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Bebop Spoken There

Howard Riley: “When I started out playing jazz back in the late 50s, early 60s, if you wanted a gig you had to learn some standards.” – (Jazz Journal April 2017)

Eric Harland: “I love swing and I’m always going to swing but I also know that you can take a hip-hop groove and improvise with that just like you would with a swing pattern.” – (Jazz Journal April 2017)

Friday April 28

Afternoon
Rendezvous Jazz - The Black Horse, Front St., Monkseaton, Whitley Bay NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.
Dean Stockdale Trio - Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1pm. £5.
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Evening
Emma Fisk's Hot Club du Nord - St. Cuthbert's Centre, Church Hill, Crook DL15 9DN. 7:30pm.
Matt Roberts Sextet - Voodoo Café, Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 8pm. £6. 01325 467555. Darlington Jazz Festival.
Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7:00pm.
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Lazy River Jazz Band - Blenkinsopp Castle Inn, Nr. Greenhead CA8 7JS. 8pm. £5. Dancers welcome! 07721 375278 for more details.
To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CD Review: The Greg Hatza ORGANisation - Diggin' Up my Roots.

Greg Hatza (Nord C2D/vocals); Robert Shaid (drums); Brian Kooken (guitar); Peter Fraize (tenor).
(Review by Lance).
R & R; R & B and, natch, a lot of jazz in the mix. Covers. I've no problem with that. If they weren't any good they wouldn't get covered and Hatza stamps enough of himself on them to avoid being accused of plagiarism. There's also some of his own compositions that stand up well. This is 50's/60's juke joint music. The organ/sax/guitar/drums combo conjuring up images of spare ribs, bottles of Bud, shots of bourbon or rye, slinky chicks and cool dudes. Maybe there'll be a knifing or some guy will get a bullet just below his fedora. The band will keep playing. The cops show and you can bet your life that nobody saw nothin'.

Monday, February 27, 2017

RIP Horace Parlan

I remember it well, 1972, San Sebastian Jazz Festival. I'd somehow got there as a tenor player with the Newcastle Big Band. It was an outdoor cocktail reception and most of the musicians who were playing the opening day were there including the Clark Terry Big Band. We all sort of mingled and made the usual musician's type conversation (not to be repeated here!) and I found myself next  to a guy who said, "Hi, I'm Horace Parlan." I replied with something that may have sounded like, "Oh er, hi, er, I'm, er, Lance, er, I'm, er, pleased to, er, meet you er Mister, er Parlan."

CD Review - sort of - Tim Armacost: Time Being.

Tim Armacost (tenor); David Kinoski (piano); Robert Hurst (bass); Jeff' Tain' Watts (drums).
(Review by Lance).
My kind of tenor playing! My kind of jazz! Armacost is one of those blowing guys that catch your attention from chorus one. He's Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside - those labels would have reached out to him way back when.
To be honest, I didn't quite follow the blurb and it made me think I was cheating by just listening and enjoying!
Then I did think about it and played a Hank Mobley CD.
I Stopped thinking.

Sue Ferris Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall - February 24

Sue Ferris (tenor sax, flute), Giles Strong (guitar), Mick Shoulder (bass).
(Review/photo by Steve T)
With similar events thriving in Durham and Newcastle, this much anticipated lunchtime session got off to a flying start with the ever amiable and soulful saxophonist and flautist Sue Ferris , accompanied by Giles Strong and Mick Shoulder, who seems to be chief organiser, bass player, guitarist, bottle-washer and maybe even tea and coffee maker.
And very welcome the tea and coffee was too, though from the band only the lady herself was able to avail herself of this extra added touch, while her sidemen soloed; the rewards of superstardom.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Hundred Years Ago Today

It's not often that jazz gets a mention in the Sunday Express but it did today - a near full page spread. The reason? Today, February 26,  marks the centenary of the first ever jazz recording which took place at the Victor studios on the third floor of 46 West 38th St. New York. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded Livery Stable Blues and Dixieland Jass One-Step thus paving the way for what followed although, as we all know, the real innovators were black musicians such as King Oliver and Louis Armstrong.
Although the music has developed almost beyond recognition over the past 100 years there has always been a core of musicians and fans who remained faithful to the early jazz styles.
One such person is trumpet player Carl Spencer. In the 1960s, Spencer formed his Washboard Kings. In 1997 they were revived as Spencer's Nighthawks Orchestra and a five-CD set has been put together by the leader. 122 tracks.
For more info go to http://www.spencersnighthawks.com/cds/
Lance.

