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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Gelly: “From 1 January 1920, when prohibition was imposed in the US, people didn’t stop drinking, they just stopped drinking legally.” – (Jazz Journal October 2017).

Regina Carter: “When I was a teenager, I would daydream about going out on a date and dancing to Ella’s music.” (Down Beat October 2017).

Today Wednesday November 22

Afternoon
Vieux Carre Jazzmen - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.

Evening
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).

The Village Hall New Orleans Band - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Rd., Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.

BBC Big Band - Middlesbrough Theatre, The Avenue, Middlesbrough TS5 6SA. 01642 815181. 7:30pm. £24.50.

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

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Eris 136199 + Inclusive Principle @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle -

Martin Archer (Laptop, keyboard, bass clarinet + sop); Hervé Perez (reeds, electronics); Peter Fairclough (percussion) 
(Review/photos by Ken Drew)
This trio performed here early last year to huge acclaim and it was a very welcome return, this time as part of a Northern Line mini-tour.  Starting with a very quiet introduction with strong rhythms developing from Fairclough on percussion, with both Archer and Perez initially sat in charge of Laptops providing a variety of sampled and created sounds - chimes, animal sounds, birdsong, crashing waves etc along with generated-on-the-fly effects.  The filtered white noise plus the sound of ever-so-close seagulls was a little unnerving for those of us who live on the coast!   After a long slowly developing introduction, the soundscape was still evolving ...... was Perez doing 'live coding'? No matter - it was certainly a live and quite complex set of sounds being created in unison with Archer, and with Fairclough adding to the mix quite gently in the background.  Yet, alongside the two laptop & wind performers, Fairclough never failed to make his mark, giving us a masterclass in percussion often using deceptively simple strokes across the kit with tempos changing at will but always in concert with Archer and Perez.
The power of the performance got stronger as the piece evolved and developed in breadth and intensity, electronics giving way to ‘conventional solos’ on soprano sax (Perez) and bass clarinet (Archer) followed by new sounds still drifting in and out ... pipe organ tones ... a low swirling sound....  then a bluesy riff emanates from Archers sax and another brief sighting of seagulls. It was apparent that the initially quiet and slow introduction had been a prelude to what was now evolving as the trio took us on a musically rich and ever-expanding sonic journey.

Often the contribution of each Laptop was equal with no apparent lead. Was one driving the other, or were the creations of Perez providing the backdrop for Archer's more short and punchy staccato sounds? The increasing volume suggested the end was in sight, prompted by a very frantic section with Fairclough let off the reigns, then carefully fading, so ending this wonderful 40-minute long piece. What a journey we'd been taken on. It was certainly engrossing, quite intense at times, occasionally light-hearted and always full of sonic interest and adventure. And what a great ending!!
Whilst there were only three performers on stage, the music developed in complexity, yet somehow it remained accessible, challenging the audience to reflect on how such diversely short sections combined to make a solid, understandable yet lengthy piece.  This constantly changing and intriguing soundscape showed that the overall impact was more than just the sum of the parts.
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Han-Earl Park (guitar / pedals); Catherine Sikora (tenor sax); Nick Didkovsky (guitar / pedals)
It was 1 year and 6 days ago that Park played here, and following that performance Jazz North East were keen to get him back - but this time with a different trio, which made it all the more exciting.  After a short guitar introduction, rising in intensity, Sikora blasted in on sax.  The focus moved between all three, settling in nicely and establishing their credentials. Then Park played extensively with both hands mid-way along the neck of his guitar - fingers furtively creating various sounds accompanied by Sikora and Didkovsky. Park then followed the sax by tuning/de-tuning a string holding a single played note. Didkovsky embarked on a similar style, by creating swirling sounds with both hands busily striking the strings in the middle of the guitar's fretboard. A similar looking technique maybe, but with such a different resultant sound.

Both guitarists were using pedals, but nothing similar beyond that. Park, playing characteristically barefoot, predominantly used a swell pedal to provide a wide and active dynamic to his sound.  Didkovsky had a small range of pedals, including harmoniser, compressor and a couple more. These were never a focus of activity

but used quite subtly to shift the emerging sound into new areas without losing the guitar's base sound.  Well, maybe occasionally it did, but to good effect.  The pedals were never in the limelight, but the resulting sound certainly was, working perfectly to complement Park, and interworking with Sikora. The piece progressed with mostly different pairings working together and bouncing ideas off each other, the sax producing strong and occasionally extended solos with alternate guitars providing different backing effects, ending at around 30 minutes. Plenty time for another piece to follow, starting with Didkovsky providing a suitable rhythm to build on and develop. Park provided more jagged guitar sounds, Didovsky further demonstrated more techniques and timbres, with fleeting references to Fripp's characteristic guitar sound (well, to my ear at least !) and Sikora another extended sax-led section, oftentimes blasting to quite easily and delightfully fill the room.

Overall, this was quite an exploration of the instruments' sonic capabilities and the soundspace they occupied together. This was never more apparent than the ending of the second piece where Park and Didkovsky arrived at the same two notes and simultaneously left them hanging in mid-air for them to fade out naturally. This is of course how tunes are often written to finish, but judging by the look of surprise on the two guitarist’s faces, this had been arrived at telepathically from the natural flow of the piece, with both players poised to continue until it became apparent in an instant that they had arrived at the natural conclusion of the piece.

So, two excellent sets, both improvised, but each very different apart from the enthusiastic applause they each received.
Ken.

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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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