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Bebop Spoken There

Willie 'The Lion' Smith: "I developed my left [hand] because I was always using my right for drinking." - (Down Beat January 1, 1947).

Trish Clowes: “There’s so much music that I love in jazz history but for me I can’t possibly recreate these beautiful records and I wouldn’t want to because that’s not the point.” – (Jazzwise November 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Tuesday November 25.

Afternoon.
PAUL's NEW ORLEANS MUSIC SHOW - Bell & Bucket, 37 Norfolk St., North Shields. 1pm. Free.
Classic New Orleans with the MISSISSIPPI DREAMBOATS.
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MAINE STREET JAZZMEN - South Causey Inn, nr Stanley, Co. Durham. 12noon - 3pm..
Now a weekly gig starting at noon.
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ADVANCED JAZZ GUITAR COURSE - The Globe, Railway St.,Newcastle NE4 7AD. NE4 7AD. 5pm. Fortnightly - 5 week course with James Birkett. Today's the day. (week 4).
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Evening.
GAVIN LEE's DIXIELAND JAZZ BAND - New Inn, 29 Church St., Durham. DH1 3DN. 9pm. Free.
Gavin's bands are always interesting and this is well worth the trip.
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PLAY MORE JAZZ - The Globe, Railway St.,NewcastleNE4 7AD. NE4 7AD. 7.30pm.
Improviser's workshop.
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JAZZ CLUB - Saltburn Conservative Club, Saltburn by the Sea. 8.30pm. Free.
Ian Bosworth (gtr); Jeff Aucott (Hammond); John Sparrow (dms); Adrian Beadnell (bs) + guests.
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PAUL SKERRITT BAND - Park Inn, Park Rd., Hartlepool TS28 9HU. 9pm. Free.
Last Tuesday in the month - Tonight's the night!
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TRAVELERS + JULIE SASSOON - Jazz Café, 23 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW.
Travelers are well named - 2 Italians and 2 Frenchmen. Add a solo set by Berlin based Julie Sassoon and this Schmazz gig has a truly international (and contemporary) appeal.
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IMPROV WORKSHOP- Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5SG. 8pm. Free.
Monthly. Back Dec. 9.
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MAINE ST. JAZZMEN - British Legion, West Jesmond (nr. Metro Station). 8:30pm. £5.
Now monthly - Back Dec. 2.
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CUSTOMS HOUSE BIG BAND - New Crown Hotel, Mowbray Rd., South Shields. 7.30pm. Free.
Open rehearsal/concert by top big band. The beer's good and the band even better! Monthly - Back on Jan. 6 (Playing away on Dec. 2).
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HENRY'S SWING CLUB - Brandling Villa, South Gosforth. 8.30pm. Free.
Monthly Blues -Back on Dec. 2.
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JAM SESSION - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5SG. 8pm. Free.
Come and jam with Peter Gilligan, Paul Grainger & Paul Wight.First and third Tuesdays - Back on Dec 2.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Haftor Medboe Group - Cluny.

Haftor Medboe (gtr), Konrad Wiszniewski (ten), Chris Grieve (tmb), Eva Malling (bs), Sigmy Jakobsdottir (perc). ----- Support: Marie-Claire (gtr/vcl), Sigmy Jakobsdottir (perc). -----
With a Scotish born Pole on tenor, an Australian trombonist, a Norwegian guitarist, a Danish bass player and an Icelandic percussionist - there were more foreigners on stage than in your average Premier League football team - and this was Premier League Jazz but it certainly wasn't average.
I confess I had misgivings at the strange, electronic based, opening. Coupled with a bowed guitar I had the feeling that this was going to be one of those, "Sorry but I have to leave early, I forgot to feed the cat" nights. I couldn't have been more wrong!
The tenor and trombone frontline produced a great sound; at times reminiscent of Mingus. The solos too were superb. Smooth toned and mellow from trombone, fingerbusting flights of fancy from tenor sax and imaginative chording by leader Medboe on guitar. Good bass playing and some lovely sounds coming from the Icelandic lady's assortment of percussion instruments made this an evening that passed over far too quickly.
Earlier, the Ice Maiden had backed Marie-Claire who sang and accompanied herself on guitar.
In truth, I couldn't make out the words but she had a nice voice and the melodies were quite haunting.
Lance.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Zoe Gilby Band at The Side Café

Zoe Gilby (vcl), Mark Williams (gtr), Andy Champion (bs), Richard Brown (dms).
After the sparse attendances of the past few weeks it was heartening to have such a good turn out tonight. Shame it had to be the last one - at least on a regular basis.
After a few initial balance problems the band settled down into a nice groove albeit with perhaps a little too much reverb/echo on both guitar and vocals. Zoe, profiting from some woman to woman advice from Sheila Jordan at Gateshead Jazz Festival, brought new life into "The Man I Love". There were other delights - "You Turned The Tables On Me", "A Weaver of Dreams", "You've Changed" as well as her perennial favourites, "One Note Samba", "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me", "When Lights Are Low". With good solos from Mark, Andy and Richard I even enjoyed "Caravan".
In the jam that folowed, Andy and Richard were joined by Tom Dibb (gtr) and Rob Brockwell (pno). This was a rare appearance by Tom without his legendary hat and I'm pleased to say it didn't effect his playing. They did "Miss Jones" - I'm sure you've met her - and Rob played as if he'd known her all his life.
Tom, incidentally, plays the Highfield Hotel, East Rainton this coming Sunday.
Lance.

The Complete Discs To Die For (to date)

Current Choices Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else Cannonball Adderley - Work Song Cannonball Adderley Quintet In San Francisco. Louis Armstrong's Hot 5 & 7. Louis Armstrong Plays W.C.Handy Count Basie - The Atomic Mr. Basie. (2) Bix Beiderbecke - the Singing the Blues/I'm coming Virginia session. Tony Bennett/Bill Evans "Together Again" Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album [with Days of Wine and Roses etc] Art Blakey - Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - '' Moanin' '' Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet.: Study In Brown. Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet - [the one with Joy Spring, Jordu etc] Clifford Brown Joy Spring. Donald Brown - Car Tunes Don Byas/Paul Gonsalves/Ben Webster - The Three Tenors Charlie Byrd: Blues For Night People. Buck Clayton Jam Session. Ornette Coleman/Pat Metheny - Song X John Coltrane - Blue Trane Chick Corea - Light as a Feather. Miles Davis - The Complete Concert 1964 Miles Davis - Kind of Blue Miles Davis - Miles Davis Live in Europe Blossom Dearie - Blossom time at Ronnie Scott's Walt Dickerson - Tell Us Only The Beautiful Things Harry Edison, Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You? Duke Ellington: 'The Webster-Blanton Band' (3 CD set on Bluebird) Duke Ellington – Ellington at Newport ‘56 Bill Evans, Waltz for Debbie Bill Evans - With Symphony Orchestra. Ella Fitzgerald - Sings Cole Porter. Ella Fitzgerald with Ellis Larkins - Songs in a Mellow Mood. Jan Garbarek - Afric Pepperbird Erroll Garner - Concert by the Sea Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet Kings at Montreux 1975. Benny Goodman Sextet – with Cootie and Christian. Dexter Gordon - Go! The Great Jazz Trio - Someday My Prince Will Come Jim Hall/Ron Carter - 'Alone Together' Lionel Hampton/Charlie Shavers – “Just Jazz Concert” Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage Barry Harris Trio - Live At The Jazz Workshop Hampton Hawes Trio Volume 1 Coleman Hawkins - The Stanley Dance Sessions Coleman Hawkins-The Hawk Relaxes. Coleman Hawkins - How Deep Is the Ocean (1943) The Hot Horn Happening(Mark Nightingale, Brian Kellock Ricky Woodard,Jeff Clayton) - Live in Paris Abdullah Ibraham - The Mountain Ahmed Jamal - The Awakenung Keith Jarrett - The Melody At Night with You Eddie Jefferson - Letter from Home J.J.Johnson/Al Grey-Things Are Getting Better All The Time. Thad Jones/Mel Lewis - Potpourri Richie Kamuca/Mundell Lowe - 'Richie' Brian Kellock, Live at Henry's Stan Kenton - Artistry in Rhythm. Carol Kidd - When I dream Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Kirkatron Lambert, Hendricks and Ross! - The Hottest New Group in Jazz Humphrey Lyttelton - Triple Exposure Wynton Marsalis - Wynton Marsalis Quartet Live at Blues Alley Carmen McCrae - Carmen Sings Monk Pat Methany - Secret Story. Pat Metheny - Works Charles Mingus - Blues & Roots Charles Mingus - Ah Um (2) Charles Mingus, 'The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady' MJQ - The Last Concert Hank Mobley Quartet: Soul Station. Thelonious Monk - Criss Cross. Wes Montgomery/Johnny Griffin - 'Life at Zsubo's. Lee Morgan - The Sidewinder. James Morrison/Ray Brown - Two the Max Jelly Roll Morton Red Hot Peppers (1926 sessions - in many formats) Gerry Mulligan - Night Lights Gerry Mulligan-Presenting The Gerry Mulligan Sextet. David Murray, Morning Song Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie: Live at Massey Hall. William Parker Quartet with Leena Conquest, Raining on the Moon Joe Pass - Live at Long Beach City College Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section Oscar Peterson - Night Train Bobby Previte - Hue And Cry Freddie Redd, the Connection Joshua Redman - Elastic Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli "Stars of the Hot Club". Buddy Rich - Big Swing Face Sonny Rollins, The Bridge Charlie Rouse - Yeah! Horace Silver - Song For My Father. Frank Sinatra "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning". Muggsy Spanier – The Great 16. Steps Ahead - Smokin in the Pit Art Tatum/BenWebster Quartet - Gone with the Wind. Bobby Timmons - Here Is Bobby Timmons. Jim Tomlinson - The Lyric . Mel Torme/George Shearing The Complete Concorde Sessions. Stan Tracey - Genesis Various - The Pannasie Sessions. Ben Webster - The Quintet Sessions Ben Webster - Soulville

