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Bebop Spoken There

Buddy Rich: "I'm very tired of sixteen year old kids who think they know all about electronics and tell you how to play. They don't tell me how to play, because I tell 'em what they can do!" - (Crescendo March 1982).

Kermit Ruffins: “I’ll make 50 this year, and I don’t want to record nothing that’s real hot because when I get older I’m not gonna be able to play it.” – (Jazz Times October 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Friday October 24.

Afternoon.
RENDEZVOUS JAZZ - Black Horse, Monkseaton. 1pm. Free.
Classic jazz.
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Evening.
EYESHUTIGHT - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. £5 (£3 before 8.30pm.)
Contemporary Leeds based trio
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RAY HARRIS -Hoochie Coochie 54 Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 6SF. 8pm. Free. Popular funk/soul singer.
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ELKIE BROOKS - Middlesbrough Town Hall. £23.50. 8pm.
They don't come any better than Elkie.
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NEW CENTURY RAGTIME ORCHESTRA - The Millstone, Haddricks Mill Rd., South Gosforth, NE3 1QL. 7.30pm. 0191 2853429. £5.
Get there early - it's a big band in a small room!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Jazz Baroness - BBC4 - 75mins.

Listen to this 30 minute radio preview of film/documentary 'The Jazz Baroness' to be broadcast 17 April on BBC4. In the film, Helen Mirren is the Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter; associate, inspiration and patron d'arts to Bird, Monk etc. Lance

Thursday, February 26, 2009

R.I.P Ian Carr - A North-east Innovator

Their can be few north-east jazz fans of 'a certain age' who aren't saddened by the death of Ian Carr. As co-leader of the now legendary Emcee Five he helped tell the world that hard bop wasn't confined to New York, L.A. or even London but was also flourishing at the Down Beat Club in Carliol Square, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
To this day I still play the vinyl recordings they made back in the early 1960s and believe you me they have stood the test of time.
Ian also wrote what is possibly the definitive book on Miles Davis.
I later heard him with Nucleus and other jazz/rock/experimental groups but, for me, I'll always remember that Milesian (what better description is there!) sound of his horn as I climbed the stairs at Carliol Square nearly 50 years ago.
Lance

Ruth Lambert CD - Update

Ruth’s new CD is nearly ready for release, we are putting the final touches to it now and it should be out by the end March. I’m pleased that the Corner House preview went down well and I’ll be posting the release date on the Jazzaction site soon. Adrian T

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sax All Night. Courtney Pine at Breakfast Time

I was pleasantly surprised to see Courtney Pine being interviewed on BBC morning television. No longer L'Enfant terrible in the eyes of the purists, Courtney is now one of jazz's more eloquent spokespersons and not just with words but musically too. A snatch of "Easy Living" - unaccompanied soprano - did nothing to harm the cause. A couple of anecdotal stories about Sydney Bechet and the revelation that he, Courtney, takes one of his many saxes to bed with him made for a refreshing cameo amidst the tales of doom and gloom that fill the media.
Lance

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Compassionate Dictatorship at the Cluny

Tori Freestone (ten/sop), Jez Franks (gtr), Jasper Holby (bs), Ben Reynolds (dms).
The Cluny invariably reminds me of a Parisian jazz cellar, I don't know why. It's not a cellar, it's not in Paris and sometimes the jazz content is tenuous to say the least.
I'm pleased to say tonight wasn't one of those occasions. How could it be when the two major players, Tori and Jez, graduated from and now teach at Leeds College of Music? The standing of that seat of learning in the music world is beyond question and these two, along with Adam Hastings and the boys from Leeds in 'The Lad' last night, are amongst its most shining examples.
Tori and Jez both play in a contemporary manner without straying too far into uncharted waters. Indeed some of the finest moments came in what I took to be carefully rehearsed ensemble passages; if they weren't then they really are something else!
Jesper and Ben, despite being relatively subdued, nevertheless played their roles to perfection and all in all an enjoyable evening ensued with the highs outnumbering the lows. Come to think of it, there weren't any lows apart from a slight suggestion of blandness early on.
Lance.
PS: I know why the Cluny reminds me of Paris - the first band I heard there was the Roger Beaujolais Quartet...

More on Monk and the Loft - Jack Goodwin

I’ve just read the New York Times article on Monk. The article refers to the sessions at the loft which were recorded on tapes by the great photographer Eugene Smith and also refers to David X. Young (wonder what the X stood for?). You can see many of the photos taken at that time at the loft here: davidxyoung and several of these feature, amongst others, Warne Marsh (see pic. numbers 1, 7 and 11). As it happens, I’m lucky enough to have a recording from this very session amongst my Warne Marsh archive. Just thought you might be interested.
Jack http://www.warnemarsh.info/

Yorkshire Heritage Coast Jazz Festival - Staithes coach trip

The Vieux Carré Jazzmen are performing at the Yorkshire Heritage Coast Jazz Festival in Staithes on Saturday 25 April 2009. Our coach will depart Whitley Bay Town Centre (T & G Allan's) at 10.30am, and pick up at The Corner House, Heaton, at 10.50am. Arrive Staithes Village Hall around 12.30pm - food and bar from 12 noon. You can choose to take a stroll around the village, call in for a tipple at the Cod and Lobster public house which overlooks the harbour or sample 'Bistro style Fish & Chips' which is a thick cod steak served with real crispy home-made chips at The Cleveland Corner Cafe. Also available from proprietors Ken and Cristel Smith is "Ken's Hot Crab Pasta", which is local crabmeat mixed in a spicy olive oil and tossed in Linguine Pasta. Ken also bakes two dessert classics, a flourless dark chocolate fudge cake and a fresh lime tart, both served with award winning "Brymor" ice cream - food and drink also available at the nearby Captain Cook Inn. After that, make your way to the village hall where the The Vieux Carre Jazzmen will play 2 x 45 minute sets commencing 3.00pm. Depart Staithes at 5.30pm arrive Corner House 7.00pm; Whitley Bay town centre, 7.20pm Cost including coach travel and jazz session in the village hall: £20. 'E' or call me on: 0191 252 9429 or 07710 528413 Limited places so book NOW. Brian Bennett.

