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Bebop Spoken There

Clark Terry: "The only difference between a groove and a grave is the dimensions." - (Down Beat June 1, 1966).

Cindy Blackman Santana: “He [Jack Bruce] doesn’t believe in pedals. He plugs the bass in; he’s like, ‘I play bass, I don’t play pedals.’(Jazz Journal August 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Saturday August 2

Afternoon
RACHEL's DREAM - St. Augustine's, Larchfield St., Darlington DL3 7TG. 12.30pm. £10.
Monthly, Now's the time.
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Evening
TBA (Solo jazz), Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 0191 2399924.
Class food class solo jazz.
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GILBY & WILLIAMS - Jazz Café. 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9pm. FREE!
Duo set by Zoe & Mark - The earth may move!.
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RENDEZVOUS JAZZ - Sandpiper, Farringdon Rd., Cullercoats NE30 3ER. 8.30pm £3.
Monthly Tonight's the night!
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KENNY THE SAX & SUE - Trimmers Arms, Commercial Rd., South Shields. 9pm free. 0191 4545550.
Wild sax man, sexy singer - or is it the other way round?
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LOUNGE LIZARDS - The Voyager, Anderson St., South Shields. 9pm. Free.
It's all happening in Shields tonight!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ned Kelly's

Our man Colin Aitchison was on the RTHK Radio Show Morning Brew talking a little about the history of Ned Kelly's Bar in Hong Kong where he is the resident band leader. Click here. Lance.

Darlo Devastated

Today's Northern Echo revealed that severe government cutbacks look like causing Darlington's two premier music and arts outlets - Darlington Civic Theatre and Darlington Arts Centre - to close.
This was later confirmed in conversation tonight at the Sage with Darlo's jazz supremo Peter Bevan.
Existing bookings will be honoured but, after that these two oases will no longer operate.
The tide is coming in the water level is rising...
Lance.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sirkis Comes To Town - The Sage, Hall Two.

Asaf Sirkis Trio: Asaf Sirkis (perc), Pat Bennison (bs/hca), Tassos Piliotopoulos (gtr).
Art of Sound Trio: John Law (pno), Tom Farmer (bs), Asaf Sirkis (perc).
Two trios, five outstanding musicians, the ingredients were all there and yet...
Asaf Sirkis (pictured left), the common denominator to both groups, is undeniably a drummer/percussionist of world standing. He has been compared to Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette and there is no doubting his technique which was heard to great effect with both groups.
Tassos Piliotopoulos is a fast fingered fretman whilst Bennison has long been recognised as a top bass guitar man - tonight he added harmonica to his C.V.
...and yet somehow the whole was less than the sum of the individual parts.
I can't quite explain it. The pieces were original, showed changes of tempo, different modes, yet didn't quite cut it for me. A little too much introspective probing, searching, seeking direction.
Not my bag.
Having said that, the steady flow of folk buying Asaf's CDs during the interval put me clearly in the minority!
John Law's Art of Sound Trio. This was better! Laws is one of the newer breed who can play jazz with ne'er a blue note nor flattened fifth in sight! If Bach had still been around he may have sounded like this after he'd had a Kronnenbourg or six and that is a compliment to both John and Johann Sebastian.
This was superb piano playing even though he did do strange things inside the piano - thankfully no table tennis balls!
Bassist Tom Farmer did the biz on bass and Sirkis had a grand solo finale.
The Curate may have supplied the eggs but they certainly weren't poached!
An okay gig.
Lance.

The Halloween Hop

The latest offering from our in-house cartoonist Bill Shaw. More cartoons.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Night is Dankworth Night

Apologies to all including Russell who gave me the info but tonight BBC4 has devoted 3 hours to Sir John Dankworth - better known as just plain Johnny to us cats of a certain age - including some Jazz 625 footage. It started at 9pm.
I hear you cry 'It's now 11:15! Banjo Lance - subject him to Kenny G - make him listen to Ake Takasi - force him to drink John Smith's - make him wear a Zoot Suit of sackcloth and ashes.'
Don't fret - it is repeated in the early hours and, no doubt, available on the good old BBC iplayer.
Lance.

Not Just Another Poster

This latest edition to the Posters and Programmes is a reminder of what was possibly the greatest ever Jazz Festival held in the North-east if not the UK.
The 1978 Cleveland Jazz Festival at Middlesbrough's then football ground Ayresome Park.
Just look at the names!
And I was there.
The festival was promoted by George Wein and Andy Hudson.
The poster is from the archives of the late Chris Yates.
Lance.

Ayanna Top Banana @ The Apollo.

Ayanna Witter-Johnson - jazz improvising cellist - who wowed the audience at The Cluny earlier this year was crowned Super Top Dog at the finals of the Amateur Night Live competition in New York on Wednesday.
Under the roof of the renowned Apollo Theater in Harlem, Ayanna joins a legacy of legendary performers, which include Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Gladys Knight and Luther Vandross, to name a few. Since the theatre opened in 1934, its signature live show has been a definitive career-making opportunity for new talent, and is revered as one of the most celebrated platforms for showcasing up-and-coming performers.
Lance.

Saturday Night @ The Sage

The Drifters are in Hall One but for jazz fans the double bill in Hall Two is the place to be.
This double bill presents two of the UK's finest jazz trios both featuring percussionist Asaf Sirkis. John Law's Art of Sound trio, playing John’s compositions, (with Tom Farmer, bass, and Asaf Sirkis, drums and percussion) has been described as "a sublime trio… a band heading for great things" by The Guardian. Asaf Sirkis’s own trio generates a compelling intensity, propelled by “not only an inventive drummer but also a composer of rigour, with and surprising delicacy” (Mojo). Presented with Jazz North East.
£13.50.
(From the Sage Website.)
Lance.

A Message From Mike Durham

Dear jazz-lover: next Friday is Bonfire Night of course, but if you fancy some musical fireworks instead of the pyrotechnic variety, get along to the Saville Exchange to see British Jazz Award trumpeter Rico Tomasso with the Swing City Trio (8.00pm, £11/concessions £10). Rico plays wonderful, Armstrong-inspired trumpet and will be swinging mightily on jazz standards and ballads from the twenties and thirties, more than ably backed by Steve Andrews on tenor sax and clarinet, Roly Veitch on guitar and a few vocals and Roy Cansdale on bass. A sensation on their last North East appearance at the Trinity Centre (a sell-out), Rico and the trio are a must-see and I can't recommend them too highly for a supremely entertaining evening - guaranteed to go with a bang!
Mike.

Meanwhile, Down in The Smoke...

Sarah Ellen Hughes, not unknown to our more discerning fans, has appeared around the north-east a few times (Cherry Tree, Berwick, Bishop Auckland). Sarah is not only a quality singer but can also string a sentence or three together and she has previewed, for LondonJazz, some educational events taking place during November's London Jazz Festival.
I mention this as one of our local heroes - guitarist and improv artist - Chris Sharkey is one of the Tutors.
Pete Churchill, MD at Wednesday's Henry Lowther concert at The Sage, is another one passing on his wisdom so, although 300 miles away, there is a degree of local involvement.
Click on the LondonJazz link for more details.
Lance.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ray Chester Big Band @ The Corner House.