No Time For Jive

Val D put me on to Brian Lynam's MySpace site dedicated to his blues band "No Time for Jive". Check out - "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer". Lance.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jazz 625 - Dizzy Gillespie Quintet

Dizzy Gillespie (tpt), James Moody (alt/ten/flute), Kenny Barron (pno), Chris White (bs), Rudy Collins (dms).
A BBC broadcast from over 40 years ago this was a worthy reminder of why Dizzy was known as 'The Greatest Trumpet of Them All". He played with a technique that many saxophone players would die for!
Not so James Moody. Dizzy's long-time associate flew alongside on alto, tenor and flute - his solo on the latter instrument truly remarkable. Kenny Barron on piano, barely out of his teens was another who kicked. With White and Collins they made a formidable rhythm section.
And of course, Dizzy, apart from his horn-playing never forgot that music is also entertainment.
Great stuff.
By contrast, The Brubeck Quartet came across as dated and, dare I say it? Boring. If you don't believe me just look at the shots of the audience!
Possibly this was because, apart from "Take Five" which we've all heard once too often, Paul Desmond received little exposure and for me, Desmond was the jewel in that particular crown.
In between these two programmes we looked at four albums recorded in 1959 that "Changed the Course of Jazz History".
The albums were - Miles' "Kind Of Blue", Brubeck's "Time Out", "Mingus' "Mingus Ah Hum" and Ornette's "The Shape of Jazz To Come."
Interesting, but too much talk and not enough music. Still I have the discs so I can catch up.
Next weeks it's Oscar Peterson and MJQ.
Lance.

Isle of Wight Jazz Festival Cancelled.

The latest Festival to bite the dust is the Isle of Wight festival. Not too big a surprise as rumours as to its solvency have been rife of recent. A disappointment, however, for those artists booked and anticipating valuable exposure. Lance.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Funny Valentine - The Story of Chet Baker told by Mike Maran. Darlington Arts Centre.

Mike Maran (narrator), Colin Steele (tpt), Robert Pettigrew (pno).
If you've ever been drawn to the beauty of Chet Baker's music this is a must see production - a gem albeit, like the (anti) hero, a flawed gem.
On trumpet, Colin Steele captures the sound of Chet Baker to the nth degree. Every nuance, every phrase, could have emulated from the enigmatic icon himself. On piano, Robert Pettigrew, a name new to me, also displays a feel for the idiom even though he has no publicised jazz form.
Music apart, it's a one man show, written, performed and narrated by Mike Maran. In effect it is Baker's addiction as seen through the eyes of the drug itself. To quote a line from the play "...a hero and a heroin..."
That the script manages to 'inject' humour - e.g. "There's A Small Hotel" played in jail - without minimising the tragedy says much for Mike Maran. Jazz buffs may well feel they've heard it all before, and of course we have, so what? It's still compelling theatre and Colin Steele is pretty damn close to the real deal.
So where? I hear you ask, is this particular gem's flaw?
It may be a personal thing but, initially, Mike Maran's Scottish accent struck me as a wee bit incongruous given the subject matter. In fairness, as the narrative progressed the accent became less of a problem so maybe I'm nitpicking.
Judge for yourself - it's on at Alnwick April 21.
Lance.
PS: Because I had the drive from Darlo ahead of me I opted out of the question and answer session at the end which I think would have added to the experience. Maybe I'll catch it when/if it is done in Newcastle. A natural for Live Theatre.

Sheila Jordan Radio 3

Alyn Shipton's interview with Sheila Jordan, recorded at last week's Gateshead Jazz Festival, is broadcast on Radio 3 tomorrow (Saturday March 28 - 16.00 GMT.) For details of records played click here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Clare Tea-Towel @ Customs House South Shields

Clare Teal (vcl), Simon Little (bs), Grant Windsor (pno), and Chris Dagley (dms).
The tea-towel heading isn't a puerile attempt at humour - well it is but only a little bit. The deal in the interval was; buy 2 CDs and get a free Clare Teal tea towel complete with the lady's name tastefully displayed in a corner.
Original.
By and large it was a good gig despite the hall being less than full and the volume on the vocal mike should have been turned up ever so slightly. Nevertheless, the girl did good. "Nice Work If You Can Get It", "Cheek To Cheek" and "Night and Day" were swingers but the swingers' swinger was when Clare strutted her vocal stuff on Anita O'Day's "Tea For Two". Lip service maybe, but it brought the house down even without a picture-hat.
A trio of pindroppers - "I Loves You Porgy," "In The Still of the Night" and "Love Hurts" - held the audience's attention; the latter number confirming what I've always suspected - that there's a little cowgirl trying to escape from inside the jazzgirl. Indeed, even at her jazziest, Clare often throws in an inflection straight out of Nashville and there ain't nuttin' wrong wid dat, pardner.
On piano, Grant Windsor, an Australian no less, did the business as did drummer Chris Dagley - especially on latin numbers like "Eso Beso (ooh that kiss!)" and the Jobim samba. They were brilliant but personally, I'd have liked a horn or a guitar in the mix; not complaining though, it was a great show and, as always, I look forward to the next time.
Lance.

Coronation Street Jumps.

In Wednesday's Coronation Street, two of the characters are listening to "Kind Of Blue" whilst on a houseboat on, presumably, the Weatherfield Ship Canal. Last year, a chubby character called Morton was referred to as 'Jelly Roll'. Another departed character was a drummer who compared himself to Buddy Rich. This made me wonder if any of the Corrie faithful knew what they were talking about!
Who knows but that the soundtrack over the titles may, one day, be played by Freddie Hubbard and that the drinkers in the "Rover's Return" will be ordering their pints of Newton & Ridley's as "Straight No Chaser".
Lance.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Budvivar @ The Chillingham

Budvivar: Fiona Littlewood, Stuart Findon (ten), Chris Finch (pno), Eddie Nickson (gtr), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms), Debra Milne (vcl). ----- Take It To The Bridge: Dave Weisser (tpt), Darren Grainger (alt), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Tom Dibb/Eddie Nickson (gtr), Jim Crinson (bs), Ian Forbes/Eric Stutt (dms). ----- Budvivar really went for the jugular this month. The two tenor frontline, reminiscent of Zoot and Al (Zoot & Toot?), worked well. With Debra adding her voice instrumentally on numbers like "Four", "Green Dolphin Street", "Well You Needn't", "In Walked Bud" and other boppers the frantic tempos got the adrenaline circulating and the pulses revving. Some great solos from both of the saxes as well as blasts by Eddie on guitar, Jim on bass and Chris on piano. Eric Stutt, on drums, like Jim and Eddie, kicked both bands along whilst Debra successfully got her head and her vocal chords round the tempos di bop. "I Won't Dance" was rather more civilised, albeit with a couple of 'two left feet' moments, but Debra's "Black Coffee" couldn't have been bettered by Starbucks. In the two months since I last heard them, Budvivar have come on in leaps and bounds. I look forward to hearing them again in April or whenever their next gig is. (Promoters take note.) Tom Dibb, who earlier had had a guitar blast with the Take It To The Bridge boys, returned for the jam session. Tom is from Rotherham which may explain his strange headgear; he plays great guitar.
Ian Forbes sat in on drums. Photos. Lance

Spotify

It was Debra, lead singer with BUDVIVAR (on at the Chillingham tonight - be there), who introduced me to the incredible Spotify site. Since then, rarely a day has gone by when I haven't dipped into its almost infinite catalogue. On Sky News, today, they said that Spotify is forecast to challenge YouTube in popularity.
All styles are covered - there are 944 genré to choose from - and I've discovered lots of previously unobtainable or hard to get tracks. Often complete albums. Looking recently for an obscure blues I discovered 91 versions.
It's legal too. You can't download, but you don't need to as it only takes a couple of clicks to find what you're looking for either by title, artist, composer, shoe size...
Excuse me, I'm just going to check out Cannonball Adderley...
Lance.
PS: 505 Cannonball's - I'm going to have a late night!