CD Review: Theo Bleckmann – Elegy

Theo Bleckmann – voice; Ben Monder – guitar; Shai Maestro – piano; Chris Tordini – double bass; John Hollenbeck – drums
(Review by Hugh C)
German-born vocalist, Theo Bleckmann, now resides in New York.  He has been described as a “sound painter” - on this CD he uses his instrument to create both broad brush strokes and delicate patterns, he has also composed most of the material.  Bleckmann has had a musical association with guitarist Ben Monder and drummer John Hollenbeck for over two decades, but a more recent association with pianist Shai Maestro and bassist Chris Tordini.
Elegy sets out to be an “exploration of death or transcendence in some existential way”.  Bleckmann states that in this album he wants to “create songs that deal with this subject matter not in a morbid way, but with some light to it”.  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hand to Mouth: Lindsay Hannon & Bradley Johnston @ The Lit & Phil. February 24

Lindsay Hannon (vocals) & Bradley Johnston (guitar)
(Review by Russell/Photo courtesy of Mike Tilley from archive)
Some projects work from the off, they just do. In so much that this new duo is a ‘project’, there is much to be mined from the Great American Songbook. Lindsay Hannon and Bradley Johnston’s debut performance at the Jazz Café in the autumn of last year attracted a full house and this Lit and Phil lunchtime concert similarly drew a capacity audience.
As last minute additional seating was being put in place to accommodate the growing numbers, guitarist Bradley Johnston observed that his co-performer Lindsay Hannon had disappeared. It could be a solo jazz guitar concert quipped Johnston. Out of nowhere, Ms. Hannon materialised – dressed in black evening gown and pearls, Johnston in regulation Joe Pass accompanist attire. Ellington, Jobim, Arlen…the GASbook. Discerning listeners showed their appreciation – Yeah!

Mo Scott Band @ The Jazz Café - February 24

Mo Scott (vocals); Dave Dryden (guitar); Neil Harland (bass guitar); Paul Smith (drums).
(Review by Lance/Photo courtesy of Mike Tilley).
Jazz gig? Rock gig? Blues gig?
Yes to all three!
The genres drew from each other and merged.
Mo shouts the blues like a woman 3 times her size (to be a blues mama you've gotta tip the scales at, at least, 20 stone) but she can also sing a ballad like the slender chick that she is and when it comes to rockin', Mo's your first call for a Saturday Night Fish Fry.
Well, as it was only Friday, there weren't no fish frying but there was a whole lot of cookin' on stage.
It had been awhile since I'd last heard Mo and, I suppose I felt a bit blasé about the whole affair. Lots of time spent setting up. Jacks plugged in here, others unplugged there. Where was the roadie? the sound engineer? the singer?
Mo was all three!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Doris Day & the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ The Millstone. February 23

(Review by Russell/Photo of F'reez from archives).
Dire warnings from the Met Office. Storm Doris was to wreak havoc across the region. Trees would fall, chimney stacks topple and big band fans would stay at home. Isobars and sunny spells may well be the province of weather forecasters but, they don’t know much about the determination of fans of Tyneside’s roaring Strictly Smokin’ Big Band to make it to the Millstone to attend the band’s monthly public rehearsal night.
Days after the SSBB’s exhilarating Jazz Co-op gig with Bruce Adams a number of deps more than made up the numbers on this not-so-stormy Thursday night. Star vocalist Ms Alice Grace begged leave of absence to meet up with her Scarlet Street sisters at a secret location to work on their close harmonies prior to the much anticipated Hoochie Coochie concert with the SSBB on March 19. F’reez had the vocal numbers all to himself. One early highlight – Higher Ground – was, and is, F’reez at his best, the band simmering, a  soulful vocal. Flight of the Foo Birds then BBB, F’reez singing September in the Rain – varied material, all of it quality material. Tito Puente’s Oye Como Va closed the first set.

CD Review: Craig Taborn – Daylight Ghosts

Craig Taborn – piano, electronics; Chris Speed – tenor saxophone, clarinet; Chris Lightcap – double bass, bass guitar; Dave King – drums, electronic percussion
(Review by Hugh C).                                                                
This is native Minnesotan, adoptive New Yorker, Chris Taborn's third ECM release as a leader.  The quartet consists of Taborn with fellow New Yorkers Chris Speed and Chris Lightcap, the foursome being completed by drummer Dave King (also of The Bad Plus fame) who Taborn has known since their days as teenagers in Minneapolis.  Each draw from a broad musical background including rock, electronica and world music as well as jazz and have variously played in each other’s bands for a minimum of 10 years.  This close association enables them to play together in a seamless way.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chris Sharkey Trio @ The Jazz Café. February 22










