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Bebop Spoken There

“Television is just a bunch of people with nothing to do watching people who can't do nothing.”Wingy Manone (Down Beat April 7, 1966).

Bebop Spoken There Archives: Greg Abate to Mike Zwerin.

Today Friday April 18.

Afternoon.
RENDEZVOUS JAZZ - Black Horse, Monkseaton. 1pm. Free.
Classic jazz.
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Evening.
FUNKALLEROS - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. £5.00. 9.30pm (Free up to 9:00pm.)
Graham Hardy in Latin Funk mode.
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BURUNDANGA - Hoochie Coochie, 54 Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 5SF. 9pm. Free.
More Latin!
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GAVIN LEE's JAZZ BAND - British Legion, Coatsworth Rd., Gateshead 8pm.
New Orleans at its finest for a Good Friday party.
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PAUL SKERRITT BAND - Sloan's, 22 Grange Rd., Darlington DL1 5NG. 8pm. Free.
Top vocalist with great backing.
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DEAN STOCKDALE TRIO - The Hearth, Main Rd., Horsley NE15 0NT. 7.30pm. 01661 852545. CANCELLED! Re-scheduled for July 11.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Alan Glen Trio @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant

Alan Glen (pno), John Pope (bs), David Carnegie (dms).
If you haven't listened to Alan, David and John playing The Way You Look Tonight whilst savouring Duck Croquettes with Pickled Plums then your life is incomplete.
The Duck was my starter but the boys had kicked off earlier with a nice steady If I Should Lose You followed by that eternal quest to discover the depth of the ocean done in a most rhapsodic fashion.
Green Dolphin Street and an Autumn Leaves that didn't hang about signalled the entrance of the Duck Croquette. After The Way You Look Tonight, All Blues and Woody'n You saw the set out. It had been a good one - Alan at the baby grand is another dimension again.
The time between sets was spent putting my lips around Chicken Nicoise that had been grilled to perfection although the ill-fated bird may have disagreed (my apologies to vegetarians for making light.)
Delicious.
Equally mouthwatering was All of You after which Alan introduced the band to the audience and even threw in a couple of gags before going into You Don't Know What Love Is followed by Four.
Time After Time had a beautiful exploratory first chorus - just solo piano - before David and John picked it up.
Speak Low was as smooth as the Chocolate Créme Brulee, Cherry Financier.
One of Alan's originals - Country Member gently rocked whilst Love Letters owed nothing to Ketty Lester!
Sanity prevailed in What's New? before David was let loose on Something Borrowed Something Blue an original inspired by a Hampton Hawes tune hence the borrowed part of the title.
This was a good gig in front of a decent sized audience most of whom stayed on after the final glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pacifico Sur had been downed.
If you like good food and good music it's the only game in town.
The trio play The Chilli this Wednesday and David's Extreme Measures are at The Bridge on Sunday.
Lance.
Next week it's the Paul Edis Trio with Chris Hibbard on trombone.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Claude Werner Quartet - Splinter @ The Bridge

Claude Werner (ten), Lloyd Wright (gtr), Laurence Blackadder (bs), David Carnegie (dms).

This gig was in the upper room of Newcastle's Bridge Hotel, on the small raised stage on which I’ve occasionally sung an unaccompanied folksong at the Monday folkclub. Forget my warblings – this gig was something else entirely.

The band played a storming set to a full house of fans of all ages. It was great from the word go, but no words were spoken at first, simply Claude looking cool in shades, black beret and red shirt, starting with a strong evocative sax, and the rest of the band murmuring instrumentally behind him.

It’s difficult to describe a gig such as this, you really have to be there (Why weren’t you, you other people?) because the pieces were all original compositions with intriguing titles such as I Have Nothing to Say to You and Things I Can Not Express, and other titles which we couldn’t hear properly because of the enthusiastic applause.

There were generous amounts of hard fast playing, alternating with slow soulful sax and guitar. The solos were frequent and intriguing. I’ve never before seen a drummer who smiles so much, both at the other musicians and at the drums themselves. Always a good sign when a player smiles at his instrument. The guitarist was wonderfully creative and at one point sounded as if he was playing underwater, to approving nods from Claude. I’d liked to have heard more solos from the bass, partly because of his superb surname of Blackadder, but I’m told he’s a modest soul. The band was not afraid to play as a trio on some numbers, minus guitar, then minus drums, which added interest.

Claude’s sax featured brilliantly. I suspect he was doing things which were impossible, producing a deep breathy sound, then shimmering silver slivers of sound, with beautiful lyrical riffs in between. (Are they called riffs in jazz or is that just rock, you can tell I’m a novice at writing about jazz?). One item had Claude paying quick snatches of tune, with responding calls from the band, exciting stuff. The gig ended with Claude asking the punters what was wanted for an encore, a ‘Ballad or some hardcore’. We opted for hardcore to send us home happy for the rest of the holiday weekend!

Ann Alexander.

Close Enough For Jazz - more or less.

Roly Veitch wouldn't dream of classifying this YouTube clip as jazz but then again - a folksy vocal with rural connections, some down home acoustic guitar, a road song, a bus crash and ending up in the infirmary - maybe it's not that far removed from the country blues of Big Bill Broonzy or Robert Johnson.
Give or take a vast stretch of muddy/oily water.
Lance.
PS: It is also part of a new CD from Roly - Contact here.

