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Bebop Spoken There

Sandy Williams: "When they took us to jail a second time, everyone took a bottle from the [speakeasy] bar. They had all the chorus girls downstairs and the band upstairs. We raised so much hell, I think they were glad to see the back of us." - (Down Beat April 4 1968).

Derek Nash: “My highest profile is with Jools [Holland], as an alto player, but if I could make a living doing it I’d just play baritone and soprano.” – (Jazz Journal February 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Tuesday September 2

Afternoon.
PAUL's NEW ORLEANS MUSIC SHOW - Bell & Bucket, 37 Norfolk St., North Shields. 1pm. Free.
Classic New Orleans with the MISSISSIPPI DREAMBOATS.
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Evening.
JAZZ CLUB - Saltburn Conservative Club, Saltburn by the Sea. 8.30pm. Free.
Ian Bosworth (gtr); Jeff Aucott (Hammond); John Sparrow (dms); Adrian Beadnell (bs) + guests.
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JAM SESSION - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5SG. 8pm. Free.
Back after August holiday break. Come and jam with Peter Gilligan, Paul Grainger & Paul Wight. First and third Tuesdays - Tonight's the night!
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MAINE ST. JAZZMEN - British Legion, West Jesmond (nr. Metro Station). 8:30pm. £5.
Always a stomping good session.
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GAVIN LEE's DIXIELAND JAZZ BAND - New Inn, 29 Church St., Durham. DH1 3DN. 9pm. Free.
Gavin's bands are always interesting and this is well worth the trip.
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The JAZZ MACHINE - Victoria Pub, Whitley Rd., Whitley Bay NE26 2TE. 0191 251 3753. 8pm. Free. Phone first to check.
Pepe Greenaway and guests.
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HENRY'S SWING CLUB - Brandling Villa, South Gosforth. 8.30pm. Free.
Monthly Blues Jam Tonight's the night!
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PAUL SKERRITT BAND - Park Inn, Park Rd., Hartlepool TS28 9HU. 9pm. Free.
Last Tuesday in the month - Back on Sept. 30

Sunday, August 31, 2008

SIDE IS BACK (this Monday)

The popular Monday night sessions run by NEJC at The Side Café, Newcastle return this Monday (1 Sept) with a session by the Paul Edis Sextet; a band containing many of the local big hitters in the form of Noel Dennis (tpt), (tmb), Graeme Wilson (ten), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs) and Adam Sinclair (dms). Doors open 8.00PM for 8.30 down beat. Six GBP or 4GBP (concess.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Chet Baker; Singer or Trumpet player?

Back in the 1950s Chet Baker gave a concert at, I think, the Festival Hall. Because of an MU ruling he wasn't allowed to play trumpet but could only sing. The consensus at the time was that, in today's terms, going to hear Chet sing was a bit like going to watch Wayne Rooney play cricket.
However, I've just been listening to Chet singing "Let's Get Lost" and it made me wonder if he would be remembered, not for his lyrical trumpet playing, but for his cool, laid back singing.
What do you think?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Taking It To The Extreme At The Chilli

There is nothing if not variety at the Chilli on Wednesday evenings. Take tonight; Dave, blowing a melancholy horn into a room that was empty save for Alan on the door, JNE Russell and myself, He didn't even have a frontline horn for company although Laurie Brown on vibes did provide some welcome colour once the sound system was tweaked. However, reinforcements to both band and audience arrived in the form of Darren the Sax, Tom the Guitar, Daniel the Guitar, legendary drum tsar Ian Forbes (pictured) and four fifths of David Carnegie's band "Extreme Measures" who were in party mood and later treat the assembly to a couple of numbers that featured Ben Gilbert's wild piano and Jamie McRedie's even wilder guitar blasts. David Carnegie and Stuart Davies were, by their standards, relatively subdued.
Dave Weisser did a superb vocal on "Willow Weep for Me" and a strange one earlier that had a distinct Hindu feel to it - possibly not intentional. Eric Stutt, still nursing his damaged ribs, Barry Ashcroft and Mike Clarke (wrong! it was Jim Crinson on bass - see comments) completed the line up.
Spread the word. The lows are never too low and the highs are sometimes stratospheric.
All for a pound.