Chris Sharkey (guitar), Andy Champion (double bass) & Joost Hendrickx (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Mike Tilley)
Shiver and trio VD – just two of guitarist Chris Sharkey’s twenty-first century pursuits. A Chris Sharkey Trio debut gig at Newcastle’s Jazz Café played classic jazz material with a focus upon cultural developments in late fifties New York. Miles to Monk, the GASbook and much improvisation, this was Sharkey the restless experimenter in alternative mode.   
Regular collaborators were on the gig with the Gateshead-born guitarist – fellow Geordie, bassist Andy Champion, and drummer Joost Hendrickx. All Blues, A Night in Tunisia – it later occurred to Sharkey that the Jazz Café audience would know the material. Yes, good jam session material (Jazz Café first and third Tuesdays in the month!) explored at length by a virtuosic trio. The visceral power of trio VD absent, this was Sharkey in ‘jazz guitar’ territory, although it was unmistakably Chris Sharkey. Stella By Starlight makes demands on the musician, as does Autumn Leaves – don’t mess too much with the tunes, departing from timeless melodies would be folly and this new project of Sharkey’s paid due respect to the composers featured during the evening.

Jazz Hands Quintet - Black Orpheus

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

HSJF 2016 Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra

CD Review: Heather Bambrick - You’ll Never Know

Heather Bambrick (vocals, whistling); Mark Kieswetter (piano); Ross MacIntyre (bass); Davide DiRenzo (drums, perc); Rob Piltch (guitar); Chase Sanborn (trumpet, flugelhorn); John Johnson (saxophones); Guido Basso (flugelhorn on 2 tracks)
(Review by Ann Alex)
I don’t remember reviewing a CD from a Canadian singer before today. Hailing from the land of Joni Mitchell and the McGarrigle sisters, Heather Bambrick has a lot to live up to, and she compares well with her countrywomen, though she is, of course. doing a different type of singing. Ms Bambrick has been active musically for 20 years, as an award-winning vocalist, voice actor, broadcaster and educator. She has performed internationally with many other artists, including Ian Shaw, who is well known to Tyneside, audiences and, of course, much further afield. The material on the CD ranges from swinging jazz standards, pop songs, an original Bambrick penned song, a Kurt Weill number and even a folk song. The voice is very pleasing and versatile and the musicians are well accomplished. And you get good value from the CD which has 14 tracks.

A Highlight of the Year – the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival (March 3-5)

(Preview by Russell)
The first long weekend in March marks the return of the annual Great North Big Band Jazz Festival (Mar 3-5). For many years staged in Sunderland, this 2017 edition will take place in nearby Chester le Street. More than thirty big bands will converge on Park View Community Centre located just off Front Street. Several bands travel considerable distances to compete for the National Glass Centre commissioned trophies in an event which has attained national prominence in the world of big band jazz. Schools, youth and senior bands engage in fierce but friendly rivalry making the GNBBJF one of the highlights of the year.

Jazz Café Jam Session - February 21

Mark Williams (guitar); Paul Grainger (bass); Russ Morgan (drums) + Michael Lamb (trumpet); Vince Webb (piano); Alex Moniakis (guitar); Paul Gowland (soprano).
(Review by Lance).
Possibly because it was half-term, there were fewer jammers than usual this week. However, although lacking in quantity, there was no shortage of quality which meant that those who did play had more opportunity to shine rather than the normal wham bam thank you, ma'am, next please situation that inevitably occurs.
Thus, after a few numbers, the trio were joined by Michael Lamb who, no doubt inspired by Saturday's big band session with Bruce Adams, was on fire. I Love You; Long Ago and Far Away and September in the Rain were right on the money. Vince Webb, last here on that memorable evening when Eric Burdon's backing band turned up,  sat in on piano for Days of Wine and Roses and Tadd Dameron's Ladybird. Impressive!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Another Chance to Hear Up and Coming Singers: This Thursday

Indigo Jazz Voices give their latest performance at the Globe this coming Thursday (23rd February).
Don’t miss the chance to listen to these talented up and coming singers.  You heard them here first!
Songs to be performed include Paper Moon (remember that from the film?) Autumn Leaves, and a song which isn’t sung so often, Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps. The singers are Jenny Lingham, Carrie McKullock, David Edgar, Ann Alexander, and newcomer Miriam McCormick. We are accompanied by the stupendously talented Alan Law on piano. It all starts at 7.30pm and there isn't even a small admission charge - it's free.
Be there!
Ann Alex

Larry Coryell (April 2, 1943 - February 19, 2017)

Guitarist Larry Coryell died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday. An early jazz-rock innovator he was anything but tunnel-visioned as witnessed by the only time I heard him live which was in 2011 as a member of Mumbai Jazz at Gateshead Old Town Hall. (Where the photo was taken by Pam Young)
It was a concert that I'd gone to with some misgivings but was completely won over, not least by Coryell's playing. A magical evening.
Maurice Summerfield sent me this notification of Larry Coryell's passing that he [Maurice] had received from one of his American contacts.- Dan Del Fiorentino.