Hession/Wilkinson/Fell on Radio 3

Hession/Wilkinson/Fell's tour in March of this year was recorded for future broadcast on Radio 3 (the trio called in at the Sage to play the Gateshead International Jazz Festival). So, for those who were there, listen to Jazz on 3 tomorrow night (Monday 11:15 pm) and for those who weren't, tune in to hear what you missed.
Russell

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stan Getz

Seeing as we're in a poetic vein...
Four siblings blowing a horn,
Al, Herbie, Zoot and Stan.
Cool for the time of year
That Early Autumn.
Those Crazy Chords,
That Long Island Sound,
A girl saying 'yes'
A true love found.
Focus and Sweet Rain
Eddie Sauter, his Gil Evans
Beauty spawned within the pain
Of fixes and diminished sevenths.
Don't Blame it on the Bossa Nova
Desifinado put his kids through college.
Blame it on his youth
Presifinado without the knowledge.
They're all gone now - goodbye
Al, Herbie, Zoot and Stan.
Trading fours up in the sky
Ne'er to see their likes again.
Lance.

POEM: The Truth About Art Pepper

POEM: The Truth About Art Pepper
An evocative poem about my favourite alto player by Jason Crane.
Click to read or listen.
Lance.

Festival Django in Liberchies May 29 - 30, LIBERCHIES , Belgium

Belgium seems to be the place this weekend. Included amongst the artists is Fapy Lapertin who many of us first heard with WASO at Breda back in the early '80s.
The native village of Django Reinhardt enlivens in memory of this mythical jazz artist. Concerts and street animations will be on the programme of this event intended for both experienced music lovers as well as those eager to discover new styles. Two afternoons and evenings of music and animations in the rural village of Liberchies: 10 concerts, street shows, music animations, workshops and shows for children. Don't miss it!
Thank you Liz for drawing this to my attention - I always knew there was a Gypsy in your soul.
Lance.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie's (Rosie Malone's, South Shields.)

Olive Rudd (vcl), Iain MacAulay (tmb/tpt/vcl), Jim McBriarty (cly/vcl), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms).
I'd been away for a couple of weeks so it was pleasant coming back 'home'.
Although Herbie was away, Iain proved an admirable dep on trombone and vocal even trumpet although not harmonica.
Most of the band vocals were done by Jim who shone on Avalon amongst others.
Olive was in great form particularly on How'd Ya Like to Love Me? a Burton Lane tune made famous by Maxine Sullivan and more familiar to me by Becky Kilgore. Olive did it justice. Others included Lock My Heart and Throw Away the Key, Blue Skies, Some of These Days...
A really enjoyable afternoon, not least because of the very pleasant company of Val - The Facebook Thrush - and her friend Pat.
Lance.

No One But Me - Melissa Tan (Vocal) & Mario (Piano) From Singapore

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Time change for Big Band rehearsal

The monthly open rehearsal/concert by the CUSTOMS HOUSE BIG BAND with RUTH LAMBERT takes place on Tuesday June 1 at the New Crown Hotel, South Shields. It will run from 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm - starting and finishing half an hour earlier than usual.
Lance.

Poet Keith Armstrong in Prague back again! Thursday 3. 6. 2010 - 10 PM - The Globe Bookstore, Pštrossova 6, Prague 1 Friday 4. 6. 2010 - 8 PM - Klu

Below is a translation from the Polish sent to me by Dr. Keith Armstrong. Now whilst some might say that this has as much to do with jazz as Michael Bublé has I have included the item because a) Dr Armstrong is an enthusiastic jazzophile and b) he has written/is writing a series of jazz based poems including a long overdue Lestorian epic which is rapidly taking on the mysticism of the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Lindisfarne Gospels and the recipe for Betty's Hotpot combined. Plus with the Polish Jazz Focus @ The Sage imminent it seems the right time to think Polish.
Question for Dr Armstrong - will the reading be in Polish or English?
Lance.

Keith Armstrong, a well known poet from north-eastern English Newcastle, is not performing in Prague for the first time. His somewhat rebellious poetry is inspired by his hometown, which spreads itself where the river Tyne runs into sea. It is full of memories of his father, who worked in a local shipyard, and it is influenced by a nostalgic ambience of mariners’ pubs and industrial harbour corners. But at the same time his poetry doesn’t recalcitrates ticklish or controversial topics (Falklands, politics), reflects on long-time poets, erotic verses or profession to local football legends. Keith is also a poet-traveller. He periodically visits university at Tübingen, Holland and other countries and his ways lead him also to more exotic corners like Cuba or The Soviet Union. In his home town Keith also functions as an organizer of poetic events. He is wreathed by a title Honoris Causa Doctor of Durham University. His poetry is communicatory and his interpretation is easy to understand. The texts in a written form will be also at your disposal.

In the second half of the evening Keith’s friend Jakub Zahradník will play a cycle of songs called "The Melly-Belly Songs" where he especially for this occasion set Keith’s poems to music. Jakub repeatedly visited Newcastle, Durham and coastal district of Northumberland, which is bordering to Scotland and is full of romantic remains. He had an opportunity to perform there, meet local poets and taste all brands of ales. In a song cycle called Five Sea Songs he set to music poems of Northumbrian poetess Katrina Porteous and together with a filmmaker Oliver Malina Morgernstern he created a documentary about his journey called Inspiration Quest, which could be seen on the internet pages YouTube.