Monday, February 23, 2009

THE LAD v HCW at The Side.

The Lad (left): Adam Hastings (gtr), Peter Lee (kbds), Sam Vickery (bs), Ali Mack (dms). HCW: John Hirst (dms), Edd Carr (gtr), Christos Worsley (bs pictured below right.)
A double-header at The Side Café tonight in the form of HCW, who played a fine set here last November and "The Lad" - guitar wiz Adam Hastings' groove combo. On their last appearance, HCW - no prizes for working out where the name came from - had a distinct blues feeling to their music which was missing this time around. Instead, they played some well thought out originals that managed to escape the (sometimes) restrictive 12 bar format. Drummer Hirst's powerful technique, Edd Carr's exploratory solos and Christos Worsley's sensitive bass lines made for a tight unit. The 12 bar format holds no restrictions for Adam and nor does any other format from what I've heard. The mood here was George Benson and 'The Lad' was respectful towards his hero without being imitative. Peter Lee - no relation to the town or the old cabaret duo (Peters & Lee) - indicated that his soul mate was Billy Preston and he had some wild moments when in "Hammond" mode. Sam Vickery on bass and Ali Mack, drums, kept the engine powered for a set that had a few surprises. "Eleanor Rigby", despite Adam's professed love of the Beatles bore little resemblance to the original, I'm pleased to say, instead it had some guts to it. "Lately" was worthy of the composer (Stevie Wonder) and at times was quite delicate. However, for old boppers like myself, "Bouncing With Bud" was the highlight of an excellent set that simply "whizzed" by. The result? A score draw. Lance

Thelonious Monk

Thanks to Claudio Cavalcanti who masterminds the Brazilian blog JAZZofilo I discovered this amazing article about the High Priest of Bebop that appeared in the New York Times last week. A fascinating piece. Click here to read. Also to listen to music and narration. It brought to mind last year's fantastic re-creation of the New York Town Hall Concert at The Sage, Gateshead, by Jason Moran (pictured below with Jason Yarde, alto.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Joscho Stephan Trio at the Customs House, South Shields.

Joscho Stephan (ld/gtr), Gunter Stephan (rhm/gtr), Max Schaaf (bs).
I sometimes think that Django Reinhardt has spawned more disciples than Lester Young and Charlie Parker combined. If they all turn out to be like Joscho Stephan then so be it - bring 'em on.
I haven't actually heard too many of the acolytes but, on tonight's performance, surely Joscho must be amongst the front runners?
To describe his technique as dazzling or awesome doesn't cut it - they are merely inadequate words although they do apply. I prefer Hors de cette monde. Somehow the French 'out of this world' gets to the heart of his music.
Naturally, there was a lot of Djangology but there was also a piece by the Argentinian, Oscar Aleman, an incredible Chet Atkins type workout on "Main Street Breakdown", a helter-skelter version of Mozart's "Rondo a la Turk" and an uppish "You Made Me Love You." One number even managed to include a well known Cream riff. Adding Benny Goodman's arrangement of "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise", "Limehouse Blues and "Sweet Georgia Brown" produced another superlative - Phew!
Of course it wasn't all Formula One - a beautifully relaxed "C'est Si Bon", an original - didn't catch the name but it gave me goosebumps - "Nuages" (naturally) and "J'attendrai" this latter tune featured Max Schaaf on stick bass.
Max and Gunter, Joscho's father, on rhythm, kept the whole thing together for what was the culmination of one of the best week's listening I have had in recent memory!
The only disappointment tonight was the failure of 'The folks of Shields' to turn out in their masses; 'twas their loss. Those that did make it showed their appreciation by the volume of their applause that could barely have been exceeded by a full house. Catch the trio at Alnwick on March 3rd or at Leeds tomorrow (Sunday). Miss them at your peril. Photo.
Earlier, in the Alum House pub, we had been "entertained" by some Morris Dancers.
Lance
PS: He opened the show with "Django's Tiger". Thanks Kev for forwarding this clip.

In a Sentimental Mood - Not!

I reported earlier on the imminent demise of Jazz Journal International. To many of us it is rather sad - to many of us but not, it would seem, all.
Today I was in South Shields' library and I observed a gentleman of some considerable summers, and possibly even more winters, reading the February edition of JJI.
Here, I thought, is a kindred spirit, one with whom I will be united in grief.
"That's the last one," I said nodding towards the magazine.
"Last what?" he replied.
"Last edition of Jazz Journal".
"Not bothered," he said.
"Been going since 1949" I ventured.
He shrugged and turned away - I realised later that, to a man of his veneration, 1949 was probably little more than yesterday so, after a couple of more abortive attempts at conversation, I left him to carry on reading about Herbie Hancock.
Lance

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ruth's New CD

It's been such a hectic past four days absorbing so many great and varied sounds that I'm completely jazzed-out - to use a current buzzword. So much so that my body is demanding that I give tonight's concert at the Saville Exchange by the Jazz-O-Maniacs a miss. My heart and head argued that I'd be crazy not to catch The Maniacs but my body won.
So instead, it is feet-up time with a cooling glass and a CD or two.
Talking CDs... Prior to last night's great concert by the Damon Brown/Steve Grossman Quintet Mr T - good buddy Adrian - played Ruth Lambert's latest CD and it is an absolute knockout with arrangements by John Warren that had just a hint of Marty Paich to them and a whole lot of John Warren. I don't know if it has been launched yet - I couldn't find mention on Jazz Action site - but it's one to grab and complement her previous "So Many Stars."
In the mean time I'm going to listen to Claire Martin and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. "I Was a Little Too Lonely" is one of those great underexposed songs that the swinging knight does justice to.
Lance

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bebop Played There - Damon Brown/Steve Grossman Quintet - Corner House