Abie, Abie, Abie, My Boy - The Song is Jew

Talking to Dave Brownlow recently we got to remarking on just how many of the better known lyricists and tunesmiths were of Jewish origin. Dave drew up the following list for starters:
Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Burt Bacharach, Lionel Bart, Jerome Kern, Alan & Marilyn Bergman , Burton Lane, Leonard Bernstein, Jerry Leiber, Jerry Bock, Alan Jay Lerner, Sammy Cahn, Frank Loesser, Cy Coleman, Frederick Loewe, Hal David, Johnny Mandel, Howard Dietz, Anthony Newley, Sammy Fain, Randy Newman, Dorothy Fields, Richard Rogers, George & Ira Gershwin, Sigmund Romberg, Norman Gimbel, Arthur Schwartz, Adolph Green, Stephen Sondheim, Johnny Green, Jule Styne, Marvin Hamlish, Kurt Weill, Oscar Hammerstein, Victor Young, Yip Harburg, Andre Previn, Lorenz Hart, Lalo Schifrin... These, says Dave, are only some of the better known names, there are many more.
Strangely, despite their ethnic background not many of the songs show traces of the composer's ancestry.
Needless to say, as well as providing material for films, shows and singers of all genré they also form the backbone of the jazz repertoire for which we should be eternally grateful.
Lance/Dave

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Customs House Big Band and Ruth Lambert

When the Customs House Big Band kicked off with "In The Mood" I almost groaned until I remembered the Glenn Miller version as being the first big band disc I ever bought. To complain now would be akin to shooting myself in the foot - I still have the '78' rpm record!
There were other Miller numbers - "American Patrol" and "Tuxedo Junction" - but there were also charts by Bill Holman (The Man I Love), Sammy Nestico, Neal Hefti (Li'l Darlin') and the even more contemporary Gordon Goodwin which made for a well rounded program that was appreciated by a decent sized crowd. The saxes are a nicely balanced section with good soloists in Jill Brett, alto, and tenormen John Hudson and Alan Marshall. Elaine Willis, daughter of guitarist Roy, blew 2nd alto and Chris Kaberry on bari stood in for Christine Atkinson. Gordon Marshall led the trumpets (Ken de Vere, Paul Gledhill, Harry Ruddick Damian Kelly) from the upper slopes of Mount Olympus as well as taking care of the solos. Trombone choruses were shared by Mike Fletcher, Chris Smith (?) Gareth Weaver(?) with MD Peter Morgan filling out the section, when not leading, on bass trombone.
Down in the galley and cooking were Bill Britain (pno), Roy Willis (gtr) - Hi Roy, long time no see - Bill Colledge (bs) and, fresh from driving the jazz-rock trio HCW at the Gateshead Jazz Festival, drummer John Hirst who proved to be equally adept in a swinging big band situation - a true all-rounder.
As if this wasn't enough - we were served up a mouthwatering dessert in the form of Ruth Lambert who positively revelled in having such a big band backing. Her material was perfect. "Always True To You Darling In My Fashion", "Black Coffee", "Almost Like Being In Love", "World On A String", "Hard Hearted Hannah", and an incredible revival of Rosie Clooney's "Mambo Italiano" were just some of the numbers Ruth delighted the audience with before the final "Alright, Okay, You Win" brought the gig to a stomping close. Photos.
Lance.
PS: Don't forget folks, they do it all again on Wednesday (25th) - same time same place.
PPS: The band's excellent CD "Love For Sale" is now on sale for a fiver. It includes vocals by Ruth and is well worth a 'deep sea diver'.
PPPS: And, of course, there's the great CLARE TEAL gig at the Customs House on Thursday.

Monster Big Band From Up North and I Mean North!

I received the following email from Swedish bandleader Janne Ersson:-
Jazz Festivals, Clubs and to whom it may concern !
The Janne Ersson Tribute Monster Big Band will tour Europe in 2009. This band plays all music that was played by Buddy Rich & Big Band from 1966-1987.
The band also adds a jazz singer to do a tribute to the great Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Mel Tormé and of course the band plays hits like West Side Story Medley, Porgy & Bess Suite, Channel One Suite and so on. This band is available for booking in 2009 with or without a jazz singer so please get in touch for more info and believe me you will find nothing like this in Europe today.
Janne Ersson Bandleader

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mark Williams Trio at the Side Café

Mark Williams (gtr), Paul Susans (bs), David Carnegie (pictured - dms).
The audience/band relationship at the Side is becoming ever more intimate with tonight being particularly "cozy." The regulars on this, the penultimate week, may not have been out in force but there were a couple of new faces around which bodes well for the future - wherever it may be.
Perhaps the missing punters were jazzipated after the delights and excesses of the Festival which is their loss as tonight's trio didn't allow themselves to be dispirited by the select few in the audience but instead played through without an intermission. All three guys had their say mixing powerhouse aggro with tenderness and exploratory harmonic probes.
George, a Side Café debutanté, saw traces of Grace Slick's "White Rabbit" in one of Mark's numbers and, having since refreshed my memory of Jeff.Airplane via YouTube, I think I can see where he's coming from - or maybe I'm hallucinating.
Next week's grand finale fittingly features Zoe who kicked things off at the Side last year so let's make it a good one.

Charlie Galbraith

Roly's mention of American guitarist Barry Galbraith brought to mind London born trombonist Charlie Galbraith who was a stalwart of the British and French trad scene until his death in 1997.
Local trombone player, the late Ronnie McLean's favourite story - and he had many - was of Charlie Galbraith who, in the 1950s would drive around London in a van with the slogan, "20 Years A Jazz man And Still an Optimist" emblazoned on the sides.
I think our local promoters might relate to this!
Lance.

Pete Volpe

Former Newcastle Big Band trumpet player Peter Volpe is originally from the north east of England. After studying Music and French in London he moved to France. Based in Paris, he has been a professional freelance musician since 1980, working principally in the fields of Jazz and Latin music. He has a particular interest in mainstream modern jazz. In addition to his various activities as a sideman, he runs his own quintet in which Patrick Villanueva, heard on the Hammond organ, is his regular pianist. (Copied from Peter's My Space profile). Click here for some good sounds. Lance

Northern Voices

Keith Armstrong, well known poet and jazz fan, has sent me this extract from "Northern Voices" detailing a re-issued CD of his, "Sound City", which includes the late Ian Carr and trombonist Rick Taylor amongst the personel. ----- ‘SOUND CITY’ CD - REISSUE FROM ‘NORTHERN VOICES’. First released in 1991, with the aid of a Northern Arts grant, ‘Sound City’ is a newly reissued CD by prolific Tyneside poet Keith Armstrong, recorded with a string of top musicians - Rick Taylor, Bruce Arthur, Pete Challoner, Ian Carr, Bob Fox & Frank Gibbon - and digitally remastered by Dean Jones at The Old School House. From Newcastle’s Dog Leap Stairs and across Europe to Moscow and Leningrad, the album is a travelogue in poetry, with the odd love anthems scattered in between. Armstrong’s latest album ‘Out to Sea’, a poetic journey up the Northumbrian Coast, has been a great success aready and look out for further reissues - ‘The Poetry of Percussion’, featuring Armstrong and Bruce Arthur, and ‘The Elvis Diaries’, the story of the life and times of Elvis Presley of Craghead, with poetry by Armstrong and Elvis songs by Durham’s Jim Nunn. -----
Lance.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Joshua Redman Trio - Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra.

