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Bebop Spoken There

Mundell Lowe: “...we also had to play for a floor show, which consisted of girls dancing--some of 'em were dressed, some of 'em were not so dressed.” – (Crescendo September 1974).

Philip Larkin: "It's marvelous background music if you can find the foreground" - (Daily Telegraph April 17, 1969).

Today Sunday November 29

Steve Glendinning (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 12.30pm. 0191 2399924.
Musicians Unlimited - Park Inn, 82 Park Rd., Hartlepool TS26 9LN. Doors 12 noon.
Alix Shepherd (Solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Gala Big Band - Town Hall, Market Place, Durham DH1 3NJ. 7:30pm. 03000 267200.
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. Doors 7pm. £5.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn - Northern Sinfonia and Guests.

This was somewhat misleading to say the least. The guests actually comprised no less than the Guy Barker Orchestra, as well as Cleveland Watkiss, Brian Kellock and Tim Garland. The consensus in the bar area was that a lot more people would have elected to attend had they known Guy would have his band along- side the Sinfonia. However, there was a good crowd anyway which made me think that if just 10% of the audience made it to a local gig and paid 10% of tonight's ticket price then the scene would really be thriving! Never mind, back to the concert. Guy Barker took the rostrum and the Sinfonia, led by the impish Bradley Creswick, respectfully stood up, as did the jazz orchestra - after much coaxing and nudging.
Ellington's three part "Night Creature" got things underway and, as the sound of the symphonic strings engulfed me my immediate thought was that this is a superior film score. Then I realised the script had yet to be written that could match such a beautiful soundtrack.
Cleveland Watkiss sang "Lush Life" and "Caravan". He reminded me a little of Johnny Hartman without the richness although that could have been due to the sound system.
Brian Kellock, piano, came on and duetted with altoist Rosario Giuliani on "Chelsea Bridge". Guiliani had the unenviable role of Johnny Hodges and he was more convincing when he moved away from 'Rabbit's' shadow. Kellock played brilliantly.
"Harlem Suite" brought things to a powerful close with some fine trumpet from Byron Wallen and the 'longhairs' getting as close to swinging as they did all night.
During the interval, I chatted with former Newcastle Big Band Buddies Andy Hudson and Germaine Stanger and, in the absence of any photo opportunities in the hall, Jim McD took a shot of the three of us (I'm the guy in the middle under the hat - the other two are self explanatory).
The second half opened with "A Train" then Rosario did "Chelsea Bridge" on soprano and Tim Garland had the blast of the night on "UMMG" (Upper Manhattan Medical Group.) This was a quartet number with Brian Kellock on piano, Phil Donkin (bs) & Ralph Salmins (dms). Cleveland gave a melancholy take on "Daydream" before the grand finale - "Black, Brown and Beige" which may have lasted a little too long - but only a little!
All in all a very good concert with some spectacular highs and very few lows.
The audience loved it and applauded long and loud but no encore - what did they expect? The Sinfonia to busk "C Jam Blues"?
Just one niggling thought. What if, instead of the Sinfonia, they had hired another 41 jazz musicians? That really would have been a night to remember.

1 comment :

  1. For the record, the Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra: Barker (conductor),
    Rosario Giuliani, Graeme Blevins (alto), Tim Garland, Per (Texas), Johansson (ten), Phil Todd (bar).
    Nathan Bray, Tom Rees Roberts, Byron Wallen, Pat White (tpts).
    Mark Frost, Barnaby Dickinson, Alistair White (tmb). Jim Watson/Brian Kellock (pno). Phil Donkin (bs). Ralph Salmins (dms).


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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: I look forward to hearing from you.

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