Graham Hardy, Mick Hill, Dave Hignett, Alec Lewis, Tim Rhodes (tpts). Don Fairley, Eric Strodl, Alan Bravey, Dave Brock (tmb). Ray Dales, Kim Webb (alt), Steve Summers, Alan Marshall (ten), Niall Armstrong (bar). Colin Haikney (pno), Pete Stuart (bs), Stu Haikney (dms). Mia Webb (vcl), Ray Chester (ldr).
A big band within the confinemes of the Corner House is a daunting prospect. A 5-4-5-3 formation playing Herman/Kenton charts is enough to make the management of the newly refurbished building wonder if, like the Walls of Jericho, the place will come a 'tumbling down.
Needless to say the walls didn't crumble and one does wonder about the legend although if Dave Hignett had been blowing lead on the Jericho gig then the fantasy becomes feasible.
Ray's band drew a good crowd who paid their respects to the local bandleader who has been plying his craft for nigh on 60 years!
Woody's Applehoney, Stan's Intermission Riff. Woody's Opus de Funk, Stan's Painted Rhythm, Woody's Greasy Sack Blues were just some of the old warhorses that were faithfully reproduced. In particular, the sumptuous But Beautiful stood out - rich and mellow with harmonies as deep as they come.
Dr. Steve Summers and Alan Marshall blew superb tenor whilst Ray Dales had some impressive moments on alto.
Graham Hardy is on a roll these days soloing with the same aplomb as he did last Sunday with Zoe and, no doubt, did at Paul's apres funeral jam this afternoon. Don Fairley took care of the trombone solos and the rhythm section kept things swinging.
Mia Webb was featured in the June Christy role and did indeed share some of that famous singers vocal traits.
A good gig that was appreciated by all.
Lance.

Paul Edis says...

Hi All,
I found the website of Pete Cook - a sax player who was the head of jazz when I was at college, and I thought I'd let you know about it.
There is a blog that contains 'Cookies thoughts', here is one that I read about the 'last note lottery', but there is also a series of podcasts freely available for anyone interested at all about jazz harmony and improvisation ideas etc. I contacted him, and he's keen for anyone to use it and give him feed-back. A fantastic resource for budding players I reckon.... Here's the blog. http://web.mac.com/petecook/Site/Blog/Entries/2010/8/28_The_Last_Note_Lottery.html Here's the podcasts http://web.mac.com/petecook/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html
Paul Edis.

Rosie Malone's

Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt/alt/vcl), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms).
After the funeral I wasn't really in the mood for Rosie's but, once the Maine Street boys had blown a few and Olive had sung a couple the mood picked up. Jim doubled on alto today and had a nice mid-period sound, he also sang Nobody's Sweetheart. Olive Kept Out of Mischief which wasn't what Hard Hearted Hannah (the vamp of Savannah) would do! Good session. Nice to meet Norma and Gavin of the Tees Valley Stompers.
Photos. Lance.

Paul Gamblin - the last farewell.

There are inevitably two elements to a funeral. Two contrasting ones. The first, the sadness that pervades when you realise that a person, a friend or, in my case, a musician whose playing I greatly admired, is no more.
That is the mood you are in upon arrival.
Then, you look around and you see all these people - young and old - here to pay their respects, and you start to feel better.
Today was the day that I wished I'd known Paul better. Wished I'd known him as I'd known his father - both were great guitarists. However, after I'd left the chapel I felt I had known him and did know him and the heartfelt eulogies expressed by family and friends only served to emphasise that feeling.
Leaving to the music of Barney Kessel was just perfect.
I was unable to attend the musical celebration afterwards at the Rugby Club but, knowing that Roly Veitch, Neil Harland, Jeremy McMurray, Tim Johnston, Ruth Lambert, Stu Collingwood, Graham Hardy, Dave Cliff, Mike Waller - to mention but a few - were around, Paul, I feel, would be smiling contentedly.
Lance.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kenny Wheeler's 80th Birthday Big Band Concert @ The Sage

Kenny Wheeler (flg), Derek Watkins, Henry Lowther, John Barcley, Nick Smart (tpts). Dave Horler, Mark Nightingale, Barnaby Dickinson, Dave Stewart (tmbs). Ray Warleigh, Duncan Lamont (alt), Evan Parker, Stan Sulzman (ten), Julian Arguelles, (bar). John Taylor (pno), John Paricelli (gtr), Chris Laurence (bs), Martin France (dms), Diana Torto (vcl) and Pete Churchill (MD).
Given another name concert (The Frank Vignola Trio) was on at the Customs House just ten mile downstream and that the 'Toon' (Newcastle United - a local soccer team) were in Carling Cup action at home to Arsenal it wasn't, perhaps, surprising that the numbers in The Sage's Hall One were pitifully thin. Even so, it was still difficult to understand as, in jazz terms, this wasn't Carling Cup it was Premier League verging on Champions League and, whereas Arsenal went away with a 4-0 victory, those jazz fans who attended Kenny W's 80th Birthday bash were at a concert where nobody could lose.
An all original program written and arranged by the birthday boy himself kicked off with a quartet number which let us know that his melodic ear was intact. Blowing flugel he kept to the middle/lower register in the manner of Chet Baker and the sound was mellifluous the tone full and bright and round like a Hunter's Moon in a cloudless sky.
Gradually the other musicians wandered on and the scene was set.
Using the voice as an instrument isn't new - from Duke onwards it has been experimented with - Michael Garrick and Norma Winstone being a typical example.
Diana Torto was a new name to me but has she got ears! Soaring above the ensemble or wordlessly soloing, her pitching and timing are immaculate. One minor crit - I felt she went a little over the top in the final piece. Having said that, others thought that this was her finest moment so who am I to argue!
Apart from KW, until the finale, the saxes had had the brunt of the solo's each putting his brand on the particular opus.
The actual last number finally allowed the trumpets and trombones to have their say and say it they did!
Am I wrong in thinking Mark Nightingale and Henry Lowther were deserved of a little more space?
John Taylor, apart from helping the aging flugel hornist to his chair, also played fine piano and the rhyhm section were superb all-round with Martin France's drumming right on the money.
Lance.

Kenny Wheeler Preview.

Tonight, October 27, sees the Kenny Wheeler 80th Birthday Big Band concert at The Sage, Gateshead.
With the most amazing British big band line-up ever this is a concert no-one should miss!
If the personel listed below doesn't get you salivating then - Jack you're dead!
Kenny Wheeler, Derek Watkins, Henry Lowther, John Barcley, Nick Smart (tpts). Dave Horler, Mark Nightingale, Barnaby Dickinson, Dave Stewart (tmbs). Evan Parker, Stan Sulzman, Julian Arguelles, (saxes). John Taylor (pno), John Paricelli (gtr), Chris Laurence (bs), Martin France (dms), Diana Torto (vcl) and Pete Churchill (MD) - a steal at £16.50!
As a further incentive to hightail it along to The Sage's Hall One for 8:00pm start, check out this review from LondonJazz.
Lance.
For tickets phone 0191 4434661 0r go online at http://www.thesagegateshead.org/.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ruthie Henshall and The Sound of Hollywood @ The Sage, Gateshead.