Damon Brown (cornet), Steve Grossman (ten), Robin Aspland (pno), Mark Hodgson (bs), Sebastian de Krom (dms).
If Steve Grossman, at times, appeared to be coasting then who could blame him? The American was recuperating from surgery for damaged vertebrae which didn't make blowing a tenor easy.
Nevertheless, vertebrae notwithstanding, he blew fine contempary(ish) tenor (the instrument was a somewhat time travelled Selmer Mark VI) in comparatively short but effective bursts.
The general feel on this Jazz North-east/Gateshead Leisure promotion was updated bebop with Damon Brown outstanding on cornet - shades of Nat Adderley, plus a touch of Don Cherry in the mix and a lot of Damon Brown.
On piano, Robin Aspland was as brilliant as I've come to expect him to be - he has technique to spare - whilst Mark Hodgson coped manfully with a double bass, the spike of which was constantly disappearing up its own spike hole, without missing a beat!
Dutch Drummer, Sebastian de Krom, never stopped swinging and soloed impressively. The ensembles, particularly in the final set, had a great, punchy sound.
The tunes? Well there was "Joyspring" by Clifford Brown, "I Mean You" by Monk, A surprising "I'm Confessin'", "I Can't Get Started", a number by Lee Morgan, an original by Steve - "415 Park Avenue" - and one by Damon, "My Deposit". Plus a few others whose titles escape me now.
This has been a good week for music, I'm pleased to say the room was crowded, and it ain't over yet!
Lance

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chillingham Herd Stampede

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger (alt), Gary Turner (ten), Steve Summers (ten/sop/ewi), Stuart Davies (gtr), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Mick Danby (dble.bs), Eric Stutt, Ian Forbes (dms).
Extreme Measures' tenor player Gary Turner took off on "Stella By Starlight" and blew so many choruses I feared the tune would be retitled "Stella By Sunlight." Gary was hot and he kept the mercury simmering around the top end of the thermometer and this was only the opening number! Not that Gary had it all his own way. Steve Summers, part of Saxophonics when he's at home, also blew some booting tenor as well as soaring soprano and a strange electronic wind instrument that had a surprisingly mellow sound.
Darren Grainger returned from surgery and I gather things are improving (click here) - he blew some fiery alto solos.
On guitar this week, Stuart Davies, better known as bass player with Extreme Measures, proved as adept on six strings as he is on four whilst Mick Danby opted for double bass rather than bass guitar. The usual suspects completed the line-up with Ian Forbes giving Eric Stutt a spell.
The final "Blues for Duane" with Dave hollerin' like Screaming Jay rocked. Photos.
Lance.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT re VOICE OF THE NORTH JAZZ ORCHESTRA GIG AT SUNDERLAND

John Warren, leader of the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra, has pointed out some important details missing from the published flyer of the band's forthcoming concert at Sunderland Campus on March 8.
It should include the following:
Issie Barratt and the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra featuring her commissioned piece "Noneffency" and other compositions by herself and John Warren. with Steve Waterman as guest soloist.
This is, in effect, the same concert - plus Steve Waterman - that I and others raved about in November last year when the band played the Georgian Theatre in Stockton. Click here for previous review.
Don't miss this one - they don't come any better.
In the meantime, as an appetiser, look in on "Splinter" - the VOTNJO 'chips off the old block' small group - at Corner House on Thursday Mar 5. 8.00 pm.
Lance

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A 'Sage' Decision. Sir Richard Rodney Bennett & Claire Martin

And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves cursed that they were not here (Hank Cinq). The quotation from The Bard is apt - to have missed this gig is almost akin to the life incomplete.
So I was standing in the bleachers? So what? Perfect for sound and vision and, with the help of my new Italian socks, thanks Liz, and the mesmeric appeal of the two superstars, my feet didn't hurt a bit! Plus the cash I saved allowed me to buy a CD without feeling guilty - as if!
The first set was devoted to the songs of Cy Coleman and, although I have to admit my lack of familiarity with many of them, I found this voyage of discovery enhanced rather than detracted from their charm.
Claire can handle just about any kind of lyric whilst Sir Richard provides more than mere support. This was a meeting of equals reminiscent of those other great couplings such as Ella and Ellis Larkins, Sinatra and Bill Miller, Tony Bennett and Bill Evans - that kind of empathy shone through. As an afterthought - add Becky Kilgore and Dave Frishberg.
Sir Richard's own vocal chops suggest the subtle, insinuating, appeal of Chet Baker; at times almost whispering the lyric.
The second set saw our girl excel on "Can't We Be Friends" - cleverly allowing the tune to temporarily segue into "Just Friends". A breathtakingly poignant vocal duet blended Claire's take on "The Very Thought of You" with Sir Rich.'s "I Thought About You"; the lyric's, I almost said sentences, ran concurrently, with the emphasis swinging from one tune to the other.
So many songs I'm running out of space and superlatives to mention them all save to say that as well as lesser known gems from the gasbook there were also nods in the direction of Dusty Springfield, Elvis Costello and Curtis Stigers.
The final "Some Cats Know" - a number I first heard Peggy Lee sing in maybe the '80s - also gelled. So much so I wondered if the composers, Leiber and Stoller, shouldn't have been Leider and Stoller for that's what the evening was all about - Leider.
Perhaps I, or rather they, have invented a new genré Leider Jazz.
Lance

R.I.P. Louis Bellson

Another one bites the dust. Louis Bellson, the last of that great triumverate of big band drummers - Krupa, Rich & Bellson - died Feb. 14 aged 84. Although I never caught him live I well remember his early sides with Duke - 'The Hawk Talks' and 'Skindeep'. Both went into the libraries of every band in the world from duo to big band. 'Hawk Talks', in particular, is to this day, one of my favourite big band tracks - it swings like few before or since and all due to Louis' drumming - he also wrote the piece.
He will indeed be sadly missed.

