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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Weisser: "This is a piece recorded by Charles Mingus. We may not play it up to Mingus' standard but we'll certainly play it up to ours." - Take it from the Bridge, 2008.

Dr John: “Louis Armstrong came to me in a dream. He said ‘Play my music – but do it your way.’ And that’s what I did.” – (Jazz Times October 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Thursday October 30

Afternoon.
VIEUX CARRE JAZZMEN - The Millstone, Haddricks Mill Rd., South Gosforth, NE3 1QL. 1:00pm. 0191 2853429. FREE.
New Orleans in nice pub with 4 real ales, good food and a banjo!
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AN IMPROVISATION COURSE FOR MUSICIANS - Unitarian church, Ellison Place, Newcastle NE1 8XG. 1pm-3pm. 7 week course £40.
Steve Glendinning is the Guru in this inspiring enterprise.
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JAZZ APPRECIATION - Unitarian church, Ellison Place, Newcastle NE1 8XG. 3pm - 5pm. 7 week course £40.
Steve Glendinning is again at the helm lecturing on the music we love and much more.
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ELLA EL-SALAHI (voice) - Kings Hall, Newcastle University. 4pm. Free.
An hour long performance. The vocalist with the Newcastle Uni Jazz Orch. is one of several students taking part
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Evening
MAINE STREET JAZZMEN - Potters Wheel, Sunniside, NE16 5EE. 8.30pm. Free.
Good Time jazz with vocals by Olive.
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GREGORY PORTER - Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead, NE8 2JR. 0191 4434661. 7.30pm. £35/£30.
The Messiah cometh! But check first - it may be sold out!
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THE TEES HOT CLUB - Dormans, Oxford Rd., Linthorpe, Middlesborough, TS5 5DT. 01642 823813. 9pm. Free admission.
Gypsy jazz with guests Josh Bentham (alto); Kevin Eland (tpt).
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POCKET JAZZ ORCHESTRA - Ship, Church Lane, Redmarshall, Stockton TS21 1EP. 8pm.
Jeremy McMurray, Peter Ayton, Paul Smith and guests.
Monthly - tonight's the night.
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STRICTLY SMOKIN' BIG BAND - The Millstone, Haddricks Mill Rd., South Gosforth, NE3 1QL. 7pm. Free.
Monthly - tonight's the night.
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LEVEE RAMBLERS NOJB - St. Joseph's CMS Club, Birtley. 8.15pm. £3/£2.50.
Monthly - back Nov. 6.
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THE COLLECTIVE - Hoochie Coochie, 54 Pilgrim St.,Newcastle NE1 6SF. 8pm Free. Cocktails 2 for 1 till 10pm.
Best young talent around. Monthly - Back Nov. 13
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THE PILGRIM ST. SET - Hoochie Coochie, 54 Pilgrim St.,Newcastle NE1 6SF. 8pm Free. Cocktails 2 for 1 till 10pm.
Monthly Groove with Paul Edis, Richard Burns, Gary Turner, Paul Susans and Rob Walker. Monthly Back Nov. 20.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ruth Lambert Quintet: Splinter @ The Bridge

Ruth Lambert (vcl), Graeme Wilson (ten), Paul Edis (pno), Andy Champion (bs), Tim Johnstone (dms).
"You and the Night and the Music" sang Ruth bravely battling a non-cooperative mic. before Adrian Tilbrook twiddled a knob or two to restore the equilibrium and enable Ruth to ride the number out in style as befitted her stable-girl chic.
Nancy Wilson's "Save Your Love for Me" was followed by the first of three devil numbers that were interspersed in the set lists.
This was "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" taken at a nice bouncy swing. The other devils were "That Old Devil Moon" and "Devil May Care".
All in all it was a typical Ruth gig which means quality songs sung impeccably in the company of four of the best guys around.
"My Romance" and "Time After Time" had Ruth starting off with just Andy Champion on bass. Both numbers were taken slightly faster than the norm which pumped a bit of life into them whilst "But Beautiful" was done slow and soulfully with Paul Edis emoting the perfect accompaniment behind the vocal. A similar feel was achieved on "Don't Explain", "So Many Stars" and "You Don't Know What Love Is".
The final "Almost Like Being in Love" began à capella before turning into a blast with some fine solos all round. Paul, Graeme and Andy had had their fair share but this was Tim Johnstone's only moment in the spotlight and he displayed the technique that makes me realise he is one of the most underrated percussionists around.
It was a good gig that was reasonably attended given the conditions underfoot and Ruth was in fine voice - catch her again soon.
Next week - Extreme Measures.
Lance.

The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra @ The Barbican.

Brian Bennett, charismatic leader of the Vieux Carré Jazzmen, has drawn my attention to last night's BBC4 broadcast from the Barbican Centre by the Big 3 Palladium Orchestra.
As Brian rightly points out this was a trememendous evening of Latin Jazz based on the music of Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez.
Thank you Brian.Click here to watch. Lance PS: Look out for Muscrat Mambo from the Vieux Carré.

Jazz Girls on the Loose

Two girls who came to prominence with Nick Pride's legendary "Jazz Girl" make a welcome return to the centre stage. Tonight (Sunday Jan 31), as part of the Splinter @ The Bridge series at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle, the RUTH LAMBERT QUINTET appear. With Ruth is Paul Edis (pno), Andy Champion (bs), Tim Johnstone (dms) and Graeme Wilson (sax). 7:30 pm. is the start time. Admission £4.
The Bridge was recently voted number one local jazz pub in our search to find the venue with the best combination of music and beer. The fact that we only had two local votes doesn't reflect on the pub but does show that our local jazzers are a teetotal lot.
Really? Hmmm!
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On Monday, Feb 1, at the Cherry Tree Restaurant, Osborne Rd., Jesmond, the ANDREA PATTINSON QUINTET will delight the diners at this popular eaterie. The Monday night sessions here are, like the food, becoming the stuff of legend and no doubt Andrea will maintain that tradition in the company of Dave Dunston (sax), Graham Wood (pno), Richard Rutherford (bs) and Paul Smith (dms). Snow caused the band's last performance here to be called off so let's hope no such misfortune occurs this time around. Start around 7:30 pm.
Lance.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Paul Edis Sextet @ The Bridge - The Movie.

I noted on Facebook that some video footage of the Paul Edis Sextet's recent gig at The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle, is now being shown on YouTube. For the benefit of those who missed this excellent gig click here. It's not exactly 3D but the sound is okay if you turn the volume up.
For details of personel etc see original post.
Lance.
N.B. Tomorrow (Sunday Jan 31) at the same venue Ruth Lambert struts her stuff from 7:30 pm onwards. Ruth and Real Ale what more do you want for £4?

Some Jazz Links

Afric Pepperbird - Fred Grand's site. Alan Barnes Jazz Angela J.Elliott and Special Edition - soundbites from a unique artist. AWFul music - Drummer, Arranger, composer, Tony Faulkner's site Baz Aitchison's Photos. Byas'd Opinion Customs House Big Band. David Carnegie - Extreme Measures Gerry Richardson's big Idea Ian Carr's Nucleus Ian Carr's Nucleus Roots Jazz Action Jazz Breakfast - top Birmingham blog. Jazz At The Exchange Jazzmann, The

The VC Advance on Moscow Continues - They're now about to stomp on Sunniside.

The Vieux Carré Jazzmen will be performing at The Marquis of Granby every Thursday evening commencing Thursday 4 February, 2010. Showtime 8.45pm.
The Marquis of Granby sets the standard for top quality food and service and is one of the best-rated traditional pubs in the North East. Complemented by Tyneside's top New Orleans trad jazz band, you have perfection in good food and entertainment. The session is free.
Fred Rowe, trumpet; Lawrence McBriarty, trombone; Barry Soulsby, clarinet; Brian Sibbald, bass; Brian Bennett, banjo; Fred Thompson, drums.
Brian Bennett.
NB. This is in addition to The Corner House and Cullercoats' Crescent Club venues. The Marquis of Granby, Streetgate, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5ES. Tel: 0191 488 0954

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Kinda Town

David Brent Johnson's latest Night Lights Classic Jazz webcast is "Chicago Calling: Unsung Heroes of the City's Hardbop Scene".
As you will gather this isn't about Condon or Bix or some urban blues guys but about how it was for hardbop players like Ira Sullivan, Wilbur Ware and Von Freeman blowing in the Windy City back in the '50s and early '60s.
Tracks from the above guys plus Johnny Griffin, Gene Shaw and more.
Well worth a visit and a listen to music introduced by the coolest voice in Cyberia.
Lance.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie's.

Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno0, Alan Rudd (bs), Tommy Graham (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl).
An acoustic first set due to mixing desk problems meant no Olive but, nevertheless, didn't stop the band putting in their usual stella performance with Ray Harley leading them through an array of Dixieland classics and on to the gloryland.
During the intermission the pub manager rigged up the house system which meant Olive was back in business and she stomped off with a rousing version of "All of Me" followed later by "I Double Dare You". Herbie, of course, also hogged the resuscitated PA with, among other things, "The Curse of an Aching Heart".
As a memento of Ray Harley's stay with the band they have recorded a CD "Fine & Dandy" which of course contains the title track sung by Princess Olive who also does the business on "I Can't Give You Anything But Love".
The disc was recorded live albeit not at Rosie's as Ian Hetherington replaces Tommy Graham on drums. At a fiver it is a snip and is available at gigs or via the band's website.
Coincidentally, I remarked today that the only thing missing from Tommy's drum breaks is an "Ool-ya Ool-ya" à la the late Lennie Hastings well, on the CD, I did detect such an utterance from Ian on, it may have been, "Jazz Me Blues".
A good afternoon, a good CD and I have it on authority that the Cumberland Bitter at £2 a pint is positively Nectarian.
Lance.

Banjoed!

Brian Bennett (who else!?) sent me this YouTube clip. I take back everything I said - banjos, all is forgiven. Lance.

Man U/Man City mere Conference compared to Dexter and Wardell.

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Doug Fielder (ten), Matt Office (gtr), Barrie Ascroft (bs), Eric Stutt (dms). + Andy Lee (alt/flt), Wilson ? (pno).
Life is seen in all its many aspects at the Chilli. This is the Naked City with a thousand stories bubbling below and above the surface.
I sensed it was going to be different tonight when Harley emailed me to say to tell Dave he couldn't make the gig - maybe food poisoning. Had a rival pianist slipped some toxic substance into his Rusks?
The rich pattern of urban life unfolded in the bar. Wall to wall football fans screaming and cheering as two teams from Manchester, City and United, (this is in Newcastle remember) endeavoured to "sportingly" cut each other on the pitch - sax players do it so much better - Wardell & Dexter, Gene & Sonny, Charlie (Carmichael) & Nigel (Stanger). Compared to those Premier league saxmen the Manchester boys are but Conference North.
We escaped up the stairs to the tranquillity of the jazz lounge.
The ever resourceful Dave, pre-warned of Harley's absence, had re-shuffled the pack so that Barrie played bass whilst sitting at the keyboard and young Matt Office - one of last week's Hot House Dragons - provided the chordal accompaniment on guitar. He did well considering the SNAFU situation.
Doug Fielder had once more crossed the width and breadth of the country to get here having warmed up at The Porthole earlier in the day (see previous post from Miles). I'm impressed by his commitment. I suspect we'll be hearing more from Doug.
My old Buddy Andy Lee turned up with a vintage Rudall Carte wooden flute with silver headjoint as well as his alto. After a few false starts he hit the alto jackpot on one of the Herbie Hancock's.
During the interval a guy called Wilson played solo piano. Not totally jazz it was nevertheless, impressive.
Mary didn't sing but she did win the raffle as usual!
Dave ventured into Tormé territory with a vocal on "Born to Be Blue". Mel didn't turn in his grave but if he had done it would have been to applaud.
Perhaps the highlight of the night was Dave's opening announcement.
'This tune is called "Whisper Not" and is dedicated to the two girls talking at the back.'
Subtle? no! Effective? Yes - ar least for 32 bars or so!
In the above photo what is Andy Lee (l) saying to make Dave Weisser look so surprised?
Free entry to the Chilli next week for the best answer.
Lance.
PS: For the record Manchester United won the football affair.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday At The Porthole.

The Jazz Esquires: Mick Hill, trumpet, flugel & vocal, Tony Winder tenor & clarinet, Doug Fielder, tenor, Roy Gibson, keyboards, Robin Douthwaite guitar, Stan Nicholson bass guitar, Laurie Brown drums & mike.
The Jazz Esquires made history today by starting before 1 o,clock and kept up a barrage of music till after 3pm.
Kicking off with "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To", they ran through a varied programme of standards and some less well known numbers, finishing with an up tempo "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise".
It was nice to here "Critic's Choice" from the Buddy Rich Big Band, the front line coping well with Oliver Nelson's chart, another 12 bar number was Humph's "Me & Buck" a tribute to Buck Clayton. Mick's two solos with the cup mute were very like Clayton's work and he also played a beautiful flugel solo on "When Your Lover Has Gone", with a change of style shown on "Rose Room" he proved once again he hasn't much competition in the trumpet field.
The rhythm section was again the backbone of the session with a particular mention for Stan Nicholson who not only keeps the proceedings firmly anchored on track but also played some great solos. A special mention for Doug Fielder who travels from Workington to play here and with Take It To The Bridge at night, only jazzmen have that dedication.
Interval music was provided by George Laing with Robin on guitar and Derek Chapman on drums. Brian Lineham sang and played harmonica and the ever youthful Teresa sang and won the raffle as usual.
Colin Johnson took over from Roy for a couple of numbers in the second half and at the end of the proceedings the audience showed their appreciation in the usual manner.
Miles Watson.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Corner House. Monday Jan 25.

Brian Bennett (banjo & vocals), Brian Sibbald (double bass), Fred Thompson (drums & vocals), Barry Soulsby (clarinet & vocals), Peter Wright (trumpet) & Lawrence McBriarty (trombone)
The Corner House function room bar was once again closed throughout the evening necessitating a trip through to the main bar to get (another) pint.
The Vieux Carre's loyal band of followers were in attendance, in their usual seats, getting their weekly fix of New Orleans jazz.
I was only able to stay for the first set and, in that time, the band rattled through "Brahms Cradle Song", "When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful" (Fred Thompson taking the vocal), WC Handy's "Hesitating Blues" and King Oliver's "Buddy's Habit".
The band's book of tunes seems to be limitless with each and every one done with panache.
The front line can stoke it up when required and, as I was about to set off into the night, MC Bennett introduced a number recorded by the Andrews Sisters "Beer Barrel Polka". There's a thought...
I think it is time the fabulous Fenner Sisters paid a return visit to the Corner House.
Russell.

Tonight @ The Sage - JAN GARBAREK

Jan Garbarek is an ethereal saxophone player floating mistral-like Norwegian folk melodies into the contemporary jazz genre. The results are intense and often quite beautiful.
Imagine the music as the drifting smoke from a scented, exquisitly tailored caporal, becoming gradually entwined with the harsher emission from a hand carved briar loaded with St. Bruno Roughcut and you get an idea of what the end result could be like.
Of course in this day and age such an occurence is but a pipe-dream otherwise the tickets would have a Government Health Warning.
Garbarek's music is there for the taking tonight in The Sage's Hall One at 7:30 pm.
Unfortunately, I'm unable to make it so I'd appreciate any feedback from those who do attend.
Tickets are £23:50.
Lance.

Monday, January 25, 2010

One Mo (Scott) Time @ The Cherry Tree.

Maureen (Mo) Scott (vcl), Stu Collingwood (pno), Neil Harland (bs), Lloyd Howell (dms).
Another night of music to die for and food to diet for at what is now recognised as the undisputed king of jazz dineries in the north.
Mo Scott may be regarded as more of a blues/rock chick but she can cut a jazz gig with the best of them.
Tonight, her songbook included "Taking A Chance on Love", "Embraceable You", "Love Me or Leave Me" - a kick ass version of Ellington's "Squeeze Me" - "That Old Devil Called Love", "Georgia" and a very bluesy "Bye Bye Blackbird".
This brought things up to the intermission pror to which I'd had my tastebuds tuned up on Home Cured Duck Bresaola, Duck Scratchings & Bitter Leaf. Not a massive portion and indeed the duck may still be flying around with just a few scratches however, it sufficed to get the juices ready, willing, and able for the main event which, in my case, was Pan Fried Hake with Spiced Parsnip Puree. Shallots & Granny Smith (alas poor Granny you were never so sweet as in death). Succulent is the only word, no other will do for this dish.
As is the way at the Cherry Tree, the gloves came off in the second set with band and singer moving it up a notch with Mo letting it all hang out on "Come Rain Or Come Shine" - she was moving into Big Mama mode - "Fever", "Blue Skies", a "The Very Thought of You" that displayed unmistakeable traces of Dinah Washington causing me to pause, reluctantly, during my Treacle Tart with Lemon Créme Faiche to admire the skill with which she handled the lyric and the timing.
"World on a String" then a blast on "Kansas City" and "Route 66".
On piano, Stu Collingwood was featured on "I Get A Kick Out of Stu" (My title!) and "My Funny Valentine" as well as knocking out some grabable stuff with Mo.
Neil, melodic and rhythmic as ever, and Lloyd - far removed from the Lloyd who drives Mo to the verge of hysteria at the Maggi Bank - was as tasteful as they come.
It was a good night with an audience slightly reduced by the post Xmas depression although swelled by Mo's mother and brother (had a bit chat with bro.) and third cousin twice removed...
Excellent gig.
Next week Andrea Pattison and band. I'm building up an appetite already.
Lance.

