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Bebop Spoken There

Frank Zappa: "There was so much acid during the '60s that it was very easy for large numbers of people to think they had seen God as soon as the Beatles went boom, boom, boom, you know?." - (DownBeat May 18, 1978). – (DownBeat May 18, 1978).

Ryan Keberle: “Don't be easy on yourself when it comes to playing with perfect intonation. All other instruments will be playing with close-to-perfect intonation; the same should be expected of trombonists.'” – (DownBeat April 2018)

Today Friday March 23


Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.


Jiannis Pavlidis Trio - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 9:00pm. £8.00. (£6.00. advance).

Hookahs - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

Five Men No Dog - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling Street, Gateshead NE8 2BA. 8:00pm (doors 7:00pm). A ‘jar on the bar’ admission event.

Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7pm.

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

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Northern Monkey Brass Band @ Billy Bootleggers - Feb 13

Graham Hardy (trumpet); Ben Chinnery (trumpet); Jamie Toms (tenor saxophone); Mark Ferris (trombone); Jason Holcomb (trombone); Adam Sinclair (snare drum); Brendan Murphy (bass drum) & Phil Rosier (tuba)
(Review by Russell).
A first Mardi Gras at Billy Bootleggers. Who to invite to the party? The Northern Monkey Brass Band, that’s who! Graham Hardy’s New Orleans-inspired eight-piece band is the go-to outfit on occasions like this. The horn players bring little baggage with them, Phil Rosier slings his tuba over one shoulder and the rhythms boys – Adam Sinclair and Brendan Murphy – split the kit in half making it an easy-in, easy-out gig.
Billed as ‘Billy’s Fat Tuesday Spectacular Mardi Gras Special’ the Nelson Street venue, with its one room, low ceiling, low-level lighting set-up is ideal in helping create an atmosphere and the Northern Monkeys set about having a party. From the start, it was clear that some patrons were hearing the band for the first time but it wasn’t long before they were whooping and hollering.

The A-Team to Flash Gordon, the Northern Monkeys had a blast. The many smiling faces were evidence that people ‘got’ what the band is about – familiar, non-jazz tunes given a New Awlins’ twist. The musicianship of the highest order, The Sly Capuchin featured the amazing trombone playing of Jason Holcomb. In the absence of David Gray, the ex-pat American blew big and bold and Billy Bootleggers’ Mardi Gras crowd loved it. Bandleader Graham Hardy soloed on Attitude, later going walkabout blowing up a storm as the rhythm section stirred up a mighty tasty gumbo.

Jason Holcomb’s Herculean efforts were matched by fellow ’bone man Mark Ferris on the New Orleans’ staple Iko Iko and it is highly likely that he’ll be in the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band’s ’bone section on Saturday evening at the band’s eagerly anticipated  Alphabetti Theatre gig with guest star Paul Booth. The tune with no name is just that (suggestions to Graham Hardy c/o Northern Monkey Brass Band), and the lack of a moniker is no reason not to play it so they did. Tuba man Phil Rosier always gets a solo spot and he went way down low and way up high on Funky Pie. A fist-pumping Rosier indicated our man reached the spot not once but twice – low then high.

Two sets of Louisiana-inspired tunes, an American Shipyard beer, the tempting aroma of Billy’s own recipe gumbo, this was a deeply funky Mardi Gras down on Nelson Street. Encore won, the Jackson 5’s I Want You Back closed the show. Could this become an annual Mardi Gras booking for the Northern Monkey Brass Band? Watch this space.   

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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.
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: I look forward to hearing from you.