R.I.P Bob Florence

Bob Florence, who died on 15 May, was well known in The States both as a pianist and an arranger. He worked in and out of the jazz world moving easily from artists such as Buddy Rich and Frank Sinatra to Julie Andrews and Vicki Carr.
My knowledge of Bob Florence is limited to a splendidly titled album - "Trash Can City". It is as good a contemporary big band record as you're likely to encounter; not least for the track titled "The Bebop Treasure Chest" which manages to incorporate around 16 fragments of various bop themes into one magnificent whole. Another track, "Jewels," has Julie Andrews doing a wordless vocal in the manner of Ellington's "Creole Love Call" that is very effective. Others on the 1986 date include Lanny Morgan (alto), Bob Cooper (ten) and Bob Efford (bar).
For a more detailed obituary see Steve Voce's piece in Monday's Independent newspaper.
He was 76.
Once again I am indebted to Russell of JNE for drawing his death to my attention. Perhaps Russell was an undertaker in a previous existence.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Slim Gaillard on Norman Granz

"When I first met Norman Granz he was broke; in fact he was broke more often than the tenth commandment". (Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife). Back in the '80s Slim gave a memorable concert at the Corner House. Singing, playing guitar and piano; for the latter instrument he hit the keys with the knuckle side of his amazingly long fingers.
As can be seen from the photo he was not without a sartorial presence.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Story of the Hagstrom James L D'Aquisto Guitar (By Ron Chapman)