This was a fitting finale to the 5th. Gateshead Jazz Festival with two totally different bands both of whom kicked ass in their own way.
Joshua Redman (tenor/soprano), Reuben Rogers (bass) & Greg Hutchinson (drums) played a storming set without straying too far from the bounds of convention. Redman's tenor technique is not far short of prodigious and with only double bass to anchor him harmonically he fairly soared through the changes. "Sophisticated Lady" was luscious whilst "Surrey With The Fringe" was not without a glance in the direction of Sonny Rollins. His sole outing on soprano - "Ghost" revealed him as having the best soprano sound I have ever heard! In the absence of keyboard or guitar Rogers had to be a tower of strength and he was throughout. Likewise Hutchinson who had a belter of a solo in the final number.
The Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra, the "Orchestra in Residence", devoted their set to Guy's "Amadeus Project". The suite is based on Mozartian operatic characters rather than Wolfgang Amadeus' actual music so I doubt if the composer turned over in his grave although he may have thought about it.
As it was, the resultant work provided some of the most exciting music of the festival - particularly the finale which surely raised the roof of the Sage by a good six feet. If the brass didn't achieve that feat then surely the audience's applause did. Amazingly, a gentleman sitting next to me barely moved his right hand in the direction of his left leading me to conclude that he was either dead or had wandered in from the Alan Barnes "Clarinet Marmalade" concert by mistake. What a shame the two concerts coincided.
Great weekend.
Lance

Meanwhile, Somewhere East of Suez... Colin A.

Hi Lance, here is the write up of the Gig at Ned Kelly's that Kenny Martyn played. What a session! And a packed house. Also played with a good Geordie piano player called Alan Atkinson on board the cruise ship Seabourn Spirit on Sunday last. He is the resident piano player on board for it's world cruise, he knew quite a few names from the North East jazz scene, will send you the clip... YouTube - "Take The A Train". Cheers Colin (Alan Atkinson is quite a piano player anyone know him? Lance)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sheila Jordan - Gateshead Jazz Festival

Sheila Jordan (vcl). The Brian Kellock Trio. Brian Kellock (pno), Kenny Ellis (bs), Stu Richie (dms). Cleveland Watkiss (guest vocalist). ----- (photo from MySpace) An hour of late night magic in the intimate setting of the Jazz Lounge by one of the music's true originals. There is no one quite like her, Sheila Jordan is totally unique and so obviously committed to the sounds we love. Jazz, bebop, yellow cabs, uptown, downtown, Birdland; jazz and New York run through her veins then ooze out by way of her heart and soul taking us with her to 52nd St in the 'forties, 'fifties and beyond.
Belying her age Sheila treat us to a mixture of standards and jazz classics; personalised by the hippest singer in the business - I don't think Anita O'Day or even Blossom Dearie was quite as cool as this octogenarian.
The oneliners that found their way into the lyrics were something else - "How should I know how deep is the ocean? I can't swim!".
Her own verse to "My Funny Valentine" paid tribute to the Miles Davis recording whilst others involved Coltrane and Charlie Parker idolatory.
Cleveland Watkiss joined our lady for "Confirmation" and the scatted exchanges were aces high. This was one for the all-time short list
The Brian Kellock trio were in top form - what is it about jazz and the Scots? The pianist's variations on "When Your Smiling" brought tears to my eyes (sorry about that one!)
This has been a great festival and there's Joshua Redman still to come - roll on tomorrow night.
Lance.

The Voice in Jazz. Report from Jim McD.

"The Voice in Jazz" @ The Gateshead Jazz Festival.
Where to begin? An afternoon of magical music celebrating the Voice in Jazz. Comprising 3 sets, London born Cleveland Watkiss (Voice), Mark Hodgson (bs)and Shane Forbes (dms) kicked things off. This splendidly tight knit trio performed immaculately throughout the set. Although most of the tunes were new to me the results were very enjoyable.
Next came the warmly welcomed Welsh warbler, Ian Shaw, who gave us standards played in a cocktail manner. He later sang a duet with Sheila Jordan on an ultra 'Slow Boat to China' with plenty of humourous one liners.
Finally, Be-Bop's own, the delightful Sheila Jordan delivering jazz standards as only she can. Support was by the magnificent Brian Kellock Trio, Ken Ellis (bs), Stu Richie (dms), Kellock (pno).
Recalled to the stage ,Watkiss and Shaw joined Sheila for 'I got rhythm' which developed into 'Anthropology' thus giving a rousing finish to the final and most enjoyable third set.
A superb festival, good luck for the future Gateshead!
Jim McD .

Saturday Afternoon at the Gateshead Jazz Festival

I like the Saturday afternoon session and not just because I go to the free ones! There's a relaxed, no pressure feel about it both on the Concourse and at the Jazz Lounge Jam Session.
Of course there are drawbacks. The Concourse acoustics tend to favour the larger ensmbles as opposed to the combos and vocalists.
Nevertheless, things got off to a good start with HCW (Hirst, Carr & Worsley) whom I've wrote of in the past. They played a solid set considering they were facing a slightly blasé audience who were possibly distracted by the spidermen duo cleaning the windows behind them! As they say in show business - never follow a kid, a dog or a window-cleaner act.
In the Jazz Lounge lots of young hopefuls were strutting their stuff. Backed by Stu Collingwood, Ken Marley and David Carnegie, James, the young guitarist from the Chillingham, had a blast on "Stella", "A girl did things to "St Thomas" on trumpet, Dave Weisser "Satin Dolled" with Dan, a promising young drummer from Prudhoe, who could have had a little more solo space whilst Noel Dennis compered and blew some good horn.
Back on the Concourse, Paul Edis, Graham Hardy and Mick Shoulder had a very listenable half hour with "Waltz for Debby" doing the business.
More jam then it was Ruth Lambert with Paul E and Andy Champion. Ruth opened with "West Coast Blues" a number associated with Zoe who was sitting down front.
Unfortunately, the Concourse acoustics could have been kinder this time around. Nevertheless, as ever, Ruth overcame the obstacles and delighted her fans which, of course, includes me .
I had to leave at this point but I will be back tonight for Sheila Jordan. Sheila, incidentally, was involved in a triple header with Cleveland Watkiss and Ian Shaw this afternoon. Anyone who cares to write a brief review on the event are cordially invited to.
Lance.

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.
Lance

Nigel Stanger Update by Germaine

Dear Lance, We are so grateful that you remembered Nigel on the tenth anniversary of his death. His daughters, son in law, grandchildren and I, spent the 15th of March in Beadnell where his ashes are buried. It was the place he spent his teenage summers. I doubt Nigel played alto behind the WI hut, although I remember him talking of doing other things there and of singing "For those in peril on the sea', whenever his father tempted him out in his sailing dingy.
Nigel said they were only ever fifteen feet from shore and people, attracted by the volume of his singing, would wade in to rescue him. Nigel got his own back when he and his father played, (with undisguised rivalry,) 'The Entrance of the Queen of Sheba' on a couple of grand pianos. They fitted together like jig saw pieces.
I met Nigel's father when I was singing with the Johnny Taws trio, at the Gosforth Park Hotel. He told me of his pianos and that his son played jazz. I was, and indeed am, generally unimpressed by the number of pianos people own, or indeed, offspring claiming to be jazz musicians, however I became interested when, shortly afterwards, I heard Nigel play. He was with his quartet at a Newcastle Big Band gig in Eldon Square, at which I too was performing. I thought Nigel was showing off. Later I knew that it wasn't 'showing off,' merely brilliant musicianship. There was no distance between player and instrument, they were one. Later I understood the extent of Nigel's creativity, which encompassed playing, in addition to alto and tenor saxophones, piano and Hammond organ. He also had great skill as a writer and an architect. He had degrees in both English and architecture.
To his family and friends however, it is possibly his humour that is remembered on an everyday basis, he was a very witty man. His command of English, coupled with physical expressions, generated so much laughter we were helpless for much of the time. This humour was what drew Nigel and Chas Chandler together, years after they played in the 'Animals’. The outcome of that friendship (and copious giggling,) was the Newcastle Arena. Sitting in the Collingwood Arms, Jesmond, designing the future on the back of an envelope, during a game of chess.
Alex, Jessica, Ben and I were still laughing when Nigel was very ill in hospital, saying things like the WC Field's classic, "On the whole I'd rather be in Philadelphia," or as Madeline Chandler reminded me this morning, "I married a torch singer who turned into a fell walker,when I wasn't looking.'
His humour helped to hide the hideous brutality of a cancer that killed him at the early age of 56. So, when we all gathered around his grave, in the sunshine, last Sunday, it was with great sadness, with love and with laughter. We apologized to him for being unable to bury a vast quantity of booze in his grave, for going for a slap up lunch without him, and for playing in the sand with the granddaughters he never met. They call him Grandpa Nigel. I can almost hear him say "I can't be called Grandpa. I'm a mere boy and my name, to them and everyone else, is N I G E L, or on second thoughts, WJN Stanger sounds OK. I used to play the saxophone you know. Unfortunately, there's very little call for it here. It would help if John Pearce, Alfie Parker, Ronnie Pearson, Pat Crumly, Alexis Korner, Lyndolph D'Oliveira and Malcolm Saul could drop in." Is this Ok Lance? I was so very glad you remembered. We think the photograph of Nigel clapping is terrific and we haven't got a copy???
All best. Germaine.