Tuesday May 25. Schmazz @ the Cluny JONATHAN BRATOËFF QUARTET

Jonathan Bratoëff (guitar); Mark Hanslip (saxophones); Tom Mason (bass); James Maddren (drums).
I took a German mate of mine, fresh in from Koeln along to the Cluny knowing that the choice of beer would impress him for starters. Well, so did the Potato & Ham soup and the Salmon fishcakes, but not for starters - it all arrived together so we ate it as a banquet along with my Steak in Wine (allegedly) pie; very good value and tasty actually washed down with Tyneside Brown & Harviestown Bitter & Twisted. We kept a close eye on the Jonathan Bratoeff Quartet who were dining there too with Paul B; in fact Jonathan was impressively selling the gig to everyone in the bar - it's really good to see a bit of unashamed artistic self-promotion - not that I'd know!
It was also good to have a chat with Mark Hanslip (sax) again after his lyrical appearance last July with Tom Mix at The Side (Tony Marsh drums & Ollie Brice d.bass) - see Bebop Spoken Here archive; he told me The Side was the best gig they did on that tour but he wasn't sure if Tony Marsh was in fact named after Tom Mix's Wonder Horse! Two reasons to linger 'til 9 when the band kicked off in the depths of Cluny 2 in front of a canny turnout for a Tuesday night.
It's always a good sign when the band's choice of ambient music fits your personal taste so, as the strains of Bill Frisell faded and Jonathan opened up the first set with some haunting Frisell/Metheney-esque chord work I knew this was gonna be a good'n.
They made it look easy actually as James Maddren looked skywards into a parallel ether for inspiration seeming to be whispering and knocking at heaven's door. Simultaneously, his telepathic partnership with Tom Mason's bass line providing an elegant celestial craft which Jonathan and Mark simply sailed away on. There was such well-composed and self-assured contrast both within and between the pieces, it felt like you were having an amusing yet animated conversation with a rare character in a Murakami novel and those drums - as Paul B says in Jazz Alert of James Maddren "..a rising star.." - he's not joking: the bloke in front wondered if there was an earthquake coming as my knees and feet went into overdrive - always a good sign!
Jonathan took a welcome opportunity to talk about his compositional ideas modestly leaving lots of room for personal interpretation - now we know that he likes the idea of his pieces being framed, "You know", he shrugs in a French way, "we (the band) are painting a picture so we sort of frame it" - someone shouts out, "You've been framed!" deftly breaking the philosophical crystal. We were also treated to a new piece - last of the first set - called Fallen Colossus, which gave Jonathan a chance to tell us of his travels in Egypt making us feel guilty for having stayed at The Luxor Sheraton but referring us to the super-megalomania of Rameses II whose now horizontal, 70m statue was the inspiration for this piece. Anyway it was very good but unfortunately at this point we had to make our apologies and take off, so I hope maybe Paul or the bloke who shouted "You've been framed" might be able to fill in some appreciation of the 2nd set in the 'Comments' section?
My mate Albert - who said the Germans have no sense of humour - pointed out that Jonathan's surname was Alsatian for fried egg - now who's broken the philosophical crystal!
George Milburn.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ACV on 3

Lance.

A Review of Two Halves: Jo Harrop + Paul Edis Trio at the “Cherry Tree”

There was nothing unsatisfactory or unbalanced about either the food, or the music last night – far from it – but reviewing the first half after the second seems very “jazz” to me. I blame the football, having watched the “highlights” when I got home last night and neglected my homework. On skill, style, rhythm, performance and audience satisfaction, I would score the evening thus: Epicureans and jazz-lovers 10, England fans 0!

Briefly, on the food (to maintain a tradition), my choices of Pea-soup, Pollack and Panacotta were (variously) warm, spicy, smoky, rich, subtle, inventive, fruity, cool, smooth and creamy a neat segue from football to the star of the evening who was all those things, and more!

Jo Harrop really lived up to her billing: “singing sensation from London”, except that, as we all know now, she’s actually from Chester-le-Street and we should claim her as our own! Her voice is amazing – think Islay whisky, dark porter or tannin-rich red wine – deep and subtly modulated on Masquerade, swinging and smoky on My Romance, with lighter, sparkling tones on All of Me and Bye, Bye Blackbird. The lady really can sing the blues as well, with a great version of Georgia on my Mind in this set, and the two exquisite Billie Holliday numbers in the second set already mentioned by Lance. On top of all that, she’s clairvoyant: Jo expressed a willingness to do requests about mid-way through the set and promptly launched into my unfailing choice on these occasions before I could even give utterance to the thought: Julie London’s Cry me a River. Wow!

Paul, Adam and Mick were great with their customary solid support and some good solos. I particularly liked the piano on Georgia and the bass intro to Blackbird as well as the scat / bass combination on one second-half song. And then, alas, it was “strange the change to driver from diner” as we had to leave just as Paul was launching into Every Time we Say Goodbye! Fortunately, by then, Lance had long since come off the bench and warmed up at the bar.

So, thanks to Paul for bringing Jo home and to Vasilis Xenopoulos for getting it all started by introducing them to each other, in London, two exiled Cestrians (who grew up only streets apart). Never mind Homeric warnings about Greeks and gifts: this girl is a real treasure!

Gerry E.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jo Harrop with the Paul Edis Trio @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond.

Jo Harrop (vcl), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms).
My late arrival meant foregoing the food - my apologies to those of an epicurean bent looking to have their appetite whetted.
However, for gourmets of vocal jazz, this was a feast of Bacchanalian proportions!
What can I say other than that the lissome lady is 'A class act?' I'd never heard Jo live but knew of her through a friend as well as hearing whispers on the Jazz Grapevine. I was delighted to discover that she was as good as they all said she was.
Kicking off the second set (I couldn't make the first) with a slightly faster than usual They Can't Take That Away From Me she stamped her authority by negotiating the lyric without a safety net - try singing the title line, 'They can't take that away from me,' at speed, without swallowing your tongue!
Night and Day and There is no Greater Love - just a hint of Carmen McRae in the phrasing of the latter - followed by a couple of Billie Holiday numbers God Bless the Child and Fine and Mellow which kept the ball in play. Jo wailed like a Chicago blues mama on Mellow.
After some pre-intro searching for the key Paul gave a Bill Evans' type lead into Just One of Those Things and les tout ensemble swung like crazy. Every time We Say Goodbye, done as a duo, - just voice and keyboard - was magical.
Throughout, the trio had provided great backing with all three guys on form and the evening finished on a more contemporary note with I Just Want to be Free from the Bond film Quantum of Solace.
And then it was done.
I'd had a great evening listening to an extraordinary singer.
And that's not all. Look forward to Jerry's report on the first set plus more photos.
Well done Cherry Tree for such an inspired booking.
Lance.