My quest to find out more about The Hagstrom guitars designed by the late James L. D'Aquisto started sometime in 1999, I was playing my recently acquired Hagstrom D'Aquisto guitar at the Turks Head Jazz Club in South Shields which is on Tyneside in North East England. The guitar was admired by several of the musicians in the audience. I mentioned to a pianist by the name of Roy Drummond that I was interested in finding the former owners of the Hagstrom Guitar factory in Sweden in order to obtain more information about the instrument. Roy played on various passenger ferries between England and Scandinavia and on visits to Norway and Sweden he will sit in with whatever Jazz groups that he comes across and consequently knows several Scandinavian musicians. Roy told me that he had seen a Hagstrom shop in Bergen, Norway, I knew that it was not the guitar factory, wrong country, but perhaps they could point me in the right direction. After a telephone call to directory enquiry's for Hagstrom in Norway and a few minutes of searching her computer screen the directories girl said she could find no Music shop called Hagstrom however she had a Hagstrom name on the screen, could that be it? she gave me the international code, area code and the number for Hagstrom. A child who spoke no English answered my call and after a few minutes of conversation with what sounded like the Swedish cook on the Muppet T.V show her mother came on the line to speak to me. I made my enquiry's, a Hagstrom Guitar Factory? a shop in Norway by the name of Hagstrom? In perfect English she said "No, this is a private house on the outskirts of Oslo, but I have seen a shop in Oslo called Hagstrom, would you like me to get the telephone number for you?" After a few minutes she very obligingly gave me the phone and fax number for Hagstrom music in Oslo.
It turned out that the shop had been owned by the Swedish Hagstrom company who had sold it some 18 years before, however a guy in the shop had worked for the Swedish company and knew quite a lot about the guitar manufacturing and indeed the history of the demise of the factory but best of all he gave me the telephone number of Karl E. Hagström.
After two hours of more frustration through wrong area code, one wrong digit in the number, language problems and so on I managed to get Mr Hagström on the telephone and here is some of the history and the background to the James L. D'Aquisto Guitar put together with a lot of help from Karl E. Hagström who was the final owner of the Hagstrom factory.
The Hagstrom factory is now a museum, it is situated in Älvdalen which is about a four hour drive north east of Oslo. Älvdalen which means River Valley in English, lies in a densely wooded part of Sweden with many lakes and rivers. The Hagstrom company was a big name in the Scandinavian music business and from 1945 to 1983 they built up a chain of 48 music stores throughout Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
The Hagstrom guitar factory started producing guitars in 1958 with production figures of electric guitars reaching several thousands by 1961 and a total production including electric bass guitars of 128,538 before ceasing production in 1983. James L. D'Aquisto was of great interest to me, I knew little of him other than he had been an apprentice to John D'Angelico in New York and I knew that Jimmy D'Aquisto was credited with a great deal of the work involved in the building of these guitars. I also knew that D'Angelico guitars had been sold to millionaire collectors in America and Japan for up to $100,000.00.
I was particularly interested in the Hagstrom James L. D'Aquisto model, nicknamed the "Jimmy", and how a very famous American guitar maker had come to design such a guitar for a Swedish company. Karl E. Hagström had met Jimmy D'Aquisto through Unicord, a Gulf & Western Company who were distributors for Hagstrom in the United States, he also visited him in New York and at his shop on Long Island.
James L. D'Aquisto first went to Sweden in about 1968 when he was 32 years old. That was four years after the death of John D'Angelico. At that time he was designing a guitar for a company called Bjarton, the company were situated in a town called Bjarnum near Malmö in the south of Sweden. He spent some time designing a guitar to be produced by them out of solid spruce. Three guitars were in the process of being built but only one was completed, this was actually hand carved by Jimmy D'Aquisto. However, the factory closed down before any production was completed.
The Hagstrom museum have that one and only completed guitar. Jimmy D'Aquisto returned to Sweden in June 1975 and spent about a month at the Hagstrom factory in Älvdalen in Sweden, supervising the production of the "Jimmy" which he had designed. Apparently it took a great deal of money to manufacture the jigs and to have the necessary tooling at hand before production started a year or so later.
Jimmy D'Aquisto describes the guitar as follows; "I designed this guitar with the professional guitarist in mind, it is a functional, quality instrument designed to serve the needs of the knowledgeable, discriminating musician. The size of the guitar is designed to rest comfortably in the hands of the musician enabling him to play for hours on end without fatigue. The ebony fingerboard and bridge enhance the tonal quality of the instrument and promote a clear sustaining quality. This guitar is constructed in Sweden by craftsmen who take pride in their work". Signed James L. D'Aquisto".
He goes on to give the technical details of the guitar which was available in F-hole and oval hole. Body. Venetian cutaway design, laminated birch arched top, back and sides. body length 20" width 15.3/4". Depth 2. 3/4" . 20 frets 243/4" scale length. Karl E. Hagström describes Jimmy D'Aquisto as a soft spoken man, full of humor a very good designer and craftsman and also a very good guitarist, sadly missed. He obviously liked what he had designed for Hagstrom as he purchased 50 of the raw unfinished bodies and guitar necks from Hagstrom to use in the building of his own D'Aquisto guitars when he returned to New York, Unfortunately the guitar necks which had a revolutionary truss rod design developed by the Saab Aircraft Company aeronautical designers were stolen before he got the chance to use them.
The Hagstrom Jimmy bodies from Sweden were eventually used in the manufacture of some of his less expensive guitars and that's the reason some of the D'Aquisto guitars have laminated bodies.
For me the really interesting facts about the Hagstrom "Jimmy" is that a total of only 1083 were ever produced, there were 727 of the F- hole model and 356 of the oval hole model , of these 56 of the F-hole and 23 of the oval hole Jimmy models were imported into England during 77/78 by Fletcher Copock & Newman, a total of only 79 of this instrument. Of the remainder of the production between 1976/79, 80% of the Jimmy's were exported to the USA and sold by the Ampeg/Selmer Company and the remaining 20% were sold and exported to Stage Sound In Australia, Canada Austria, Italy, Norway, Finland, Holland and Belgium.
Out of the 56 of the"F"hole guitars that came to England I have owned three. I bought the first F-hole in a cherry sunburst in 1990 for £385 ($620) - I foolishly sold it to the guitarist from a German Jazz band called the "Hot House Jazzmen" for £1,000 ($1,600). I thought at the time "no problem" I'll find a replacement. I had no idea at that time that the guitars were so rare in England. I had no luck in finding myself a replacement until November 1997 when I came across the oval hole model, natural finish, near mint condition "Jimmy" in Hanks music store in Denmark Street, London. The appearance of oval hole Jimmy is not unlike one of the Koonz archtops or the Bennedetto played by Howard Alden. It cost me £925 ($1,500). Only 4 weeks later at a guitar show in Newcastle upon Tyne I found an "F" hole model, cherry red sunburst in good condition £1,250 ($2,000). I recently I exchanged the oval hole model for another "F" hole model in absolute mint condition, so I now have only the two "F" hole models which I prefer. They produce a fat warm jazz tone which I would compare to the sound of Johnny Smith who has been the major influence in my music,. It can also sound very like the mellow sound of Jim Hall's guitar.
I had read Bob Benedetto's article in the premier issue of Just Jazz Guitar magazine where he wrote at length about the benefit of the Ebony tail piece and the Benedetto pick ups for jazz guitars. I was interested in his remarks that if D'Angelico and D'Aquisto had lived longer they would have continued the evolution of the guitars by eliminating unnecessary mass from the instruments including heavy metal tailpieces which are acoustically detrimental to he tone of the guitar. I remembered that article and of course wondered if my oval hole guitar could be improved by a Benedetto pick up and ebony tailpiece. After a telephone conversation with Bob Benedetto regarding the suitability of my instrument for improvement I took delivery in January of the ebony tail piece and the S-6 suspended mini humbucker. The fitting of the tailpiece and Beneddetto pick up by our own well known local luthier Les Tones immediately altered and improved the tone of the instrument. Consequently I have fitted ebony tail pieces to the F-hole guitars and I am delighted at the improvement. The relatively low prices of the Jimmy may give a false impression of the instruments, but Jimmy D'Aquisto certainly put his best into their design. I have worked in a guitar shop and have played guitar on and off for 45 years. I have owned or played many of the Gibson, Guild, Gretsch, Hofner, Framus, Levin and Fender models but when you buy a Hagstrom Jimmy you are getting the closest thing to a James L D'Aquisto electric acoustic for a price that is next to nothing.
The Hagstrom Jimmy is exceptional, certainly not a "hand made" guitar and not yet a collectable guitar the sound of the instrument proves that Jimmy D'Aquisto's knowledge about guitar design and construction could be incorporated into a relatively inexpensive instrument. Giving a tonal quality normally found only in the more expensive custom made guitars.From the information that I have there are about 763 of the James,L,D'Aquisto designed Hagstroms somewhere in the USA. and a further 241 world wide. Ron Chapman.