Tonight at the Sage - Claire Martin/Sir Richard Rodney Bennett

This looks like being an unmissable one going by past reviews (Edinburgh 2005). Certainly if Claire and Sir Richard give as good a performance as the late Marian Montgomery did with him when he was just plain Richard back in the 1980s then I am in for treat even if I have only opted for the £7 standing in the balcony ticket. Hopefully my new Paul Smith (name dropper! no relation to the Big Idea drummer!) socks will ease my tired feet.
My advice is; get down to The Sage tonight even if you have to pawn your socks. (More later...)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stu Collingwood - Side Café

Stu Collingwood (pno), Neil Harland (bs), Malcolm Dick (dms).
The ambience just wasn't there tonight and this is no reflection on the Stu Collingwood Trio. The room was colder than Consett and the audience, possibly because of a half-term exodus by the student element, was prominent by its absence. Difficult to be creative in such a climate but, to their credit, the band played well and by the second set had found a good groove.
Standards such as "I Hear A Rhapsody" and a reflective "My Funny Valentine" as well a stomping "There Will Never Be Another You" (in the alphabet' quipped Stu.) and a blast on "Airegin" hit the spot.
Several good originals, the names of which escape me, also impressed.
Malcolm Dick, depping for Steve Wall, displayed the skills that have made him a member of the percussion aristocracy, whilst Neil Harland was, as ever, the backbone of any ensemble he plays in.
Lance

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Alan Price - Heartbeat

They were re-running an old episode of 'Heartbeat' this morning. Playing the part of a musician was Alan Price - sit down that person who said that that must have been a difficult role for him to play - who, predictably, sang "The House of the Rising Sun", "I Put a Spell on You" and "Changes".
I've long had an interest in 'Pricey' as he was born only a couple of streets away from me and later on was always at the fringe of the local jazz scene.
In particular, I recall a City Hall concert - "The Price of Fame" with the combined talents of Alan Price and Georgie Fame. I seem to recall the support band was Last Exit and that afterwards there was a late night jam session at that hotel near the old Oxford Galleries.
My memory is a bit hazy after all these years - probably about 35 - can anyone else recall it?
Lance

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tony Bennett BBC 2

More documentary than performance, I don't think it quite came off although that is not to say it wasn't watchable.
Despite shots of Tony performing at the 2005 Montreal Jazz Festival they were infuriatingly interspersed with all manner of 'historical' references to the song - usually involving Fred Astaire (not that I've anything against Fred Astaire and the others) and, in truth, despite the pre-program blurb, the only jazz came from the unidentified musicians in the accompanying group.
Having said all that, the bel canto voice of yore may have gone but, to my ears, the husky croak that is its replacement puts over a lyric with much more feeling and sensitivity than the original ever did.
This is one fine vino that has definitely matured with age and hopefully will continue to do so for some time to come.
Lance

Jazz Musicians killed in Buffalo Air Crash

Among the 50 dead in the Feb 12 Buffalo air disaster were two members of Chuck Mangione's band on their way to a gig in Buffalo.
Guitarist Coleman Mellett and sax player Gerry Niewood were both top class players and their deaths have shocked and saddened the jazz community.
Coleman was married to singer Jeanie Bryson.
RIP.
This sad news was thoughtfully brought to our attention by Hil. Coleman soundbite.
Lance

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tony Bennett BBC2 Sat 14th 7.30 pm

Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends Synopsis: Legendary crooner Tony Bennett reflects over his life story with his friend and jazz enthusiast Clint Eastwood.
In this Arena documentary 'The Music Never Ends', Bennett traces his musical lineage through a wealth of jazz archive and much loved favourite musicals, highlighted with footage from his 2005 performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival. A true showbiz professional, Bennett continues to sing all his songs with tremendous gusto and enjoyment whilst presenting a well-rounded and affectionate portrait of his life and work. The film offers a glittering cast of contributors including Martin Scorsese, Mel Brooks, Mitch Miller, Harry Belafonte and Alec Baldwin.
My thanks to Val, Jim & Liz for drawing this program to my attention although I must confess that I have my reservations about the 'glittering cast of contributers'.
Lance

Vic Lewis - Almost the last of 'The Few'.

Back in the pre rock and roll days when Britain had a thriving big band scene one of the best was the Vic Lewis Orchestra who I saw many times at Newcastle City Hall. A powerhouse band playing Kenton style arrangements, it included such great soloists as Derek Humble, Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Chamberlain and Kathy Stobart.
Although an able guitarist, Vic didn't play much but fronted the band with plenty panaché - his image helped by an RAF style handlebar moustache.
I remember one concert where a front row heckler constantly demanded they play "The Champ" - a popular Dizzy Gillespie number of that time. Vic eventually got fed up with this guy so he addressed him, friendly-like, from the stage. "Sir, you're obviously a music lover. why don't you come backstage afterwards we'll have a chat and a couple of beers." then his voice hardened, "I'll personally pour them down your throat - if you've got room for any more."
The audience roared its approval and the heckler, perhaps taking the threat seriously, kept his mouth shut.
Vic's death, aged 89, on Feb 9 is another severed link to the past.
Fortunately, I've got a couple of LPs of the band and a very good autobiography - "Music and Maiden Overs". Obit.
Lance

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Zoe Rahman @ Customs House, South Shields.