Splinter @ The Bridge - The Geordie Approach & Andy Champion

The remit of Splinter @ The Bridge is to present jazz & improvised music and last night's offering was very much at the non-jazz end of the spectrum. On a sweltering Sunday evening on Costa del Tyneside Andy Champion (electric bass & electronics) opened proceedings with a short set of solo bass improvisations.
Champion, seated, written parts at hand, made use of pedalboard loops to create a multi layered soundscape. Technique to spare, Splinter's MC visited the territory of electric bass pioneers Stanley Clarke, Jaco, Bootsy, Marcus Miller & co... On occasion a blues rock riff suggested a place could be on offer in Rory Gallagher's band - had the genial Irishman still been around. In turn, sounds were shaped from Champion's double bass repertoire. This was a considered performance resisting temptation to switch to freakout mode. A work in progress.
The Geordie Approach: Petter Frost Fadnes (alto saxophone & electronics), Chris Sharkey (guitar & electronics) & Stale Birkeland (drums & electronics). The Geordie Approach, a three piece, sees Gateshead's Chris Sharkey linking up with two Norwegians by way of LIMA (Yorkshire not Peru) to produce, in their own words, ''uncompromising...loose improvisational structures'' with ''ideas sometimes getting lost''. Petter Frost Fadnes cites his influences as ''nobody but everyone''.
The Geordie Approach sound like nobody but everyone. Pedalboards clutter the stage and a bewildering devil's brew of a sound emanates forth. Guitarist Sharkey is well known to north east audiences (On the Outside Festival, Spelk and trio VD) and he delivered yet again. Hidden behind cool shades, magician Sharkey conjured tricks at every turn; dissonance, noise, lascerating fusion, wonderful. Alto saxophonist Petter Frost Fadnes sat on a chair but this was no New Orleans old timer. He was biding his time, constructing haunting, sometimes harsh, calling signals. Rising from his seat to join the fray, the trio produced the most thrilling cacophony - alto and guitar were as one (an express train on the East Coast main line hurtled by adding to the glorious din in the upstairs room of the Bridge). Drummer Dr.Stale Birkeland, a top class player and equal contributor to the collective, utilised yet another pedalboard. The dynamic, full-on trio excursions were high points in an intriguing performance. For those with an interest in the on stage equipment this was a masterclass in the use of the pedalboard.
Russell

A Big One Tonight at The Cherry Tree

The Cherry Tree Restaurant (9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond) continues its Monday night Jazz Evenings with London based vocalist JO HARROP and the Paul Edis Trio. This is perhaps the Cherry Tree's most ambitious project since VASILIS XENOPOULOS appeared with the trio and it promises to be an evening to remember.
For more details and booking information see sidebar.
Lance.
PS: And, like Jo Harrop, the food too is sensational!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

An Evening (well ten minutes) with Michael Bublé

I arrived home earlier than expected - don't ask - and was fortunate to catch the last couple of numbers from "An Evening With Michael Bublé"*.
How I wish I'd heard the whole show. Okay there's a lot of inane questions from the "Celebrity" audience and occasionally he comes over just a little too schmaltzy in his patter but, strip that all away, and you have a good, young, singer singing good songs and bringing them - apart from tonight - to a youngish audience and in a contemporary manner.
He has a cracking band behind him and in Jumanne Smith a fine trumpet player.
A class act - no wonder he packs out the Arena and elsewhere.
Must checkout the whole show on catch-up TV.
Lance.
*: Georgia on my Mind and How Sweet It Is.
PS: Check out LondonJazz.

Artie Shaw Centennial Approaches

The Artie Shaw centennial (May 23) is here and the tributes are coming in fast and furious. Justifiably so. Arguably the finest jazz clarinet of his generation, and certainly mine, Artie was also such an enigmatic person that even without the music he would have made his mark.
The Trouble With Cinderella is one of the classic autobiography's - not least because Artie wrote it without a co-writer and, despite being married to several Screen Goddesses, didn't 'dish the dirt like the rest of those broads' did.
Musically, did any big band have a more evocative theme than Nightmare? Did the road ever become better illustrated musically than on Traffic Jam? Was their ever a better and more original band within a band than the Gramercy Five?
On a personal level, I can still recall the thrill I got x years ago when I stumbled across What Is This Thing Called Love on a '78' in a junk shop.
On one 10" piece of shellac I discovered Artie Shaw, Mel Tormé, the Meltones - I think I paid a tanner (six old pence).
Sale of the century!

Sweetheart of the Airwaves

Listened to Malcolm Bland's programme Jazz From the Terrace on Radio Tyneside last night. He played Art Blakey's Messengers ('Moanin') then, without announcing it, went straight into the next track. I recognised it instantly - Ruth Lambert singing I've got the World on a String. Fantastic!!!
Russell.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Get Well Soon Liz

One of our most supportive bloggers - Liz of York - with us practically since day one - has had a bad fall and suffered a severe - multi - fracture that requires major surgery.
As well as passing on my sincere best wishes (and, I am sure, all who follow this blog will add their's) I hope she enjoys this YouTube clip of her 'faves' Mel Tormé and George Shearing.
Get well soon Liz.
Lance.