Festival Frontline

Gateshead Jazz Festival is here once more and it looks to be as good as, if not better, than any of its predecessors. Everyone will have picked out their own area of interest so I'm not going to bore you with mine instead I'll just say don't "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me" but "Take The A Train" or the "Happy Go Lucky Local" (Metro) and "Cottontail" down to the Sage because "Time's A Wastin'" and "All Too Soon" you'll be "Reminiscing in Tempo."
Down worry about being in "Solitude" - "John Hardy's Wife", "The Gal From Joes", that "Sophisticated Lady" even a "Tattooed Bride" are all going to "Stomp, Look and Listen".
To view a podcast of some of last years events including Cleo and Zoe - click here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Defining Moments - Earl Bostic

What was your defining moment? That moment in time when you decided jazz was the music for you. Or the decision you made that led you to the trumpet rather than the banjo or, admitedly an unlikely scenario, vice-versa?
For me, I fell in love with the saxophone the day I heard Earl Bostic playing "Flamingo". I'd heard Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges, Lester, Hawkins etc. but it was later that I appreciated their genius whereas Bostic hit me with a haymaker and knocked me out with the first punch.
My peers laughed and rubbished him but for me, at 16/17, he was the most exciting player I'd ever heard.
I discovered, years later, that John Coltrane played tenor on "Flamingo" and, in an interview, he gave credit to Earl Bostic as a great saxophonist and one of his first influences. I felt exonerated and even more so when I heard him on an old Rex Stewart disc ("Dreamers Blues") sounding like Johnny Hodges.
Lance

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Welcome Back Darren. Chilli..

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger (alt), Steve Summers (alt/ten/ewi), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Robin Douthwaite (gtr), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms), Ian Forbes (perc.)
There was a lot happening at the Chilli tonight but the most important event was the return of Darren Grainger after his recent medical traumas. He blew good alto.
The mood was distinctly latin thanks to Ian who pounded, shook and scraped an array of congas, timbales, maraccas, tambourines, reso resos and other items from 'south of the border'.
Steve Summers impressed on tenor, alto and electronic wind instrument; his tenor blast on Coltrane's "Cousin Mary" brought back memories of the great man himself. "Blue Bossa" was taken at Tempi di Formula Uno and everyone coped admirably.
On guitar, Robin Douthwaite is fast overcoming any hesitancy he may have had and soloed with confidence.
Tonight, this was a band near capable of going 'on the road for MCA' (Quote from a Jack Teagarden blues - Can't remember which one) .
For the finale, the latin perc. section was augmented by 'The Doc.' and another guy whose name I didn't catch but who proved to be fluent in 'congalese' - I think the tune was "Jive Samba".
These were the only sitters-in. George Laing left too soon and Mark Williams arrived too late. You can hear George on piano at the Porthole on Wednesday lunchtime and Mark at The Side Café on Monday night.
Lance.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cormac Loane - Whatever Became of?

Whilst recalling the late Nigel Stanger, mention was also made by Roly of another Newcastle Big Band alto player - Cormac Loane. Russell has since posed the question - what became of?
After leaving the NBB Cormac eventually found himself playing with NYJO and went on to co-author the Team series of woodwind tutors that have become, arguably, the definitive tome for students of clarinet, sax, oboe, bassoon, etc.
I last met him at the Sting get together at the Baltic (Cormac is the red shirted alto player in photo) 3 years ago and he was still the unassuming ultra talented person he has always appeared to be.
Googling reveals him to be based in Birmingham - not the Alabama one.
If you read this, Cormac, we'd love to have an update from you.
Lance.

Ruth Lambert & Friends - an Intimate Soirée at the Side Café

Ruth Lambert (vcl), Graeme Wilson (ten/sop), Paul Edis (pno), Neil Harland (bs), Tim Johnstone (dms). "It Could Happen to You" and it would have done if you had been one of the fortunate few to hear Ruth interpret Jimmy Van Heusen's classic song at the Side Café tonight.
A near faultless performance from her ever expanding repertoire that continued through "Angel Eyes", "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan" (by Washington, Young and Crosby), "Falling in Love With Love", "How High The Moon", "I Should Care", "Almost Like Being in Love", "Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You", Kern's "I'm Old Fashioned" and his masterpiece, "The Way You Look Tonight", to finish. There were, of course others but these were the ones that hit me the hardest.
Ruth was in splendid voice whilst "her friends" did the business both solowise and in support. Paul, Neil, Graeme & Tim effortlessly cross the stylistic boundaries of the various settings in which they appear.
Why the room wasn't crowded, I don't know. Perhaps a new venue might revive things.
Lance.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Remembering Nigel Stanger

"Nigel Stanger is one of the finest musicians I ever worked with. He was one of my teachers. When he played, he played with joy and great passion. I shan't forget the lessons he taught me and I shan't forget him" - Sting's eulogy to Nigel Stanger.
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Today, March 15, 2009, marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of Nigel Stanger--arguably the finest jazz altoman from these parts. He also blew good tenor and, on occasion, both saxes together à la Roland Kirk.
His pedigree was impressive - a host of name blues bands; John Mayall, Alexis Korner, Georgie Fame, The Animals and in later years, backing Jimmy Witherspoon, The East Side Torpedoes and The Crosbys.
However, it was the Sunday lunchtime sessions back in the 1970's with the Newcastle Big Band - a sometimes unwieldy organisation that, nevertheless, drew crowds to the the University Theatre of a magnitude never seen before or since - that I remember him best.
As well as blowing lead alto, Nigel was Bird personified in his solos as he built upon Charlie Parker's historic base to forge a voice of his own. I felt very privileged to sit in the same sax section.
Where Nigel really came into his own and I think Germaine Stanger would probably agree was in San Sebastion. Transported away from the familiarity of Tyneside to the well known Spanish Jazz Festival, his playing seemed to lose whatever imaginary inhibitions it may have had and he really flew in the balmy Spanish night air. Nothing was incapable of being expressed as he created with fiery, white-hot, unbridled passion through the medium of his Selmer and, later, Yamaha horns.
He played good jazz piano too. A very talented guy who will always be sadly missed.
In passing, I ought to mention that Nigel also had some considerable architectural skills but that is another story ...
Lance

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Q: How do you know when a bass solo has ended? A: The audience has stopped yawning. Q: Why do musicians like drum solos? A: It gives them the opportunity to go to the bar. Q: Why do audiences like drum solos? A: It gives them the opportunity to go to the bar. Anon.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Four Piece Sweet & Swing City Trio - Saville Exchange, North Shields

Four Piece Sweet: Caroline Irwin (vcl), Keith Stephens (lead), Roly Veitch (rhythm), Bruce Rollo (bs).
Swing City Trio: Steve Andrews (ten/clt), Roly Veitch (gtr), Roy Cansdale (bs).
If you think that "Santa Baby" in March is out of season - then you haven't heard it sung by the late Eartha Kitt or, indeed, Caroline Irwin; the 'sweet' in Four Piece Sweet.
Wearing an eye-catching Santa outfit Ms Irwin dropped in from Lapland, mingled amongst the mortals and turned a seasonal classic into a hardy perennial!
There were other gifts to be opened - "Autumn Leaves" in French, "Darktown Strutters Ball" in English, Betty Hutton's "Murder, He Says" in Brooklynese and "Crazy He Calls Me" in the universal language of love. "Fly Me To The Moon", Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight", "Cow Cow Boogie" and "Running Wild" give an idea of the wide range covered by "Sweet Caroline" (which she didn't sing thank goodness)
Despite the variety of tunes the spirit of Django was never far away - how could it be with guitar heroes Keith Stephens and Roly Veitch on stage? Keith played some terrific stuff with lots of those difficult runs that are the hallmark of Hot Club music. Needless to say he does some tricky stuff of his own too. Bruce Rollo has successfully incorporated his slap bass style into convential jazz bass whilst Roly gave it the rhythmic thrash that defines Djangology.
Roly remained on stage for the Swing City Trio set - the other two being Steve Andrews (ten/clt) and Roy Cansdale (bs).
The Gasbook was given a good workout by the trio with Roly in good voice - "I Saw Stars" is always a favourite of this band and tonight was no exception.
Steve Andrews blew some excellent Ben Websterian tenor on "Skylark" and also on that fine old standard that few people play anymore - "This Years Kisses". 'Kisses' had another vocal from Rolls as well as an appealing guitar solo that pressed all the right buttons. I could go on all night enthusing but I think you've got the picture by now. "Dear Bix" and "100 Years From Today" ultimately led to Caroline and Keith returning to augment the band for the final "Exactly Like You".
Nothing else for me to say and so I'll close but, by the way, Roy Cansdale's bass was great, ps: I love some of Steve's quips.
Lance

Free Spirits, Corner House Hotel, Thursday 12 March. Report by Russell.