No Jazz At St Nicks

Contrary to rumour, there won't be any jazz performed at Newcastle's St Nicholas Cathedral on Bank Holiday Monday, 25 August.
The curator informed me that he did not know where the information had originated but it certainly wasn't from the cathedral.
However, it is written in tablets of stone (actually a leaflet of forthcoming events from the Dioscese of Northumberland) that that well known band of sinners, The River City Jazzmen, will be preachin' the blues at St Mary's Church, Stannington, on 11 October.

NYJO

NYJO, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, have not only provided the launching pad for a large number of young British jazz musicians but they have also added another dimension to big band music; humour!
Their version of "Don't Dilly Dally On The Way" is the (intentionally) funniest track I have heard in years; a feat achieved without any musical compromise (well not much). Its from their "London Pride" album.
The same album includes "A Nightingale SWANG in Berkeley Square."
Bird and Diz recorded tunes such as "Anthropology" and "Ornithology" based on the chords of "I Got Rhythm" and "How High The Moon" respectively. NYJO had a bop arrangement called "Gynaecology" based on, wait for it, "Thou Swell"!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Zoe Gilby Sextet at Blaydon Jazz Club

Zoe simply gets better each time around and, with her normal five piece augmented by Paul Edis on piano, tonight was rather special. A few new, at least to me, numbers tonight including a "Lullaby of Birdland" taken rather faster than the norm that almost didn't come off but did and likewise, "You Turned The Tables On Me" which also had some vocal brinkmanship.
A big blast on "Night in Tunisia" contrasted with tender readings of "Round Midnight", "Angel Eyes", "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" and "Darn That Dream" done with a Latin feel.
Zoe's men, Noel Dennis (tpt), Mark Williams (gtr), Andy Champion (bs), Paul Edis (pno) and of course David Carnegie (dms), were all on top of their game and the feelgood atmosphere was personified when a couple tripped the light fantastic during the final "Just Squeeze Me."
More photos

Lee Young R.I.P

I had no idea that Lester Young's brother, Lee Young, was still alive, well of course he isn't now, but he did reach 94 which is a fair old innings for a jazzman of his era.
I never heard Lee live but I remember him from the early JATP records and with the King Cole Trio.
He died 31 July 2008 Los Angeles.
A more detailed obituary by Steve Voce appeared in Tuesday's "Independent" and I'm indebted to Russell of Jazz North East for drawing it to my attention.

The Blofield Experiment

Alan Glen's Baron of the Bass, Laurence Blackadder has kindly sent me a link to the above and other ensembles he is involved with. Click on The Blofield Experiment for some very listenable modern sounds from Claude Werner (tenor), Ben Gilbert (kbds), Laurence Blackadder (bs) and David Carnegie (who else? drums).
There are also some good YouTube clips of the band on the site which is very much worth a visit if you want to hear some genuinely original material.
Laurence also sent a link to David Carnegie's Extreme Measures which seems to be different to the one we already have.
Thanks Laurence for these links and the kind words you said about Bebop Spoken Here. Feel free to add your comments any time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Alan Glen at the Chillingham

