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Bebop Spoken There

Danny Halperin: "Johnny Griffin is possibly the worst tenor saxophonist who has come to widespread public attention in the past decade." – (Jazz News, March 21, 1962).

Polly Gibbons: “If Billie [Holiday] had come up in the ’60s, she probably would have been a soul singer” – (Down Beat August 2017).

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Today Wednesday August 16

Afternoon
Vieux Carre Jazzmen - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
Maine Street Jazzmen - Tynemouth Metro Station, Station Tce., Tynemouth NE30 4RE. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
New Orleans Jazz at the Village Hall - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Rd., Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.
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Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. £1. 8pm.
Billy's Acoustic Blues - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free (weekly).
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Tees Hot Club - Cleveland Bay, 718 Yarm Rd., Eaglescliffe TS16 0JE. 9pm. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

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.
Furthermore, Baptiste is among the greatest saxophonists this country has ever produced and all of his previous albums are worth checking, particularly his debut, featuring a more uptempo version of Naima. 
A few years back he brought his Let Freedom Ring, commissioned by Cheltenham, to Sage Gateshead but it was poorly attended and this wasn't as well attended as it should have been either; which on both occasions, was their loss.
Introductions out of the way, Living Space opened things up, some echo on his sax, great building from piano and drums, a relentless bass behind until sax came back in blazing.
Dusk Dawn was followed by Ascent from Kulu se Mama, Charles playing bowed, but the sax sounded synthetic, though the electric piano followed by a Hammond sound worked for me, but the synthesizer didn't. I've heard Trane played on synthesizer before and that didn't work either.
Peace on Earth featured just sax and keys before the leader really nailed the Trane sax sound on After the Rain. 
He then invited Steve Williamson, who he described as a major influence, to join him for some tenor madness (my words, not his) on Transition followed by Vigil, some spacey sounds coming from Yeoh, who now seemed to be playing laptop as well, before a lengthy, hard-hitting solo from Baptiste, the effects now working for me, and providing great contrast with Williamson playing his equally fine solo straight. 
Baptiste came back in, the two playing in sync, then weaving in and out with some note perfect interaction bringing the set, and my Cheltenham ‘17 to a resounding close.
There's an album out in June (though I bought it at the festival) and this may be a more accessible way into this difficult, challenging music. This was easily the best of the six gigs I saw over two days at Cheltenham, and probably the only one which will feature in my gigs of the year. He's taking it on tour though sadly not to the North East, but like the albums it's based on, it's essential; sort of.
Steve T

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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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