Lewis Watson (ten/sop), Neil Harland (bs/bs.gtr), Dharambir Singh (sitar), Bhupinder Singh Chaggar (tabla and electric percussion).

The function room of a suburban public house was the meeting place for Eastern & Western musical traditions in the form of Free Spirits. Following a triumphant concert performance at the recent London Jazz Festival local jazz fans and interestingly, non - jazz fans, were in attendance for this eagerly anticipated event. The evening began with sitar and tabla establishing the framework for the first of the ragas. The slow tempo encouraged Lewis Watson to enter the proceedings on tenor and ace bassman Neil Harland was right there setting down a funklike feel which he maintained throughout the evening. A series of ragas unfolded with all four musicians reacting to the subtle shifts in emphasis from one or other of the quartet. Bhupinder Singh Chaggar, at times displaying bewildering hand speed, encouraged numerous change of tempi within any one piece. His musical compatriots were quick to respond and at times there was thrilling interplay between two, three or indeed all four musicians.

The second set began with Singh Chaggar and Harland locked in an exchange of rhythmic ideas which, at its conclusion, drew much, fully deserved, applause. A Harland original, written in memory of percussionist Bruce Arthur, brought the quartet together once again. Dharambir Singh dazzled in his improvisation on a scale - Watson took up the challenge - and a flurry of notes went to and fro. The fusion of classical Indian music and jazz worked so well, that, at times, a coherent sound emerged rendering the labelling or categorisation of the music somewhat redundant. Free Spirits - four virtuosi. Free Spirits hope to play another concert in the north east later this year. Watch this space. (Sittar info.)

Russell.

Photos

Late Night Jazz At The Hilton

On the Friday and Saturday nights of the Gateshead Jazz Festival (20/21 May) the Paul Edis Trio will be playing post concert gigs at the nearby Hilton Hotel. 11 PM. - 02.00 AM.
Paul on piano, John Hirst, drums with the bass playing duties shared between Neil Harland (Friday) and Mick Shoulder (Saturday). Sounds like a good place for night owls to hang out and maybe there'll be a 'name' or two dropping by.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Thoughts and Recollections" - The Claude Werner Quartet

Claude Werner (ten), Mick Wright (gtr), Laurence Blackadder (bs), David Carnegie (dms).
For those who only know Claude as last night's sax toting tenor player shooting from and to 'the hip' at The Chilli, or the frontier stretching avant gardist of The Blofield Experiment, this CD reveals yet another facet of his personality.
"Thoughts and Recollections" might, on the first spin, be wrongly described as bland. However, this is far from the case as repeated listenings have proved. The title of the album is apt - these are the original thoughts, recollections and compositions of a man who is not only a talented player but an equally compelling composer.
"Daydreaming" portrays exactly what the title says and, in places, reminded me a little of early Warne Marsh.
"Nostalgia in Jesmond Vale" - how could anyone from the north-east not be drawn to this even if it was written by a man from Chile?
Underneath it all, David Carnegie plays subtly and effectively. Mick Wright and Lawrence Blackadder also have their say adding vital colour to the tonal landscape.
An excellent CD - 9.99 out of 10.
My one very minor complaint is the booklet. The colour scheme of black on grey doesn't make for easy reading in the wee small hours which is when this music is at its most potent.
Lance

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Alan Glen - A Tough Act To Follow But Not Impossible.

Alan Glen (pno), Lawrence Blackadder (bs), David Carnegie (dms).
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Dave Weisser (tpt), Eddie Bellis (tmb), Claude Werner (ten), Nicola (bar), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Robin Douthwaite, James (gtr), Stuart Davies (bs), Eric Stutt (dms).
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The monthly visit by the Alan Glen Trio to The Chillingham is always a cause for celebration and particularly so tonight when the emphasis was on bebop. This was an absolute gem of a set with "Bud's Bubble", "Yardbird Suite", "Blue Monk", "Loverman" just some of the 52nd Street anthems that hit the spot. Such dexterity and creativity should be bottled and sold or at least laid down on CD. As ever, Lawrence and David, held it all together and soloed with imagination. As good a set as I've yet to hear - and the night wasn't over!
It wasn't over but the AG Trio set a pretty high bench mark and an anti-climax looked likely.
Wrong!
Enter Claude Werner. The Chilean tenor player is as flamboyant a player as there is and he blew his brains out on "Whisper Not". On "Beautiful Love" Claude was, by his standards, restrained. By anyone else's ...
The brief blast on "Anthropology" at the end lost nothing by it's brevity with Dave Scatting and Claude shooting tenor at around sixty times the speed limit on the M1. It jumped!
There were other moments to relish - Nicola blowing some nice baritone, Eddie Bellis on trombone and Stuart, Eric, Robin on guitar, and Barry in the engine room. Later, James sat in on guitar and had a couple of good solos.
Earlier, prior to the entry of the gladiators, Dave sang a tasty version of "God Bless The Child".
One of the better ones.
Lance
PS: I hope I got Claude's name right this time round. Best check it out on his new CD "Thoughts and Recollections" of which more later...

Highfield Hotel News

The Paul Edis Trio are playing at the Highfield Hotel, East Rainton on Sunday (15 March) and like last time, it's free entry. There are going to be free gigs from local bands every Sunday - with occasional special guests in the future.
There is also the possibility of something extra-special in April - Watch This Space.
Lance.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen at Cullercoats Crescent Club - by Russell

Brian Bennett (banjo & vocals) , Barry Soulsby (clarinet,alto & vocals) , Lawrence McBriarty (trombone) , Fred Rowe (trumpet & vocals) ,Brian Sibbald (double bass) and Fred Thompson (drums & vocals).
The Vieux Carre Jazzmen entertained the forty or so regulars at the coastal hostelry's afternoon session with a varied programme to suit all tastes.
The proceedings began with the little heard, ''A Porter's Love Song to a Chambermaid'' featuring Fred Rowe on vocals. ''Exactly Like You'' followed with Barry Soulsby taking up the singing duties. The sweet tones of Fred Thompson emanated from behind the drum kit on the next number - ''Georgia on My Mind''. Thompson delivered a measured, unhurried reading of a tune which some singers can all too easily destroy - Mr.T. came up trumps. The highlight of the first set was ''Yellow Dog Blues'' with appropriate wailing of the clarinet from Mr.Soulsby.
The second set opened with "Cake Walking Babies'' and '' If I Had You ''. Trumpet maestro Mr. Rowe followed with a humourous version of ''Mandy, Make up Your Mind." A stand out number from this set was ''Ponchartrain Blues''. Following the blues number was a tune this correspondent wasn't familiar with...''By the Sea , By the Sea , By the Beautiful Sea''. ''Big Butter & Egg Man'' saw the afternoon draw to a close but not before Brian Bennett called in the band as we were ''Goin' Home''.
The Vieux Carre's coach trip to Staithes next month is all but fully booked. One ticket remains ! If you want it, see the band's new website http://www.vieuxcarrejazzmen.com/
Russell .

Benny rides again in Hong Kong - from Colin Aitchison

UK clarinetist Kenny Martyn will be in Hong Kong, and has agreed to play a set at Ned Kelly's Last Stand - 11pm on Friday, March 13. Kenny is the leader of a Benny Goodman tribute band in the UK, so if you are around this neck of the woods please drop in.
See You Soon,
Colin
(We're gonna book our tickets now but can't leave straight away as FREE SPIRITS are laying down some "JAZZASIAN" music at the Corner House tonight - Lance. PS: Sorry Colin - missed my flight. See you at Whitley Bay?)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Malcolm Saul Info Wanted.