A tremendous show that was thoroughly enjoyed by the three tier packed Hall One.
Ruthie Henshall is a West End legend and her tribute to the stars of those great Hollywood movies was done both brilliantly and sincerely. Close your eyes and you're listening to Streisand, Merman, Garland, Andrews yet still getting one hundred percent Henshall.
Ruthie looked good in a red gown for the first set and a slinky, figure hugging, off the shoulder, sequined topped black dress with a tantalising split up the side in the second. Keeping the star on her toes were four great singers/dancers whose names I omitted to jot down but their choreography, harmony and feature numbers were the epitome of class.
Behind it all the Manchester Concert Orchestra under Richard Balcombe handled the complex scores with apparent ease. Below is the gist of the material which also included The Aitchison, Topeko and the Sante Fe, Get Happy, We're A Couple of Swells, and Over The Rainbow - done as an encore and with great sensitivity. Surprisingly, the show stopper of the first set was The Rhythm of Life from Sweet Charity with the five singers producing a contrapuntal almost Bach-like fugue effect.

There's No Business Like Show Business (overture) - Annie Get Your Gun. Everything's Coming up Roses - Gypsy. I Get a Kick Out of You, Anything Goes, You're The Top - Anything Goes Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better - Annie Get Your Gun The Carioca - Flying Down to Rio (instrumental) Hello Dolly - Hello Dolly I'm the Greatest Star, People, Don't Rain on my Parade - Funny Girl The Man That Got Away - A Star is Born The Trolley Song, The Boy Next Door - Meet me in St Louis Good mornin' - Singin' in the rain Willkommen - Cabaret Thoroughly Modern Millie - Thoroughly Modern Millie Wouldn't it be Lovely - My Fair Lady

Excellent!

Lance.

Update on Paul Gamblin Funeral Arrangements.

As stated earlier, the funeral of Paul Gamblin will take place at Tynemouth Crem., Walton Avenue, Tynemouth at 11:15am.
Afterwards, the family have expressed a wish for there to be a musical celebration of Paul's life and, as such, Percy Park Rugby Club, with whom Paul had such a close connection, have made their premises available for a jam session.
Amps and keyboard will be available and all who knew Paul are invited to bring their instruments.
If at least one drummer could bring a kit it would be appreciated.
Let's give Paul the send-off he would have wanted.
Lance.

Tonight At The Sage, Gateshead - RUTHIE HENSHALL

After Lindsay, Zoe and Sarah Ellen comes Ruthie - Ruthie Henshall. Hall One at The Sage tonight should be alive with the sound of music as Ruthie steps up to the plate in a tribute to the Hollywood Musical.
I'm not expecting much, if indeed any, jazz in the show but nevertheless it should be a very entertaining evening of song and dance.
Check this clip out...
Lance.

Bobby Carr photo discovered.

Ruth C unearthed this circa 1955 photo of the late Bobby Carr.
Photo has been renovated by George Watt.
Thank you George, thank you Ruth.
On the subject of Bobby I would still like Steve Grant to get in touch with me.
Lance.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sarah Ellen Hughes @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond.

Sarah Ellen Hughes (vcl), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms).
Peter was in New York so I felt rather honoured to be allocated 'The Captain's Table'! Coupled with a warm welcome from Sarah Ellen I anticipated a pleasant evening was in store for me and I wasn't disappointed - well not much.
The Bayonne Ham, Turnip Remoulade, Purple Figs and Mustard were delicious. The Bavette Steak and Frites divine. The Créme Caramel, Vanilla Poached Pear was mouth meltable and the Black Sheep Bitter surely came from the Nectar Brewery.
Sarah Ellen Hughes and the Paul Edis Trio gelled so smoothly you'd have thought they'd been working together for years.
No, the rub was a noisy party upstairs who almost killed Little Boy Blue and two couples downstairs, close to the stage, and who were old enough to know better, who chatted non stop during the performance.
Nevertheless, our girl coped like the young pro she has quickly become and presented a selection of gassers that ticked the right boxes.
I'm not going to list them all but stand-outs included Come Rain or Come Shine with just bass accompaniment for the first chorus, a swingy Frim Fram Sauce, Bernstein's Some Other Time, Soon, a voice only intro to Get Out Of Town, the obligatory (it would seem) Secret Love, The End of a Beautiful Friendship and so many more.
There's no doubting SEH's jazz credentials she takes the melody for a stroll around the block then comes back home via a different route but never gets lost scatting and playfully exchanging fours with the trio en route.
Paul Edis played some clever solos - when does he not? Mick and Adam clearly enjoyed themselves as can be seen on the photo (sorry about the photo Paul - you would have been on it if your dad had been on lens duty!)
Great night - but that audience!
Lance.
PS: When I refer to 'That audience', needless to say, I don't include Gaby and her husband!

Zoe Gilby Splinter @ The Bridge - Take 2.

It's surely not a good idea to cross swords with the blogmaster but, as self-appointed Fashion Editor of BSH, I must protest at the photo of Zoe in his review. The photo does nothing to convey the mixture of glamour and confident friendliness that Zoe and the band projected. Other women singers I've seen usually don't chat much, but Zoe's tales of Travel Lodge adventures, at London, Ipswich etc. were interesting and amusing.
In the two years that I've been listening to jazz seriously, this gig was definitely one of the best. There was certainly No More Blues after the singing began and Zoe gave a 100% to the audience, with adventurous timings in the songs, and a voice with a massive range and wonderfully handled high notes. I especially liked the tender song of love for 7 year old Eleanor; the Tom Waits spiritual Way Down In The Hole (sung with just Andy on bass, how romantic to be able to do music with your fiancé); the heartfelt 'Round Midnight; and the fun of Some Cats Know. For this last number Zoe wisely stopped singing to let the band finish the number with cat-like calls and howls even though the 'cats' Zoe sang about weren't of the feline variety!
The band were great and Lance has covered that aspect of the gig so I've left that to him.
Meanwhile you can all relive the evening with the CD Looking Glass. Great stuff.
Ann Alex.
PS: More photos - this time some from Richard - a friend of Zoe and Andy.

Michael Garrick M.B.E

Michael Garrick M.B.E. certainly moves in the best circles as can been seen in these two photos. On the right he is with HRH getting 'gonged' whilst on the left the pianist and composer is with BSH Fashion Editor Ann Alex after a Jazz North East concert at Gateshead Old Town Hall. Lance.

Zoe Gilby - Splinter @ The Bridge

Zoe Gilby (vcl), Mark Williams (gtr), Graham Hardy (tpt), Andy Champion (bs), Richard Brown (dms).
I've heard Zoe many times over the past couple of years. Sometimes she was good, other times she was very good but tonight - tonight she was triple triple very good!
The voice, the stage presence, the rapport with the audience and, most importantly, the empathy with her fellow musicians all seems to have come together resulting in a performance worthy of Hall One at The Sage although I think the intimate atmosphere in the upper room at The Bridge is near perfect for her hands on approach.
The gig being part of Zoe's promotional tour it wasn't surprising that most of the songs came from the recently released Looking Glass CD and every one was a gem.
From the opening No More Blues to the final, up-tempo, That Old Black Magic the feelgood factor was there. Time After Time, May I Come In, the Champion/Gilby composition Your Words were some of the others that were all done to perfection.
The band were with her all the way - Mark Williams, cool and laid back, Andy rock solid, Richard Brown swinging things along...
Then there was Graham Hardy!
Depping for Noel Dennis, Graham played some of the most imaginative trumpet I've heard in recent times. His own band, Horn Dogs, are next week's featured group at The Bridge