Alan Glen made a welcome return to the Chilli tonight. He missed last months gig because of a sprained wrist and made up for it tonight with a well paced set of standards.
"I Fall In Love Too Easily" began with an out of tempo, complexly chorded intro leading into a relaxed interpretation of one of Sammy Cahn's (I think) finest. Alan brought a new dimension to "Love Letters" shedding the tune's maudlin sentimentality in favour of a faster no frills attached version.
And so it continued with what was perhaps his best set there yet. An hour flew by in what seemed like minutes. I can't remember the name of the final number; a familiar jazz standard that moved more than somewhat.
There are a lot of good piano men around at the moment but Alan can walk as tall as any of them. David Carnegie, on drums, soloed in his usual dynamic manner on the final number and Lawrence Blackadder, bass, completed the line-up. Lawrence had some nice melodic lines going on "How About You."
These are "Three Sounds,"and I use the words advisedly, that deserve a wider audience. Prior to the trio's set, Dave Weisser, missing last week, returned, still with the ambience of Paris about him, to lead his Take It To The Bridge crew through their idea of the Horace Silver song book with good solos by Darren on tenor, Barry, piano, and Mike Clarke, bass. On drums, Eric Stutt played with cracked ribs - Dave's jokes aren't that funny - he tripped over a gig bag. A hero above and beyond the call of nature.
The jam session this week saw Daniel and a young cat, called Felix on guitars, David C on piano giving his impression of Cecil Monk or should it be Thelonious Taylor? and Dave vocalising on "East of the Sun".
A splendid quidsworth.
More photos on Take It To The Bridge Album.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tyne Valley Stomping at Saltwell Park

Park action this Sunday moved to Saltwell Park, Gateshead, for some rousing Dixieland from those eternal keepers of the flame; the Tyne Valley Stompers. Fred Rowe’s cornet playing hasn’t changed much over the years; he still blows Alex Welsh style lead. Truth be told, I think Fred was playing Alex Welsh style cornet before Alex, himself, was! Alongside him, Jimmy McBriety on clarinet had some good solos; these days I think he is probably as good as any local clarinettist playing in the Dixieland style and better than many from further afield. I didn’t recognise the trombone, bass, banjo or drums. Possibly because the last time I saw them they, like myself, didn’t have any grey hairs. I’m sure my good friend John from Ashington will identify them for me. They all did the business.
(More photos in "Jazz Today" album.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Keith Armstrong Book Launch

NEWCASTLE CITY LIBRARIES & THE WORKERS' EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION PRESENT: COMMON WORDS AND THE WANDERING STAR - BOOK LAUNCH BEWICK HALL, NEWCASTLE CENTRAL LIBRARY SATURDAY OCTOBER 17TH BOOK LAUNCH 10.30am to 5pm 10.30am 'From Heaton to Newport Pagnell - in search of Jack' - talk by Heaton born Dr Keith Armstrong, author of 'Common Words and the Wandering Star' 11.15am Short tribute by Jack Common's son, Peter 11.30am Discussion 12.30pm Lunch 2pm Films - 'Tyneside Story' - film by Jack Common; 'Common's Luck' - B.B.C. TV biography of Jack Common, introduced by its Director, John Mapplebeck of Bewick Films 3pm Dr Keith Armstrong & Peter Common - short readings from the new book, including poetry 3.45 - 4.45pm Musical celebration with Jez Lowe, songwriter of 'Jack Common's Anthem', & Tyneside folk group 'Kiddar's Luck' ADMISSION FREE Contact: Kath Cassidy, Newcastle Libraries tel 0191 2774155 ------------------------------ UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM, SCHOOL OF EDUCATION PRESENTS: COMMON WORDS AND THE WANDERING STAR - BOOK LAUNCH WEDNESDAY 21ST OCTOBER 6-8PM Room ED 134, School of Education, Leazes Road, Durham Talk and reading by the author Dr Keith Armstrong Introductions by Professor Bill Williamson and Professor Mike Fleming Admisssion free Refreshments Contact: Michelle Wilkinson, School of Education tel 0191 3348310 Jack Common was born in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1903. His father worked at the locomotive works close to the family house in Heaton. He attended Chillingham Road Council School, where he excelled at essay writing, but left at fourteen to attend commercial college and to work in a solicitor's office. Years of indifferent jobs and unemployment led him to move to London in 1928, partly to foster his political convictions and also to escape unemployment in the north. In 1930 he commenced work as a circulation promoter on The Adelphi, a socialist journal edited by John Middleton Murry, Richard Rees and Max Plowman. He was soon employed as assistant editor and took over editorship for a period in the 1930's. Common was a contributor to The Adelphi and other journals such as New Britain, The Aryan Path and The New Statesman and Nation, but it was The Adelphi which occupied most of his time during the thirties; writing political and social articles, book reviews, a column called "The Sweeper Up" and helping to shape policy and direction by working with the three editors. George Orwell was another contributor to the journal and it was through their working relationship on the journal that they formed a close friendship. In 1939 The Adelphi was put out of print and Common sought work as a film script writer and editor for government documentary films and lived in Langham, Essex at the Adelphi Centre, a community set up in 1936. After the war he found more film work with Rank Studios as a script advisor and reporter on suitability of novels as film subjects. He also worked as a freelance for the Associated British Picture Corporation during the 1950s and 1960s, again writing and editing scripts. In terms of his published work there are two phases to his work, the political and socially conscious essays of the 1930s and the fictional work of the 1950s, which reflect the work he was undertaking at these times. In 1938 he published Seven Shifts, a collection of seven working men's tales of work which Common edited and introduced. In the same year he published a book of social and political essays The Freedom of the Streets. Kiddar's Luck, the fictionalised autobiography of Jack Common's life up to the age of fourteen, published in 1951, was written under conditions of great hardship. Whilst writing the book he worked as a labourer during the day and wrote and edited film scripts in the evening, using the weekends to write his novel. He was under similar financial pressure when writing The Ampersand, a further autobiographical novel, in 1953-4; despite the favourable reviews given to Kiddar's Luck, the publishers became bankrupt, leaving him without a publisher to market the books and ensuring that the book was not the financial success it should have been. He also produced many articles for contemporary journals and magazines. He died in 1968 before he could complete his third novel.
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N.B. Posted 15/8/2009.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Music To Sooth The Savaged Breast