Zoe Rahman (piano), Idris Rahman (clarinet), Kuljit Bhamra (tabla), Oli Hayhurst (double bass), Gene Calderazzo (drums).
The evening began with the Rahmans and Bhamra playing a Bengali folk song. This set the tone for the two-set performance (Rahman's current CD '' Where Rivers Meet '' is a paean to her and brother Idris' Bengali heritage). The second tune saw the introduction of the ever-excellent double-bassist Oli Hayhurst and, one tune later, the quintet was at full strength with American Gene Calderazzo ensconced behind his drum kit, clearly at ease with eastern rhythms and time signatures.
The folk tunes, often written and read as poetry, were interspersed with one of Abdullah Ibrahim's compositions (the South African's keyboard style is clearly evident in Zoe Rahman's playing) followed by a tune that could have been written by Billy Taylor. The second set allowed for solo opportunities all round. Being the last night of the tour, the musicians were clearly enjoying the gig and playing at the top of their game - equally, the audience appeared to be enjoying the proceedings every bit as much. The jazz content was high throughout and I would recommend hearing Zoe (and band) next time around.
The Rahmans' South Shields' appearance was thanks to a co-promotion between the Customs House and the Newcastle-based Pakistan Cultural Society.
Russell

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Take it to the Bridge at the Chilli

There are few more inviting sounds when climbing the stairs to a jazz gig (once upon a time they were always in cellars) than to hear "Body and Soul" played à la Coleman Hawkins. When that most rhapsodic of ballads has Lionel Hamptonish vibes intertwining with the tenor it's a fair bet you're going to stay.
John Rowlands was the tenor player and Laurie Brown the hot malleteer; a great sound despite the lack of a piano.
However, after "Barbados" and "Anthropology" had moved the band into bebop territory, In Walked Bud (actually Chris Finch) who holds down the piano chair with Budvivar (and recently added a few comments to this site). Chris plugged the rhythmic and harmonic hole nicely as well as taking some succinct solos on whatever chart was put in front of him.
For the second set, Mick Danby played bass and thus enabled Barry to move on to piano whilst Ian Forbes, replaced Eric Stutt on drums before making way for Laurie who forsook his vibes for a couple of numbers on drums before returning to vibes to allow Eric to get back on drums. Confused? I bet you are! As a matter of interest, Laurie played a snare drum he has used for 50 years. It dates back to his days with the Squads!
Through it all, Dave blew trumpet and sang in his inimitable style - particularly on "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" or, as someone once referred to it, - "Don't Get My Round in Any More."
The exclusive coterie of fans were appreciative.
Lance

Thank You from Eric Boeren.

(To avoid the risk of 'losing' this comment from Eric Boeren I have published it as a seperate post - Lance)
Thanks good people of Newcastle for the warm reception our quartet received at the Side Café. We had a ball.
I do read a bit of confusion as to what instrument I am playing: a cornet, made by C.G. Conn in the early 1930's. It does look like a trumpet but the 'inside' is conical where a trumpet is cylindrical. The 'feel' of a trumpet is different from the cornet and the sound is more pregnant. My guess is that, since in those years the greatest trumpet player of all time (at least to me) Louis Armstrong, had switched from cornet to trumpet, the Conn Company started to cater for those cornet players who wanted to have an instrument that looked like that of their hero, but who could not come to terms with different resistence they were met with.
When I started out in 1979 (at 19) my first instrument was a cornet. A short model with a so called 'shepherd's crook'. Later on I was asked by several group leaders that I was working for to play the trumpet. But I could never come to terms with the different feel and response of the trumpet. On top of that I found it harder to blend with other horns. In the early 1990's I swapped back to the cornet. In 2001 I found this Conn that I have been playing ever since. It blends nicely with reed instrumemts and, maybe due to it being designed looking like a trumpet, I can play in big bands without feeling lost in the section. On behalf of Sean, Wilbert and Paul I would like to thank you all once more for your warm welcome and ditto reception of our music. We can't wait to come back to Newcastle. Eric Boeren
(This comment was in reply to postings by Roly and Russell.)

Hitting the High Notes

Back in the 1950s the Kenton Band paid its first visit to Newcastle City Hall. All the local brassmen were in awe of the power and range of the American trumpet players. In between sets, a local jazzman - he may have been a drummer - said to one of the starry-eyed horn players; "You ain't heard nothin' yet; for the second set they put their mouthpieces in."
Lance

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Janet Cook dies and possibly Jazz Journal with her.

Eddie Cook, former editor of Jazz Journal - a publication that has ran since 1948 - announces that, with the death of his wife and current editor Janet, the February issue of the magazine will be the last one.
The magazine was unique in having only three editors in its 60 year history - founder, the late Sinclair Traill being the first.
Although often derided for being too staid, the publication was, nevertheless, universally regarded as being printed on tablets of stone and few jazz fans didn't subscribe at some point in their life.
Every jazz writer of merit contributed at least once whilst scribes such as Steve Voce and Stanley Dance were, across the years, irrevocably linked to its pages.
It is hoped that someone or several will come forward and take over.
Janet Cook died on January 23.
Lance

Spelk at The Side Café Feb 9.

The North East Jazz Collective offered Newcastle jazz fans their first opportunity to hear Spelk, the recently formed trio of Chris Sharkey (guitar), Andy Champion (electric bass) and Adrian Tilbrook (drums). Where shall I begin ? With a question. When is the CD coming out ?
Andy Champion's amp, pedalboard and Rickenbacker bass promised a burn-up and that's exactly what we got - a high octane performance from start to finish.
''Rickenbacker'' Champion laid-down a killer bass line and just when you thought you were in your comfort zone he would shift it to another groove. Adrian Tilbrook responded with ease and in turn took-off in other directions. Chris Sharkey, a hooded, Grim Reaper figure, was steadfast. A left-hander, he developed rich textures both with and without a plectrum.
Blistering fretwork was matched by Tilbrook's lightning reactions and immense power, at times recalling the power-house style of Dennis Chambers. Indeed such was the effort of Mr.T. that at times he writhed-up out of his drum chair straining every sinew, so much so that at one point the kit wasn't enough and the edge of the fire place came in for some treatment (move over Hans Bennink). Newcastle jazz fans will be familiar with regular vistors from New York band The Hub. The bass and drums team of Tim Dahl and Sean Noonan would have been run out of town by Champion and Tilbrook. The north east trio alluded to and evoked (to these ears at least) the sounds of Zorn, Pastorius, Scofield, Jack Bruce, late-period Miles (Marcus Miller, Darryl Jones), Bill Frisell and a myriad of others. Guitar players should check-out Sharkey. Those who know Champion and Tilbrook should check-out this trio. Mr.C. & Mr.T. are imperious in their playing of standards, that we know;hear them play this material and be amazed.
Russell.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Golden Age of the Corner House Part 2 - Chris Y.