Jason Isaacs

Our boy Jason is on local ITV North East Tonight within the next 30 minutes (6-6:30 pm) Lance.

You're A Real Musician When...

... you realize that the cheers from the audience after a particularly difficult passage are for a sports play on the big screen TV over the bar, and that in fact, no one is listening to you.
When the gig you drove 200 miles for to make $100, and had to pay for a hotel room, is later referred to as your "summer tour".
When your most sincere, heartfelt comments are made by people that are drunk and who won't remember you in the morning.
When you are repeatedly told that the lead singer who can't read, never practices and has been singing for only six months is "The strongest part of the band", primarily because she has big tits.
When you are pleased that the pay for the gig, when looked at hourly from the time you leave your house to when you return meets minimum wage.
When you get to the gig to find out that nothing is contracted, and you're charged $10 to park.
When someone seeks you out to complement your playing as the "best sax player they have ever heard", and you're the trumpet player.
When you realize that a small piece of equipment- such as a wireless mike you need- will take months of weekly gigs to pay for.
When you have to add $30 or $40 out of your pocket to find a sub, cause no one will cover you for what you are paid.
When you aren't offended when all of the young wedding guests leave after the second set to dance to the DJ at a club down the street.
When you are told that you must play until the very end of when you were contracted for, when your only audience is the bartender, and you're being paid 40 or 50 bucks for the night.
When the guy collecting money at the door for the band's performance makes twice over the course of the evening what you do as one of the band members.
When you know that other musicians who routinely claim they don't work for less than $100 a night only work a few times a year.
When people who are drunk tell you that what you are doing is absolutely great and the best thing thing they have ever seen or heard, but refuse to pay more than $5 at the door.
When someone calling the cops for noise is a good thing. You get to go home early and you still get paid.
When you realize that asking women out that you meet on gigs doesn't work, for now they know you're a musician.
When you have, for several years, been paid the same amount for a gig, but are afraid to say anything about it for fear that you might lose the gig.
When you spend more on the bar tab than you get paid for the gig.
Thanks to Ray Harley for forwarding this circuitously received post.
Lance.

Jumping in Jesmond, Hot at Heaton

Tonight the Cherry Tree Restaurant in Jesmond welcomes back jazz/blues singer Mo Scott with the Stu Collingwood Trio - Stu on piano, Neil Harland, bass and Lloyd Howell drums. It was a great session last time round so look for some tastful standards and some belting blues with solid support from the trio and some more fine piano from Stu this time round. All this and the Hautiest Cuisine this side of Montmartre.
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Over on the other side of Route 1058, at the Corner House, Heaton, the Vieux Carré Jazzmen play their own brand of New Orleans Jazz. The Vieux Carré have been resident at the Corner House since Buddy Bolden was a boy which says much for their popularity.
Lance.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Remember Django

Yesterday, 23rd Jan., was the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Jean-Baptiste Reinhardt.
I find it incredible that the BBC did not mark this in any way given the genius of the man, the like of whom we will never hear/see again. When you consider that his solos were played on only 2 fingers of his damaged hand.
My son, brother & I raised our glasses in his memory.
Liz.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ Gateshead Old Town Hall

Tom Cook (cor), Caroline Irwin (cor/vcl but no uke), Don Fairley (tmb), Ed Cross (vln), Jim McBriarty (alt/clt/vcl), Alan Marshall (alt/clt), Gavin Lee (ten/clt), Steve Andrews (ten/clt/raconteur), Neville Hartley (pno), Keith Stephen (bjo/gtr), Phil Rutherford (sousa). Special guests: Nick Ward (dms), Keith Nichols (pno/vcl).
There was a time when it seemed Stan Tracey played every other gig in the North East. Now that mantle seems to have fallen on the shoulders, or rather the fingers, of Keith Nichols but don't worry Tracey-ites the GOM of British Jazz will be in Gateshead for the Sage Festival in March.
And, just as Stan has assimilated the music of Monk, so Keith has taken aboard the legacy of Fats Waller, James P and other stride men. Tonight he demonstrated that facility to a packed Town Hall. This makes yet another well supported gig - pinch me! Tell me I'm not dreaming!
However, this wasn't just about Keith or his Castle Bromwich based drummer Nick Ward but that most unique ensemble the New Century Ragtime Orchestra.
It was a brilliant concert which, coming from someone whose tastes lie further up the musical road, may be considered praise indeed.
Like the bands of old, with the NCRO, entertainment runs alongside the musical aspect and the NCRO score on both counts. Jim McBriarty singing "The Sheik of Araby" dressed as a Sheik of Araby, Steve Andrews' humourous compering - as well as his superb tenor feature on "Stars Fell on Alabama" accompanied by Nichols and rhythm section - Keith Stephen's banjo solo on "Lollipops" (yes me confessing to liking a banjo solo!). Jim had another gem in "Washing Dishes With My Sweetie" which contains the immortal line: "We do things we didn't oughta, holding hands under the water" - they sure don't write 'em like that anymore! The list of goodies is endless although, at the top, has to be the bands enthusiasm and the accuracy with which they read the parts successfully re-creating the sound of that era of crystal ball chandeliers, bootleg gin and Blackbottoms.
Then there is Caroline.
The young flapper was in fine voice and looked good on "Am I Blue" - love that tune - "I Think You'll Like It", "Only You" and "You'd Be Surprised" complete with come hither glances emphasising the mildly risqué lyric.
No ukulele tonight!
If you've got a big garage and you want to hold a massacre on St. Valentine's Day...
I drove my flivver home on a cloud.
Lance.

IAN CHRISTIE R.I.P.

Back in the early days of trad-dom Ian Christie was frequently heard at Newcastle City Hall with the bands of Mick Mulligan and Alex Welsh. He later, along with brother Keith, re-formed the Christie Brothers' Stompers. Trombonist Keith eventually joined Johnny Dankworth to pursue a more modern path giving the musical press licence to refer to them as the 'Christies ancient and modern'.
Ian himself would say, "The name's Christie as in the serial killer."
As well as playing clarinet he also worked as film and music critic for the Daily Express.
Sadly, when I typed "Ian Christie" into the "Daily Express" search engine it came up with "Sorry, no results found for Ian Christie please try again."
Be that as it may jazz fans will always remember Ian for his clarinet playing which was rooted in New Orleans and he stood equal to his contemporaries such as Archie Semple, Wally Fawkes, Monty Sunshine, Acker Bilk and Sandy Brown.
Ian died Jan 19, 2010 aged 82.
Lance.
PS: Time may have coloured my opinion of Ian's playing. In his well known autobiography (well one of them), "Owning Up", George Melly describes Ian's playing as "...a continuous stream of notes played at approximately the same volume from the first bar of a number to the coda. As a result his solos, when on form, were often beautiful in an unpretentious and restrained way, but in ensemble, because he didn't listen to what the rest of the frontline were up to, had no give or take. Furthermore he had a bad memory for arrangements. This suited Mick (Mulligan) very well, as it gave him a perfect excuse not to hold rehearsals.
"What's the use cock?" he would ask. "Ian can never remember new numbers."
Be that as it may I certainly enjoyed hearing him all those years ago.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Irene Sutherland Tribute Gig TONIGHT (Friday Jan 22)

A memorial gig for the late Irene Sutherland (pictured) has been arranged for tonight, Friday Jan 22, at the Magnesia Bank pub, North Shields. Irene, a well known and popular jazz/cabaret singer, died from cancer on Sept. 10, 2009.
Several local artists have agreed to perform including Ruth Lambert with Andy Hawking and Neil Harland. Ruth's trio will take stage circa 8:00 pm in the upstairs room at the Maggi. Start 7:30 pm.
Also scheduled to appear are the nationally acclaimed folk/rock band Prelude.
Proceeds will go to the Marie Curie foundation.
Thank you Ruth for the information.
Lance.