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jazz Café Sunday Afternoon

The Jazz Café on Newcastle's Pink Lane is quite unique - without aid or support from them as supply aid and support to artistic ventures the place has survived for 20 years. The anniversary is, I think, next weekend. We're not expecting someone to arrive with a blue plaque but it would be nice to see it acknowledged somewhere in the jazz world. I ain't holding my breath! The Jazz Café is a place to hang out - like Jim 'n Andy's in New York - a place to drink, listen, talk to fellow musos maybe pick up a gig or a hangover. Sunday afternoon it's the only game in town (not Toon). The jam session is great and today was an example of what is wonderful about jazz at street level.
Young guy, didn't catch his name (David perhaps?) blew a few trombone choruses on Summertime. I'm not going to build him up and say they were fabulous but they were okay and we gave him the applause they merited.
Applause? must want more so he charged off into another chorus! I'm gonna bet that David makes good.
On the vocal front Lindsay laid Midnight Sun upon us handling the 'Alabaster Palace' and the 'Aurora Borealis' rhyme with ease - the rhymester's rhyme! You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To, Deed I Do and Night in Tunisia were others that glowed effervescently.
Gaby was there but didn't get a shot before I left. Claire did and she was on song.
No drums but, with Pete playing Perc Piano who cares.
John Hedley kept the bass seat warm for Paul Grainger and a student from Cyprus (?) sang beautifully.
Elaine - as ever the string section - kept the Grappelli legend alive and Don Forbes wandered in and out of a few tunes. Stu blew too.
Too soon 'twas time for me to depart and head for the Bridge...
Lance.

Here Come The Girls

The Divas are on the march! This afternoon Lindsay Hannon will be slaying 'em at the Jazz Café on Pink Lane, Newcastle - maybe Gaby, too, will be around to pick up the pieces.
Across town at the Bridge Hotel the Zoe Gilby Quintet will touchdown at 8:00pm as part of her nationwide Looking Glass tour.
On Monday night the Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, welcomes a return visit by Sarah Ellen Hughes. Next month Sarah takes part in The Vocal Summit during the London Jazz Festival but on Monday she's at Jesmond.
Tuesday night, not quite jazz, but Ruthie Henshall, strutting her stuff at The Sage, Gateshead, in a Tribute to the Hollywood Musicals, should get the red corpuscles moving.
Wednesday night at the same venue Diana Tarto adds the vocal touch to Kenny Wheeler's 80th Birthday Big Band Bash whilst on Thursday afternoon, at Rosie's, Olive Rudd shimmies like her sister Kate and in the evening, at the Corner House, Heaton, God and the builders willing, Mia Webb sings whilst the Ray Chester Big Band swing Woody Herman and Stan Kenton.
Friday afternoon I could go over to the Porthole and dig Maureen Hall and Rendezvous Jazz but, by then, I may be all 'Diva'd out'.
Lance.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Language of Jazz - The G.S.Wellard Septet

It was raining - felines and canines were falling from the heavens - I had neither Fedora nor umbrella. I stumbled into the nearest shop which just happened to be an Age Concern Joint. I figured I might lay out on some kind of head covering. No such joy apart from a baseball cap promoting The Mets - as if! Instead I hung out and fingered the merchandise until the rain stopped.
A couple of CD's were sitting forlornly on the shelf. I had a look - Bing Sings, Bregman Swings. I remembered it from way back - one of the old groaner's better outings with Sweets and Rosolino in the band plus some tracks with Rosie Clooney. The other one was named The Language of Jazz. Sounded a drag - I guessed it would be one of those 'In the beginning Buddy Bolden created Jass etc...'
Wrong!
The perp was one G.S Wellard - not the jazziest of names - and I prepared to leave it to gather dust. However, it was still raining and I have an aversion to getting wet so I investigated further.
My eyes popped!
Steve Fishwick on trumpet, Ed Jones, tenor, Jim Mullen, hey wait a minute this could be okay and - what the heck - it's only 99p!
Thank you rain! You just done me one big favour.
Recorded in 1999 it's one of the coolest discs I've heard for a long time!
Tunes by Jay Jay, Hank Mobley, Donald Brown and others provide the perfect launch pad for these young bopsters.
Leader, Gordon Wellard, is on drums and he admirably states that the proceeds will go to a project he is involved in to bring jazz into secondary schools across the UK.
I don't know how far this project got but it sounds like it was maybe a worthy aim.
Full personel is: Steve Fishwick (tpt), Mike Feltham (tmb), Bob Martin (alto), Ed Jones (ten), Steve Ashworth/Nick Tomalin (piano), Mike Edmunds (bs/gtr), Gordon Wellard (drums), Jim Mullen (guitar on final track).
Lance.
PS: And then the rain clouds cleared and I hotfooted it back to HQ - tell you what I need more rainy days like this!

Tees Valley - gigs coming up next month.

The Tees Valley Jazzmen are celebrating their first (?) 40 year anniversary and are holding two special nights - 7th November Bowburn Hall, Bowburn and 28th November Blue Bell Hotel, Acklam, Middlesbrough.
They are also holding another charity night for Cystic Fibrosis. The Tees Valley Jazzmen featuring the Fabulous Fenner Sisters appear at Glaxo Sports and Social Club, Barnard Castle on Nov. 20.
See poster in r.h. column for details.
Lance.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Paul Gamblin - Tonight's Evening Chronicle.

There is a report in tonight's Evening Chronicle on the death of Paul Gamblin. Although described as a Music Teacher there is no reference to his immense skills as a guitarist concentrating instead on Paul's enthusiasm and ability as a rugby coach.
Lance.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fun-packed Afternoon with Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie's.

Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt/sop), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl). This was a fun-packed afternoon helped along by two couples from Plymouth en-route to Amsterdam - Amsterdam you have been warned! Sue, seen here dancing with Charlie Cragg, was the life and soul of this party along with Peter, Andrew and Tracey who were hell-bent on having a great weekend before they even reached the ferry! Nice to have met you all and come back soon. On stage, Olive impressed with Hard Hearted Hannah, I Double Dare You, All of Me and others whilst Herbie really hit the spot with his harmonica playing (and of course his tromboning and singing). Ray and Jim had their moments too! Jim blew a few on Soprano and Ray's playing was a testimony to the skills of his dentist! The engine room throbbed like no other trad engine room around. Stand out numbers were Lazy River, Dixieland One-Step, Someday You'll Want Me To Want You and their glorious rendition of South Rampart Street Parade. The pub was crowded - Good-time jazz at its best. I think I spotted Lulu - she had two beers and then burst into tears... Photos from Maine Street. Lance.

