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Bebop Spoken There

Joe Bushkin: "Bobby Hackett used to say: there are are two kinds of musicians - guys who play music and guys who make music. There's a wide gap there." - (Crescendo, October 1976).

Diana Krall: “When I started out, I wanted to sing like Ernestine Anderson and play piano like Monty Alexander. That hasn’t changed much, but you settle into accepting what you do.” – (Down Beat December 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Thursday December 18

Afternoon.
VIEUX CARRE JAZZMEN - The Millstone, Haddricks Mill Rd., South Gosforth, NE3 1QL. 1:00pm. 0191 2853429. FREE.
New Orleans in nice pub with 4 real ales, good food and a banjo!
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Evening
MAINE STREET JAZZMEN - Potters Wheel, Sunniside, NE16 5EE. 8.30pm. Free.
Good Time jazz with vocals by Olive.
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PILGRIM STREET BAND - Hoochie Coochie, 54 Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 6SF. 8pm. Free.
Hard blowing modern. CHECK WITH VENUE.
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TYNE VALLEY BIG BAND - Chevy Chase, Eldon Sq. Shopping Mall, Newcastle. 6-8pm Free
Senior & youth band play in space between Boots and John Lewis.
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ALAN LAW (Solo piano)- Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond.
Superb Xmas Fayre and great music.
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THE TEES HOT CLUB - Dorman's, Oxford Rd., Linthorpe, Middlesborough, TS5 5DT. 01642 823813. 9pm. Free admission.
Gypsy jazz with Xmas Party guests Kevin Eland (tpt); Josh Bentham, Ray Dales (saxes); Jeff Aucott (keys) & maybe more.
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POCKET JAZZ ORCHESTRA - Ship, Church Lane, Redmarshall, Stockton TS21 1EP. 8pm.
Jeremy McMurray, Peter Ayton, Paul Smith and guests.
Monthly - Back January
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TBA - St. Joseph's CMS Club, Birtley. 8.15pm. £3/£2.50.
Monthly - Back in January.
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STRICTLY SMOKIN' BIG BAND - The Millstone, Haddricks Mill Rd., South Gosforth, NE3 1QL. 7pm. Free.
Monthly - Back in January.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ruthless in York by Liz

How lovely it would be to be able to go for Christmas lunch tomorrow in Fenwick's Tivoli restaurant & listen to Ruth (pictured) who I don't know but have read of many times on "Bebop Spoken Here". I take off my hat to Fenwick's in Newcastle, they know how to give people a good time. We have a Fenwick's here in York...but there the comparison ends...abruptly. They had a fashion eve last Tuesday & all they could manage was a string quartet, OK you might say, but OMG it was like funeral music! what is it about the Geordies that sets them apart? if I knew I would bottle it!
Liz

Friday, November 28, 2008

'This and That' by Roly

Hello Lance
I looked at Four Brothers with interest. There seems to be some fantastic players over in the old communist block countries - I have heard quite a few folk, who have been over there, say that. We saw a marvellous trio in Denmark - I would say they were the knockout group of that particular festival. Everyone was enthralled by their virtuosity, swing and also humility. They were called PaCoRa Trio (I think from Slovenia) - the 'keyboard' guy plays a cymbalom, a type of hammered dulcimer. He was amazing. But so were the other two! Some good clips on YouTube.
And re the banjo 'Laura' debate check out Mercedeeez on YouTube. I suppose Laura is not a girl singer's song but I can just imagine this artist singing it, with banjo, and doing it quite nicely. Very cute don't you think??
Roly

Thursday, November 27, 2008

John Etheridge Trio North - Corner House, Heaton.

Music has few boundaries for John Etheridge who seems to be able to handle whatever pigeon hole he glides into. Tonight, in the company of Dave Tyas (dms) and Ben Crosland (fretless), he alternated wild thrashes that would have been considered loud in Yankee Stadium with tender balladry that could only have been marred by the dropping of a pin. In the latter mode, "Stormy Weather" was a thing of delicate beauty whilst his take on Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", although totally original was, nevertheless, respectful towards the composer's intent.
However, delightful as these moments were it was the mega volume blasts that got the adrenalin going as well as the front table couple who, fingers in ears, moved to the Bleachers. Even "Love For Sale" wasn't immune and drummer Dave Tyas, who was superb throughout, excelled in his extended solo. I wasn't so sure about Ben Crosland. He had his moments but there were times when his intonation seemed suspect. Then again, the Corner House has always been accoustically challenged so perhaps it wasn't Ben's fault.
I first heard John Etheridge back in the 1970s with Stephane Grappelli at Sunderland Empire, I heard him in the 1980s at a jam with Ian Carr, Tony Coe and Nigel Stanger at the Rising Sun Pub, Wallsend (photo) and again, more recently, at The Sage warming up Dee Dee Bridgewater. He's never failed to impress and his skills have been honed and perfected over the years. His raconteuring isn't bad either!