BBC JAZZ THINK TANK

A top level meeting between BBC Top Brass and advocates for an increase of jazz broadcasting time met recently.
The less than conclusive findings are reported here.
Thanks to Sebastian Scotney for bringing it to my attention.
What do you think on the subject and the report?
Lance.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

John Escreet Project @ The Sage Gateshead - January 20th

John Escreet (piano), Matt Brewer (double bass), Nasheet Waits (drums), Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet) & David Binney (alto sax & electronics). A couple of years ago Yorkshire lad John Escreet upped sticks and headed for the Big Apple. Would the pianist be able to cut it or even maybe slay some mighty dragons in the jazz hot house that is New York? A nine date European tour with some of America's finest jazz musicians, calling-in at the Sage last night, would, no doubt, provide some answers.
The Northern Rock Foundation Hall was well attended (many of those present being that strange beast - the 'non-jazz' Sage patron never to be seen at a jazz gig elsewhere in the region). Escreet's Project took to the stage to warm applause and played three tunes without pause; delicate, tentative, explorative pieces with new trumpet whizz Ambrose Akinmusire exhibiting a different approach to many of his contemporaries in showing no inclination to knock 'em dead with bedazzling bugling. His preference was to reveal a superlative tone with squeezed half-notes and long, measured intervals.
John Escreet wrote all of the material performed on this tour, some of the compositions so new they went untitled. The first set closed with 'Wayne's World' a number to be found on Escreet's debut CD.
Bass and drums - Matt Brewer and Nasheet Waits (Waits was with Jason Moran at the Sage eighteen months ago) - proved to top class. Still in their twenties, they have, as their fellow Americans would say, 'awesome' technique and then some. How do they assimilate so much at such an early stage in their careers?
Altoist David Binney had been relatively subdued until this the first set closer. He fired-up the Apple Mac to throw some electronics into the mix and then the reedsman showed why he is held in high regard by many musicians and listeners alike.
A good, at times challenging set. Escreet offered more of this difficult music for the second set. The band, sight-readers all, were committed to the task, the leader himself content to be part of the unit, in no way dominating proceedings. His style is his own; sparse and percussive with contemporary classical elements competing with Junior Mance-like bop phrasing. There seems little doubt he will survive in the Big Apple.
The final composition of the evening 'Magic Chemical' typified the performance as a whole - full of twisting, changing time signatures and swing-time passages. The concert is an early contender for Gig of the Year 2010. The new material heard during the tour will be recorded in New York next week for future release. Russell

Maine St. Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's

Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Tommy Graham (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl).
Close your eyes and you could be in Eddie Condon's club back in the 1940's. Open your eyes and you find you're not!
Nevertheless, the music is of the same quality; hard driving, happy, Dixieland - or should we call it 'Rosieland'?
As in previous weeks, it is a foot-tapping experience not to be missed - if you can tell me better ways of spending a Thursday afternoon I want to know (or maybe I don't!)
Today saw the band blowing full-blooded takes on "After You've Gone", "Buddy Bolden" etc whilst Olive provided the words to "Sentimental Journey" and "I Double Dare You" amongst others.
It was a typical rollicking Rosie's afternoon - real ales still £2 a pint and such delicacies on the bar as Black Pudding, Cheese, Sausages, Pickled Onions and Pickled customers to tempt the tastebuds.
For those living further afield, the Maine Street Jazzmen play Leeds Jazz Club on Tuesday Feb, 16. A coach from Tyneside is being organised @ £15 per head return. Sounds like a good day out.
Interested parties contact band members.
Lance.

Saxobones

Harley Johnson came across this YouTube clip of father and son duo "Saxobones" - Steve and Alexander Bone - busking on Northumberland St., Newcastle.
Thanks Harley, I'd heard about these two but never heard them until now - brilliant!
Lance.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hot House Dragons & Take It to The Bridge @ The Chilli

Hot House Dragons: Judith Thompson (vln), Willie Angus, Matt Office (gtrs), Jack Lowe (bs).
Take It To The Bridge: Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Doug Fielder (ten), Chris Finch (pno), Barrie Ascroft (bs gtr), Eric Stutt (dms). + Harley Johnson (pno).
Tonight was a night to make decisions - The John Escreet Project at The Sage or the Hot House Dragons at the Chilli.
I checked the JEP Project out online and decided I would leave the Sage in Russell's capable hands and settle for the Chilli.
This was the second visit by the Dragons to the Chilli and once again they displayed an in-depth feeling for Gypsy Jazz. In fact so authentic was Judith I half expected her to be selling clothes pegs and telling fortunes in-between solos (that is a compliment Judith - honest!).
"Georgia's" Brown and Mind were played with a Grappelli-like fluency by the lady of the ensemble and the guitars soloed and thrashed with true Hot Club intensity. Angus' accoustic-electric had a country feel about it at times whereas Matt's solos could have transcended the Champs Elysees for 52nd St. Particularly on "Bernie's Tune". In the absence of a drummer, Jack the Bass was vital and he kept it tight throughout.
Having said that, for me, the best number of the night was when Eric sat in on drums for "Lady Be Good" - his crisp brushwork added an extra dimension.
For "Now's The Time", Dave joined on trumpet and Harley sat in on piano. There were problems for our boy here. Don't ask me to explain but the volume wasn't there and he struggled to be heard.
Earlier, a new face from Cumbria, Doug Fielder, blew tenor with Take It To The Bridge on standards such as "Love Walked In", "Green Dolphin Street", "Shadow of Your Smile", "Autumn Leaves" and Jimmy Van Heusen's "Imagination".
Chris Finch, now a BSH reviewer, proved he has all the jazz savvy for the task with some fine keyboardistics.
Dave W blew both open and muted and sang good as well as re-counting more tales of his life in USA (including an unrepeatable Doris Day story!).
It was an unusual night.
Lance.
PS: I screwed up on the photos so none tonight unless the other person who took photos cares to send me some!

Stock Arrangements Wanted.

Dave Kerr, director of the New Century Ragtime Orchestra, would like to hear from anyone who has stored away in the loft any pre-war dance band arrangements they wish to dispose of.
Contact me at lanceliddle@gmail.com and I will forward details.
Lance. PS: Please, NO JIMMY LALLY's!

Night Lights

Those of us who are 'of a certain age' will probably remember listening to AFN - the American Forces Network in Europe - also The Voice of America Jazz Hour. This latter program was introduced by Willis Conover who was as cool and laid back as the AFN DJs were brash and hip.
The VOA programmes were announced as being "in special English" in other words spoken slowly with not too many long or unusual words. This was because of it being, in effect, an American propaganda program aimed at those countries who hadn't taken Uncle Sam into their hearts the way we in England have/had.
Political argument aside, Conover did play some wonderful music. I recall hearing Basie's "Li'l Darlin'", Art Pepper's "Jazz Me Blues", Ellington's Newport version of "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue", lot's of Brubeck and many more for the first time. Wonderful music and wonderful memories.
Which brings me to the point. An online program coming out of Indiana entitled "Night Lights" and hosted by David Brent Johnson has that same cool, laid back style about it. I've just listened to an hour of Sonny Clark reinforcing my belief that he should have been ranked amongst the forefront of modern pianists.
Check ithe station out for yourself http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/
Lance.
PS: Further to David B. Johnson's comment here is the link referred to for archived Conover program.

Harley Johnson Trio @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond. Monday Jan 18.

Harley Johnson (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms).
Unfortunately, as I was unable to make the gig after helping to set it up, I'm unable to give a full rundown. However, after speaking to the musicians concerned, it seems as though it went down okay and with the promise of more gigs to come I guess I can say that the Cherry Tree's reputation for good music and good food hasn't been compromised.
Lance.
Peter, the owner, has since Emailed me to say, "We were very pleased with Harley. He got a pretty good reception from the audience but perhaps some of his stuff was not well known to many of them. I suppose this is where the more commercial stuff clashes with the more creative enjoyed by jazz musos. But he is a very talented guy and I suppose he will develop even further. He came well prepared and the trio played some very tight numbers together which I appreciated. They obviously play a lot together. He brought with him a play list which he gave to me and this included, All the things you are, I can't get started, Beautiful love, Someday my prince will come (played in waltz time - a great favourite of mine), My funny valentine, Billies Bounce (Charlie Parker), St Thomas (Sonny Rollins), These foolish things, All of you, Stella by starlight, Round midnight (everyone plays this ) , Oleo, I got rhythm. All very well played.
Next Monday (Jan 25) Mo Scott and Stu Collingwood."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bobby McFerrin @ The Sage, Gateshead. Saturday Jan 16.