Omid's Express & Take It to The Bridge @ The Chilli

Omid's Express: Omid Ramak (drums), Andrew Porritt (electric bass), Alan Law (keyboards), Matthew Office (guitar), Stuart Finden (tenor saxophone) & Fiona Littlewood (vocals). Take It To The Bridge: Dave Weisser (trumpet & vocals), Dougie Fielder (tenor saxophone), Jim Crinson (guitar), Barrie Ascroft (keyboards), Ivan Scutt (electric bass) & Rob Bates (drums) + Gaby (vocals) On a chilly night at the Chilli there was much entertainment on offer. Downstairs in the bar, with a perfect pint of Workie Ticket at hand, there was the satisfying spectacle on the big screen of Tottenham Hotspur being torn apart by Inter (some of us had backed the Milanese). then at half time it was time to go upstairs to hear some jazz. Seated in time to hear the first number, Weisser & Co. gave it to us just as we like it - Straight No Chaser. Dizzy's Woody 'n You was a good one with Dougie Fielder on form. Dave Weisser announced that he had recently celebrated a birthday. As the audience started to sing Happy Birthday Dave said 'Please, don't' - he'd prefer to look ahead and duly started to sing Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow. The Chilli being a jazz cats' haunt, this was an unwelcome development, which, thankfully, was cut short by bassist Ivan Scutt's plea - 'Let's play some jazz'. Dave said 'Okay, guys' and we got Jobim's classic bossa nova Wave with good vocals from the Main Man and Scutt soloing sympathetically. This week's guests Omid's Express, formed recently by young drummer Omid Ramak, was making its debut performance and we heard a varied programme with some interesting arrangements. Budvivarians Fiona Littlewood and Stuart Finden were out front and the back line was marshalled with good humour by band leader Ramak. New Budvivarian Alan Law played a blues-drenched intro and guitarist Matthew Office constructed the first of several tasteful solos as Ms. Littlewood opined Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You with tenorist Finden blowing authoritatively throughout. Other tunes included Well You Needn't, once again featuring good work from Littlewood and Law and bassist Andrew Porritt and the tired old warhorse Summertime was reinvigorated by the band and Finden got it just right - Paul Desmond with an edge. This was a promising debut. Ramak is one to watch, so too Office. A rapid return visit to the Chilli by Omid's Express seems more than likely. The evening's entertainment concluded with TITTB's late second set. Mainstay Barrie Ascroft played good piano on Bob Mintzer's Three Views of a Secret and Jim Crinson was in fine form all evening, not least on Tadd Dameron's Good Bait. An unexpected highlight (the unexpected is one of the highlights of a Chilli session) was a late, late appearance from Gaby. We heard her sing two classic tunes - Love Me Or Leave Me and Lady Sings The Blues. Excellent. Next week's guests: Alan Glen Trio. Russell

Pee Wee Ellis & Gareth Williams at Lanercost Priory October 16.

The sense of anticipation was enormous for me, this being my first opportunity to listen to some Jazz under the great rafters of Lanercost Priory and I wasn't to be disappointed!

Local heroine Roz Sluman and her band 'smoothed' their way onto the stage, very effectively set across the nave of the Priory, with a couple of classics including a spirited rendition of It could happen to you. Roz's comment that this was the first time she had not had to mic up the saxophone in such a large venue was borne out by the excellent and much talked about acoustics provided by the wonderful vaulted ceiling and ancient stones of the building. After a great up-tempo Bernie's Tune Roz treated us to a soulful version of Angel Eyes which really allowed the notes to soar to the beautifully worked wooden ceiling. Joined by vocalist Pete Hoban to end the set, the first half of the concert really demonstrated that the Priory could enhance all types of music

From the first number, Pee Wee Ellis treated us to a master class with melodious notes spilling out of his sax so fast, that even he admitted to showing off, just a little! He was clearly enjoying the venue, with the rich mellow tones of his playing filling the whole of the Priory with total ease. I had deliberately sat right at the back to test the acoustics and they didn't disappoint.

Interspersed with fascinating snippets about his life as a musician, including how he approached Sonny Rollins to give him a lesson when he was just 16, Pee Wee, accompanied on the grand piano in great style by Gareth Williams, took us through an eclectic repertoire from Herbie Hancock to Willie Nelson with some of his own material thrown in for good measure, all in his very individual style - including the singing!

He generously invited Roz and her band to join him on stage, with some fabulous duets between him and Roz, which clearly lifted her playing to another level and then closed the evening with a touch of James Brown, encouraging us to join in on the vocals!

A standing ovation was richly justified and the evening was, without doubt, another triumph of fundraising by David Gosling for that now prestigious jazz venue, Lanercost Priory! It all left me thinking - 'top that David' - and I'm sure he will. I look forward to it Sally Moon - BBC Radio Cumbria - 'And all that Jazz' programme.

Video of Roz and Pee Wee blowing on Now's The Time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paul Gamblin Funeral Arrangements

The funeral of guitarist Paul will take place on Thursday October 28 at Tynemouth Crem. at 11:15am and afterwards at - T.B.A. Lance.

Book Early For Your Christmas Turkey

A Message From Brian THE ROARING TWENTY'S CHRISTMAS FANCY DRESS PARTY Dissington Hall, Ponteland. FRIDAY 17 DECEMBER, 2010 7.15 - 11.30pm £25 7.00pm: Arrive. 7.15pm: VCJ Quartet (easy listening) 7.45pm: Dinner
Delicious Homemade Spicy Parsnip & Potato Soup served with fresh breads. Traditional Turkey roasted in butter and black pepper served with a chipolata sausage wrapped in smoky bacon with traditional stuffing and cranberry sauce. Or: Caramelized Onion and Goats Cheese Tartlet served with a fresh tomato and basil sauce. All served with potatoes and fresh seasonal vegetables. Yule Log chocolate sponge, filled with chocolate mousse topped with chocolate fudge frosting sprinkled with chocolate flake and icing sugar. 9.15 - 11.30pm: The Vieux Carré Jazzmen (1920's Trad Jazz). A coach will be available for people traveling from Whitley Bay Town Centre (6.30pm) and The Corner House, Heaton (6.50pm) at an additional cost of £7 per person. The evening will be very popular so book early to avoid disappointment - call me on 0191 252 9429 or 07710 528413 or 'e' me. Best wishes, Brian Remember, you can bring Pearl she's a darn nice girl, but don't bring Lulu!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

R.I.P. Paul Gamblin

The north-east jazz world was stunned to learn that top guitarist Paul Gamblin had collapsed and died at the weekend - reportedly whilst playing rugby.
A brilliant guitarist and son of another brilliant guitarist, the late Eric Gamblin, Paul was a frequent attraction on the local scene often playing at Blaydon with various musicians and singers including Ruth Lambert and Bob Caswell.
Funeral details will be announced as soon as they are known.
Sadly missed.
Lance.
(Above photo by Eddie Carson)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jo Harrup and Paul Edis Trio Fill the Cherry Tree

Jo Harrup (vcl), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), JC Caddy (dms).
Of course the food was excellent - my Rock Lobster and Crab Linguine with Parsley and Lemon was as good a main course as you'd find this side of The Savoy Hotel - but the Dish of the Day was undoubtedly Jo Harrup.
Jo, who has herself been singing at the newly refurbished Savoy, and looking a million dollars in a lacy shimmery little black number that did nothing to detract, served up a course in the art of projecting a lyric that included Where or When, World on a String, Too Darn Hot, Love Me or Leave Me, I've Never Been in Love Before and When I Fall in Love. As well as Jo's immaculate rendition, this latter tune had a fascinating selection of notes by Paul as he went into his solo that caught my harmonic fancy.
Jo was in good voice tonight retaining the attention of the majority of the crowded restaurant well past the sweet stage - in my case - Warm Ginger Pudding, Spiced Autumn Fruits and Caramel Sauce. The Autumn Fruits blended well with Jo's Autumn Leaves.
On drums, Jo's hubby - JC - slotted in nicely with the trio whilst, as ever, Mick Shoulder was the unsung hero that kept the ship afloat.
Earlier, the trio had opened up with Miles' All Blues whilst I started with Bayonne Ham, Turnip Remoulade, Purple Figs and Mustard - both classics in their own field.
Another night to remember at the CT. The vocal season continues next week with a return visit by Sarah Ellen Hughes acc. by the Paul Edis Trio.
Lance.