Four Brothers

Thought I'd draw your attention once more to this version of "Four Brothers" by Csabo and Katica Illenyi (actually brother and sister). They are Hungarian and I just love this performance even though the sync isn't perfect.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Take it to the Bridge at the Chilli

Dave sang "When Sunny Gets Blue" - he did good; lots of feeling. Miles' "Solar" benefitted from John Pope on bass laying down a sound foundation for solos by Dave (tpt), Darren Grainger (alt), Barry Ashcroft (pno) as well as his chapeaued self. John is moving up the league table of bass players pretty fast and I think there will be one or two starting to look over their shoulders - must be the hat!
Not that Barry was the only bassist tonight. A guy called Mark wandered in off the street and had a sit in; he too proved an able player and also wore a hat.
Ian Forbes took over from Eric Stutt on drums during the second set; perhaps Eric is saving himself for next weeks session when he also plays with BUDVIVAR who are making their first public appearance at the Chilli.
Extreme Measures' Stuart Davies, normally on 'hatless' bass, was tonight on lead; he proved himself to be equally adept on six strings with a particularly fine solo on "Song For My Father".
All in all a pleasant session. Photos.
Don't forget that next week features a set by BUDVIVAR.

My Buddy - Buddy Rich

If you haven't heard/read this Buddy Rich lecture to his band click here. It's an insight into the mind of the late, legendary drummer.

WARNING! This item contains some non-swear words!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jim Mullen and Friends at the Side Café

After Sunday's Voice of the North concert, Adrian Tilbrook, Andy Champion and later, Paul Edis, must have viewed tonight's gig with Jim Mullen as akin to going from Wagner to Gilbert and Sullivan - not that there is anything wrong with Gilbert and Sullivan or for that matter, Jim Mullen. Indeed Jim Mullen is a fine guitarist and his easy relaxed style helped to fuel the ambience as the Side season cantered to a close.
A very facile player with the unusual technique of using his thumb rather than a plectrum he played an enjoyable set of gasbook standards as well as a few Parker/Gillespie rebel rousers. "I Fall in Love Too Easily" stood out among the former whilst the latter mood was typified by "Blue 'n' Boogie".
The second set saw Jim joined by a variety of performers - it was rather like the end of term prizegiving at school.
Paul Edis duetted with Jim on a tender version of "My One and Only Love" (I think), Zoe Gilby sang "Wave" with the trio and tenorman Graeme Wilson blew "Body and Soul" rather faster than the norm; it worked. Jim also played an exquisite, unaccompanied, "I Can't Get Started" that drew an audible gasp of delight from at least one lady in the audience.
Throughout, Adrian and Andy gelled with Jim and both had plenty of exposure. Andy is the only bass player I've come across who can make a bowed solo swing whilst Adrian can muster more facial expressions than any drummer since Gene Krupa!
If I were to nit pick it might be to comment on Jim's overuse of quotes but that would be unfair as they were done with taste and humour - particularly the minor interval he often finished them off with.
Overall, a very enjoyable session.

Three Piece Sweet - Roly Veitch

Hello Lance,
Frank Wappatt, on Radio Ncle, did an extremely enthusiastic review of this trio CD last night. It features Keith Stephen (gtr/bjo/uke), Caroline Irwin (vcl/uke/cornet) & Bruce Rollo (bass). He played three tracks - "Autumn Leaves" featuring Caroline beautifully singing the French lyrics, "Tiger Rag" (a virtuoso banjo tour de force for Keith) and another nice vocal by Caroline, "Exactly Like You." He then went on to play "Black Beauty" by Steve Andrews' legendary 'Savannah Syncopators'. So Frank certainly did the local jazz scene proud last night.
Roly

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra at Georgian Theatre Stockton