A very enjoyable concert - 90 minutes uninterupted - 1 man, 1 stage and 1 mic with which he did a whole lot with!
Plenty of audience participation made it feel more like an interactive masterclass than a gig.
After singing/beatboxing "Sweet Home Chicago" - which was amazing - he asked if anyone would like to get up and dance so he could interpret their dancing through the medum of the voice. Two young ladies stepped up to the plate - one like a free form ballerina and another who could really groove. A gent also strutted his stuff.
This concert was really for singers though - Bobby asked for 12 people to come on stage and form a choir. It ended up with about 50 who were conducted through some impromptu vocal gymnastics. Later on, he also dueted with a guy from the crowd who had brought with him an interesting instrument shaped like a flying saucer (a 'hang' drum) which sounded out of this world! A beatboxing fella also took to the stage - he was so good he even surprised Bobby!
The audience were then asked to sing "Ave Maria" over top of the Bach Prelude no.1 that Bobby was singing. You could tell there were many accomplished singers as not only did they know the melody of Ave Maria but it sounded really beautiful (search for 'Bobby McFerrin Ave Maria' on YouTube). His tip to singers in the audience was to learn some Bach preludes as it improves your intonation.
Some notable songs he did was an original, 'Drive my car', and an excellent interpretation of 'Blackbird' by the Beatles. He finished with a condensed version of the 'Wizard of Oz' - difficult to describe, got see it to believe it.
My only disappointment was that he never sang "Thinkin' About Your Body" when requested - instead, for an encore he sang "My Favourite Things" and the night ended with a standing ovation.
Bobby dazzled and excited throughout. I recommend anyone to catch him during this tour which has just started.
Chris Finch.

Jason Isaacs on Alan Titchmarsh show

Tonight's Alan Titchmarsh Show (ITV 5:00 pm) kicks off the "Swinging Crooner contest" with our local performer Jason Isaacs among the runners and riders. Lance.

Anti Social Behaviour on the Newcastle-Carlisle Line

Brian Bennett and the Vieux Carré Jazzmen were snapped 'entertaining' passengers on the Newcastle to Carlisle train during the summer. Banjo-strumming Brian had the effrontery to perform in front of a poster banning anti-social behaviour! What are our railways coming to that such criminal acts are performed on public transport - I bet he didn't even pay his fare.
Anyone who feels strongly enough to make a citizens arrest - and we hope there are those amongst us who do - can do so tonight at the Corner House in Heaton where Brian and his gang - sorry band - aka the Vieux Carré Jazzmen will be re-creating the crime.
8:45 pm is when the action replay commences and we hope that justice will be seen to be done. If the train robbers got 30 years then...
Banjos on trains, whatever next?
Lance.

Tonight (Monday)

Tonight (Monday) sees the debut of the HARLEY JOHNSON TRIO at the Cherry Tree Restaurant, Osborne Rd., Jesmond. With Jim Crinson (bs) and Eric Stutt (dms) expect some exciting jazz piano from an up and coming star as well a dining experience to comp. the music. 7:30.
----- For those of a more traditional bent the VIEUX CARRE JAZZMEN are down the road a'piece at Heaton's Corner House. It's all happening. Lance.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Paul Edis Sextet: Splinter @ The Bridge Hotel

Graham Hardy (tpt/flug), Alex Leathard (tmb), Graeme Wilson (ten), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms).
Another well-attended jazz gig! Have the ears of the world, or at least the north-east finally been unfurled? Will "Blaydon Races" be replaced by "Straight No Chaser"?
The thought is enough to put one in a sentimental mood which the Paul Edis sextet did tonight. On, I think the third number, they gave the old Ellington standard a glorious workout with Graham as opposed to Graeme playing an emotional muted chorus or two. The tune may be vintage wine but the arrangement and Graham's solo were of today.
This was but one of the first set delights - there were many.
Alex Leathard, depping for Chris Hibbard on trombone, played amazingly well, and these weren't your average stock arrangements. On top of that he soloed in both a luxuriant mellow mood as well as in a 'Machine Gun' Jimmy Knepper mode.
Graeme, as opposed to Graham, not only blew tough tenor but contributed some of the arrangements too.
His playing and his writing can be awesome at times.
Tonight was one of those times.
What can one say about the rhythm section? They handle everything with apparent ease. A trio number written by Paul and dedicated to the Duke of Ellington was sensitivity personified; rich probing chords that opened your harmonic tear ducts and moved your emotions up a gear.
The hour-long first set seemed to fly by; it had been a joy.
My heart stopped fluttering and began sinking when Paul announced that the sextet were to play a four movement suite he had composed.
I shuffled in my seat and attempted to make myself comfortable and prepared for the premiere of the as yet unnamed suite. Suites are not my bag and run second to tone poems on my boredom factor lists - I looked wistfully towards the distant door. Could I make it? I wondered.
Decided I couldn't so sat back and gritted my teeth
I was wrong to doubt! From the opening sonority of Mick's bowed bass to his closing reprise 'twas excellent.
In between, all the musicians were featured to great effect in solo and in ensembles that encompassed counterpoint, a hint of atonality, some marvelous harmonies and varying tempos. I breathed a sigh of relief - nothing bitter about this suite.
The final selection, "Angular" saw Adam chip in with an imaginative solo that reminded us that the spaces are as important as the salvos.
Adam did both to great effect.
A fine gig.
Lance.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Enrico Tomasso w. The Swing City Trio @ Trinity Church Centre, Gosforth.

Enrico Tomasso (tpt/vcl), Steve Andrews (ten/clt), Roly Veitch (gtr/vcl), Roy Cansdale (bs).
The centre adjoining the church was crowded - surely the hippest congregation in town.
And deservedly so.
This was an evening of jazz that swung, and I use the word advisedly, from delicate chamber jazz to straight down the middle solid stompology.
The delicacy came from, no prizes for guessing, Roly Veitch. Using a lightly amped Epiphone Roly gave us chorded solos a la Carl Kress or Dick McDonough coupled with some nice single string, more modern, explorations. Add his vocals on "I Saw Stars", "I Wished on the Moon", "The Touch of Your Lips" and you had surely the perfect example of, let's call it, "Gentlemanly Jazz" and to hell with the sexists!
Roy Cansdale provided the perfect link, in the absence of a drummer, between guitar and front-line. He was there all the time, a tower of strength in both support and the occasional break or solo - chapeau!
Which brings us to the main event.
Steve and Enrico slugged it out like two heavyweights at Madison Square each alternatively complimenting and outdoing the other. Steve's moment of glory was surely his rendition of "Body and Soul" - he has the Hawkins' sound off to a tee, as well as the licks, yet still managed to make it his own - doubt if I've heard him blow better. Enrico came back counter-punching in the up-tempo section but I think Steve edged that one on points.
Enrico's piece de resistance was Berigan's "I Can't Get Started". I've often thought I never want to hear that tune again yet, when I do, I still love it and Signor Tomasso did it more than justice.
Honours even I guess. Steve played some great clarinet and introduced the numbers with more than a touch of humour whilst Enrico charmed us with his singing - "I've Got The World on a String" being but one delight - and his soaring flights of fantasy into the approaches to the stratosphere.
All this and a full house. Perhaps jazz should move out of the pubs and into the churches!
Lance.

Idle Words

These aren't just any idle words but idle words about a band called - "Idle Words." Idle Words are infact a duo comprising Tom on guitar and Jenifer on vocals.
Tom has sent me a link to their website which contains soundbytes of their work that make for nice easy listening and I don't use the term in any derogotary sense.
Based in Berkshire, it is unlikely we will hear them live up here in the frozen North although they could probably slot in at the Cherry Tree or Slaley Hall if they were able to pick up some gigs en route.
They are jazzy wedding, garden party, mature barbecue fodder rather than out and out jazz club material and none the worse for that. If I had to nit-pick I think the sound would be even better with a bass player added to the line-up however, in these difficult times the bassman is always the first to go!
Their songbook contains standards from all eras including some catchy originals but their style is most definitely 30s/40s. Tom states his preference being towards the "Five Spirits of Rhythm" whilst Jenifer is undoubtedly close to Madeleine Peyroux although, like Madeleine, there is a lot of Billie Holiday in the mix..
Check them out here.
Lance.