Cherry Tree in Blossom Tonight

Tonight's attraction at the Cherry Tree Restaurant, (9 Osborne Rd, Jesmond) is London based local lass Jo Harrup making her third appearance with the Paul Edis Trio at the popular Jesmond eaterie. On drums tonight is Jo's husband - also called Jo - Jo Caddy. Mick Shoulder is on bass.
The singer's last two gigs here were sensational and I'm expecting nothing less tonight - book your table on 0191 2399924.
Lance.

Another masterpiece from Bill Shaw.

Zoe on Radio Cumbria

An interview with Zoe Gilby on Radio Cumbria can be heard here. It is about 1.38.54 into the program. Also Zoe sings How Long Has This Been Going On. Lance.

Threeway @ Scarborough Jazz Festival

(Annie O'Donnell takes a late look back at Threeway's Scarborough set last month.) Steve Waterman (tpt/flg), Ben Crosland (bs.gtr), Steve Lodder (keys).
1. CRYSTAL MORNING
A magical musical fusing of three into one swinging, interplaying, threeway sound - one unit which doesn't let you down, 2. WINE UNDER THE STARS
Crosland leads with bass guitar and Waterman trickles in like dew on a crocus, there, but so gentle - only a master has this kind of presence. 3. SUNSHINE AND SHOWERS My 12 yr old son Callum says, "Is this too easy for Steve - he plays so effortlessly. Why does he always play with his eyes and eyebrows?" SW calls you to rise to life, his staccato like songbirds swirling, in the elements. Steve Lodder is like a train of wild horses zig-zagging hands across the keys, solid, 4. BLUES FOR JEFF (Clyne) Steve Waterman's gentle swing with the walking bass of Ben Crosland taking us round and round with Steve Lodder picking up the tune in his underground drumming feel which takes me back to his District 6 Days when he played with Brian Abrams. Mr Waterman stands easy with trumpet, in respectful reflection like a soldier waiting to play the last post and then with the morning reveille looping all the notes in a wide swing to it's highest point. Mr Crosland's bass talks- he says it and it chats back like a pendulum of life, the root bass line down deep in the mine. 5.ACROSS THE LAND A Debussy atmosphere like African plains, Desert Sands across the lands of oceans, dolphins, whales being told of new beginnings by piano and synth storytelling of haunting new born note sound whose breath is held in birth, ..opening wide eyes across the land. Steve Lodder holds the holding chords with Ben Crosland merging like sand and sea. Meanwhile Steve Waterman is swinging with raw elements of nature...pure notes rising, so many techniques, piercing octave jumps, staccato - commands you to listen to the wonder of life across the land. 6. SECRET LOVE Waterman.'s emotional interpretation takes you to the highest hill where he told the golden daffodil with Steve Lodder hand in hand running across the meadows picking up lots of Forget-me-nots as they interplayed like cowboys yipper hollerin at the barn dance. All this time Mr Crosland's bass is fast, pulsating like a lover's heartbeat intensifying the tight knitted structure of this threesome's love of coming together with a great tune and singing it with their musician's voice. Threeways into one voice.
Annie.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

HCW @ Splinter @ The Bridge

Edd Carr (gtr), Christos Worsley (bs. gtr), John Hirst (dms).
A familiar and well known trio who continue to develop around original material. Although the content is mainly in a jazz/rock vein occasionally they throw in something of a rhapsodic nature which makes for a pleasing contrast.
Edd Carr knows his way around a fretboard - even a 7 string one - and he had some wild moments taking each chorus almost to the limit. On 5 string bass guitar Christos Worsley was less frenetic - cool and laid back his flowing bass-lines added just the right dimension. Christos looked totally different with his dark, curling locks shorn - he went into the barbers a boy and came out a man! A confidente explained it was one of the conditions of working part-time in Pizza Hut.
On drums John Hirst not only provided the impetus behind the other two but also wrote most of the compositions.
A good gig and a decent sized crowd.
Lance.

Jazz Café Jumps

I'd arranged to meet John Hedley in the Jazz Café to chat about the late Bobby Carr and other local legends. However, the band were short of a bass guitarist so guitarist John - himself a local legend - stepped in on the four stringer and wowed them all!
Nice one John - 'cept we never got to talk about Bobby!
There will be other times.
It was a good session with Lyndsay in great voice.
Angel Eyes - the archetypal saloon song according to Frank - somehow seems tailor made for the Jazz Café and Lyndsay does it justice. Likewise Willow Weep For Me just gets weepier and Ann decided it would be prefect for Ophelia's death scene in Hamlet (a compliment by the way Lyndsay!)
Very Thought of You (up tempo) didn't work for me but Deed I Do did - did it not!
Don Forbes was cool on trumpet, Pete Gilligan hot on piano - Elaine played violin that reached out and wound its strings around your heart. Nice sax work from Sarah - as always - whilst Eric kept it all together.
Oh yes and then there was Gaby! Gaby sung and swung Blackbird, Rhythm, and caressed Loverman like the lucky guy was there!
Lance.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Strictly Big Band @ The Sage.

This was a bit of a curate's egg albeit with some very tasty moments. I refer to the dancers. Think Pan's People or Legs and Co and you get the idea. Strutting their stuff in the skimpiest of costumes did nothing to detract from Sing, Sing, Sing or indeed the other numbers where, in different attire, they shimmied and - in St Louis Blues - positively bumped and grinded. The girls did good and the boys were okay too (I guess!)
In truth it was a good swinging band that, perhaps because of it being the opening night of the tour, occasionally faltered - not often I hasten to add.
The strangely named Sueyo handled the girl vocals with a bluesy feel to Why Don't You Do Right?, Blues in the Night, Fever whilst Chris Herbert did the boy thing on Hit The Road Jack, Georgia, Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams and King of the Road - one of those sixties pop songs that I think deserves Gasbook recognition.
Band numbers included Cute - with a tap dancer taking the drum breaks - an up tempo A Train that had a good trumpet blast from someone (soloists weren't named) and Groove Merchant.
Amazingly solos were very thin on the ground and this a band with Russell Henderson in the sax section! Russ's moment came in the Let The Good Times Roll finale where he managed a fine chorus on alto.
Perhaps the best combination of band and dancers was on Dizzy's Manteca - this one really gelled.
A work in progress I think.
The show was compered a la Pal Joey by David Knopov.
Lance.

Ruth Lambert Quintet @ Traveller's Rest, Darlington. Oct.14th

Ruth Lambert (vocals), Graeme Wilson (tenor saxophone), Mark Williams (guitar), Neil Harland (double bass) & Tim Johnstone (drums) Darlington's Opus 4 Jazz Club hosted a return visit by Ruth Lambert and there was a good sized crowd in the upstairs room of the West Auckland Road venue keen to hear more first rate singing from Cullercoats very own.
Saxophonist Graeme Wilson was in Johnny Cool mode and how appropriate as watching him were the likes of Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan, albeit in faded Jazz Journal-like portrait form hanging from the walls. No question about it - the iconic figures nodded approvingly.
A sprightly Mark Williams is accompanist supreme and he and Wilson were in terrific form.
In demand bass player Neil Harland always delivers and Lambert's long-time drummer Tim Johnstone was his usual self - admirably restrained.
The tunes? Well, this is the Ms.Lambert - impeccable selections performed impeccably. We heard Skylark, S'wonderful, Stella By Starlight (a gem), Dindi, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and more. Lambert's phrasing and innate sense of swing mark her out as an exceptional voice. Many of the tunes heard at the Traveller's Rest can be found on Lambert's latest CD release Easy Street. Indeed the eponymous number was given an airing with Ruth and Mark initially in duo format, as on the recording, then in quintet form. The encore (there was never any doubt that there would be one) Secret Love sent us dancing our way into the night. S'wonderful. Opus 4's November date features the Paul Edis Sextet. Russell

Musicon Jazz Festival: 4 - 6 March, 2011

Alan Barnes, Sandi Russell and the John Horler Trio Fri 4 March 7:30pm - Quad, St Chad's College, North Bailey ----- 'A day to meet people' Sat 5 March 4pm-11pm - Quad, St Chad's College, North Bailey ----- Paul Edis Trio with Vasilis Xenopoulos (saxophone) Sat 5 March 7:30pm - Quad, St Chad's College, North Bailey ----- John Etheridge (guitar) Sun 6 March 4pm - Quad, St Chad's College, North Bailey ----- Thanks to Paul Bream for drawing this event to our attention. Lance. PS: Russell informs me that these dates coincide with the Sunderland Big Band Festival - two Festivals within 15 miles of each other...