I nearly fell off my seat when I came across this. Malcolm Saul is my dad and I have been trying for years to find out any info about him on the internet. I would be more than grateful if anyone knew him or has any old pics or any thing about to contact me at jes46@hotmail.co.uk. This is a real blessing for me. Thank you sooo much. Janet Saul

Monday, March 09, 2009

Steve Waterman Quartet - Side Café

Steve Waterman (tpt), Paul Edis (pno), Ken Marley (bs), Adrian Tilbrook (dms).
Tonight, away from the tight framework of the Jazz Orchestra, Steve Waterman proved equally adept in a small band situation and gave those fans who made the effort a display of what it may have been like to hear Lee Morgan or Freddie Hubbard in a small club in New York. Every trumpet player should have been here tonight; their lives and inspiration would have become wider and more enlightened. As it was, they weren't - their loss.
However, I'm not here to preach just to say that it was another knock-out evening by four brilliant musicians. Paul Edis was his inventive and occasionally humourous self as was Ken and Adrian and they combined to form a cohesive quartet that could have been playing together for years. The final "I'll Remember April" was a real blast the ideas screaming from Steve's horn - he was on song tonight.
Earlier, Mulligan's "Night Lights" showed his more plaintive side as he bared his soul on flugel. Melancholia as well on "I Fall In Love Too Easily" - pure Chet. "Good Bait" and an uptempo "Here's That Rainy Day" were a couple of others that floated this man's boat.
I drifted home on a cloud.
Lance

Vieux Carré Go On-Line

That Beethoven of the Banjo Brian Bennett has sent us a link to the new Vieux Carré Jazzmen website. It is well worth a visit and has an interesting history of the band along with photos and some pieces of nostalgia. If you're one of their fans today or were back then when Pete Deuchar called the shots I guarantee you'll enjoy the trip.
Lance

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Steve Waterman, Issie Barratt & the VOTNJO. Sunderland Campus.

Steve Waterman, John Evans, Matt Roberts, Gordon Marshall, Graham Hardy (tpts). John Milgate, Chris Hibbard, K.Norris, Alan Bravey (tmbs). James Russell, Andy Bennett, Lew Watson, Rod Mason, Bill Sneddon (saxes). Paul Edis (kybds). Ken Marley (bs). Adrian Tilbrook (dms). Issie Barratt & John Warren (conductor, composer, arranger etc.)
The cop-out would be for me to refer you to last November's review of the band when the major work, "Noneffency" was premiered. On that occasion I ran out of superlatives. Fortunately, tonight, I discovered a new superlative - Steve Waterman. As featured guest artist, Steve rubber-stamped his credentials to walk tall amongst the British trumpet hierarchy.
It was a dazzling display, effortlessly paintstripping the ceiling, then a few bars later, creating a tapestry of delicate pastels.
This was musical poetry of the highest order and deserving of a bigger audience.
Kenton's band used to play a piece entitled "Concerto To End All Concertos" and "Noneffency" is worthy of being subtitled as such. Okay, I know that technically speaking it isn't a concerto but it certainly feels like one and if anybody ever does write the definitive jazz concerto then surely it will be Issie Barratt.
Or John Warren.
John's own pieces also brought the best out of the orchestra with each of the saxes having at least one moment of glory.
And it's not over yet! Tomorrow night, at the Side Café, down on Newcastle's Quayside, Steve Waterman plays a quartet gig with tonight's rhythm section of Paul, Ken and Adrian. Then on Thursday, at the Corner House in the Heaton District of Newcastle it's the Indo-Jazz group Free Spirits with Lew Watson, who played out of his skull tonight, on tenor and soprano.
Prior to the VOTNJO gig I caught a number from one of the prizewinning bands - the Leeds Coll of Music outfit. Phew! Playing a 5-4-5-4 formation and bringing on Mick Donnelly from the judges bench on tenor the young players lost nothing by comparision with their peers. The future is in safe hands with these boys and girls who hit just the right groove with ultra precise section work - they were worthy winners.
Lance

Saturday, March 07, 2009

BBC Big Band - Sunderland Campus

Tony Fisher, Martin Shaw, Nigel Carter, Brian Rankine (tpts); Mark Nightingale, Pete North, Mike Feltham, Ashley Horton (tmbs); Howard McGill, Sammy Mayne, (altos): Paul Jones, Paul Booth, (tens); Jay Craig (bar); Graham Harvey (pno); Jeremy Brown (bs); Tom Gordon (dms); Barrie Forgie (ldr).
The annual visit to the Sunderland Festival by the BBC Big Band served to prove what we already knew - that the band, fronted by Barry Forgie, is arguably the best of its kind anywhere. With the A team players aboard how could it be anything else? Admittedly the repertoire has been tried and tested many times yet, nevertheless, manages to remain fresh. Martin Shaw has probably forgotten how long he's been playing "I Remember Clifford" yet the flugel feature still managed to tug at the emotions. Tony Fisher led the section with much power and his duet with Nigel Carter on the Ted Heath arrangement of "Stardust" brought back memories of hearing it done by Bert Ezzard and Bobby Pratt midway through the last century.
Mark Nightingale - as good a slide man as there is - arranged "The Flight of the Bumblebee" as a trombone solo and it certainly pushed those skills to the limit. Was I the only one in the hall who felt they could have been put to better use? Probably, and I do concede that it was well done.
No quibbles about the saxes; everything they blew was pure gold whether soloing or as a section.
Last night's alto star, Paul Jones, tonight played tenor as did Paul Booth. Both swung like crazy. Likewise the two altos - Howard McGill and Sammy Mayne - had a stirring battle on the opener, Buddy Rich's "The Rotten Kid".
Bari saxman Jay Craig's playing oozed sensuousness on Mulligan's "Black Nightgown", the theme from that wonderful film - "I Want To Live" (Sadly, in the film, Susan Hayward didn't get her wish although, as she was about to be strapped into the electric chair, one can understand her last request.)
As ever, out front, Barry Forgie scored high on charm, humour and much panache and, as a pre-cautionary measure, I must get the name of his tailor!
Yes, a splendid evening of foot-tapping fare. Well it would have been if the floor of the hall hadn't been coated with some sticky gunge which meant that us foot-tappers were almost a half a beat behind as our feet struggled to cope with whatever it was underfoot. Still that's one way to stop the audience walking out. As if! With the BBC Big Band walking out isn't an option!
Tomorrow - the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra with Steve Waterman. Unmissable!
Lance

Friday, March 06, 2009

Bebop Taught Here - Egglescliffe School Jazz Quartet. An Intermission Riff at the Bonded Warehouse, Sunderland

A quartet playing "St. Thomas" and "Billie's Bounce" might prompt you to quote the band's opener "So What?". When the four players are in their early to mid teens it becomes less commonplace and when one of them is a girl blowing boppish tenor then you say to yourself - "Why didn't I go to that school?!"
I don't know any of their names but I'm sure I will do in years to come! (See 'Comments' for first names - it's a start! Then go to Egglescliffe Facebook website. Listen to the downloads and you'll know what I mean - Lance)
This intermission set was one of four that served as an overture to the weekend's Sunderland Big Band Festival.
The opening and closing stints were by the student based Festival Big Band led by Bill Watson and augmented for the occasion by Gordon Marshall on trumpet, Paul Jones (alto) and Colin Haikney (pno). With a line-up of 11 saxes, 2 flutes, 4 trumpets, piano, bass, guitar, drums and, surprisingly, no trombones it isn't difficult to tell what is the 'in' instrument today!
Despite the theoretical inbalance, in practice they sounded good and the trombones weren't unduly missed by this listener.
Paul Jones, who will be leading the saxes of the BBC Big Band tomorrow night, joined Leader Bill Watson (tpt), a blonde girl on tenor who may be called Joanne - correct me someone if I'm wrong - Colin Haikney and the big band's guitar, bass and drums to form a very listenable septet.
The final set by 'les tout ensemble' swung along nicely with some close harmony from a swingy vocal duo whose names I failed to get. Loved their version of NYJO's "The Deflated Bounce".
A very enjoyable evening in a plush(ish) loft that would make an ideal jazz venue and only 60p for a coke - sanity prevails!.
Lance.
PS: If anyone can supply names please do. They should be carved with pride.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Splinter - Corner House, Heaton.