Jazz on Radio 3 with much north east interest...

At lunchtime today (Saturday May 22) Music Matters (12:15 pm) features Nigel Kennedy talking all things Polish, jazz and football. Kennedy can be heard at the Sage on June 2nd.
Jazz Library (4:00 pm) features Michael Garrick (Garrick appears at Gateshead Old Town Hall on June 3rd).
On Sunday night (having dashed home from Splinter @ The Bridge) Jazz Line-Up (11:30 pm) broadcasts the latest installment of the Ian Carr memorial concert from London's South Bank.
Russell

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yarde & McCormack / Mitchell & Puente @ Gateshead Old Town Hall

Jason Yarde (alt/sop), Andrew McCormack (pno) / Robert Mitchell (pno), Omar Puente (vln/vcl).
A double duo bill that was somewhat different and quite unique inasmuch as it was a one off Jazz North East coup.
Both duos pursued their own furrows that wandered back and forth into Free, Neo-classical, improv often in the course of the same piece. Apart from Something's Coming from West Side Story and a brief snatch of Bach's Violin Concerto in D Minor both duos performed original material that gave grounds for majestic soprano playing and breath-taking alto from Jason. Andrew began with some piano string plucking fripperies before he got down to business at the keyboard. One could say 'this is a fine way to treat a Steinway' except the piano at Gateshead Old Town Hall is a Yamaha grand.
It was a good opening set.
Omar played power violin and, despite his initial grim visage, we found it belied the humour in his playing.
Robert didn't quite unleash the fire he ignited at Live Theatre or Cluny but, nevertheless, he did enough to let us know he is master of all he surveys piano-wise.
Overall though I think Omar got the nod tonight even if only because he enticed - nay ordered - the audience to their feet and had them clapping along in time (more or less) on the finale - a familiar sounding piece.
An interesting experiment.
Lance.

Jazz is Where You Find It...

Heard this guy busking at Leicester Square - don't know his name but he is a superb player.
Lance.

Now this is what I call a deal!

From the very first gig at Pizza Express.
Susannah McCorkle, Keith Ingham, Bruce Turner and a pizza for £2.50 inc. vat!
How ironic is this that I should go to Pizza on the anniversary of Susannah's death and see this poster?
Lance.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spice of Life.

Hard on the heels of Lee Konitz it might be thought that the Spice would be a let down
Of course it never is - what you see is what you get and tonight you got plenty.
I arrived midway through Kerry Hodgkin set - Kerry sang an assortment of contemporary classics - even Roxanne - plus lots of Van Morrison. Have you noticed how much VM is infiltrating the jazz repertoire? No bad thing. Kerry does it good and her new CD is worth looking out for.
On piano, Jenny Carr - a new name for me - played some great backing as well as punchy soloes - watch this space. Julian Berry on bass and Jonathon Lee on drums were a sound rhythm section.
After Kerry's departure the singers came fast and furious with, as usual, the ladies outnumbering the men.
There really is a conveyer belt churning out these girls and who's complaining?!
The minority sex included Victor (You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You), Peter (Deed I Do) before the girls moved back into power.
Maggie Burrowes sang Bye Bye Blackbird - she really got into the song - Miles with words.
Val Kelly exuded class on The Nearness of You - a hint of Dinah/Sarah. Esther Bennett knocked out On A Clear Day - those heels that voice!
Penultimately, Kai Hoffman sang Teach Me Tonight - you can join my class anytime - and, for the grand finale, Kerry and Kai joined forces for the rockingest Route 66 you'll ever hear this side of Gallop, New Mexico. To make sure it reached San Bernadino Esther and Peter kicked in.
Lee Konitz? Oh yes, that was earlier.
Lance.

The Other Way - Lee Konitz @ The Pizza Express.

Lee Konitz (alt/sop), Dan Telfer (pno), Michael Janisch (bs), Jeff Williams (dms).
Last night Simon Spillett fired off 1000 notes per minute. Tonight, Lee Konitz fired off considerably fewer. Either because of maturity or physicality, Lee has learned to make every note count and count they did - eventually.
It began hesitantly as the four musicians searched out each others' strengths and weaknesses - not that there were many. Totally unamplified Lee fragmented around such standards as Solar, Come Rain or Come Shine, So Nice To come Home To but it wasn't until What's New that it finally fell together.
Cherokee, Body and Soul, Stella By Starlight and Alone Together completed the set that drew tumultuous applause from a packed Pizza Express.
At 82 Lee looks and plays like a much younger man yet I wondered if this - bordering just on the inside of the outside - was really him?
Still he got through to the audience and by the end I was with him.
Come in table mate Richard.
Lance.
PS: The Pizza was superb and promptly served.

Sayonara Swing Journal

The word is that the Japanese Jazz Mag Swing Journal is to close after the July issue. It was a very influential publication that first hit the newsstands in 1947. It blames lack of advertising revenue for the pending closure. Lance.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Simon Spillett Quartet @ Kings Head Crouch End.