Yes Lance, you're absolutely right. Peanuts Hucko played for Jazz North East with the Mainstreet Jazzmen as did Wild Bill Davison, Dick Wellstood and Ralph Sutton.
You're right again, not only were McPartland (pictured left) and Cheatham supported by the Saratoga Jazzmen, but the Saratoga also backed Al Casey, Snub Mosley and Don Ewell. Now... Others who played for JNE at Corner Ho. in the 1980s are...wait for it... Benny Waters (w. Savannah Syncopators), Kenny Davern, Bobby Shew, Lew Tabackin, Charles McPherson, Oliver Jones, Al Haig, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, James Moody, Charlie Rouse, Slim Gaillard, Mark Murphy, Bobby Watson, Phil Wilson, Art Hodes, Ted Curson and Teddy Edwards. Most of those were with a local trio, but there were a few occasions when a USA soloist toured with a full UK band. These included Sal Nistico w. Stan Tracey Quartet, Jimmy Knepper w, Bobby Wellins Quartet, Red Rodney w. Peter King Quartet and Bobby Watson w. 'The Young Lions' (effectively the Guy Barker Quartet). In the early 90s,there was Jack Walrath w. Spirit Level, Gene Harris and Ray Bryant who all played for JNE at the Corner Ho. and later in the 90s the phenomenal Jessica Williams made her first Tyneside appearance also at the Corner House. This 'Golden Age' was partly made possible by the factor of the Corner House having a superb piano - a top of the range Yamaha upright. It wasn't there all the time (poor Stan Tracey had to play a bad piano once - remember his album entitled 'Hello Old Adversary', referring to pianos encountered?) Those were the days right enough!
Chris Y.
PS: The Steve Grossman gig at Corner Ho. on Feb 19 could be a one off return to those halcyon days.

Farewell - Blossom Dearie

I feel sad - very sad - hearing of the death of Blossom Dearie on Feb 7. I vividly remember her gig at Newcastle's University Theatre back in the 1970's/80's. So much class, so much talent - charisma to spare. It was only a few months back that I was waxing eloquently in these columns over her version of "They Say It's Spring".
Never has such a small voice delivered so much.
And now she's gone and the world of jazz vocal is that much poorer.
She was 82.
Thank goodness we've got the recorded legacy.
I'm obliged to Russell for passing on this sad news.
Listen here. Listen again. (From John Taylor)
Lance

ALL PARTY JAZZ APPRECIATION GROUP AWARDS 2009

Paul Bream, Jazz Services, as well as Jazz UK, have drawn our attention to the forthcoming Jazz General Election. This reminds me of the book by Colin MacInnes - "Absolute Beginners" where someone describes his ideal government as having 'Michael Foot for Prime Minister with Johnny Dankworth blowing Foreign Secretary' or words to that effect. If anyone knows the correct quotation please let me know.
This preamble leads me up to the form that has to be filled in , printed off and posted snail mail!
Now it far becomes me to influence your voting but if someone were to cast a vote for 'Bebop Spoken Here' in the Jazz Publication of the Year section then so be it...(I think in jazz/govermental terms this could be referred to as 'gerrymulliganing').
Note re voting form. On the link it gives the final date as 27 Feb 2008 - should of course be 2009.
Lance.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Eric Boeren Quartet - Encore by Roly Veitch

Russell’s review is spot on. This gig had the feel good factor from the first number. A packed room full of eager anticipation, audience practically on top of the band (who played mostly seated) creating an intimate ambience, plenty smiling faces, musicians who obviously enjoyed and respected each other’s playing and music played with intensity, feeling but also a sense of fun.
All the players undertake all roles. Each member listens intently, reacts instantly and also functions as a catalyst for new ideas. So at any one moment it might be bassist de Joode setting up an ostinato bass riff, or drummer Lovens creating a rhythmic groove, or Boeren or Bergin setting up a rhythmic or melodic figure. No matter what the ‘prompt’ the others pick it up immediately and develop/explore the idea till just the right moment to move in a different direction. Each provides selfless support – be that rhythmic, melodic, or just laying out.
Every possible combination is a possibility at any phase in the development. High intensity episodes would come to a sudden halt and metamorphose into periods of lyricism. A particularly beautiful example was Boeren’s unaccompanied trumpet (cornet?) episode in the second set where he explored pure melody, with a gorgeous breathy tone – you could hear a pin drop. Sure enough the others came back in at just the right moment and the whole thing moved on to a new phase.
It would be unfair to single out anyone – four great players all contributing 100% to the benefit of the music. A great concert to a very appreciative audience finishing with a very deserved standing ovation and encore. One to remember!
Roly

Eric Boeren Quartet @ Side Café (Feb 6) + Workshop @ N'cle Uni. (Feb 7). Report by Russell Corbett