R.I.P. Chris Langford

Hil has kindly, yet sadly, drew my attention to the death on Jan 10 of Christine Langford. Better known as Chris (pictured left) she was best remembered locally as a singer on the "One O'Clock Show" in the early days of Tyne Tees Television. This was back in 1959. In Geoff Phillips' book commemorating the 40th anniversary of TTT Chris is given two pages.
She later appeared on "The Morecombe and Wise Show" and in the '90s sang with the Northern Dance Orchestra (the NDO). Chris also sang around the Manchester jazz scene - perhaps one of our Mancunian site visitors will have a few memories?
Lance.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some Random Reflections.

Unfortunately, circumstances decreed I was unable to get to Ernie Graham's funeral today so I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise and to pass on my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.
He was a great guy and much missed, not just at Blaydon, by everyone in came in contact with.
R.I.P.
-----
On a happier note but still connected to Blaydon Jazz I note there is an interview with Paul Booth in this month's Jazz Journal.
Paul began his jazz career playing at Blaydon whilst still in his early teens before going on to receive international aclaim. As the person who sold him his first tenor I hope to dine out on that for many more years to come!
-----
A Facebook article by Serious Music entitled "Jazz in Memoriam" that I overlooked is of interest mentioning both Chris Yates and Ian Carr.
-----
Tonight, on BBC4, there is a wealth of jazz albeit 'tonight' is a misnomer as most of it is in the early hours of Saturday morning!
So I guess it will be Catch-up TV or BBC iplayer.
For the record:
10:45 pm: Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers - Jazz 625.
11:25 pm: MJQ - Jazz 625
00:45 am: Oscar Peterson - Jazz 625.
02:15 am: Thelonious Monk - Jazz 625.
02:50 The Jazz Baroness - Arena.
-----
Live action tonight at The Jazz Café, Pink Lane with the Safe Sextet and at Gateshead Fell Cricket Club where Jazz at the Fell presents the Mississippi Dreamboats with guest trumpet player Martyn Sharp.
Lance.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Old Town Hall - New Venue.

Just a quick reminder that the New Century Ragtime Orchestra's annual January concert in Gateshead, for many years at the Caedmon Hall and last year at the Dryden Centre, will be at a swish new venue, the Old Town Hall on West Street, Gateshead NE8 1HE on Saturday 23 January at 7.30pm.
The Old Town Hall has been magnificently restored as a performance venue, with café and licensed bar.
There is ample free car parking next to the building, which is also only a couple of minutes walk from Gateshead Metro Interchange.
As ever, we will be featuring our guests Keith Nichols on piano and Nick Ward on vintage percussion, along with Frontman Steve Andrews on reeds, Caroline Irwin on vocals and cornet and Keith Stephen on banjo and guitar.
Tickets are available from Dave Kerr on 0191 281 4011 or ragtimedavekerr@aol.com or the box office on 0191 433 6965, see poster in sidebar for more information.
Hope you all can make it.
And, if you can't - or even if you can - here is an advance notice of the orchestra's further appearances…
Wednesday 28 April – Customs House, South Shields
Sunday 16 May – Keswick Jazz Festival
Sat/Sun 12/13 June – Kirkcudbright Jazz Festival
Friday 18 June – Edinburgh Jazz Club
Sat/Sun 3/4 July – Hemsby Seacroft, Norfolk
Fri/Sat/Sun 9/10/11 July – Whitley Bay Jazz Festival.
Phil Rutherford.

Sister Kate Wishes She Could Shimmy Like Olive! Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's.

Olive Rudd (vcl), Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tmb.hca.vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Tommy Graham (dms).
Olive rocked Rosie's this afternoon with a shimmering rendition of "Sister Kate" whilst in and around her the Jazzmen of Maine Street purveyed Dixieland at its best. I was reminded of the film "Pete Kelly's Blues" all that's missing is the crystal ball chandelier.
A good crowd applauded appreciatively for good old good ones such as "Jazz Me Blues", "Ballin' The Jack", "Stevedore Stomp"and more...
As in previous weeks, Ray Harley added that vital extra dimension; his trumpet lead and solos worthy of Billy Butterfield or Yank Lawson. Herbie too was in rumbustious form - this was Kid Ory meets Jack Teagarden. I can't recall any local front-line getting such a good sound as Ray and Herbie coupled with the icing on the Cake Walking Babies as provided by Jim McBriarty whose clarinet playing is elegance personified.
As always, Malcolm's 88 notes are straight out of Basin Street whilst Tommy Graham, this week was in Ray Bauduc mode.
Perhaps the most underrated player is Alan Rudd on bass; there all the time, never missing a beat. If Tommy provides the spark plugs then Alan is the fuel pump.
Another grand afternoon and, for those aficionados who like their beer from the wood (in theory), real ales are still only £2 on Thursday afternoons - let's hear your excuse for not being there next week. The ferry from North Shields leaves on the hour and the half hour.
Lance.

Goodbye Ed Thigpen.

The sad news has just come through that Ed Thigpen, for many years drummer with the Oscar Peterson Trio, died on Jan 13 in Copenhagen.
I think Ed was possibly Oscar's first regular trio drummer - prior to this he usually worked with bass and guitar.
I remember seeing them several times at Newcastle City Hall and Ed was perhaps the perfect small group drummer - never overpowering but always there to go wherever Peterson's improvisations took him (and vice versa). I also heard him with Ella.
Ed died age 79.
RIP.
Lance.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Take It To The Bridge Kick Start 2010 @ The Chilli

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Dr. Steve Summers (alt/sop), Andy Lee (sop), Lance Liddle (ten), Barrie Ascroft, Chris Finch, Harley Johnson (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms), Debra Milne (vcl).
My first gig of 2010 both as reviewer and player. In consequence I feel it should be left to someone else to pass comment. However, as that would be sticking my head into the lion's mouth I'll content myself by saying I enjoyed the blow.
For the record, I played the first set with Dave and the rhythm section getting my chops around (more or less), "Stella by Starlight", "Cantaloupe Island", "Georgia on my Mind", "Watermelon Man", "Killer Joe"... The rest of the guys kept the ship afloat and Dave vocalised on a few.
The cavalry arrived in time for the second set in the form of Dr. Steve Summers playing some superb alto and soprano tonight, Andy Lee - my old mate from Windows Music Store also on soprano - Chris Finch and Harley Johnson on keyboard and Debra Milne who sang "Four" and "Well You Needn't".
I re-joined the melée for Freddie Hubbard's "Blues For Duane".
The only downside to the evening was that outside it had snowed again.
But so what? It was cool.
Photos. (courtesy of Bill Shaw.)
Next week it's the Hot House Dragons.
Lance.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gormon-sense

Apart from jazz one of my interests is American crime fiction. Chandler, Spillane, Jim Thompson are all favourites of mine. Another is Ed Gorman.
Yesterday I read a short story of his entitled "Muse".
It is loosely jazz orientated and includes the following truism:
"You've never heard Porter or Kern or Larry Hart until you've heard them done by great jazz singers and musicians. Then you'll find out just how rich their music really is."
This caught my fancy because it is so true. Many of the great standards began life in Broadway shows or Hollywood musicals where they were sung in the strident theatrical manner or in that quasi-operatic style so beloved of the Great White Way.
Listen to Ella's series of songbooks, Frank's or Mel Tormé's versions of the Gasbook and you have an art form so far removed and above the original it is sometimes difficult to reconcile the two.
On the instrumental side, musicians have extended the life of the composer's songs into immortality.
You'd think the composers would have been grateful for this expansion of their work. Far from it - they frequently sued. The estate of one famous composer has made a career out of it!
Even Cole Porter, whose canon many would say had been enhanced by Sinatra's interpretations, took offence, according to Larry Adler - a mouthorgan player - at 'Old Blue Eye's' rendition of "I Get a Kick Out of You".
I guess he didn't object to the royalties.
Lance.

Charles Gordon @ The Cherry Tree by Peter (Peter and Gordon!)