Adrian Tilbrook told me in advance that Issie Barrett's scores were challenging - he may have used an earthier description - and he was right! Fortunately, the VOTNJO boys proved themselves up to the occasion and the result was, for me, a landmark not just in local or even British Jazz but big band jazz without frontiers.
Ms Barrett, who not only composed and arranged her scores but also used her full body language to conduct them, is without doubt one of the most outstanding writers in the jazz field and, no doubt, beyond.
At times, the ensemble sounded as if Ellington had arranged something by Schoenberg for the Kenton Band. The power of the brass, often voiced atonally, contrasted with the harmonic variations from within the sax section whilst punched along by a rhythm section that rarely saw four beats in any one bar and yet, in a roundabout sort of way, it swung!
Not to be outdone, VOTNJO leader John Warren's own comps and arrangements also drew the best from the orchestra. Lew Watson's tenor solo on JJ's "Lament" - a moment of beauty - was a case in point. However, it is unfair of me to single any one player out - this was a team effort and, as such, all were deserving of the highest of accolades.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mama Does Allow at Ashington

Further to my previous post, site visitors will be aware that Ashington Jazz Club has been looking for a new base after 15 yrs at the Queens, Guide Post.
The good news is that they now have a new venue; upstairs in The Elephant Public House, Newbiggin Road, Ashington tel. 01670 814157. Most people know where it is; in actual fact, as the North Seaton Hotel, it was where the club began in the 1980s and, because it's actually in Ashington, it is hoped that it may attract a bigger audience.
New organiser John Taylor informs me that the first gig is on Wednesday 3rd Dec and features the Maine Street Jazzmen. Starts at 8.30 pm.
John is planning to present bands on a monthly basis.

Bess, You Is My Woman Now

Television isn't the most jazz friendly media so that when I heard the sound of a big band belting out a stripper style number I thought that, perhaps, Jools Holland had marshalled his troops in a new direction. It was in fact a commercial for "Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire Puddings" Now if her Yorkshires taste as good as her soundtrack sounds then they should be delicious. I'm just off to the supermarket ... Click here to watch and listen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Mama Don't Allow" at Guide Post.

The Queen's Head at Guide Post, I am informed by bush telegraph, is no longer a venue for jazz. A change of management has resulted in "Mama Don't Allow" becoming a reality and Ashington Jazz Club are looking for a new home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good Vibes At The Not So Chilly Chilli This Week!

The exclusive coterie of enthusiasts at the Chilli had a special treat this week - the heating was back on. Also, with former Squadronaire Laurie Brown on vibes and later drums, musical delights too were there to be savoured.
Lawrie produced an excellent arrangement of "Stepping Out With My Baby" that had good solos all round. Tough tenor John Rowland put the boot in with an earthy blast that set the mood for other punchy choruses from Dave, Lawrie, Mick Danby (bs gtr) and Barry Ashcroft (pno). Earlier, a 12 bar in F had got things up and swinging. The band were playing "Love Walked In" when in walked John Pope wearing the seemingly obligatory double bassist's hat.
John took to the stage for the second set providing the rhythmic impetus whilst Mick played a more melodic role; at least he did until the Carlsbro amp blew up and was stretchered off during "St Thomas"; St Thomas obviously isn't the patron saint of amplifiers. This didn't deter Mick who shook some shakers and added calypsonic vocalese. For this number Lawrie spelled Eric Stutt on drums. As the night progressed, Mick threw in a bluesy vocal and played a frugal flugel on "Take The A Train". A man of many talents.
Other numbers included Mulligan's "Five Brothers", "Blue Skies", "It Don't Mean a Thing", "Anthropology" and Frank Rosolino's "Blue Daniel". The latter is a 14 barred 3/4 structure that, although recorded by the brothers Adderley, I will forever associate with the late tenor player Syd Warren as it was the first tune I ever heard him play. This was upstairs in the Rex Hotel, Whitley Bay; a room that was not unlike the upper room where the disciples meet at the Chilli.
Apart from Pope John, the sitters-in sat-out this week.

