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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.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Zoe Gilby & Andy Champion @ The Jazz Cafe - August 4

Zoe Gilby (vocals) & Andy Champion (double bass).
(Review by JC/Photos  from archives courtesy of Mike Tilley .)
I very rarely come into the centre of Newcastle at weekends except to go to a jazz gig, usually at the Jazz Cafe, as it is often a slightly alarming experience. In the old days jazz used be wild music associated with illicit substances and unbridled sexual licence and decent law abiding citizens would not be associated with it. Now it's the other way round with the Jazz Cafe being a haven of tranquillity and sensible shoes with the drugs and sex mostly just in the songs, while outside in the city centre the streets around are like something out of one of Fellini's films. Noisy gangs of young men and equally voluble groups of young women fill the pavements and the roads. No children or families, of course, or anyone over 30 - except for a solitary jazz fan in appropriate footwear heading swiftly for Pink Lane.
However, that doesn't mean that the music in the Cafe is not edgy and passionate - it is - and the Gilby-Champion duo were in great form. I've always been a big fan of this duo format because of the instinctive interplay between the two performers and the opportunity it gives Zoe Gilby to display her vocal improvisational skills and subtle lyrical interpretations of well-chosen songs and Andy Champion to foreground all the possibilities of his double bass.
I arrived a little after the first set began and the duo were well into Nice Work If You Can Get It. with Andy Champion in full flow on his bass solo. As I was enjoying the music I wasn't really keeping a list of the order of the songs but some of the ones that stood out were the Monk tunes, Straight, No Chaser, imbibed at a breakneck pace and Well, You Needn't sung with all the sharp, staccato twists and turns of Monk's piano-playing.
As well as including classic jazz songs, their repertoire has always been diverse and quirky picking out tracks that have something special about them by modern songwriters - Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Pink Floyd and more. Tonight it was particularly sinister versions of Nick Cave's Red Right Hand and Tom Waits Way Down in the Hole with the close interplay of voice and bass creating an edgy atmosphere. Maybe a disguised Donald Trump was in the audience as he pinched a quote from the Waits' song in his threats to North Korea a few days later 'He's got the fire and fury/at his command'. Kate Bush's mysterious Kashka from Baghdad, who seems to be having a good time behind closed doors, got the full range of Gilby's vocal ability and a beautiful rendition of Weaver of Dreams changed the pace. The duo's set included two new additions to the repertoire, both connected to the great but enigmatic singer, Nick Drake, who died at the early age of 26. The first was John Martyn's Solid Air, a song written for Drake, which seems to capture his troubled life. They finished with Drake's own Riverman and both Gilby and Champion gave it an intense treatment with Gilby really drawing out the emotion of the lyrics. This rounded off a fantastic gig with both performers demonstrating their dexterous versatility with a great selection of songs, changing tempo and tone, improvising and embellishing at will. All those lucky people who have tickets for their performance at Ilkley Jazz Festival are in for a treat!
Then it was  back out onto the streets, the whole scene looking even more surreal than before. A group of women emerged from a bar wearing pink bunny ears and one was carrying a life-size inflatable doll - was that her prize or her punishment? I went quickly on....
JC

1 comment :

  1. Fabulous gig by two top drawer musicians wonderful material

    ReplyDelete

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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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