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Bebop Spoken There

Jackie McLean: “I can't understand British audiences. In Britain there doesn't seem to be any curiosity." (Melody Maker, April 1, 1961).

Charles Mingus: "It seems to me that if our records were not issued in Britain, the British cats would have to think for themselves" (Jazz News, July 26th 1961)

Archives.

Today Tuesday July 25

Evening
Misha Mullov-Abbado Sextet - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane NE25 5DW. 8pm. £10 & £8. JNE gig.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
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Maine Street Jazzmen - Royal British Legion Club, West Jesmond Ave., Newcastle NE2 3EX. 8:30pm. £5.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Monday, December 21, 2015

CD Review: The Count Basie Orchestra – A Very Swinging Christmas (Concord Jazz CJA-38450-02)

(Review by Peter Bevan)
This CD arrived too late for my regular CD review column in the Northern Echo but I think it’s well worth a plug here.
Normally I’m pretty averse to Christmas albums, jazz or otherwise, and long running tribute bands normally start to fade after a while, but this made me think again.
It’s 80 years since the original Count Basie Orchestra was launched and it’s been 30ish since this revival band was formed.
Scotty Barnhart, a member of the trumpet section for 20 years, was appointed director a year or two ago and judging by this he has revitalised the band.
What also helps is that veteran arranger Sammy Nestico, now 90, was persuaded to come up with two new arrangements, his first for the band in 35 years – Jingle Bells and Good “Swing” Wenceslas, and Big Phat Band leader and Grammy winner Gordon Goodwin arranged It’s the Holiday Season, The Christmas Song and Sleigh Ride with other arrangements by Scotty Barnhart and Frank Foster among others.
Two more veterans, both octogenarians also contribute – pianist Ellis Marsalis plays some suitably sparse but swinging piano, and tenor player Plas Johnson guest solos on I’ll be Home for Christmas.
The three vocals are by Johnny Mathis on It’s the Holiday Season, Ledisi on The Christmas Song and Carmen Bradford – originally hired by Basie himself – brings us Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas but the rest are instrumentals.
The album was produced by former Basie drummer and seven-time Grammy winner Gregg Field who obviously can’t resist sitting in on some tracks.
What makes it worthwhile for me is that it does seem to capture the sound and spirit of the Basie band with great ensemble and solos with that distinctive rhythm section with suitably sparse piano from both Ellis Marsalis and Llew Matthews and notable rhythm guitar from Will Matthews.
Detailed notes identify all the soloists and arrangers.
You can hear samples on Amazon’s website where they’ve also got several rather enthusiastic reviews.
Peter Bevan.
The Count Basie Orchestra directed by Scotty Barnhart with very special guests Johnny Mathis, Ledisi, Ellis Marsalis, Llew Matthews, Carmen Bradford, Gregg Field and Plas Johnson.
The rhythm section: Ellis Marsalis piano, Marcus McClaurine bass, James Leary bass, Will Matthews guitar, Clayton Cameron drums.
Saxophones: Marshall McDonald alto and flute; Cleave E. Guyton Jr, alto, flute, piccolo; Doug Lawrence tenor, flute; Doug Miller tenor; Jay Brandford baritone.
Trumpets: Mike Williams lead; Bruce Harris. Endre Rice, Kris Johnson.
Trombones: David Keim lead, Clarence banks, Alvin S. Walker, Wendell Kelly

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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: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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