Against all expectations, a large number of souls braved the winter wasteland of Jesmond to enjoy the offerings of good food and uplifting live jazz music at The Cherry Tree last night.
Due to the weather, the visit of the Andrea Pattison Quintet was postponed until the 1st February when the arctic conditions are rumoured to be lifting and those not owning Chelsea tractors will be able to use their cars again.
However, the very talented jazz pianist Charles Gordon stepped in at short notice when the mercury inched past zero degrees to play two great sets drawing appreciative applause from the diners.
His repertoire included "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" ( appropriate !), "The Look of Love", "The Lady is a Tramp", "I've Got You Under My Skin", "The End of Love" (by Dave Grusin), "South of the Tyne" (his own composition ), "Autumn Leaves", " A Lovely Day Today" (joke ), "Moonlight in Vermont" (the only song ever written without a rhyme in the lyrics), "Masquerade", "Spooky", and "Cantaloupe Island" (Herbie Hancock).
We look forward to getting back to normal with the first visit to The Cherry Tree of the Harley Johnson Trio next Monday 18th January.
Peter.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jazz Clubs Worldwide

The most comprehensive listings of jazz clubs worldwide can be found here. I'm proud to say that Bebop Spoken Here is amongst the listings as are Blaydon and Ashington Jazz Clubs.
To add your venue please follow the above link. It could pay off. The next time the night ferry from Amsterdam docks at North Shields instead of asking how to get to The Metro Shopping Centre the passengers will want directions to the Saville or the Porthole or the Crescent Club (providing they like banjos). Lance. http://www.jazz-clubs-worldwide.com/docs/jazzblogs.htm

This Saturday @ Trinity Church

Now that a thaw seems to have set in, and if the "Jazz at the Exchange" regulars are experiencing "withdrawal symptoms" after the cancelled concert last Friday, perhaps they might like to consider catching the dynamic Armstrong-style London-based trumpeter Enrico Tomasso, playing with the great North East reedman Steve Andrews and his Swing City Trio at the Trinity Centre, Gosforth High Street, this Saturday (January 16th) at 8.00pm.
Tickets are £10, and this is a nice new venue with bar facilities. You can reserve a seat by phoning 0191 285 6130, but places are limited to the first 130 people and previous jazz events there have sold out, so an early call might be advisable ...
See you at the Saville Exchange on February 5th I hope for the Roly Veitch/John Hallam concert!
Mike (Supreme Ruler & Head Bottlewasher, Jazz @ The Exchange).

Andrea Pattison Quartet re-sceduled @ Cherry Tree for Feb. 1.

The latest gig to go 'under the weather' is the eagerly anticipated return to her jazz roots of Andrea Pattison at Jesmond's Cherry Tree Restaurant. It has been re-scheduled for Feb. 1. Instead Charles Gordon will provide dinner music tonight. All may not be lost for jazz fans as Charles is an avowed Herbie Hancock disciple - look for Watermelon (Man) or Cantaloupe (Island) on the menu.
Next week the Harley Johnson Trio.
Tonight's proposed JNE meeting has also been cancelled and re-scheduled for next Monday.
Lance.

Panama

Our man in Hong Kong, Colin Aitchison, has taken time off from 'knocking 'em dead' at Ned Kelly's Last Stand to send some photos of the 1981 re-creation of the Panama Jazzmen. Pictured in the photo on the left are Stan Martin (clt), Marshall Walker (dms), Dave Hedley (vcl), Joe Errington (tpt), Norman Rudd (pno) & Gordon Solomon (tmb). Click here for more photos including a youthful(ish) Roly Veitch, Clem Avery, Joe McMullen, Ray Jobling, Billy Calboutin, Eric Gamblin, Ray Chester, Uncle Tom Cobbly...
The music stands proclaim them to be the Panama Jazzmen but the faces/names in this picture are more related to the River City Jazzmen of the day - perhaps it was a double header?
Lance.
PS: Colin also sent me a photo of his father Hughie playing at High Farm Club, Wallsend in 1980. Barry Phillips is on piano and Joe Garner on bass. Colin would like to identify the tenor player and the drummer. Can anyone help? Click here to view.
PPS: Latest YouTube video from the China Coast Jazzmen. It may be only "The Saints" but it is worth it for the very last note!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jazz and Ale

Whilst the weather has called time - for the time being - on a number of jazz venues I thought it might be of interest to do a little research. I'm sure Russell will be delighted to co-ordinate our findings.
The subject is Jazz and Beer! Where can one find the best jazz and the best ale under the one roof?
The venues needn't be restricted to the North East as they could form the basis of an alcoholiday.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Lance.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

THE RIVER CITY JAZZMEN-- REPRINTED FROM JUST JAZZ INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE. Part one.

This is a copy of a 2005 article from Just Jazz International magazine by trombonist and leader of the River City Jazzmen, Gordon Solomon. It is re-printed here as a tribute to the band which called it a day earlier this year.
Lance.
The RCJ was formed in 1955, making this year, 2005, the 50°’ anniversary for the band. To the best of my knowledge only two other bands have played together continuously for this length of time - the Chris Barber band, of course, - and the Merseysippi band from Liverpool. The story actually began in 1953 at Max Share's music shop in Percy Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In an effort to interest young people in music, (if only it would happen today!) Max had formed a weekly harmonica club in a room above his shop. It was here that three youngsters, Ray Shenton, Herbie Hudson and Harry Stevenson met up and decided to set up a harmonica trio which they called the Harmonica Hoodlums! The boys got quite a lot of work, and in 1954 they were invited down to the Lime Grove Television Studios in London to appear on an early talent show called “All Your Own” which was presented by Huw Weldon. Following this they did regular radio broadcasts in the North of England until, with the addition of three more keen friends, they decided to form a traditional jazz band, hence the River City Jazzmen were born. The band was an immediate success with the quickly growing number of jazz followers. The personnel changed slightly at this time but soon settled down to a stable unit made up of John Potts - Trumpet, Herbie Hudson - Trombone, Harry Stevenson - Clarinet, Colin Hopper – Banjo, Ray Shenton - Tuba, Brian Sanson - Drums. Shortly after this Ray Shenton’s brother Joe joined on washboard giving the band a very distinctive sound. Joe also took over as band manager and later proved himself to be an ideal front man for the band. This group became very popular and usually played 5 to 6 nights a week at venues all over the North, -- there were many thriving clubs in the area at that time such as the Royal Arcade , the New Orleans Club and the Downbeat in Newcastle, and the likes of the Coatham Hotel in Redcar and Baileys in South Shields. Obviously there have been personnel changes over the years, and the sound of the band has changed , but it is still going strong and is fortunate to still have a good number of loyal followers. During 1980 clarinetist Bruce Bakewell joined, and his lovely New Orleans style was much appreciated. Bruce later played and recorded with Ken Colyer. Also, at this time, trumpeter Joe Errington, now with Papa Bue in Denmark, was with the group and stayed for many years. Probably the most famous musician to play with us was a certain Gordon Sumner, known nowadays as Sting. Sting had played bass with trombone player Gordon Solomon for 12 months in 1973 in two earlier bands, the Phoenix Jazzmen and the Newcastle Big Band, and when Gordon left to join the RCJ Sting followed and helped out for a few gigs. Gordon Solomon 2005 (to be continued...)

THE RIVER CITY JAZZMEN-- REPRINTED FROM JUST JAZZ INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE. Part Two.

It was in fact Gordon Solomon who first coined the nick-name Sting,-- due to Sting’s insistence on wearing a striped yellow and black rugby shirt on stage, making him look like a large wasp! Some years later, around 1980, after he had hit the big time, Sting and the RCJ got together in the recording studios to record a number he had composed called Moon over Bourbon Street. The idea was that it would be one of the tracks on his new LP. However, the powers that be decided that a traditional jazz band sound was not appropriate and the number was recorded again using modem jazz players in the USA, -- a pity for us! It was during 1980 that the band started to tour in Europe, and several trips were made, especially to Holland where they played most of the major festivals and built up a large following. By this time singer Dave Hedley had joined, making the band an eight piece, and his contribution did a great deal for the popularity that they enjoyed at this time. Apart from being a hugely likeable man, Dave’s timing and superb sense of humour, and the fact that his voice was likened by many to the great Jimmy Witherspoon, meant that he was much acclaimed by the audiences. Unfortunately Dave passed away in 2001 and is sadly missed by all his friends. In 1983 the RCJ entered the International Jazz Competition in Breda, Holland and competing against 120 bands from all over the world, including Australia, Argentina and South Africa, was fortunate enough to win the much valued first prize. ln addition, our then clarinetist Stan Martin was awarded the prize for the best individual musician of the festival. These successes did a lot for the profile of the band, and farther offers from abroad and the UK started to appear. The local television station Tyne Tees Television also became interested and several appearances were made, - on one occasion we backed entertainers Dickie Henderson and Maggie Moon in a storming session which carried on long after the cameras had been switched off. The band also found itself in demand when professional musicians were touring the area and needed a backing group, — too many to mention here, the total number exceeds 35, but memorable nights were had with Champion Jack Dupree, Wild Bill Davison, Don Ewell, Doc Cheatham, Big Eye Louis Nelson , Pat Halcox, Roy Williams, John Crocker and many others. Gordon Solomon 2005 (to be continued...)