CD Review: Troy Roberts - Tales & Tones

Troy Roberts (tenor/soprano); Silvano Monasterious (piano); Robert Hurst (bass); Jeff 'Tain' Watts (drums).
(Review by Lance).
New York-based, Australian saxman, Roberts is no stranger to these pages. His 2015 album, Secret Rhymes, was rated as one of my top albums of that year and, an acknowledgment from Jamie Toms, who knows a thing or two about good sax playing, rubber stamped it!
This disc is equally as good as the previous album with Roberts showing that he can cut it anywhere. Tenor or soprano, presto or lento, our boy is on the money. He composed most of the tunes, the exceptions being an original take [honestly!] on Bernie's Tune, John Sangster's Rivera Mountain and, the immortal, A Train. However, he did do the arrangements...
On piano, the improbably named,  Silvano Monasterious did the business with fine solos and comping. Venezuelan Silvano is a longtime sidekick of Roberts and the two gel. Indeed all four gel with drummer Watts reminding us that he's a name to conjure up with when the next Down Beat polls come up - they all are!
(By the way, Don't forget BSH when any of our UK polls come around - I can dream, can't I?)
Troy Roberts - a name to remember.
Lance.

CD Review: Jeff Richman - Sizzle.

(Review by Steve T).
Another fine, basic, fusion album by a guitarist and I've given up second-guessing which of them will sell, largely because I don't get how the whole download culture works.
This is his seventeenth solo album and the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Hotwire from 2015. He's also recorded for TV and film and is in demand as a session musician.
To say his CV is impressive is a bit like saying the Pacific Ocean is wet. He studied privately with Pat Metheny, he's a graduate of Berkley, of a similar vintage to Stern, Frisell and DeMiola, and has played with a veritable who's who, including Ray Barretto, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Chico Hamilton, Deodato, Blood Sweat and Tears, Gerry Mulligan, Ronnie Laws, Ernie Watts, Harvey Mason, John Klemmer, Meshell Ndegeocello, Billy Cobham and the Yellowjackets. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Dream Jazz Collective @ The Empty Shop, Durham - February 16.

Jelly Cleaver (vocal, guitar), Seth Evans (keyboards), Nikita Losak (bass), Guillaume Trionfo (drums).
(Review by Steve T)
This was a one-off special which Carlo hadn't spotted as a Jazz gig and promoted accordingly. You may think the clue was in the name and the band had contacted Bebop Spoken Here to see if there would be anyone around to review it, but Carlos’ instincts proved, if not spot on, then near the mark.
They're a London-based band but Jelly Cleaver is a graduate of Durham University. Her voice was way down in the mix but she has a classic soul voice albeit without the grain of Aretha, Gladys Knight etc., more Minnie Ripperton, Deniece Williams or Betty Wright - no pressure then.

Shobaleader One And GoGo Penguin Headline Gateshead International Jazz Festival

(Press Release)
Squarepusher’s live band Shobaleader One are playing a one-off, not to be missed double headliner with GoGo Penguin at Gateshead International Jazz Festival on Saturday 1 April.

Shobaleader One are Squarepusher’s extraordinary live band. Featuring bandleader Squarepusher on bass, Strobe Nazard on keys, Arg Nution on guitar, and Company Laser on drums, Shobaleader One will perform songs from the Squarepusher catalogue including classics from albums Hard Normal Daddy and Music Is Rotted One Note. They release their much anticipated album Elektrac on 10 March on Warp Records which features the band’s versions of eleven Squarepusher classics. 

Ashington Swings Again

After an 18 month hiatus, Ashington Jazz Club returns on Wednesday, March 8 with the popular Paul Skerritt Band.
Club Supremo, John Taylor informs me it will be the same venue ie: The Elephant, Newbiggin Rd., Ashington, Northumberland NE63 0SZ tel. 01670 813983. Showtime is 8pm and admission a fiver which includes a free raffle ticket.
See website for more details.
We wish John and his team every success.
Lance.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bruce Adams w. Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Globe Jazz Bar February 18













(Review and b&w photos by Lance/Colour photos courtesy of Ken Drew).

