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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

Archives

Today Sunday September 24

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Day three of three.
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Afternoon.
More Jam - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 3pm. Free.
Ian Harrington (solo piano) - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 12:30pm. Free.
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Mick Shoulder's Swing Manouche - Claypath Delicatessen, Durham DH1 1QS. 0191 3407209. 4pm. £5.
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Blues @ The Bay - Tanner Smith's, 17-19 South Parade, Whitley Bay NE26 2RE, 0191 2525941. 4pm. Blues Jam w. Scott Wall & Charlie Philp.
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Musicians Unlimited - Park Hotel, Park Rd., Hartlepool TS26 9HU. 01249 233126.1pm. Free.
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Jazz Tones - Quakerhouse, Mechanics' Yard, Darlington DL3 7QF. 6pm. £4.
Somethin' Blue - Vesuvio, 3a Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RL. 01325 788564. 5pm. Weekly.
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Evening
The Blueswater - Cluny, Lime St., Newcastle NE1 2PQ 0191 2304474. Doors 7pm. £7.
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Chris Martin - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 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, August 13, 2017

CD Review: Tom Millar Quartet - Unnatural Events

Tom Millar (piano); Alex Munk (guitar/electric sitar on title track)); Misha Mullov-Abbado (bass); Mike Clowes (drums) + Alice Zawadski (voice on 2 tracks)
(Review by Lance).
Millar, born in Sydney, raised in London, read music at Cambridge, graduated with a master's from RAM and studied with Django Bates in Switzerland before recording this, his debut CD, in Wales. Not a man to let the grass grow under his feet! Fortunately, this, seemingly perpetual motion, is reflected in his playing and in his compositions which are all inspired by people and places that have been important to him.
Azura Days has Millar and MM-A providing extra rhythm behind Munk by way of some egg shaking. Clowes thumps the tubs behind Millar's solo and the whole is suggestive of JSB after a few Brandenburgs and Kronenbourgs although, in actual fact, it was inspired by a trip around the Mediterranean.

The Seafarer is reflective and evocative of the changing tides and undercurrents the seafarer faces in uncharted waters. One senses there may be a storm brewing. The music, like the sea, becomes choppy and I began to think of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The Seafarer survives and all is peaceful and tranquil when he eventually drops anchor.
Unnatural Events. There just happened to be an electric sitar lying around the studio - well there would be wouldn't there (in Wales)? and Munk uses it most effectively.
The Power Chord Thing is just that! Power chording from Millar, Munk and Misha with Clowes digging his own escape route in case he needs it - he doesn't!
Choro, the first of Zawadski's two vocal appearances is wordless but not tuneless. Alice displays a horn-like quality, blending into the head before the others take over the solo slots. It's an ethereal exploration that gradually fades.
Inversnaid, a poem by Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89), has a Cleo/Norma-like interpretation and Alice can hold her head aloft in that company. Hopkins may not have imagined this version but, as Alice points out in the notes, it gave her an environmentalist message and its beautiful natural imagery seemed particularly apt in our current age where man-made global warming is transforming life on our planet - even within our (well hers) lifespan.
Woad: No explanation given - maybe it's to do with tattoos or face-painting or just good old Friday night warpaint. Whatever, it's my favourite track on the album - a hard fought accolade on a disc that has few, if any, drops in excellence. All four musicians seem to be moving in different directions but you know they'll be together in the end.
Park Hill: Is this rather beautiful and soulful ballad really based on the infamous Sheffield Council Estate or is there another Park Hill? Pursuing the question, I find the once notorious flats are being given a makeover so maybe this is reflected here. Certainly, come the conclusion, the mood is pastoral and augurs well for the future.
The album is due for release on Sept. 15 on the Spark Label and the quartet (with Dave Storey on drums) tour from Sept. 7 starting at Matt & Phreds in Manchester and ending up on November 15 at the Green Note in Camden as part of the EFG Festival. They miss out Sheffield so maybe it is a different Park Hill?
Lance.

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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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