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Bebop Spoken There

Wayne Escoffery: "My philosophy is keeping one foot in the past and one foot in the future" - DownBeat March 2018.

Scott Bradlee: “When audiences hear it [Sweet Child O’ Mine] there’s a lightbulb moment when they recognise the song’s hook, even though it’s in a different context. They’re so used to hearing it one way that it causes some cognitive dissonance. If it’s a song they’ve disparaged in the past and they now find themselves liking it, that’s really interesting to me” DownBeat March 2018.

Today Monday February 19

Afternoon.

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The BBC Big Band: Swing Legends @ Middlesbrough Theatre - November 22

(Review by Russell)
The BBC Big Band made a rare visit to the region to play a concert at Middlesbrough Theatre with vocalist Jeff Hooper as special guest. As a full house took its seats a star-studded line-up ambled out onto stage bang on time…professional from beginning to end. The BBC’s Big Band Special is long gone from the Radio 2 schedules but the orchestra continues to defy the odds with a concert diary stretching into next year.
Les Brown’s Leap Frog opened the show and the first, albeit brief, soloist to stand up (there was a lot of standing up and sitting down and standing up as a section and sitting down and…) was Paul Booth on tenor. From these parts, well, slightly further north, Booth no doubt felt quite at home. An enthusiastic MD helps, and trooper Barry Forgie is nothing if not enthusiastic about big bands. The evening’s programme ranged across the great big band years and Forgie was keen to tell how the bands back in the day, or rather the band leaders, made small fortunes playing to packed dances, the next big selling 78 eagerly awaited by their adoring public.

Artie Shaw…Begin the Beguine (rec.1938), looking around the auditorium it appeared that one or two members of the audience could have been there first time around! And, what’s more, a dark, drizzly Middlesbrough November evening wasn’t going keep them at home. The trumpet section’s star man Martin Shaw made his way down to front of stage for a flugelhorn feature on Strayhorn’s  Lush Life. As with most of the band, Shaw was making a 600 miles round trip to play on Teesside, and this kind of made it all worthwhile. MD Forgie reckoned Terry Gibbs’ big band was something special, at this point introducing the BBC Big Band’s ‘secret weapon’ Mr Anthony Kerr. Something up tempo? Try Sweet Georgia Brown.

Time for a song. Welcome Mr Jeff Hooper. You know the routine…suave, debonair, this is Vegas, after all. Mack the Knife. One of life’s mysteries…how do vocalists remember the lyrics of this odd, faintly ridiculous, but ever-popular number? No such problems for Hooper, managing to reference the, by now, swinging BBC Big Band. The band motoring, Hooper didn’t miss a beat. Time to take it down a notch; I’ve Got You Under My Skin with Kieran McLeod’s spot on trombone blast, Nancy with the Laughing Face and more.  

Let’s have some Harry James. Vibes man Kerr featured, as did the killing trumpet section, on The Mole. Then some Tommy Dorsey (Opus One), Jimmie Lunceford (For Dancers Only), MD Forgie asked if we were dancing? Not exactly, more a toe-tapping shuffle. Aye, those were the days!

Hard liquor passed few lips during the interval, more like a hard-living choc ice (what the band got up to backstage is another matter!).

Quincey Jones’ arrangement of For Lena and Lennie for the Basie band reintroduced Anthony Kerr with a muted Martin Shaw featuring once again. A set-piece affair brought tenor men Julian Siegel and Paul Booth to front of stage to slug it out Herman’s Herd style on Hallelujah Time. An absolute blast! Phew! Ding! Ding! Break! Our pugilists returned to their cornermen (reeds’ section) Smiles, a score draw. There’ll be a rematch and when it happens, make sure you’re ringside.*  

The BBC Big Band’s pad is probably as comprehensive as any and MD Barry Forgie plucked from it Mood Indigo featuring the latter day Harry Carney, baritone saxophonist Adrian Wilkinson, and a further beautifully executed trumpet part by Martin Shaw. One O’Clock Jump bounded towards the finishing line with one final blast awaiting. Drummer Tom Gordon, a tower of strength throughout, brought the show to a thunderous close with an extended, exhausting solo on Sing, Sing, Sing.          Russell    
                      
*The BBC Big Band will be in concert at Darlington Hippodrome (formerly Darlington Civic Theatre)  on April 10th next year. There is no guarantee Messrs Siegel and Booth will be there, after all, they are very busy musicians, but you wouldn’t want to miss a rematch, would you? Telephone the box office now: 01325 405405.                 

Barry Forgie MD; Jeff Hooper (vocals); Euan Mayne, Danny Marsden, George ?, Martin Shaw (trumpets); Kieran McLeod, Liam Kirkman, Ashley Horton, Peter North (trombones); Julian Siegel, Paul Booth, Alan Barnes, Steve ?, Adrian Wilkinson (reeds); Anthony Kerr (vibes); Robin Aspland (piano); Nick Walsh (double bass); Tom Gordon (drums).  


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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.
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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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