This was a near-perfect Jazz Coop gig. How could it not be with the UK's number one big band trumpet ace playing with what many would claim to be the UK's number one big band?
SSBB hit the deck running with Gerry Mulligan's Red Door. Jamie Toms indicating in his fiery solo that he was well and truly up for it.
Old Man River introduced guest trumpet player Adams who made the most dynamic entry of any trumpet player I've ever heard. He came on like a tidal surge starting round about top C and just getting higher and higher - phew! If the evening had ended then I'd have gone home happy.
But, this was just the beginning!
Adams' frequent sidekick, Alan Barnes, supplied the next number - Side Steppin' - great tune and another great solo.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

CD Review: Beata Pater - Fire Dance

Beata Pater (vocals, producer); Alex Danson (composer); Sam Newsome (sop sax); Anton Schwartz (ten sax); Aaron Lington (bar sax); Scott Collard (keys); Aaron German (bass); Alan Hall (drums); Brian Rice (perc).
(Review by Ann Alex)
I was prepared to be disappointed by this music which was described as wordless vocals, ‘pushing the envelope of vocal artistry’.  There was also a very wordy enclosure describing the music, which is sometimes a bad sign, but the music turned out to be absolutely delightful. Ms Pater and Alex Danson the composer have come up with fully integrated, interesting, tuneful, well thought out music, much of it influenced by eastern folk elements, but still suitable to be called jazz, perhaps world jazz would be an appropriate term. Listeners shouldn’t be put off by the track titles; Curse Of The Locusts; Daylight Saving; Sand Dunes; Harvest Season; Fire Dance; The Princess; Round Dance; Flashback; The Quest; Reaping Spell; Ritual. There is a loose narrative feel to the whole work.

Friday, February 17, 2017

RIP Peter Skellern (March 14, 1947 - February 17, 2017)

Peter Skellern died today (February 17).
He was 69.
I was very saddened. His cool, 1930's style was unique in one so young as he was at the time when I first encountered him at Newcastle City Hall where he was the support artist for George Melly/John Chilton. Chalk and cheese you might think except they had one thing in common - the ability to recognise and stamp their own identity on a good song.

CD Review: Kurt Rosenwinkel - Caipi

(Review by Steve T).
According to my source, Rosenwinkel is, with McLaughlin and Metheny, the most important living Jazz guitarist.
Caipi has been ten years in the making and is the first release on his own label Heartcore Records. It features eleven originals and is his most radical musical progression, certainly since the jump from Enemies of Energy to the Next Step early in his career, and probably ever.
It's a highly personal work, featuring Rosenwinkel playing most of the instruments himself, though guests include Eric Clapton, Mark Turner, multi-instrumentalist Pedro Martins and Amanda (daughter of Elaine Elias and Randy Brecker).

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe. February 15

(Review by Russell/photo from archive)
Take it to the Bridge. Dave Weisser’s weekly workshop session has long since become a Tyneside institution. The spoils are scant, participation is reward in itself. Proceedings at the Jazz Co-op’s Globe premises got underway more or less on time – there is a vintage poster in the archives advertising the start time as ‘8.00pm-ish’ – with an octet playing an invigorating All the Things You Are.
Up jumped Rachel Richman to make it a nonet and a quick change in the drum chair with the redoubtable Norman Redhead graciously insistent that Matthew Fairhurst should take his place and we were off again with Weisser taking the vocals on Dindi. The double alto horns – Jude Murphy and Rachel Richman – took on Michael Brecker’s Midnight Voyage with Messrs Weisser and Ray Johnson in support. The inevitable round of solos can make for a frenzied atmosphere and it was down to Richman to bring about a more relaxed vibe on perhaps the tune of the night – I Thought About You (Weisser muted, Murphy on flute).

RIP Barbara Carroll

It has to be said that singers are hanging on in there a little longer these days. I know Al only made it to 76, which had me looking over my shoulder, but I'm not a singer. However, Buddy Greco was and he departed at 90. As was Barbara Carroll and the singer/pianist made it to 92. I never got to hear her live, or even pick up an album but I knew the regard in which she was held amongst her peers.
Listening here, I know now what  I've been missing from a woman who was both a singer and a pianist and a Sondheim interpreter.
Barbara died on Sunday, February 12 aged 92.
Sadly missed - a star.
Obituary.
In a Sentimental Mood.
Lance.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jam Session @ Empty Shop - February 12