A UK exclusive appearance by Eric Boeren's free jazz group in Newcastle proved to be a resounding success. The ''House Full'' signs went up yet it didn't deter the masses. Fans chose to sit on the staircase to listen rather than be turned away. Seeing the musicians is a crucial component at any gig but I think it is particularly important in an improv context - witnessing the anticipation and spontaneity of the musicians as they react to the ''instant composition'' that is free jazz.
Jazz fans who like to discern a tune would, perhaps, have been pleasantly surprised, at least in part, at what was to be heard down by the riverside. The two-set performance was book-ended by Mingus-like numbers, propelled along by the great double bassist Wilbert de Joode. In between there was Ornette Coleman,not in person, but certainly in spirit. Boeren (trumpet and cornet) captured the essence of Ornette and in tandem with the larger than life figure of reeds (and ukulele) man Sean Bergin took off in other directions. The fourth member of the outfit, a quiet, witty man with the demeanour of an institutionalised civil servant (no offence meant to those at Longbenton, I did time there myself before winning parole) was German drum maestro Paul Lovens. He and de Joode instigated ideas every bit as much as the ''front line''-a somewhat redundant term in this most democratic, creative, visceral music.
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The next day, bleary eyed, it was time to move on up to the outskirts of town to participate in or simply listen to a workshop conducted by the Boeren Quartet. Newcastle University's Bennett Hogg kindly hosted the event.
Students duly arrived with instruments at the ready and despite snow flakes in the air and no heating in the institute of learning everyone was keen and willing. Two hours flew by and the students having listened and played were, I'm sure,wiser for the experience. It was nice to see familiar faces - Tenth Avenuers & the ubiquitous John Pope - at both the Friday night gig and at the Saturday morning workshop.
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Jazz North East's On the Outside programme continues in the somewhat grander location of the Sage as part of the Gateshead Jazz Festival. The date for your diary is Friday March 20. It is a double bill featuring John Coxon, Pat Thomas and Mark Sanders and a debut performance by ION. Three reasons to be there...1) it will be great, 2) if you ain't heard Pat Thomas you're in for a treat, 3) ION. The recently formed local Improvisers Orchestra of the North deserve every encouragement and support.
Russell

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I Love a Piano by Roly

I listen to Radio 3 quite a lot. About a year ago I heard a piano piece that struck me as something really very special. Lyrical perfection maybe? It turned out to be Schubert's "Impromptu No 3 in Gb". I checked it out on YouTube - several renditions incl one by Alfred Brendel.
Brendel, now in his 80s I think, just completed his final concert tour. James Birkett went to one of them. He must be one of the greatest pianists of the 20th Century. Lo and behold I switched channels on TV a couple of nights back and discovered they were broadcasting Brendel from Snapes Malting.
What a player! And what did he finish the concert with? You've guessed it - The "Impromptu in Gb". Maybe it's a piece of art up there at the pinnacle of mankind's creativity? Also I was reminiscing (do that a lot these days) about my early interest in jazz which then was mostly piano - I liked Cuddly Dudley (Moore). On Youtube is his parody on a Beethoven Sonata. I also remember his party piece where he played a sonata but at the gorgeous final cadence, at the last second, he would insert a b7 needing resolution. It went on and on - he couldnt bring it to a close. If Dud hadn't been such a remarkable all rounder where would he have ended up if he had just concentrated on piano? (Lance says "Struggling to pay his mortgage!")
Roly.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Joy Askew by Roly

Just been looking at her website - I think it must be the same girl Russell mentioned earlier. I remember her singing "Willow Weep for Me" with Dave & Friends of Jazz - she certainly had charisma.I see in her biog she makes a wee mention of Buddy Rich. Good old Buddy - loved by all who had the good fortune to have any dealings with him.
Roly

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Corner House, Heaton - "What's the Big Idea?" - Read on...

...it's a beat-up Continental headin' for the Motor City, a 64 wheel rig out on Highway 61. A Greyhound bus, maybe somewhere in the Ozarks, it's a souped-up black, Pontiac Sedan.
Just a few of the images conjured up by the musical juggernaut that is Gerry Richardson's Big Idea. Nine pieces of funky soul that manage to sound like twenty-nine and counting.
Gerry leads from the front on a Hammond B3 (is it?) out-smokin' just about every organist around - he makes Brother Jack McDuff sound like Jack McDuff's brother. He throws in a few Mose Allisonic vocals - Tom Waits with class.
The pot is kept on the boil by Rod Sinclair's guitar blasts and the relentless drive of Paul Smith on drums - his solo in the final number was something else.
The horns all hit the right groove. Sue Ferris on bari, tenor and flute, Stuart Johnson, tenor/soprano, Gary Linsley, alto, Mark Webb & Dave Highnote (Hignett) trumpets and Keith Norris trombone.
Although it is unfair to signal anyone out, I do think Sue's flute playing deserves a special mention for the tonal contrast it brings to the section and because she's prettier than the rest.
Great night. Photos.
Enjoyed meeting up with some old friends in the form of the portly Andy Hudson and the ever elegant Germaine Stanger.
Lance.

Cool at the Coast - Warne Marsh at Whitley Bay 1975 NEW COMMENTS ADDED!

Listening recently to a tape I'd picked up somewhere along the way - "Freewheeling" by the Ted Brown Sextet - stirred a few memories and asked a few questions. The tape featured Art Pepper (alto) with Ted Brown and Warne Marsh (tenors). I'd obviously acquired the tape because of Art - over the years I've tried to grab anything that featured my favourite alto player - and he doesn't let me down. However, the question is who was Ted Brown? I've never come across him before or since yet he had the leader status over Art and Warne - both more familiar names. (Further investigation of the Warne Marsh site reveals that Ted is alive and well and still blowing age 81. See picture right.)
And the memory? For that we have to go back 33 years to the Corner House in Whitley Bay.
Who can recall (or should I say 'who can forget'?) that rather magical night when Warne Marsh, Lee Konitz, Dave Cliff, Peter Ind, Al Levitt brought the West Coast to the East Coast?
One person who remembers it vividly is Jack Goodwin, a former Vieux Carré trombone player who has since seen the light. Jack has produced an impressive website devoted to the work of Warne Marsh with what is surely the definitive discography of the tenorman. There are also photos, and recollections of the relatively unsung hero.
A must for anyone with a leaning towards the esoteric sounds of the Tristano disciples. Link to Warne Marsh site.
Lance.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Alan Glen Trio at the Chillingham

The monthly visits to the Chilli by the Alan Glen Trio never fail to entrance not least because of their seemingly endless repertoire. Tonight they kicked off with "A Weaver of Dreams" - not an overworked jazz standard - that set the mood for an hour long set. It is hard to believe an Alan Glen hour has 60 minutes in it so fast does the time go by. An up tempo "Falling in Love With Love", a reflective "Days of Wine and Roses" and "But Not For Me" as a mover were just some of the gems in a set that culminated with a tear up on "Night and Day." David Carnegie, as always, was right there when the heat was turned on whilst Lawrence Blackadder was a harmonic and melodic rock throughout.
Earlier, Take it to the Bridge played a good set with Dave's vocal chords working effectively on "A Foggy Day" and "Georgia on my Mind". Dave also exercised his larynx on "Night in Tunisia". The old bebop standard was selected by bassist John Pope - perhaps in deference to his beret. Who knows but that next week he will be sporting a goatee beard?
James the Guitar, pictured here between Dave and John, also had his moments.
For the final jam, Stephanie sat in on tenor - "Cantaloupe Island" worked.
Correction - I said 'Final jam'. The actual 'final jam' was at the Tyne Tunnel where maintenance work caused a tailback of traffic.
Lance.