THE RIVER CITY JAZZMEN-- REPRINTED FROM JUST JAZZ INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE. Part Three.

In the trumpet chair is Ray Harley. Ray learned his trade in the City of Coventry band before playing in the Mecca and Top Rank dance bands of the period. He became a devotee of small band jazz in 1990, playing in bands around Teeside, and has appeared in the Sacramento Jazz Festival on two occasions. ln 2001 Ray won the BBC Radio 2 Musician of the Year award for his playing in the Radio 2 big band competition with the Hartlepool based band, Musicians Unlimited. He joined the River City in 1996. Our clarinet and sax player is Bill Smith. Bill started gigging around Kettering in 1945 and moved up to Sunderland in the early 1950’s, where he played with Roy Fox and the Don Smith band. Bill first appeared on the Newcastle jazz scene in the mid seventies, playing with the Saratoga Jazzmen. He joined the River City in 1986 and has remained with them ever since. Bill also plays with the Darlington Saxophone Quartet, a favourite of his. The youngest member is Keith Stephen on banjo and guitar. He started off at 16 on bass guitar at school, then whilst at Wolverliampton Poly took up banjo and guitar before moving up to Newcastle and joining Brian Carrick’s band in 1991. He also played for some years in Marilyn Middleton Pollocks Chicago Hoods and finally became a permanent member of the River City in 2000. Keith is also a keen advocate of the music of Django Reinhardt and formed his Gypsy Jazz group which includes other members of the River City in 2003. He is also a constant member of the Lake Records All Stars run by Paul Adams. On Bass we have Bill Brooks, who has been interested in jazz since the age of eight! Bill started off by taking piano lessons, then later took up guitar and banjo. He played around the North East for a time until taking up the double bass in 1961 to join the Vieux Cane Jazzmen, staying for ten years. There followed a spell in the Saratoga Jazzmen before joining the River City in 1978. Bill regards himself privileged to have backed some of the best British and American jazz musicians over the years. Our drummer and vocalist is Fred Thompson. He first got involved with jazz in 1958 helping out on drums with various north-east bands, and has been kept busy doing mostly trio and quartet work over the years. He first tried singing in 1967, and, in his own words, “when nobody complained I just carried on”! Fred joined the band in 2001. Trombone player and leader of the band is Gordon Solomon. Like Bill Brooks, Gordon has been interested in traditional jazz from an early age, listening to his cousins large collection of records from the age often. He formed his first band while still at Grammar school in 1962 then joined the Pheonix Jazzinen in 1965, until leaving to join the River City in 1975. He also was one of the founder members of the infamous Newcastle Big Band, in which he played for four years. Gordon’s favourite bands include George Lewis and Wilbur de Paris. So what of the future? It is slightly depressing that, certainly in the North-East of England there seems to be no up and coming young musicians willing to listen to and learn to play traditional jazz music, regardless of whether it is New Orleans based or otherwise. I personally wonder where the bands will be in say ten years time, - lets all hope that there will be another revivalist upsurge as there was in the 1940’s. Gordon Solomon 2005. POST SCRIPT The band has been struggling to maintain a permanent membership for some time now, and this has meant that rehearsals and therefore playing arranged numbers had almost ceased. In fact most of our performances were basically “Jam Sessions”, and we all agreed that it was becoming difficult to keep up our enthusiasm. Combined with the fact that I found that blowing the trombone was becoming increasingly uncomfortable due to a hiatus hernia problem (something I’ve had all my life but not as bad as this!) I thought that it was wise to cease playing for the time being. I would certainly hope to get back into the local jazz scene sometime in the future.
Gordon Solomon 2010.

Bridging The Gap. Wednesday 27 January11.00-11.30am BBC RADIO 4

(The publicity blurb below brings back unhappy memories of that dreadful (in my opinion) evening at the Sage - "Tyne Soundings Live". However, in deference to local poet, jazz enthusiast and occasional contributor to this site, Dr. Keith Armstrong, who is involved in this enterprise and has drawn it to our attention, I have posted it. I am quite sure that, although totally jazzless, it will be an interesting program for those of us who lived, loved, laboured and listened within the shadow of the bridge. It may also serve to remind Keith that he still owes us one Lester Young inspired poem!)
Bridging The Gap is a vivid sound portrait of the Tyne Bridge. The programme draws on the voices and sounds of the bridge, the river, local people and wildlife, while exploring the history, construction and role of the bridge.
The bridge is hugely symbolic in the North East. As a giant arch, it reflects the changes that have taken place in the North East, including developments on the Tyne and overall changes in lifestyle. Today, wildlife has moved in; where the industrial giants of the past have moved out, salmon and otters can be found in the river. The bridge is also a nesting site for kittiwakes, a species of ocean-travelling gull. More than 150 pairs have been recorded here, making it the furthest inland breeding site of kittiwakes in the world.
Contributors to the programme include sound recordist Chris Watson; poet Keith Armstrong; Ian Ayris from Newcastle City Council; Steve Lowe of Northumberland Wildlife Trust; Steve Mays, architectural and landscape photographer; and Tommy Proctor, River Tyne guide. Producer/Sarah Blunt BBC Radio 4 Publicity.
Lance.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Blue Horizons by Chris Yates

Blue Horizons by Chris Yates. Farthings Design and Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4092-9004-9. £9.99. (The review below was initially posted in September before the sad loss of the author. Out of respect I have not changed the tense. As more copies are now available I have re-posted it.)
Jazz North East Director Supreme, Jazz Journalist and Master of the Adjective, Chris Yates has finally got around to putting his memories of promoting and writing about jazz into book form.
"Blue Horizons" is an entertaining and informative read covering Chris' involvement in jazz from his early days in Hull to the present in Newcastle.
It's an easy read and not at all the brow-furrowing tome one might have anticipated from an academic of Chris Yates standing - I'm pleased to say.
The anecdotes abound as can be expected from someone who has spent maybe 30/40 years rubbing shoulders with the jazz greats.
It has amusing stories that make compelling reading although the author has avoided going down a 'warts and all' path as I'm sure he could have done. I suspect that Chris is too much of a gentleman and has too much respect for the musical past of the artists concerned to wish to tarnish their image.
That he could have done I know first hand having been a part of the Jazz North East team at the time many of the events related occurred.
Even without the warts it is essential reading for those who wish to look back at that Golden Age when the person standing next to you at the bar of the Corner House could easily be Lockjaw Davis or Sweets Edison.
Highly recommended.
Lance.
(Enquiries to lanceliddle@gmail.com) PS: I have just heard that a request for Sydney Bechet's "Blue Horizons" and dedicated to Chris will be played on tomorrow's Jazz Record Requests (5:00pm Radio 3).

Marian McPartland OBE

Thank you Sebastian Scotney of Londonjazz for pointing out that although there were no jazzmen in the honours list this year there was a jazzwoman - Marian McPartland. Marian, who will be 92 in March, was awarded an OBE - Congrats Marian justly deserved.
Lance.

Ernie Graham R.I.P.

Yesterday I received a call from his wife Ann to say that Ernie Graham had passed away.
A very sad start to the new year.
Ernie has been an absolute rock at Blaydon since the early days. He looked after the raffle, would gently coax support for our activities and was someone I could rely on for good common sense advice. Even just a few weeks back, I was on the phone to see how he was and asking him for his thoughts on what best to do in the new season.
He loved to be involved and particularly enjoyed exchanging banter with the musicians which would put a smile on everyone's face and help get things going.
Clubs need people like Ernie in order to survive and flourish. He had a quick wit and an impish humour - a great and totally unique character.
I can just picture him now getting up to sing a number (which he only did once a year on his birthday) and looking across from my guitar seat at that firmly tapping left foot which went alternatively from side to side, then glancing up at that huge grin and getting a cheeky wink as he romped through 'Route 66' or 'A Gal in Calico' or maybe 'How About You?'. Ernie used to often tell me 'there has always been jazz in Blaydon - keep it going Roly' - he went to Blaydon jazz sessions at The Railway Inn back in the 50s/60s.
Ernie himself was a fine keyboard player with a great knowledge of the songbook. I know I speak for everyone at Blaydon plus many local musicians who knew him in saying how very much we will miss him and in passing our heartfelt condolences to Ann and their family.
He was 80.
Roly.

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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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