Bebop Spoken There
Benny Goodman: “...maybe Fletcher [Henderson] isn't the best pianist going, but he knows what we want.” – (Down Beat December 15, 1939).
Sonny Rollins: “I don't feel I'm as great as they think I am.” – (Down Beat November 28, 1956).
Today Monday February 8
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
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!
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
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
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, 2010
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!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
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About this blog - contact details.
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.)
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