Some Like It Hot at the Star Inn York - by Liz

Why don't I do this more often? I thought after an enjoyable evening at The Star in York - I was celebrating my birthday (don't dare to ask me!) among a good friendly crowd & some great sounds. All people I know well. John Addy, whose band it is, named " Some Like It Hot" also sings, and he does it so well. I particularly liked an old Tony Bennett/Cole Porter number "I love you." I am sure you will know it Lance, it is in my head now so probably no sleep for ages. Tony sang it as a Bossa Nova... second line goes "I love you echoes the hills" then later on "It's spring again, and birds on the wing again, seem to sing again love's sweet melody, I love you that's the song I sing, and it all belongs to you and me.....or something like that!"
I'm sure you'd have enjoyed it.
Liz

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival News

More big band happenings with the sixth edition of the above event. This year it takes place on Saturday 7th March & Sunday 8th March at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St.Peter's Sunderland.
Once again, the two featured bands are the BBC Big Band on the Saturday night and the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra on the Sunday night. Trumpet player Steve Waterman is the featured soloist with the VOTNJO.
Last years event at the Stadium of Light was a hit with the fans even though the beer prices weren't. One chap said to me - "For what they're charging Sunderland should be able to buy Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney!"
Hopefully beer at the campus is cheaper!
There is also, on Saturday afternoon, a School Big Band competition and on Sunday afternoon a Youth and Open contest.
For more details contact Bill Watson on 01388 767208

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Big Band Rehearsal at New Crown

The opportunity to eavesdrop on a rehearsal can be a rewarding experience, rather like watching a blank canvas evolve into a rich tapestry. It can also lead to you witnessing some lost souls up a creek sans paddle.
The Customs House Big Band went public tonight at the New Crown in South Shields preparatory to next months back to back gigs at the Customs House itself and I'm pleased to say they had paddles in abundance.
I'm not going to take away the 'Sound of Surprise' by revealing the actual numbers rehearsed. It will surely suffice for me to say that big band lovers are in for a treat.
Powerhouse brass, balanced saxes and a tight rhythm section. Add an MD controlling the dynamics and you have a very palatable recipe.
At the Customs House, Ruth Lambert will be taking care of the vocals and if you ain't heard Ruth with a big band behind her then, to coin a well worn, but nevertheless appropriate, phrase, 'you ain't heard nothin' yet'!
The band is on at the Customs House, South Shields on 24/25 March.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen at Trojan Rooms Whitley Bay - Brian Bennett

Hello, folks! In spite of the cold weather, our weekly Friday afternoon session is now 'up and running'. With a good crowd of supporters (most of them had the home-made soup and said it was superb) there's no doubt this is going to be a very popular Town Centre venue for Whitley Bay. Friday's session kicks off at 1.00pm prompt - see you there, Brian. Menu for Friday Afternoon: Homemade Soup of the Day with Bread Roll - £2.50 Quiche Lorraine, Sandwich or Baked Potato with Salad and Coleslaw - £3.00 Fillings - Tuna & Red Onion, Cheese Savory, French Salad, Ham & Emmental, Bacon Stilton & Mango, B.L.T. Tea & Coffee available - £1.00

Monday, February 02, 2009

Hank Crawford R.I.P

The alumni of the Ray Charles Band are dropping like flies as yet another one hits the road - Jack. Hank Crawford was the archtypal Ray Charles alto man. He could wail with the best of them; he could also blow hard bop and, like fellow recent departee David 'Fathead' Newman, made some soulful discs for Atlantic Records. On this clip he is introduced by David Sanborn whom Hank is said to have influenced. He died end of January age 74. Obit.

Laurie Shepherd/Nick Pride - Quadrata Café by John Taylor

Took two hours to get by bus from Ashington to Newcastle today only to find that the decorators were in at Central Square. The walls were covered in scaffolding and it seemed to improve the acoustics. Numbers were down - there wasn't room for any more because of the scaffolding!
Young Laurie Shepherd sang several jazz standards as well as numbers made popular by Amy Winehouse, Sade and others on the fringe of the jazz scene. Nick Pride was the ideal accompanist for Laurie giving a jazz interpretation to a very varied programme.

TONIGHT's SIDE GIG CANCELLED

The extreme weather conditions have caused the cancellation of tonight's NEJC gig by the ZOE GILBY BAND at the Side Café. Roly (pictured) said "What extreme weather? This is a Blaydon Summer."

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Frank Rosolino

I've been listening to a lot of recently acquired tracks by the, oft mentioned within these pages, tenorist Richie Kamuca. They are brilliant.
However, Richie is not the only star; trombonist Frank Rosolino is, for me, the revelation. I'd known his work with Kenton - "Frank Speaking" was an outstanding feature - but had heard little of him until his untimely death in 1978.
On these sides, he sounds like a smooth Bill Harris or, conversely, a rough Urbie Green. Whatever, the result is some driving slidework from a greatly underrated player.
His vocal chops weren't bad either!
His death was a tragedy. In a state of deep depression, he shot his two children before turning the gun on himself.
He was 52 years old.

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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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