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air at The Fell with the NEW CENTURY RAGTIME ORCHESTRA

Jim McBriarty, Alan Marshall, Gavin Lee, Steve Andrews (reeds).
Tom Cook, Caroline Stephen (cornets)
Don Fairley (tmb). Neville Hartley (pno), Phil Rutherford (sousa), Keith Stephen (gtr/bjo), Emma Fisk (vln), Steve Doyle (dms) - Caroline Stephen (nee Irwin) - (vocal).
After last night's 'Free Fiasco' (from my point of view - others may view the Emperors new wardrobe differently) tonight was an antidote and, in some respects, a very pleasing one.
The New Century gang had a couple of deps in but, when one of them is Emma Fisk and the other is Stevie Doyle, I had no complaints - would you?
The band were in good fettle and it was great to drop back in time and enjoy Duke's The Mooche, Caroline singing Am I Blue? and You'd Be Surprised, Jim crooning, among others, Paddling Madeline Home. Gavin playing an ancient simple system clarinet and sounding good.
The first set over I applauded as loudly and as lustily as anyone in the VERY well attended room.
What I love about the Fell, apart from the jazz, is the audience who just love to dance and a dancing audience creates such a good feel.
Nobody danced Thursday night!
Now the downside.
Ron Pollard, who has run Jazz At The Fell for over 16 years, announced that he was faced with losing the venue as the Cricket Club weren't happy. I'm not going to go into details - that is up to Ron to make a further statement either here or/and on the club's own website.
If this happens it would pose questions that demand answers.
Throughout the region venues such as The Fell, Blaydon, Ashington, The Corner House, Jazz Café, the Chilli, the Saville Exchange, and others promote weekly/monthly sessions often with name guest artists/bands yet operate with little or no outside funding. Is this right? Should arts funding not begin at grass roots level rather than the limited appeal of some of the imported acts?
In a perfect world we should have both but, as perfect worlds are hard to come by, wouldn't it make sense to cut down on some of the 'lossleaders' and support the groundfloor?
You may argue that The Splinter series at the Bridge and at Darlington Arts does that but they are but two venues joined at the hip - if you'll pardon the pun.
These are just some thoughts that crossed my mind as I went from the ridiculous to the sublime.
Lance

Chico Hamilton Quintet in BBC 2 Film

Tomorrow night (Sat Oct 16) on BBC 2 the Chico Hamilton Quintet {Hamilton (dms), Carson Smith (bs), Fred Katz (cello), Jim Hall (soundtrack guitar), Paul Horn (fl.)} appear in the 1957 film The Sweet Smell of Success.
Curtis Counce, Buddy Clark, Conte Candoli and Frank Rosolino are also around.
The film stars Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster and the score is by Elmer Bernstein.
Thanks to Russell for drawing this to our attention.
Lance.

Change of Program this Sunday @ The Bridge Hotel

This Sunday, October 17, the trio HCW {Ed Carr (gtr), Christos Worsley (bs. gtr), John Hirst (dms)} replace the Carpus Trio at the weekly Splinter session at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. Carpus will appear at a later date to be arranged. Doors open 7:30pm amd gig starts at 8:00pm.

Aki Takase & Keith Tippett @ Kings Hall, Newcastle

Listen: when things spiral beyond serious, the gloves are off, just as today, laid flat behind them on the floor of the Kings Hall, the great black lids were off the Yin & Yang joined Steinways, scattered inside with the contents of an improvising pianist's man/woman drawer - ping pong balls, blocks of wood, curtain rings, chopsticks and old combs - to bounce, zing, excite and frustrate the normal reactions of these majestic pianos.

Keith and Aki walked on together, took their bows to welcoming applause from the more than ample lunch time audience and then sat at their just-married instruments in contemplative silence, as collective vapours of ideas seemed to condense from the very ether of this beautifully resonant old hall. Emerging from his meditation, Keith stands and applies a piece of softwood to the cross-over treble strings, zzzing! as Aki makes her introductory percussive statement on the keys. I close my eyes in tonal absorption as the improvisations take off in such artful conversation, I have to open them for a periodic reality check to drag my out-of-body down from the ceiling - and of course, to keep an eye on what the two players are up to. Like the crossing wash of two grand boats passing starboard to starboard, the performance is never predictable and yet perfectly anticipated as the waves chop and splash on our aural harbour steps. Keith establishes a punching rhythm in the bass register, damped so that only the sound of the hammer mechanism can be heard, transporting us to an old cotton mill, where the shuttles fly back and forth as Aki applies a chromatic warp and weft punctuated by her colourful crashing chords. This is such an amazing telepathic improvised jazz duet that each player seems quite relaxed to introduce old friends as at a lively party: Keith, you remember George Gershwin and Aki, this is Abdullah Ibrahim - they go back to exciting the lips of their harmonic cocktail glasses. The control is never forced and rises and falls so gracefully from crescendo to diminuendo that you imagine they could be pilots with independent controls of the same aerobatic aircraft - we look skywards but never feel like running for cover! And, just as in the art of conversation, the end game is as important as the dizzy heights of the performance: Keith's fingers dart around inside a tinkling musical box on the inside top treble while Aki turns gently on the keys ; they play their au-revoirs as they had begun, with such respectful finesse we seem to be awakened from a dream, convinced we really can do whatever it was we dreamed we could do! A wonderful performance. George M

More Discs To Die For.

Here is my belated selection of "Discs To die for"; 1. Mezzrow-Bechet Quintet "Really the Blues" 2. Artie Shaw "The Swinging Big Bands (1938/1945) 3. Benny Goodman "The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert" 4. Chet Baker-Art Pepper "The Route" 5. Gerry Mulligan "The Original Quartet & Tentette" Charles Cragg.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Aki Takase Trio

Aki Takase (pno), John Edwards (bs), Tony Levin (dms). Well attended - left early. Lance.

Dinner Jazz by Bill Shaw

Our ace cartoonist Bill looks at the perils of combining dining and jazz.
The Cherry Tree management assure me they have safety barriers in place.
Lance.

Just Another Manic Thursday - Rosie's

Ray Harley (tpt), Jim McBriarty (clt), Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl).
Another funfilled afternoon fuelled by Hobgoblin ale.
The audience were appreciative and the band was on song.
Ray was back, teeth intact, Struttin With Some Barbecue.
Olive came on, she was East of the Sun, and later Singing The Blues.
Herbie played harp, looked real sharp, South Rampart Street Parade.
Then there was the blues they call Pete Kelly's' a mournful serenade.
But when Herbie went into his dance
Charlie Cragg said, with an upraised glance,
This blues must be called Gene Kelly's!
A most enjoyable afternoon and not a tennis ball in sight!
Lance.