As a matter of totally limited interest I thought I'd mention, in no particular order, a few CD's that I've begged, bought, borrowed or burgled of late.
*****
Stan Getz/Jimmy Rowles "The Peacocks" Dave Weisser introduced me to this wonderful disc and if he never does me a favour again, with this, he has done enough. Getz is at his most lyrical on 13 of the 18 tracks with Ellington's "What Am I Here For?" particularly outstanding. Rowles' piano playing shows just what an underrated musician he is whilst his vocal on the opening "I'll Never Be The Same" sends shivers up the spine. On the tracks without Getz, George Mraz is on bass and the duo score on another Ellington piece, "Black Butterfly".
*****
Marty Grosz and his Hot Combination. I bought this during a wonderful concert Marty and Ken Peplowski gave at the Saville Exchange, North Shields. The place wasn't full yet, quality wise they should have filled O2 ten times over - it was that kind of a night. The CD is a good representation of the gig; even down to Marty's monologues.
*****
Michiko Ogawa Trio. "It's All About Love". I've mentioned this CD in an earlier posting so I'll refrain from repeating myself except to say that Michiko is a very talented Japanese lady who plays the piano rather well. She also sings and arranges. Harry Allen blows fine tenor on all of the tracks including the rarely heard verse to "Body and Soul".
*****
Andy Hamilton & The Blue Notes. "Silvershine". I must confess that I'd never heard of Andy Hamilton until I stumbled across this item and got knocked sideways.
Now based in the midlands, West Indian born Andy wrote the title track in 1947 for no less a person than legendary actor Errol Flynn. Although the record has Andy Sheppard, Jean Toussaint and David Murray among the personnel as well as Mick Hucknell singing "You Are Too Beautiful" it is Andy Hamilton who (silver) shines the brightest.
This is the real deal.
I believe Andy Hamilton picked up an OBE in one of the recent honours lists; something the media manged to bypass.
*****
Ruth Lambert. "So Many Stars". I'm not being parochial or partisan in mentioning this or the next two discs. All three can hold their own in any company. I love the light, almost casual way, Ruth throws away the lyric of "I've Got The World On A String" then goes into deep melancholy mood for a "Black Coffee" that I'm sure Peggy Lee would have approved of.
*****
Zoe Gilby. "Now That I Am Real". I think Peggy would like this disc as well. I'm always knocked out by "If I Only Had A Brain" (No - not wishful thinking on my part!) and Zoe does it as good as anyone. "Ode To Billy Joe" I loved the first time around and I like it even better slightly faster and funkier as she does it here.
*****
Paul Edis Trio with Vasilis Xenopoulos "Live At The Side". One of the best of the sessions at the Side Cafe to date. Vasilis Xenopoulos is just about as lyrical a tenor player as you could wish for, albeit not without the occasional cutting edge, whilst the Edis Trio of Paul on piano, Mick Shoulder (bass) and Adrian Sinclair (drums) give fine support with Paul's solos challenging Vasy's in their intensity.
*****
As a matter of interest, Ruth, Zoe, Paul and Vasilis are all lined up to appear at Blaydon Jazz Club between now and Xmas with Zoe playing there next Thursday (Paul's on piano).
Don't miss it even if you have to hop a freight to get there.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

George Shearing 89 not out

Many happy returns to one of the greatest - from Liz.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stacey Kent at the Gala Theatre Durham

