spiritual home is the Customs House in South Shields – perhaps our Editor-in-Chief could have blagged a lift on the band bus acting as a roadie!

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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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