Strolling leisurely by Kings Cross station, an unusual act in itself - strolling by Kings Cross - who should I bump into but Eugene, husband of Debra - the Budvivar Thrush. Nothing to do with Simon Spillett but I just thought it would add some colour. Eugene reminded me that I once sold him a viola so his secret is out.
Now to the gig itself selected in preference to Freddy Cole at Ronnie's and Tomorrow's Warriors at Peter Parker's new jazz venue on Denmark St.
Simon Spillett (ten/sop), John Critchinson (pno), Andy Cleyndert (bs), Martin Drew (dms).
The King's Head in Crouch End is reminiscent of my vision of a Parisien Jazz Cave. Low ceilinged, dimly lit and populated with a select coterie of fans.
Simon Spillett is surely the fastest tenor in town - any town - as he proved whizzing through the changes of In The Still of the Night, By Myself, Oleo and Lament. This is tenor playing that almost defies belief and yet, there were times when I wanted to cry 'slow down!' Not very often I hasten to add.
The second set saw more blistering blowing on What Is This Thing Called Love? but on Gentle Rain - a feature for Andy Cleyndert - Simon discarded the demi-semi-quavers for some meaningful, soulful playing as gentle as the rain being portrayed.
More heroics On Green Dolphin Street and a soprano blast on Clark Terry's The Simple Waltz before the final charge to the line on Coltrane's Some Other Blues.
Whew!
Of course it wasn't all saxophone - John Critchinson once again proved himself on a par with any of his contemporaries as did Martin and Andy. A quartet of this calibre should have been turning them away at the door.
Magnificent.
Lance.
PS: To continue on the small world theme, the MC at the King's Head is Tynemouth tenor player Martin Simon's brother-in-law! His sister chatted about the late bass player Malcolm Moyer.

Jenni Molly Trio @ Lanercost Priory Saturday May 15

Jenni Molloy (bass), Stuart MacDonald (saxes) and Chris Sykes (drums/ percussion). Historic Lanercost Priory and it’s acoustics create a unique atmosphere, one that brings the best out of musicians, and this trio of articulate, nimble and ‘totally together’ musicians thrilled from the off. Playing compositions from Molloy’s acclaimed 2009 album Bach ReLoaded the band moved seamlessly through tunes inspired by the likes of Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Wayne Shorter with some cleverly disguised bits from Bach himself cropping up every so often. It’s hard to pick a favourite from this wonderful set but for me Bird Invention, Little by Little and, Jenni’s homeland South Africa inspired District 6 Revisited were the highlights. This band deserves greater exposure – listen to Bach ReLoaded and you’ll know why. David Gosling

Monday, May 17, 2010

Roly Veitch Quartet @ The Cherry Tree

Roly Veitch (gtr/vcl), Sue Ferris (ten/fl), Neil Harland (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms).
It should have been Jim Birkett on guitar but a last minute switch saw him replaced by Roly Veitch which meant you got another ace guitarist with the added bonus of vocals too.
The band kicked off with an instrumental - Pennies From Heaven. Tonight I was sitting in the mezzanine which gave the feeling of being a little closer to Heaven. A feeling that was enhanced by the Spring Lamb with Jersey Royals, Peas and Mint.
One of the stranger events of the evening was a request from a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary - Here's That Rainy Day. Roly sang it in laid back mode and Sue did some nice fancy flute-work.
It was during my main course of Pork Chop with Roquefort Butter and Slow Roast Tomatoes that I really succumbed to Sue's tenor sound it just seemed to waft over me. I don't know if my ears benefited from the altitude but I can't recall her sounding better than she did on A Foggy Day in London Town - so round and smooth like Stan Getz the younger. And, although Sue might not go along with being compared to a pork chop, my main course had the same effect. Compliments to the chef and the band - they too were cookin'.
Other delights were the contrapuntal lines indulged in by guitar and sax - rather like those Jim Hall and Paul Desmond discs - and the Lestorian burn by Sue on All of Me.
As Roly went into Blame It On My Youth I went into a delightful Griottine Cherry and Almond Clafoutis and Vanilla Ice Cream. Both went down a treat.
Needless to say those ever unsung heroes Adam and Neil kept the ship on course - a good night with a good crowd.
Lance.

Sonny Simmons Quartet @ The Bridge - Re-visited.

If you missed the Sonny Simmons Quartet gig at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle on May 9 you can watch a video replay here. http://www.musicfilmbroth.com/
Lance.

Jazz in the Afternoon at Cullercoats by the Sea.

Iain MacAulay (tmb/tpt/vcl), Derek Fleck (clt/ten/whistle/bjo), Brian Chester (pno/tmb), Bill College (bs), Jim McKeown (dms). + Jimmy Ruddick (vcl), Barry Soulsby (clt/vcl), Roy Gibson (pno), Teresa Armstrong (vcl), Doris Fenn (bjo).
The usual jolly jazz from JITA with a few new additions to the rep. When I Take My Sugar To Tea, When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful being a couple from the first set.
After drawing the winning raffle ticket (for Miles Watson) I enjoyed listening to Teresa doing nice things to Cry Me A River and Once in a While.
Running Wild had two trombones and two banjos whilst My Gal Sal featured two clarinets.
Jimmy Ruddick sang Doctor Jazz and a good time was had by all.
Enjoyed it.
Lance.