(Review/photo by Steve T).
What else but All the Things You Are which I can see becoming my Summertime. Bass, drums and piano were joined by tenor and alto for something that sounded like Witchcraft.
Having played it with Alan Barnes in Darlington on Friday, number one son wasn't going to miss out on Donna Lee which had the horns making sterling efforts to keep up. Solos from tenor and alto but it was the guitar that brought the first solo applause of the evening, who then demonstrated his much-improved comping during an impressive piano solo.
This is generally a Durham student affair but all concerned - students and venue - were very welcoming of the local yokels, Francis already getting himself noticed, Ben Lawrence warming up on the sidelinesand one Whiplash Mackellar en route.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ McConnell's Gin & Ale House, Jarrow - February 14

Bob Wade (trumpet); Jim McBriarty (clarinet/alto/vocal); Lawrence McBriarty (trombone); Brian Bennett (banjo/leader); Bill Colledge (bass guitar); Fred Thompson (drums/vocal) + Jess McConnell (vocal ).
(Review by Lance).
I'd spent the afternoon on the operating table at South Tyneside General - a funny way to spend Valentine's Day. Normally, I'd have stayed home to recuperate but, having set the wheels in motion for the VCJ to play a gig at McConnell's Gin and Ale House, I wasn't going to let Carpel Tunnel Syndrome keep me away.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Saturday Night @ The Globe - a Must Be There Occasion!


Saturday 18th February, 8pm
🎟 £11/£9 from www.strictly-smokin.co.uk

📍Jazz.Coop: The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle, NE4 7AD
Special one-off gig with jazz trumpeter Bruce Adams as guest soloist with Strictly Smokin' Big Band. Not only is Bruce one of the jazz scene’s most dramatic and stimulating performers, he is also a tremendously affable companion. A concert fronted by the Glaswegian is a happy and riotous event. Adams has been a regular jazz poll-winner, and with his spectacular range and power on trumpet, he has been in demand as a lead, and jazz man for decades.    Bruce has often worked as a special guest soloist with both the Scottish Radio Orchestra and the BBC Big Band, so this gig with Strictly Smokin' will be something else: big band + big Bruce... watch out!

Kathy Dyson stands for General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union the first and only woman ever to do so in the union’s 123 year history

Jazz guitarist, academic, composer and trade union activist Dr Kathy Dyson is standing for General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union in the upcoming election. She is the first and only woman ever to do so in the 123 year history of the union and is challenging current Assistant General Secretary Horace Trubridge for the post. Kathy is standing because she believes the union has to change in order to meet more effectively the unprecedented challenges we are now facing. 
Kathy says: ‘I’m standing for a more feminist, inclusive and collaborative approach to working together, and for a decentralised union that fights more strongly for funding, musical work, and instrumental music education in all the regions.  We need to create a long-term policy and strategy for every area of music we cover as a guide for action. We must also involve members more fully in our collective endeavour.’

Monday, February 13, 2017

Madwort Sax Quartet + Noize Choir @ The Bridge, Newcastle February 12

Madwort Sax Quartet Tom Ward (alto sax); Chris Williams (alto & soprano saxes); Mark Hanslip (tenor sax); Cath Roberts (baritone sax) 
(Review by By Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew). 
Saxophone quartets don’t come round very often so it was no surprise to see a large audience assembled at The Bridge on Sunday night. The structure allows the interplay between the ranges of saxophone – baritone, tenor, alto and soprano to provide a fascinating rhythmic and harmonic canvas. 

CD Review: Noah Preminger – Meditations on Freedom

Noah Preminger (tenor saxophone), Jason Palmer (trumpet), Kim Cass (double bass) & Ian Froman (drums).
(Review by Russell)
Meditations on Freedom is Noah Preminger’s sixth album. It’s his third featuring this current line-up and it’s a gem. The tenor saxophonist started writing the music for this album on Election Day and, a matter of weeks later – December 17th – went into the studio. Subtly or pointedly, depending on your point of view, the resulting nine tracks are Preminger’s response to political developments the like of which the USA, and the wider world, hasn’t experienced in living memory.

RIP Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau died on Sunday, February 12, aged 76. One of the most innovative of singers, boundaries meant nothing to him as proved by his unique achievement of winning Grammys in 3 different categories - Jazz, Pop and R & B.
I never managed to catch him live, however, I do have the 5 CD set: Al Jarreau - Original Album Series. The equivalent of 5 LPs - We Got By; Glow; All Fly Home; This Time and Breakin' Away. All classics that will be on my turntable tonight.
Did Al Jarreau ever play Newcastle. If he did then I have no excuses for not seeing a legend who, ironically, announced his retirement from touring only a few days ago.
Sadly missed.
Rest In Peace.
Lance.