Noel Dennis, Graham Hardy (tpt/flg), Chris Hibbard (tmb), Graeme Wilson (ten/sop), Paul Edis (pno), Mark Williams (gtr), Ken Marley (bs), Adrian Tilbrook (dms), John Warren (composer/arranger.)
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What is there to say that hasn't already been said about this octet that thinks it's an orchestra?
Well firstly, it is an orchestra. Thanks to the arranging skills of John Warren (pictured with Adrian Tilbrook) and, on a number dedicated to Bill Evans, Paul Edis, the 8 men all punch above their weight to create a sound that belies their number. Secondly, it seems that every time I hear the soloists they have grown in musical stature making each piece a journey of adventure. The listener doesn't know where that journey will end only that whatever awkward fingering patterns, harmonic directions or sudden changes of tempo they encounter, the musicians will overcome and emerge triumphant.
I'm not going to single any one player out - they all performed brilliantly.
On Sunday, most of the musicians become part of the VOTNJO at the Sunderland Big Band Festival. For this gig, trumpet player Steve Waterman is featured in Issie Barratt's amazing "Effency" as well as more of John Warren's work. Look forward to an evening and a half - miss it and suffer the pangs of eternal regret!
Lance
PS: Although I said I wasn't going to single anyone out I must, nevertheless, compliment bass player Ken Marley who, stepping in at relatively short notice, did a superb job.

Ruth Lambert & Friends at Ashington Jazz Club. Report by John Taylor.

Last night, Ruth Lambert introduced her friends to us. A guitarist from Dublin (Mark Williams), a tenor/soprano player from Glasgow (Graeme Wilson), a bass player from Birmingham (?) and a young lass from Cullercoats (Ruth) who combined to bring some quality jazz to the Elephant.
These days, so many bands bring PAs that need constant adjustment and crackle and pop as if they were made by Kelloggs! Not so last night, each performer had their own set up, except for Graeme on sax who played acoustically. Overall, the sound quality and balance was incredibly good and the band gave a faultless performance covering every era of the Great American songbook.
They were much appreciated by a very attentive audience of 60 silver surfers including one or two rockers (minus the Newcastle United season ticket holders of course!!)
Ruth's forthcoming CD was reviewed in these pages and subsequently mentioned in Paul Breams listings -"Early arrivals at the recent Steve Grossman gig were treated to a first public airing of Ruth Lambert’s new CD, which had been mastered just hours earlier – and it’s an absolute triumph. One national music journalist who was present could hardly believe that there was a singer of such quality right on our doorstep, and that he had never heard her before. Ashington Jazz Club members are, of course, better informed, and will know that in Ruth we have an artist working very much in the classic jazz vocal tradition, but investing it with a depth of understanding and interpretation that is a match for any of the highly hyped national stars."
The next Ashington Jazz Club session at The Elephant takes place on 1st of April and features the Vieux Carre Jazzmen - the first band to bring New Orleans Revival Jazz to Ashington on 5th June 1956.
John

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Take It To The Bridge. No SNAFU tonight.

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Nicola (alt), Robin Douthwaite (gtr), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Mick Danby (bs), Eric Stutt or Ian Forbes (dms).
-----
Lots of excellent happenings at the Chilli tonight. The band got it all together and just about everything gelled with Dave's chops and his vocal chords in good working order; both were heard to advantage on Freddie Hubbard's "Blues For Duane". Mick Danby's bass guitar blast on "All of Me" knocked everyone out whilst Robin Douthwaite, making his Chillingham debut, played some tasty chords and soloed melodically.
Nicola "The Sax" featured prominently on "Misty" and didn't sound too far removed from Johnny Hodges - what more could one ask?
On keyboard, Barry has his own distinctive sound which he obviously prefers but I'd love to hear him use the straight piano setting. As always, he had a few bites at the cherry.
Eric and Ian kept the drumseat warm and the cymbals sizzling.
As befits any self-respecting gig, the best number was saved till last. In this case it was the calypsonic rhythms of "St Thomas" that brought things to a close.
Everyone played out of their skulls on the Sonny Rollins classic with Ian Forbes, who'd handed the drum duties back to Eric, adding some additional percussion by banging a couple of empty bottles together. It was effective and done without breaking many bottles.
A boisterous group of students added to the ambience and scored brownie points by requesting the Coltrane version of "My Favourite Things". There is hope for the world yet!
Next week promises to be rather special with the ALAN GLEN TRIO doing a bebop set - berets, goatee beards and shades are optional.
Lance

The Village Vanguard

A remarkable lady!

Jimmy Witherspoon, Don Weller - Going to Kansas City.

Great track but you have to wait for the credits, like the good times, to roll at the end of the clip to find out who the drummer is - the cameraman ignored him!
Thanks to Russell for bringing this YouTube clip to my attention.
Lance.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bheki Mseleku

When Russell, that jovial bringer of bad tidings, told me of the death of Bheki Mseleku back in September I had to admit I'd never heard of him although I did vow to find out more about him.
Like most resolutions this one fell by the wayside and I forgot all about Bheki - until today.
Today I went into my local charity shop and hit lucky.
The shop was full of gems - Lou Donaldson, "The Scorpion"; Coltrane, "Blue Trane"; some late 30's Ellington: Andy Hamilton, "Jamaica By Night"; Miles, "Kind Of Blue" and "The Beauty of Sunrise" by Bheki Mseleku. All at £1.99 so, with the exception of Miles which I already had, I purchased the lot and I have to say Bheki Mseleku lost nothing by comparision.
With Ravi Coltrane, Elvin Jones, James Spaulding and others amongst the personel it held me from bar one of track one, "Violet Flame", to the end of the final track which is also the title track and is very worthy of the name - "The Beauty of Sunrise".
This was a discovery well worth waiting for.
Listen to "Adored Value".
Lance

Monday, March 02, 2009

Roly Veitch Trio - Side Café

Roly Veitch (gtr/vcl), Noel Dennis (tpt/flug), Neil Harland (bs).
A small but attentive audience were appreciative of this miniature gem by Roly and his coherts. As always, known and not so well known standards were interspersed with original compositions tastefully served.
The highlights included Frishberg's "Dear Bix" sung with feeling by Roly and featuring some appropriate horn from Noel. "Line For Lyons", a tune made famous by the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, also came over well with good solos all round as well as some fuguelike interplay between guitar and flugel.
However, if I had to pick one tune to stand alone it would have to be "You're A Lucky Guy". This is my favourite tune of all time - or at least it is for today. I've got it on record by Becky Kilgore, Clifford Brown, Louis and Ruby Braff/ George Barnes but this is the first time I've ever heard it sung live for which I say "Thank you Roly - you, and the boys, did it justice."
Lance

An Ian Carr Memory From Jack Goodwin

Around 1953, I was playing with Clem Avery’s band and we had a regular gig each week at the Student’s Union (aka “The Bun Room”) at what was then, King’s College, Newcastle. A young student asked to sit in on trumpet a couple of times, but quite frankly, he wasn’t too good and he wasn’t encouraged to ask again. His name was Ian Carr and little did we know how he was to develop. I saw him again in 1969 at a concert in Newcastle playing with the Rendell-Carr Quintet and took a few pictures of them on stage, one of which I’ve enclosed. His technique and improvising ability was much improved.
Jack
(Below is link to Nucleus site referred to in Comments also link to Jim Perry's photos from Newcastle in the 1960s. - Lance)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Julian Siegel w. Paul Edis Trio. Highfield Hotel, East Rainton

Julian Siegel (ten/sop), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms).
This was right up my alley - Allen Eager's too if he'd been alive!
A generous mixture of bop classics ("Moose the Mooche", "Sandu" and a frenetic "Hot House" - played as an encore). Ballads that avoided undue sentimentality ("My One and Only Love", "Yesterdays", We'll Be Together Again"). Freddy Hubbard's delightful waltz "Up Jumped Spring" and Charles Lloyd's Monkish "Sweet Georgia Bright" made for an evening of musical magic.
Although Julian Siegel sailed through the standard changes with ease he did it in such a contemporary manner that even "You and the Night and the Music" sounded as if it could have been written late yesterday afternoon.
Behind him, the Paul Edis Trio were, quite simply, The Paul Edis Trio which translated means as good a trio for this type of gig as you're likely to find anywhere east of Atlantic City.
For the Highfield Hotel it was a first and I'm pleased to say there was a respectable turnout. Not only was the music top class but I've been told that the Thai cuisine is also first rate.
Watch this space. Photos. More.
Lance

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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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