A Nice Day in Cullercoats - Report by John Taylor

Another great session with the Vieux Carre Jazzmen at the Cullercoats' Crescent Club. Roger Myerscough, better known as reedman with Phil Mason, guested with the band and sounded as if he had played with them for ever albeit not without some direction from the master Fred Rowe along the way. Roger was the absolute pro. on both bari. and clt.
Standing room only and a few new faces in the audience. Three drummers who had played with the band in the past were present and one lad sat in for a couple of numbers.
A nice day in Cullercoats.
Friends in Jazz,
John Taylor.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jim Mullen - My Ship

Jim Mullen playing "My Ship" - a little taster of what to expect at the Side Café this coming Monday 24 Nov.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Andy Champion - HCW - Jam Session at the Side Café

The penultimate session of this season at the Side Café began with a compelling solo performance by Andy Champion on double bass. Andy has a futuristic vision that I must confess exceeds my musical horizons. Nevertheless, I appreciate his technique and applaud his involvement; perhaps one day I will have a deeper understanding and follow in the same direction; perhaps.
We were brought down to earth in the second set by the newly formed HCW:Hirst, Carr and Worsley. John Hirst (dms), Edd Carr (7 string guitar) and Cristos Worsley (bs). They opened up with an explosive downtown Chicago Night Owl Blues type number - all that was missing was a "My woman done gone an' left me" vocal - and continued with a series of, as yet unnamed, originals in a post jazz rock vein before culminating in an almighty mindblowing fusion of sound finale.
Powerhouse drumming, inventive guitar playing and basslines that didn't just walk but kicked ass doing it.
Great set.
Afterwards, I had the priviledge of chatting to a gentleman, and I use the word advisedly, whom I took to be Cristos' father; Johnny Worth, aka Les Vandyke who, apart from once singing with the Oscar Rabin Band also wrote many hit songs for Adam Faith and other stars from the 1950s onwards. Check him out here.
In the jam session that followed, Andy Champion was on drums, David Carnegie piano and Edd Carr guitar. Didn't catch name of bass player.
Photos

Herbie Hancock - Sage, Gateshead 14 Nov.

Click here for Journal review by Paul Lorraine. (The Sage). Click here for Times review by Alyn Shipton (Royal Festival Hall). Herbie gave a warm interview on Breakfast tv this morning. If you were at the Sage gig we'd love to have your take on it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Spotlight on Spotlite

In the right hand column I've added a link to Spotlite Jazz; not for any commercial reasons but because of the amount of quality, mainly British, CDS in their catalogue; at good prices too!
Just as Tempo and Esquire provided the outlets for Brit Jazz in the 1950s Spotlite have done the same with material from the 1960s onwards.
If your tastes run to guys like Tommy Whittle, Pete King, Dave Cliff, Tubby Hayes, Don Rendell, Allan Ganley or singers such as Barbara Jay and Lee Gibson to mention but a few then there is a treasure chest of riches to choose from.
Also available is the complete American Dial catalogue from the 1940s. Legendary performances by Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, Dexter Gordon, Wardell Gray, Howard McGhee, Diz, Dodo, Al Haig - all the bebop pioneers including Birds earliest sides with Jay McShann.
EMail Tony Williams (not the late drummer) for a catalogue.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Tribute to Clem.

So sorry to hear the news of the death of Clem Avery. As you know Lance, Clem did go back a long way, when my father Hughie Aitchison and he used to play on the Tyneside Jazz scene in the 1950's, and of course those great years when I was a boy taken by my dad to Forth Banks New Orleans Jazz Club in the 1960's, to hear and meet all of those great characters on the jazz scene at that time.
I myself did go through a music course with Clem at The College of Arts And Technology in Newcastle in the early 1970's. He was always a warm and gentle man, and a very knowledgeable musician. It was just a couple of years ago that I took my wife, Jeannie, over to see and meet him playing with the Rae Brothers, and after all the years since I had last seen him he was still the same warm and talkative Clem. I'm sure he will be very much missed on the local jazz scene. Many thanks Lance for keeping me up to date...

Sincerely Colin Aitchison Hong Kong

An Ear to the Ground

Rumour has it that trumpet man Alan Smith has parted company with the Maine Street Jazzmen.
Also, the whisper is that their Wednesday night residency at Hebburn's Iona Club ends this month.
Gershwin's Restaurant has closed and Tavistock Italia have adopted a 'no jazz' policy.
This means that, apart from Fenwicks' Tivoli Restaurant's short season of Sunday lunchtime trio sessions and Saturday night's gig at the Jazz Café, there are no regular Saturday/Sunday jazz on the Tyne venues. Perhaps some enterprising entrepeneur will step in. Otherwise, it means a trip to Teeside.
Actually, that's not a bad idea for next Sunday lunchtime (23rd Nov) - VOTNJO at Stockton's Georgian Theatre.
Tuesday (7.00 pm) Guy Barker leads the London Jazz Orchestra in concert on Radio 3.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Keith Nicholls' Blue Six Plus at the Saville Exchange North Shields