You start with a blank sheet of paper…

Jazz Files author Fiona Veitch Smith is keen to tell you how to do it. The Morpeth-based Jazz Age super sleuth invites you, the aspiring novelist, to sign up to one of three courses – Get That Novel Started, Get That Novel Finished and Get That Novel Published – or, if so inspired, all three, at Newcastle City Library.

Book your place now on Veitch Smith’s novel writing course – telephone 0191 277 4100.    
Russell.  

Southport Jazz Festival: Dixon, Edmonstone, Walker Quintet - February 5

Iain Dixon (sax), Malcolm Edmonstone (piano), Mike Walker (guitar), Steve Watts (bass), Steve Brown (drums).
(Review by Steve T)
Insomuch as I still have (or ever had) such things, Mike Walker is probably the nearest thing I have to a current day Jazz hero. Normally I'm perfectly happy to chat with the stars and generally make an a$$ of myself, but I kept a reverential distance from him.
The first piece had the formidable sax/guitar frontline playing the head, the rest equally strong and we were straight into a Mike Walker solo, then alto, some tasty piano dipping in and out throughout. Bass solo and fours with sax, guitar and piano, Walker changing the sound each time with his box of tricks.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Maria Chiara Argiro Group @ The Jazz Café February 10

Maria Chiara Argiro (piano); Sam Rapley (reeds); Tal Janes (guitar); Andrea DiBiase (bass); Gaspar Sena (drums)
(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Mike Tilley) 
Friday night at the Jazz Cafe saw the upstairs room turn into Little Italy as many of the London based Italian band leader’s compatriots joined the locals for a wonderful evening of contemporary jazz. The band was featuring the release of their debut album The Fall Dance. Many of the tunes followed the same structure - a quiet opening solo by one of the group building into a cinematic melodious soundscape with all band members contributing to the impressive structure. 
The tune Stanhope Gardens inspired by the London street in the multi-ethnic area of Haringey stood out with its vibrant Turkish style ending. Argiro tended to be more bandleader than soloist although her style of playing, burying her head into the piano with her hair covering her entire face was quite beguiling. 

CD Review: Sidney Jacobs - First Man

(Review by Ann Alex)
This is the second CD from Los Angeles singer, songwriter and arranger, Sidney Jacobs. Although a trained psychologist, Jacobs has always been interested in music, first singing as a child in a Presbyterian Church choir, and subsequently influenced by gospel, soul, folk and R&B music.  He has done classical and operatic singing and has performed jazz in Southern California. His voice has a rich resonant tone.
The songs on the CD include 7 original compositions, and standards by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bill Withers, Kendrick Lamar, Sacha Distel and James Taylor. The band is a competent mixture of seasoned professionals and up-and-coming musicians. 

CD Review: Mark Masters Ensemble - Blue Skylight

Mark Masters (arranger); Gary Foster (alto); Jerry Pinter (tenor/soprano); Gene Cipriano (tenor); Adam Schroeder (baritone); Ed Czach (piano); Putter Smith (bass); Kendall Kay (drums). On some tracks, Ron Stout (trumpet); and Les Benedict (trombone) replace Cipriano and Schroeder on the Mingus pieces.
(Review by Lance).
An album devoted to the music of Mingus and Mulligan had my mouth watering and my ears in listening mode. With the added attraction of an Edward Hopper painting on the cover, I knew this one couldn't be bad.
It wasn't, it was seriously good!
Masters has captured the mood of both jazz legends without plagiarism and, with the help of some superb soloists, created a masterpiece - no pun intended.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Billie Meets Kurt @ The Globe Jazz Bar - February 9

Gabi Heller (vocals, percussion); Steve Glendinning (guitar)
(Review by Ann Alex/photos courtesy of Kaveh Enami).
A drink was spilt over my notes and then my birthday intervened to prevent this review being done as quickly as it should, but no matter, this Jazz Coop presentation may well qualify as my Gig of the Year, yes, it was just sooo good. Gabi had done loads of research for this. You’ve heard of illustrated lectures, well this was an illustrated gig. Gabi presented the thesis that Billie Holiday and Kurt Weill could possibly have met sometime during 1934-1950 in New York, maybe at the Cafe Society, which was the first integrated club. Just imagine, Weill, a middle class, Jewish immigrant, a socialist, twice married to his singer Lotte Lenya, and Billie, black, born to a teenage mother, raised in care, with addiction problems, and both of them immensely talented.