Stacey Kent can both delight and annoy. Her voice, irritatingly coarse one minute, soft and tender the next. Rarely does she maintain the consistency she displays on record. Tonight was one of the better ones with only the opening “Hard Hearted Hannah” and the “My Fair Lady” number “Show Me” being particularly grating. Paradoxically, one of the more beautiful renditions was from the same show; “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.” Stacey also had her moments on a couple of chanson the titles of which I didn’t catch but were sung quite evocatively. Her latest disc, “Breakfast on the Morning Tram,” was well featured and, whilst confessing to the appeal of the title track, I cannot disagree with the two gentlemen sitting behind me, one of whom remarked that, a couple of years from now, the originals on the CD will probably be forgotten whereas the material she uses from the GASB will be played and sung forever. Jim Tomlinson (Mr Kent) is a nice tenor player in the Stan Getz mould and he plays some pretty stuff in between his wife’s warbling but a little more gut in the bucket wouldn’t go amiss. On piano, Graham Harvey made the most of his limited solo space, Steve Chamberlain (bass) seemed sound enough and Matt Skelton held more than a little in reserve during his drum solo. By and large it was an enjoyable evening although Stacey’s cringe-making gushiness towards hubby make the Dankworths seem, by comparision, like the Duckworths.

Blossom Dearie

John T tells me that one of the first modern LP's he bought was "Blossom Dearie Live At Ronnie Scott's". John then points out that on Blossom's "My Space" site her age is given as 104!
(She was actually born in 1928).
I recall seeing her at Newcastle in, I think, the 1970s. An excellent performer.
"They Say It's Spring," a wonderful song of hers recently played on Swiss Radio Jazz, has also been recorded to advantage by tenorman Harry Allen with Tommy Flanagan on piano."
That's what I love about jazz and the GASB there are still so many tunes to discover even after all these years.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Swinging in the Rain

The last time I stood in the rain listening to a jazz concert was at San Sebastian back in 1972. The Clark Terry Big Band were on stage and with me, in the audience, on that rain-soaked night was Ian Heslop. This afternoon I stood in the rain at Barnes Park Sunderland listening to a band called Swing Bridge. Playing bass with them, older and portlier, was Ian Heslop.
Clark Terry was nowhere to be seen. Swing Bridge, led by pianist Dick Straughan, had a daunting task. An audience who could only relate to ‘hip’ as in replacement and an unfortunate choice of name for a gig in Sunderland. Throw the aforementioned weather into the mix and you’ve got the picture. Nevertheless, jazz musicians are nothing if not thick skinned and they combined to get a good sound. Malcolm Railton on trumpet and his daughter Rebecca, whose tenor playing sounded almost Getzian at times, blew well on the opening “Shiny Stockings” and the pleasantly surprising choice that followed, “Yardbird Suite.” The rhythm section of Dick, Ian and Stevie Doyle (dms) all had good solos and most of the audience put up with the showers at least until the interval. Look forward to hearing them again; preferably somewhere where there is a roof.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Bird evicted From Treehouse

The word on the lips of the breeze is that live music is to cease at Alnwick's Treehouse Restaurant once existing contracts have been honoured. The venue, a regular weekly jazz gig for duos, is the latest victim of a cost cutting exercise across the board not just here but nationwide.
Whilst I do feel a pang of guilt at never having been to the Treehouse it also raises the question as to whether music and menus are compatible. Does the one enhance or detract from the other?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Gene Autrey Rides Again. Saville Exchange North Shields

An evening dedicated to the music of Fats Waller, put together by Mike Durham and featuring, in the main, some of the ‘Harmful Little Armful’s’ lesser known tunes. Cast as Fats the Pianist was Keith Nichols, now, seemingly, almost the house pianist at the Saville; a role he performs to perfection aided and abetted by a splendid grand piano. The part of Fats the Vocalist was ably split between Keith and Mike and I wonder if I was the only one in the audience who felt a tad uncomfortable at Keith singing “Black and Blue?” Probably was, judging by the applause. Sharing the front line with Mike was John Crocker (ten/clt) whose tenor playing recalled Fat’s former sideman Gene Cedric in spirit if not in style although it was his clarinet playing that got the gold from this listener. Mike the Trumpet stood in for Herman Autrey and played with the punchiness of Humph the Younger. Mike the Compere, of course, displayed much of the humour of Humph the Elder. On guitar and, for one number only, banjo, Keith Stephen added contrast with some Bernard Addison/Al Casey style solos. On bass, Bruce Rollo did the business in a totally professional manner and Nick Ward on what, back then, would probably have been described as “The Traps,” had some “Slick” and imaginative solos. An enjoyable gig even if the Earth didn’t move too far.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