An enjoyable, easy listen to music of the 1920s as it was played back then by Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang and Adrian Rollini.
Tonight those roles were taken, respectively, by Mike Piggott (violin), Spats Langham (gtr, bjo, uke, vcl) and Frans Sjostrom (bs sax), supported by Norman Fields (alt, ten, c-mel, clt), Nick Ward (dms) and led by Keith Nicholls (pno, acc, vcl) with cameo appearances by Mike Durham (tpt) and Paul Munnery (tmb).
Lots of vintage tunes, and by vintage I mean numbers that go back to, and here I quote Mike Piggott, 'When Long John Silver had both legs and an egg on his shoulder'!
There was more humour and lots of good playing all round with a Venuti/Lang duet by Mike Piggott and Spats, "Wild Dog," that was particularly appealing.
A decent turn out too.

Ken Vandermark, Barry Guy & Mark Sanders at the Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle. Report by Russell Corbett.

Chicagoan Vandermark is in the tradition of Charles Gayle (at the Star & Shadow last year) and Peter Brotzmann - a verocious player, playing without compromise.
Double bassist Barry Guy and percussionist Mark Saunders met him head-on--both have the energy and intensity to go twelve rounds with him. The one-hour set did have light and shade but it was the primal scream that captivated the audience; a good turn-out of about sixty. Tenor-man Vandermark loved 'the space' (the venue). The audience loved him, Guy and Saunders.
Alex Bonney (trumpet) & Dave Kane (double bass) provided a well-paced support set. A series of brief, to the point pieces.
Russell Corbett

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Paul Edis/Graeme Wilson/Paul Gamblin w. Jeremy McMurray Trio at Blaydon

Tonight was interesting if not earth-shattering. Paul Edis and Graeme Wilson both had moments of excellence on flute and got a good sound together. "Line For Lyons", the old Gerry Mulligan number, came over well as did Bud Powell's "Hallucination". What is it with Bud Powell this week? Everybody's doing him which is no bad thing as, not only was he a piano genius, but he also wrote some good tunes in the bop idiom. On guitar, Paul Gamblin kept the bop lines flowing sounding at times like his father, the late, great Eric.
On piano, Jeremy McMurray, by his standards relatively restrained, nevertheless had several solos of substance whilst Andy Champion and Bill Shield were rock solid.
Overall? Just another day at the office albeit pretty close to being the swingingest office in town!

One Bass Hit. Barry Guy at Newcastle Uni.

Barry Guy didn't wear a hat although it may have been advantageous for the audience to have worn hard hats. Sticks and beaters shooting off at oblique angles are not an unusual occurrence when this 'guy' is in full flight!
I have to admit that the idea of an hour of solo double bass didn't exactly fill my heart with rejoicing but it was free, in every possible sense of the term, and Barry Guy is undoubtedly a master of his craft so I thought 'why not?'
To understand that craft, all pre-conceived ideas on bass playing must be cast aside before entering this musical demi-monde otherwise instant insanity could occur.
True, there were moments of absolute beauty that touched my very soul; there were also moments when I thought either he or I were out on license from Bedlam.
These were the frenetic bursts that reminded me of Syd Millward and his Nitwits - or was it Dr. Crock and his Crackpots? Whatever, I remember the bassplayer in one of those bands ended up sawing his bass in half with the bow!
All this notwithstanding, it was a mindblowing performance that drew a mega positive response from the crowd and did give me a feelgood factor that I wasn't expecting.
As a footnote, John Pope was spotted so presumably he hasn't been on a Polar expedition.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Two Bass Hat - This Week at The Chilly