The Saddest Day - R.I.P. HANK JONES

I'm indebted to Hilary Gilby for passing on the sad news that Hank Jones passed away yesterday (May 16) age 91.
A pianist to be remembered not just as a brilliant soloist, which he was, but as the sideman's sideman. His career saw him in the rhythm section of just about everyone not least as an accompanist to Ella Fitzgerald and many other singers, including Chris Connor and Shirley Horn, both live and on record.
Despite his inclination to remain in the shadows he nevertheless picked up 5 Grammy nominations winning a Lifetime Recognition award in 2009.
I remember a knockout trio set he played at the North Sea Jazz Festival with George Duvivier (bs) and Frank Gant (dms) - see photo - back in the early '80s as well as hearing him on innumerable LPs and CDs.
He was on piano when Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday Mister President to JFK in 1962.
RIP Hank - a true great.
Lance.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Paul Edis Sextet - Splinter @ The Bridge

Graham Hardy (tpt/flg), Alex Leathard (tmb), Graeme Wilson (ten), Paul Edis (pno), Andy Champion (bs), John Hirst (dms).
Three guys came off the Subs' Bench for this one - but what Subs! John Hirst, Andy Champion and Alex Leathard. All three are key members of other bands and indeed their appearances at the Bridge are topped only by those of Mark Williams who was relegated to the stands tonight.
Alex, whose finely chiselled features are reminiscent of the young Chet Baker, soloed with cool dude efficiency. I wonder if he and fellow trombonist Chris Hibbard have ever thought of putting together a Jay and Kai fashioned Quintet?
Graham and Graeme fuelled the fire with some temperature raising moments although Graham did mellow when blowing flugel. There were cryptic references to tenor playing Graeme's unfamiliar instrument - it sounded okay to these ears.
Most of the compositions and arrangements were by Paul, some from way back. Needless to say deps, Andy and John, coped admirably as indeed did the aforementioned deputy slider Alex.
The only surprise was that it wasn't standing room only.
Lance.

More History

Colin Aitchison has come up with this gem from 1955.
Thank you Colin.
Can anyone tell me more about the bands?
The Panama, very well known locally. The Vieux Carré are still going strong.
The Cellarmen were lead by Colin's dad, Hughie. Fred Rowe fronted the Rivermouth. Pete Drysdale, I think, is still around but I know nothing of the Apex Jazzmen or the Barrelhouse. Can anyone help?
(Russell has unearthed info that John Ronan played trombone with the Rivermouth Jazzmen. John is now playing with the Harlem Hot Stompers out Manchester way - if you read this we'd love to hear from you.)
Lance.

Tyne Valley Stompers @ Saltwell Park. Sunday May 16

Tyne Valley Stompers: Tom Derbyshire (double bass), ? (drums), ? (clarinet), Terry Harvey (banjo), Gerry Denning (trumpet & vocals) & John Crisp (trombone & vocals).
Sunday morning and it looked like rain. Should I go over to Saltwell Park to hear the Stompers? I could stay in and listen to Desert Island Discs. The jazz won.
I arrived at Gateshead in time to catch the second set. The park was a blaze of fuschia pink - a women's charity fun run in aid of cancer research was in full swing. Down bandstand way all was silent with the Dixielanders enjoying an interval break.
First tune of the second set was Pennies From Heaven and right on cue it started to rain. The bandstand looked like a good lightning conductor but the sextet played on. A line-up approximating the Tyne Valley Stompers (trumpet and trombone had been washed up north from Swale Valley Stompers way) entertained the bedraggled, most of whom took shelter from the pelting rain, audience. April Showers followed - how apt. Denning and Crisp shared the vocals, Terry Harvey supplied the chords, the clarinetist was fluent and full of invention and after a few more classic numbers including Hindustan and Alexander's Ragtime Band it was time to set off home in the rain.
Inclement weather aside this was a good start to a summer season of jazz in the parks.
Russell

Review. Shapeshifting - the Tim Richards Trio.

Tim Richards (pno), Dominic Howles (bs), Jeff Lardner (dms).
The question that immediately springs to mind is - do we really need another piano trio?
The answer is probably no with the proviso - that there are a few exceptions and the Tim Richards Trio is one of them.
This is no cocktail lounge, dinner jazz, ensemble - although I'm sure they can make that scene too - Tim, Dominic and Jeff live and operate but a short chorus from the cutting edge.
This disc - is it their third? is very listenable indeed with a balanced mix of jazz standards and Tim Richards' originals (plus one by bassist Dominic Howles - the cleverly titled Bristolian Thoroughfare.)
Bud Powell's Un Poco Loco, Cedar Walton's Bolivia and Bobby Timmons' This Here stand up well against the composers' own versions whilst Ellington's Prelude to a Kiss and Come Sunday build upon the rich harmonic structure of the originals.
Of Richards' own compositions The Message has that churchy feel about it so beloved of the hard bop bands of the late 1950s whilst Eleventh Hour has the edge of a precipice feel that I always get from a jazz waltz - that looking for the fourth beat that never comes
Individually they solo with no shortage of technique - long flowing lines interspersed with chordal passages reminiscent of Bud Powell from Tim. Dominic is solid throughout and Jeff driving and sympathetic.
Together they swing. Swing seems to be a passé word these days but it remains the vital element required to validate the authenticity of a jazz performance.
Shapeshifting 33Jazz205. Release date May 17. Contact tim@timrichards.ndo.co.uk
Lance.

Jazz Dance in Hong Kong

From Hong Kong Colin Aitchison, leader of the China Coast Jazzmen long-time resident band at Ned Kelly's Last Stand in Kowloon, sent me some photos of the Victoria Jazz Band taken at another 'joint' - Grappa's.
Colin informs me that they are a swingy band playing Basie, Buck Clayton style arrangements with a large young following. He didn't supply any names.
What struck me most was that people were actually dancing and enjoying themselves!
Isn't that the way it should be?
When people stopped dancing to jazz the fun element disappeared and it became a pin-dropping exclusive exercise exorcising the eclectic and often the excitement and the ecstasy from the experience.
Lance.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Art For Laurie's Sake

If I should fall in love again... I'm sure it will be with Laurie Pepper, widow of Art Pepper - one of the great musicians of the last century.
Reading the album notes that Laurie penned for the recent release of previously undiscovered live Stuttgart recordings from Art's final European tour in 1981 I'm quite overwhelmed by the depth of feeling that emerges.
It is like as though a happy ending has been added to Straight Life.
Check them out here and listen to samples from the album.
Art really was the greatest and so are you Laurie for perpetuating his memory.
Lance.

