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Bebop Spoken There

Artie Shaw: “I'm not interested in giving people what they want--I'm interested in making music.” – (DownBeat October 15, 1939).

Jason Marsalis: “There's so many places that this music can go and there's a lot yet to be discovered.'” – (DownBeat April 2018)

Today Sunday March 18


Musicians Unlimited - Park Inn, Park Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Tel: 01429 233126. 12 noon. Free.

Jason Isaacs & the Ambassadors of Swing - Hoochie Coochie, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. 5:30pm (doors 4:00pm). £16.00.

Revolutionaires - Tyne Bar, Maling St, Newcastle NE6 1LP. 3pm. Free.

Somethin’ Blue - Vesuvio, 3a Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RL. 5:00pm. Tel: 01325 788564. Matt Case (saxophone) & Mike Hepple (guitar).


POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER! Zoë Gilby Quartet - Black Bull, Bridge Street, Blaydon NE21 4JJ. 8:00pm. £5.00. Rescheduled August 19.

Alter Ego - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £5.00.

Bradley Johnston - The Fire Station, High Street West, Sunderland SR1 3DT. Tel: 0191 594 7241. 6:00pm. Free. New weekly residency.

Gypsy Dave Smith - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bebop Spoken Here Interviews Darius Brubeck

Prior to their forthcoming concert - Brubecks Play Brubeck - at The Sage, Gateshead, I conducted a telephone interview with Darius Brubeck.
LL: Firstly, let me ask you about Dave - how is he?
DB: Dave's well, he played a concert two nights ago and he'll be playing The Blue Note on Thanksgiving, that's Thursday the 25th and (pause) you know he's actually amazing in what he still does.
LL: He must be just about the oldest, active, living jazzman.
DB: I hesitate to say that but if he's not the oldest he's certainly among them. One thing he doesn't do any more is tour internationally you know he won't ever be coming to Europe, to England again.
LL: He's always been much loved and well-respected up in this neck of the woods - North East England - is he a hard act to follow?
DB: Not to follow, I'd say he's a hard act to equal - there's a difference. No the name is a good platform for us, but it's the music that counts - it's the music that is a good platform for us. Like it's a tribute to him really as he turns 90 on December 6.
LL: How's the tour going so far?
DB: It's going very well. We opened in Liverpool on the 20th and then we did Edinburgh on the 21st, Manchester was last night then we drove all the way down to Croydon which is where we are now. We'll be playing there tonight (Tuesday). And so it goes. No really all of the concerts have been good I've been very heartened by the people showing up who really show an understanding of the music which is very welcoming and, as you might know as a Jazz Blogger, Ronnie Scott's was sold out. But that's London you know the whole risk is can we draw crowds away from the Metropole?
LL: I'm rather curious about your choice of Dave O'Higgins. The reason I say that is a tenor as opposed to an alto, British rather than American? Don't get me wrong, I think you've made a very good choice.
DB: Ok I'll tell you how that came about. it's really pretty simple. I was in South Africa for about 25 years teaching there and I first met Dave O'Higgins when he went on tour in South Africa and subsequently when I came up here I've played with him a few times and we've developed a really good relationship and also I wanted a British musician with his own following to add to it and he's a fantastic player. And that question leads up to something I want to put into the interviews and that is that this is the first time this group has been on tour. People might assume we've done it all around the world and everywhere but that's not the case. Brubecks plays Brubeck was put together for this occasion, this time of year, leading up to the birthday and Clint Eastwood produced a film that's going out and we're doing an all Brubeck program which we haven't done before so this is really a special occasion.
LL: Did Dave, your father that is, have any influence on what instruments you chose when you were kids?
DB: I think what it comes down to is it relates to birth order really. I was the first born, and therefore the first one to take up an instrument and naturally it was piano and Chris and Dan came along. Chris could play and does play piano a bit but we saw them rehearsing at home but, after a while, there was always a drum kit set up in the house and a bass under the piano it was pretty natural for us to turn into a rhythm section and then Chris took up trombone and he's a really great trombonist and he's written a couple of trombone concertos and he's done a lot of composing for orchestras so he has those sort of chops too.
LL: Your program on the tour - is it all tried and tested Brubeck stuff or do you have anything of your own in?
DB: We have two numbers of our own - we could do more but we recognise the obligation to play the hits that people want so they will get Blue Rondo, Take Five and they will get the things that they recognise.
LL: I also liked the earlier stuff - Jazz At Oberlin, even the Octet things.
DB: Well that's good. You know a lot of Jazz At Oberlin - most of those albums - were standards.
We thought about this and came to the conclusion that really the best thing would be to present Dave's own material but from every period so I've programmed Two-Part Contention for instance, like the Octet stuff it uses a lot of counterpoint, and we have The Duke and In Your Own Sweet Way and a couple of numbers from Jazz Impressions of Eurasia, Nomad and the Golden Horn. So we haven't restricted it just to the pops.
LL: Does Dave, your father, still keep a fatherly eye on your playing?
DB: When we visit sometimes we play a little two pianos. It's more that I keep a filial eye on his playing and listening to him practice and he has a great big studio adjacent to the bedroom where my wife and I usually stay in and sometimes I just lay on the bed and listen to some of the literally thousands of standards that he knows. Very occasionally we'll play some of his own stuff on two pianos because he has two grand pianos in his studio. Sometimes, it's not often, but sometimes he'll ask me to play some Bach for him and to talk about it or he'll take out some other classical music that he's interested in. Neither of us could play it at a performance level but he's interested in all kinds of music and it's very nice when those dialogues happen.
LL: I think we're running out of time I know I'm looking forward to hearing you play at The Sage, Gateshead.
DB: We've never played there. I've heard its a good venue.
LL: Yes it's really good - some say the best in Europe if not the world.
DB: Good to talk.
Brubecks Play Brubeck. Tuesday Nov 30 The Sage, Gateshead. 7:30pm. £21.50.

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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: I look forward to hearing from you.