If you want to get a bass get a hat seems to be
the motto for bass players at the Chilly these days. John Pope set the trend a couple of weeks back with a woolly headcovering not unlike those favoured by building workers and Antarctic explorers. As John hasn't been sighted since, perhaps, even as we speak, he is setting up a Base (Bass?) Camp in the Southern Shetlands. One thing is sure, it couldn't have been any colder down there than it was in the aptly named Chilly tonight. Lawrence Blackadder (pict.left) and Claude Vanner (right) both sported headgear that didn't impair their musicianship in the slightest. Although Claude is of Chilean origin, I will resist the urge for anymore chilly jokes and say that, as well as being a master of the tenor sax, he is no slouch when it comes to bass playing either - with or without a hat. With the aid of Eric on drums and Barry on piano he helped Dave to Take it to the Bridge yet again.
Lawrence, making his monthly appearance as part of the ALAN GLEN TRIO, did his bit to make their set one of the best yet.
Alan was in Bud Powell mode and he kicked of with "Bouncing With Bud" followed by "Groovin' High". This was bop piano at its best and several other anthems from the era were given the treatment.
In a softer vein, "My Foolish Heart" surely re-kindled many a past romance in the mind of the listeners as he cajoled every ounce of tenderness from the keyboard. "My Funny Valentine" evoked similar emotions.
David Carnegie's brushwork matched the mood of the moment before reverting to sticks for the finale; another uptempo bopper that had him exploding into a powerhouse solo that brought the set to a breathless climax.
The jam that followed included Nicola (alto), "Felix" and Daniel (gtrs) and Ben Gilbert (pno).
Next week: Lawrie Brown (vibes).
NB: The appearance by BUDVIVAR is actually on Wednesday 3rd December and not as I previously announced.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gerry Richardson's Big Idea at Newcastle College. Reports by John Taylor and Russell Corbett

Gerry Richardson's Big Idea gave a very polished performance at Newcastle College last night. This was my first concert at the performing arts theatre and the acoustics were really good. Sometimes organ led bands can be dominated by the organist. Not so with Gerry's band - everyone had space for excellent solo work. Only one small complaint - too many lighting changes.
John.
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Russell says:
First of all I agree with John's small complaint; the lighting was hopeless. The brass section was amused! So to the gig. Gerry wheeled-out the juggernaut that is the Hammond B3 and warmed-up the valves nicely with old favourite "Stone Church". Rod Sinclair featured on "Blues for Big Red" followed by the human metronome that is Paul Smith on the first of two African tunes. A better drummer there ain't for this band, simple as that.
The first set concluded with a smokin' take on "Take the Tee Train". The second half featured a Ray Charles medley; Gerry asked the audience to imagine the boys in the band as the Raelettes. A vivid imagination was called for! That said, Sue Ferris could no doubt make a go of it. On second thoughts Sue is better deployed in her present role; that of bringing superb flute, tenor and baritone sax playing to the session. A marvellous flautist, a tough tenor and tamer of the beast that is the baritone sax.
Stuart Johnson offered some blistering soprano sax (he deserves to be heard more). Last but by no means least, the man himself (GR) is a generous band-leader (solos all round), a singer in the Mose Allison/Georgie Fame mould (perhaps an acquired taste - I for one enjoy it) and no mean Hammond player! A Great Idea is the Big Idea. Another great idea would be to catch the band on its next Newcastle outing at the Corner House, February 5th next year. Russell.
(Gerry Richardson Hammond Organ & Vocals. Mark Webb, Dave Hignett trumpets. Gary Linsley, Stuart Johnson, Sue Ferris saxophones. Keith Norris trombone. Rod Sinclair guitar. Paul Smith drums.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ruth Lambert Quintet at the Side Café

Tonight was a tough call - the Ruth Lambert quintet at the Side or Gerry Richardson's Big Idea at the College? In the end I opted for Ruth and I didn't regret it; all five were on top of their game. Scorching tenor solos from Graeme Wilson - is there a better tenor player around? Imaginative pianowork from Paul Edis - his chunky block chords contrasting with some facile runs that verged on the impossible. Paul also filtered some laid back sensitivity onto the ballads. Andy Champion (bs) and Tim Johnston (dms) were also relatively laid back. Andy's day will come next week on his solo gig. Tim drove the uptempo blasts along nicely - they swung.
And Ruth? I've heard a lot of Ruth of late and I have to admit she never lets me down. Maybe she has off nights, maybe; I wouldn't know.
Last time I caught her she sang "No Moon At All". That tune wasn't in her program tonight but there was no shortage of lunacy with "That Old Devil Moon" and "How High The Moon"; the latter lifting off at somewhere close to the speed of light.
However, it was the ballad, "This Is Always," which did it for me; one of Harry Warren's finest.
In the jam that followed, Paul blew flute, David Carnegie sat in on piano and Felix who isn't Felix played guitar.
Good gig.