Tees Valley Jazzmen @ The Acklam Hotel, Middlesbrough.

I was unable to get to this gig but Norma Salisbury reports that the Tees Valley Jazzmen and those GI Josephines the Fenner Sisters went down a bomb. Wish I'd been there.
Most importantly, the Cystic Fibrosis charity raised £1100 which is what the gig was all about.
Try and catch this package next time around at the Manor Hotel, West Auckland on July 23.
Lance.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pelican Post

Following several mentions in BBSH of the Emcee Five, I’m sure I remember seeing them playing at a club at the top of Northumberland Street, above what was then the News Theatre. I think the club was called the Pelican Club but I might be wrong about that. Has anyone recollections, or more info?
Jack Goodwin.
(The above photo has Ian Carr in his pre Emcee Five days at the Pelican Club. Ronnie McLean is the trombonist and Don Armstrong the sax player - Lance.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paul Edis Trio @ Blaydon Jazz Club

Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms).
This was just about the perfect mix - standards peppered with originals. Indeed, with the passage of time, in a perfect world, the originals themselves would become standards in their own right.
Bill Evansish was how Roly described Paul earlier and certainly Bill Evans' influence could be felt - particularly on ballads such as Funny Valentine and Every Time We Say Goodbye. However, Paul is much more than a mere clone - he is very much his own man as he demonstrated throughout the evening.
Singing in the Rain was the 'non-dancing' version and it worked well. Cheek to Cheek had a few piano bars of counterpoint that could have changed the title to Bach to Bach.
On bass, Mick seemed to be more prominent than of yore taking a melody part in Emily and also featured on his own Song For Claire as well as a bowed/hummed solo a la Slam Stewart on Paul's Big Jug Blues.
Adam had some imaginative breaks when exchanging fours - he really does listen to what's going on around him - as well as providing the impetus behind the other two.
Taking the Dog for a Walk was a Paul original with a really catchy lilt to it and some stride-like piano thrown in for good measure and, even though he wasn't playing, Roly was acknowledged with one of his own compositions based on the enigmatic Job Shufflebottom - a person he encountered in his nine to five days.
Another enjoyable evening at a cosy little corner of the jazz world.
Lance.

A Further Memory of Dave Fox and the Bungalow Jazz Club by Ray Chester.

It's a coincidence that you mentioned Eric Delaney in a previous post because one of my memories of the Bungalow Jazz Club is of him turning up there one night and sitting in with the trio - this at the time when he was leading his big band and a very important musician. I think he had a girl friend who lived on one of the Sunderland housing estates and whom he later married. The word was that he turned up in his big car (Bentley?) which was parked outside the council house where she lived and caused quite a bit of comment!
The Bungalow Jazz Club was on Sunday nights in what was, for the rest of the week, Gilbert Daniels' studio where he taught ballroom dancing. He was nationally known as a teacher and, I think, sometimes acted as a judge on 'Come Dancing'. He used to provide a barrel of beer which was set up in the back room and sold to the customers. This made it the first place I had ever played in where alcohol was available - licensing laws were very much stricter then. My memory is not particularly good but this must have been in the late 50/'60s.
As far as I can remember the first resident trio included Bob and Ronnie Stephenson with Bob on piano and Ronnie on drums. Ronnie was still a teenager, Bob a bit older. Ronnie went on to much greater things - The Johnny Dankworth Big Band, the resident trio at Ronnie Scott's and Sunday Night at the Palladium with Jack Parnell's band. He moved to the continent, first with the Kurt Edelhagen band and finally in a theatre in Berlin with time off to do various jazz gigs. A few years ago he contracted a serious illness and took retirement on grounds of ill health. He and his wife moved to a place in the east of Scotland where he died not long after. Bob went to live near Glasgow a long time ago working as a pianist and arranger for the BBC among others. As far as I know he is still alive and probably working. The last time I saw him was about 15 years ago when he came to Newcastle College, where I was teaching at the time, to act as an outside assessor when the students were doing their final performance.
I took over from Bob at the Bungalow with Derek Dixon on bass and Stan New on drums.
Dave Fox first came to the north east with the Wiley Price Band which took over from Al Flush at the Rink Ballroom in Sunderland not long after it had been taken over by the Rank Organisation. After they had completed their contract they were replaced by Bill Sowerby's band which included Dave on drums and me as 4th Trumpet/Trombone/Arranger. I think he was originally from the Plymouth area but he had moved around quite a bit before arriving in Sunderland. He never intended to stay but lived here for the rest of his life.
Over the years he did a lot of gigs for me in all sorts of bands from the Big Band down to trios and including quite a few pantos at Sunderland Empire. He was an excellent player with a knack of doing the right thing at the right time and I have often remarked that for a lot of the time I forgot he was there because he was so right. Dave also worked a lot on cruise liners.
He was the original drummer with the Emcee Five when they played late night gigs on Saturdays at the jazz club that operated above the old Arcade at the bottom of Pilgrim Street. He was fond of telling me, at great length, about a trip to Italy with them which, as he told it, was a bit of a nightmare. I used to hear a lot of stories from Dave because he never learned to drive and when he played for me I used to be his taxi.
Ray Chester.

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About this blog - contact details.

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 Maggie, Tony, 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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