John Hallam with the Jeremy McMurray/Roly Veitch Quartet at Blaydon

There have been few, if any, more relaxed and enjoyable sessions than tonight's offering at Blaydon. Totally unpretentious straight down the middle swing that kept the audience entranced from the opening "Perdido" to the penultimate "Swing That Music".
John Hallam, not to be confused with the tuba player of the same name, blew like Benny on clarinet, Gerry on baritone whilst on tenor there were touches of Lester and Georgie Auld as well as a lot of John Hallam.
There really was magic abroad in the air during "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" not least because of the superb chorus by Jeremy McMurray on piano. Where are all these wonderful pianists coming from? With all due respects to Roland, Yamaha and co If only we could hear their talents to the full on a Steinway ...
Whether soloing or 'comping, Roly Veitch on guitar was, as ever, the epitome of taste. Paul Armstrong on bass had some nice duo moments with John and Bill Shields on drums, unobtrusive yet decisive, made it a grand night for swinging.

Bobby Durham R.I.P

Another one bites the dust. I never heard Bobby Durham live at least I don't think I did. Oscar Peterson played Newcastle City Hall many times sometimes with and sometimes without a drummer. When it was with, he usually used Ed Thigpen. However, Bobby Durham was well represented on record with Oscar and featured on many of the tracks on what was perhaps his finest group of recordings - the ones he called "Exclusively for My Friends."
Bobby Durham played on the track "Waltzing is Hip"; the first jazz waltz I ever heard that really swung and it was Bobby Durham's drumming that provided the impetus for Peterson's virtuoso performance.
A single paragraph in Down Beat announced that Bobby Durham died in Genoa from lung cancer on 7 July 2008 aged 71.
He deserved more.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Another Day at The Office for the Chillingham Herd

This week's session at The Chilli was just another day at The Office (Ricky Gervais meets Dave Weisser) until Mark Williams exploded on Bill Evans' "Peri's cope" or "Up your Periscope" as it is referred to in some irreverent circles. Mark Also did the business on "Django" as did Darren Grainger, this week on tenor. Despite wearing outrageous red trainers John Pope 'walked' well on fretless when they jammed a throwaway 12 bar in F.
As ever, Eric Stutt kept it tight and Barry Ashcroft, as well as having some good solos also wrote a few of the 'charts'. Sitters-in sat-out this week with only the ubiquitous David Carnegie (drums tonight) and a young guitarist, Tom, who showed no fear of following Mark. The boy did good.

Carol Kidd in Jarrow (on LP)

Browsing through some vinyl in a Jarrow charity shop I discovered, amid the acres of Jim Reeves and Val Doonican, a Carol Kidd LP "I'm Glad We Met". There was no good reason for me to fork out the modest 99p it cost as I already had it on tape but I prefer LPs to tapes (and quite often to CD) so buy it I did. It's a great disc with sympathetic backing by Dave Newton, Dave Green and the late Alan Ganley. They're all good tracks, especially Carol's version of "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" and Dave Newton's solo on "You're Awful" is anything but!
However, the reason I'm posting this is because it is signed by Carol - "Best wishes to Ian and Christine."
I'm curious to know who Ian and Christine are and why they dispensed with such a treasured item. I know they could have replaced it with a CD but that wouldn't have the autograph on. If they are out there I'd love to hear from them.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

MacJazz Says ...

It was the late 1940's and a new music had arrived from America, they called it Be-Bop ! An early purchase from my favourite record shop was the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Quintet playing ' Loverman ' Sara Vaughan supplied the vocal. Was I lucky to be around to hear this musical revolution ? You bet I was! Lance says ... This posting actually turned up on 16 April this year but somehow or other got shuffled out of the system! Apologies to MacJazz and don't say 'Typical Sassenach!'

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ornette Coleman says...

"Intelligence is a plot."
Mystic words from Ornette Coleman. I haven't a clue what they mean so if Ornette, or any other smart ass reads this, perhaps they will elaborate further.
I'm grateful to John Forster for drawing my attention to the above Colemanism. John is the bass player with the Eric Clapton tribute band Classic Clapton who are appearing at the Sage on 14 October.
Not exactly jazz I know but we are broadminded aren't we? and John and I did attend the same Borstalic institution.
If you're into old 'Slowhand' then this could be for you.

BBC Blues

If you are unhappy with the current lack of jazz broadcast on BBC Radio please click onto the link below and make your voice heard. Tell the BBC that you want their initials to represent Bix, Bird and Coltrane for at least a couple of hours a week in the form of "The Best of Jazz" being returned to the airwaves. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Radio-Jazz?e

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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.)
PS:I don't care what your political views are - you can love or hate Cameron, Clegg, Milliband, Farage, Genghis Khan or Julius Caesar - just don't air them here!
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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