Miriam Makeba R.I.P

I can't pretend to have been a big fan of Miriam Makeba's for the simple reason I never heard her live and, until today, knew very little of her recorded work. I was aware of her political stance against Apartheid and the problems it brought but musically, for whatever reason, her discs never found their way into my collection.
I rather think that may change.
Listening to "The Click Song" and "Pata Pata" on YouTube I was struck by the infectiousness of the African beat and the happiness she seemed to create in her listeners.
"Mama Africa," she was well named, died 9 Nov. in Italy aged 76.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Keith Stephens' Hot Club Trio - New CD

That veritable tome of Jazzology - Jazz Journal International - in its November issue, reviews the latest CD by Keith Stephens' Hot Club Trio.
The CD, which features John Hallam on reeds and Caroline Irwin, vocal, alongside Keith (banjo & guitar), Bruce Rollo (bass) and Roly Veitch (rhythm guitar & vocal) receives what can best be described as a moderately enthusiastic review by, I think, Derek Ansell.
Visitors to this site can make up their own minds by listening to the YouTube clip (in the sidebar) of "I Saw Stars".
Mr Ansell did, however, raise a chuckle when he questioned the advisability of a melody, not "I Saw Stars", being played throughout on a banjo!
Bill Harper might agree on that one!
Nevertheless, banjos and Derek Ansell notwithstanding, the CD (KSHCT002) is well worth a listen.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Take It To The Bridge at The Chillingham

Dave Weisser was the sole horn player this week - he sounded good. "Whisper Not", "Blue Bossa" and "Straight No Chaser" all worked. On the latter tune he shouted some Muddy Water blues that brought to mind Shelly Manne's vocal on Kenton's "Blues in Burlesque". If you're too young to remember that record, originally a two sided 78 rpm, check it out; you won't be disappointed!
Dave also sang and blew well on "Green Dolphin Street".
The second set saw Caroline Lee sit in on piano for a couple of numbers; "I Should Care" and "Alice in Wonderland". She soloed impressively with some chunky chords à la Brubeck thrown into the mix; look forward to hearing her again.
No other sitters-in this week so Dave, the one man frontline, varied the program with 'vocal interludes'. Russ Freeman's "The Wind" was previously unknown to me but it had moments of rare beauty.
With Jim Crinson on five string fretless, Eric Stutt, drums, and Barry Ashcroft (pno) the overall sound suggested an early Miles Davis Quartet.
Click here for Photos.
Future events include: 12 Nov: Alan Glen Trio. 19 Nov: Lawrie Brown (vibes). 3rd December (not as previously announced.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Graham Hardy Trio at the Side Café

Another jazz in miniature session, this time featuring Graham Hardy, mainly on flugel, Giles Strong, guitar and Mick Shoulder, who was also anchorman with Ruth this afternoon, on bass.
Giles, yet another outstanding guitarist to play at the Side, had some moments to cherish on "Body and Soul" as well a few impressive choruses of improvised counterpoint with Graham on the faster numbers. Charlie Parker's "Visa" scored heavily.
Graham manages to get a beguilingly wistful sound on flugel horn reminiscent of days gone by in LA when guys like Chet Baker and Art Farmer were helping to define 'The Cool School'. His phrasing is totally modern without any swing era hangovers or sorties into the unknown. With Mick, dependable as ever, the trio gelled.

Ruth Lambert Trio at Quadrata Café (Where?)

If you're making your first visit to the Quadrata Café allow yourself plenty time. It doesn't have a neon sign, or any other form of identification. The passers by that I quizzed had never heard of it and I'd begun to question its mere existence. However, to cut short a boring tale of worn out shoes and negative shaking of heads, let me just say that I eventually found it midst a complex of what appeared to be upmarket offices.
The reason for my quest was to experience one of their occasional lunchtime sessions of chamber type music both classical and jazz.
Today's recital featured Ruth Lambert, once more in trio format, this time with Mark Williams on guitar and Mick Shoulder on bass.
Although the acoustics were somewhat strange, our girl gave a faultless performance of the tried and tested with her 'boys' providing the comfort zone for an enjoyable vignette.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Farewell Friend. Roly Veitch Pays Tribute to Clem Avery.