Alan Barnes with Paul Edis and Friends @ Opus 4 Jazz Club. Feb 10


 Alan Barnes (alto sax & clarinet), Paul Edis (piano), Francis Tulip (guitar), Mick Shoulder (double bass) & Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell/photos courtesy of Jerry)
The Traveller’s Rest doesn’t in anyway resemble the many iconic images of the New York skyline. A suburban public house in Darlington is a million miles from NYC. Thinking about it, it’s more like 3500 miles. This Friday evening the Coxhoe-based Sonnet 43 Brewery occupied one of the many hand pulls on the bar. A pint of Yellow Cab (an American style lager) was the obvious choice. Hey, bartender, gimme a pint of that Yellow Cab! Punters came in off the sidewalk…There’s a jazz gig here tonite, right? The bartender replied: Upstairs, take the stairs, no elevator.

Alan Barnes & Paul Edis @ The Gala Theatre. Feb 10

Alan Barnes (alto sax & clarinet) & Paul Edis (piano)
(Review by Russell/photo courtesy of Doug Hollingsworth)
 Sleet, threatening snow, fell, making for a picture postcard backdrop through the windows of the Gala’s Studio Theatre. Tickets for this lunchtime concert sold out earlier in the week. The duo of Alan Barnes and Paul Edis playing a few tunes together guaranteed a full house with all seats in the one hundred capacity top floor Durham venue occupied in time for the one o’clock start.

Friday, February 10, 2017

CD Review: Shawn Baltazor - Lionsong

Seamus Blake (tenor/soprano); Ben Monder (guitar); Sam Harris (piano); Ben Street (bass); Shawn Baltazor (drums/perc) + various strings.
(Review by Lance).
...Then three come along at once! Steve T wrote enthusiastically (I think) about Seamus Blake at the Southport Jazz Festival. I threw in my two bits after hearing him at the Black Swan on Tuesday then, come Wednesday, this CD arrives via my heavily-laden postman and, who's on tenor? Seamus Blake!
So, you guys who didn't make it to the Black Swan, you've got a reprieve in the form of a CD that will never become a coaster or a beer mat or end up in a charity shop.

BABMUS @ The Jazz Café. February 9

Tom Bearpark Quartet: Tom Bearpark (keyboards), Thomas Dixon (alto & tenor saxophones), Stephen Wall (bass) & Adam Watson (drums) + guests
(Review by Russell)
BABMUS is a new partnership between Sage Gateshead’s thriving music education set-up and Newcastle’s Jazz Café. BA and BMus degree courses are delivered at Gateshead (hence BABMUS) and Newcastle’s Pink Lane jazz venue has kindly agreed to provide a regular gigging opportunity to the student musician. The Jazz, Popular and Commercial Music degree course has produced a significant number of success stories with alumnus making their mark in an ultra-competitive music world.

Onyx Brass @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. February 9

Niall Keatley (trumpet), Alan Thomas (trumpet), Andrew Sutton (horn), Amos Miller (trombone) & David Gordon-Shute (tuba).
(Review by Russell).
Onyx Brass is an established classical chamber ensemble approaching its twenty fifth year. The quintet’s recordings are regularly heard on Radio 3 and a key component of the group’s activities is the commissioning of new work from composers working not only in the contemporary classical field but in the world of jazz and beyond.
This King’s Hall lunchtime concert heard eight pieces, of which two featured students from Newcastle University’s Brass Ensemble augmenting the established quintet. The programme ranged from Monteverdi to Bach to Imogen Holst to contemporary figures working in the jazz world – Mike Walker and Jason Rebello. The quintet’s tuba player David Gordon-Shute introduced each piece in a relaxed yet informative manner.

Svend Asmussen (February 28, 1916 - February 7, 2017)

Not many jazz musicians reach the age of 100 but Svend Asmussen almost made it to 101 - almost!
The virtuoso Danish jazz violinist died on February 7 only 3 weeks short of his birthday. He left behind a vast recorded legacy both in Scandinavia and in America. I have a DVD - The Last Performance of  Benny Goodman - in which Svend is featured and he more than holds his own with the King of Swing. The DVD refers to it as being recorded at the Tivoli in Sweden but, on the many YouTube clips of the session, the venue is given as the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen which seems the more likely.
He was a great player comparable with Grappelli and all the other top notch fiddlers and he recorded with several of them including Ray Nance, Jean-Luc Ponty, Stuff Smith and, of course, Grappelli.
Musically active up until about 5 years ago when a stroke caused his retirement, Asmussen will be remembered as one of the all-time greats of his instrument.
Sadly missed. Rest in Peace.
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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