I've just heard that Clem Avery passed away after a battle with lung cancer. He was 75.
The expression 'a gentle giant' seems to have been invented for Clem; a lovely, caring man with great integrity. A wise, gentle approach to life and a lovely dry sense of humour.
Clem was well read, had a deep knowledge of many things, not just music. He had an open mind to all forms of music - was a pro player/reader - studied music full time and among other things, held down a long term club residency (on bass) backing 'acts' etc.
He has been a very significant figure on the local scene over a long, distinguished career in jazz.
He started playing in the early 50s and soon formed his own band. Played at all the top local venue - New Orleans Club etc. Was part of that huge surge of interest in earlier forms of jazz that happened through the 50s in the wake of Humph etc.
I got to know Clem from going to some sessions in the mid 70s - when he found out I was trying to get into playing jazz he got me my first sit ins, took me regularly to The Main Street Jazzmen sessions in the mid to late 70s (at Heaton's Corner House) where Clem played bass, not his usual trumpet. Clem started a new band at The Golden Lion, Winlaton Mill - around 1977. Ronnie Mclean on tbn, Danny Dunbar clt, Clem tpt, Johnny Duncan bass, Chas Coles dms, myself on gtr. We had 7 very happy years there.
When we started at Blaydon in 1984 Clem came in on double bass with Marshall Walker on dms and Bill Smith tnr. 14 happy years at The Black Bull!
I've kept in touch since - he lived close by. Clem's jazz career had a huge renaissance in recent years when he joined Rae Brothers N O Jazz Band. Their gentle, unselfish, authentic version of early ensemble style New Orleans jazz has been a delight to jazz audiences at festivals etc all over the UK and beyond. I think the band suited Clem and he was ideal for them. They were, and still are, hugely popular and for good reason.
Clem was a unique and very special character - the local jazz scene has lost a much loved player/ambassador.
Roly Veitch
(A more detailed look at Clem's life can be seen on Roly's own website click here to view the ongoing project - Lance)

Rebecca Kilgore & Dave Frishberg by Liz

Knowing how much Lance and Roly love the voice of Becky Kilgore I thought they might have missed this review from yesterday's Daily Telegraph.
Rebecca Kilgore & Dave Frishberg Why Fight the Feeling? Songs by Frank Loesser Arbors, £13.99 Rebecca Kilgore is one of the few true individualists among contemporary jazz singers. She has style, taste, and an ability to phrase a lyric so that it makes sense, both musically and emotionally. This lovely set of duets with Dave Frishberg on piano is one of the best things she's recorded. Highly recommended.
Liz

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Clare Teal Gets Happy at Gala Theatre Durham by Jim McD.

From the very first number, multi award winning vocalist Clare Teal went off at full tilt in an attempt to inject a little happiness into last night's near capacity audience and, judging by their response to her efforts, the girl more than succeeded! Ms Teal is fortunate in having an extraordinary trio behind her in the form of Sheffield lad Mike Gorman (piano), Simon Little (bass) and a delicately swinging drummer from Leeds, Chris Dagely; they provided the perfect cushion.
Blessed with a highly expressive voice, Clare always brings something special to a song whether it be one of her own or one from the Great American Song Book.
A humorous lady who mixed cheerful asides with classy tunes from a classy era, Clare also talked about her influences which led her into "Tea for Two" Anita O'Day style (terrific stuff) and then "The Very Thought of You" as a kind of homage to Al Bowlly's style of singing. Later on, standout numbers were "Begin the Beguine", "Get Happy" and "Moondance".
Altogether a Get Happy event, sorry for you folks who missed out!
Jim & Jane

Alan Nicholson R.I.P

The death has been reported of well known Tyneside drummer and bandleader Alan Nicholson aged 80. A veteran of the big band/ night club/ cabaret scene, Alan was a much respected musician and will be sadly missed by his contemporaries.

Tribute to Allan Ganley from John Taylor

The BBC paid tribute to the late Allan Ganley with a concert recorded live on 28 August 2008. All the usual suspects are there including Vic Ash, Alan Barnes, Mark Nightingale etc. It's a cracking band and a worthy tribute to a great drummer.
Click on the the link to watch the video.

Gateshead Jazz Festival 2009

Russell has kindly drawn my attention to the release of information regarding the 2009 Festival at The Sage, Gateshead. Details in right hand column.
It looks interesting with such iconic figures as tenor player Joshua Redman and the legendary vocalist Sheila Jordan. Now 80 years old, the word is that Sheila has lost little of her vocal ability. I last heard her in Holland in the 1980s and she was superb back then; this is one person I will be grabbing a front row seat for.

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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.)
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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