Keith Tippett & Aki Takase @ King's Hall, Newcastle.

Keith Tippett and Aki Takase played a forty five minute improvised set seated at Newcastle University's Steinway pianos. Pianos, prepared, took a hammering from Takase and the light-fingered Tippett offered a welcome contrast.
Takase demonstrates sustained attack with dazzling technique and this afternoon her keyboard partner Tippett revealed an English pastoral approach at times deploying a harpsichord like sound.
Takase possesses a formidable left hand (and a forearm smash!) and both players made use of the usual assortment of wood blocks and, in Takase's case, a shimmering silver platter and table tennis balls - of which one or two were playfully thrown into Tippett's open piano strings (wake up Keith!).
The duo can be heard tonight at Gateshead Old Town Hall in Mujician and trio format with Tony Levin.
Russell

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Preview - Aki Takase Trio + Mujician

Thursday's (Oct 14) upcoming gig at Gateshead Old Town Hall by the Aki Takase Trio and Mujician looks to be well worth attending going by John Fordham's review in today's Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/oct/12/aki-takase-trio-mujician-review).
The Jazz North East promotion features the legendary UK drummer Tony Levin with both groups - Japanese pianist Aki Takase's Trio (John Edwards on bass) and Mujician which features pianist Keith Tippet, Paul Dunmell (reeds) and Paul Rogers (bass).
Tickets are £10/£8 and the gig starts at 8PM.
Lance.

Duncan Eagles Dares to Fly - Partikel CD Review

As I approach the later stages of maturity I find it difficult to relate to some of the newer bands. Bands that seem to have abandoned all that I hold dear such as melodic lines and strong harmonic foundation. Too often these new kids on the block seek to be original with no regard for the listener's sensitivity.
When confronted with this new cd from Partikel a trio without keyboard or guitar I feared the worst. I was wrong - boy was I wrong!
In Duncan Eagles we have a young tenor/soprano saxist, a mere 25, who has listened and absorbed the past. His tone on tenor brings to mind Stan Getz, it's simply sublime, yet his ideas are very much entrenched in the jazz of today and tomorrow. Duncan floats effortlessly above the bass of Max Luthert and the drums of Eric Ford proving there is still a place for sanity in the meglamanic world of contemporary jazz.
To perform in such a setting is a daunting and challenging prospect but Duncan clearly relishes the challenge and soars triumphantly forward. This is not just an object lesson for saxophone players - although it undoubtedly is - it is also a signpost to the way jazz is or should be heading. Old values interspersed with new dimensions is surely the way ahead.
Not that this disc is all Eagles. Bass and drums play there part as both accompanists and equal frontline partners. This is a triumverate of equals who I hope will take to the road and let us all share what the Monday night regulars at Streatham's Hideaway enjoy every week.
The debut album by Partikel is out on November 15, 2010. More details and video clips at http://www.partikel.co.uk/
Lance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Attention Blues Acts/Bands - UK Competition

The world-renowned Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in New Brunswick, Canada, is set to showcase the winner of a brand new UK-wide search for Britain’s best emerging Blues talent. ‘The Battle of the Blues’ is to launch on 12 October, with unsigned bands and artists creating original music invited to enter. With initial entry level through YouTube, heats for qualifying artists will be held in January in Glasgow, Manchester, Nottinghamshire, Essex and Southampton.
When you wake up this morning, I said when you wake up this morning...
... Click here for more info. Lance.

Zoe Gilby Tour Details

Super Songstress Zoe Gilby embarks on a promotional tour of her new cd Looking Glass this month. Tour dates are below. 17 Oct 2010. 20:00 Ipswich Jazz Club. 19 Oct 2010. 20:00 606 Club London. 20 Oct 2010. 20:00 Dempsey’s Cardiff. 21 Oct 2010. 21:00 Hole In t' Wall Hebden Bridge, Calderdale. 23 Oct 2010. 20:00 Zeffirellis Ambleside. 24 Oct 2010. 20:00 Bridge Hotel, Newcastle Upon Tyne. 31 Oct 2010. 20:00 The Jazz Bar Edinburgh. 6 Nov 2010. 20:00 The Black Horse Monkseaton, Whitley Bay. 13 Nov 2010 20:00 Huddersfield Jazz Club. 17 Dec 2010 20:00 Darlington Arts Centre. 30 Dec 2010 20:00 The Queens Hall, Hexham, For more details and reviews visit Zoe's MySpace page. Lance. PS: Zoe can be heard with Nick Pride at the Gala Theatre, Durham this Saturday (Oct 16) lunchtime.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lewis Watson Quartet @ The Cherry Tree

Lewis Watson (ten), Mark Williams (gtr), Neil Harland (bs), Rob Walker (dms).
Lew didn't take any prisoners tonight! Dindi, the opening Bossa might have begun as Dinner Jazz but it wasn't long before Lew was firing on all cylinders rolling out chorus after chorus - I lost count!
I'd almost forgotten just how brill a player he is - and this was just the starter!
Talking Starters... the Braised Squid with Beans and Slow Roast Cherry Tomatoes wasn't bad either - in fact it was as tasty as a Mark Williams' guitar solo which is very tasty indeed!
Days of Wine and Roses seemed somehow appropriate even though my favoured tipple was a bottle of Black Sheep.
Coltrane's Bessie's Blues was also apt as Lewis was in Coltrane mode tonight.
And then, after Bessie, came Nancy - her of the laughing face. If I never hear a better balllad performance than this I won't complain. Likewise my Bavette Steak with Frites, Peppercorn Butter and Garden Leaves - mmmm! Monsieur Le Chef - chapeaux!
The set finished with Out of Nowhere which had an intricate counterpoint chorus between Lewis and Mark as well as solid basswork from Neil who seems to pluck the right notes from, literally, Out of Nowhere.
Rob Walker also kicked in with a solo that helped my Plum Tart with Honey Mascarponi and Caramel Sauce slide comfortably into my abdomen.
Interval chat with Lewis, Bebop contributer JC and a surprize passerby - John Hedley.
More Blue Note Hard Bop in the second set - I Hear A Rhapsody, Come Rain or Come Shine, Stella By Starlight (both Mark and Lew really went for it on this one!), a danceable Body and Soul, Miles' Solar (I think) and a final Softly as in a Morning Sunrise.
Another good one at the CT.

Tonight at the Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond

There is a treat in store for those habitués of the Cherry Tree Restaurant tonight. Not just the chef's specialities on a platter but on stage saxophone supremo Lewis Watson will be doing some cooking of his own in the easily digestible company of Mark Williams (gtr), Neil Harland (bs) and Rob Walker (dms).
Music starts around 7:45pm.
Lance.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just Another Manic Sunday (Jazzwise!)

I love the Jazz Café Sunday Afternoon Jam Session. There is a feel about it that tells you that this is what jazz is all about.
A handful of guys and gals blowing/singing - creating.
Lyndsay was in great voice on Willow Weep and, particularly, the upbeat Deed I Do This latter tune jumped from the moment Meade Lux Gilligan started hitting those eighth note appegios in the left hand and pummelling block chords in the right. Pete was telling the cats on stage to move it - and move it they did!
Ms Hannon got the groove going and Mark Williams, the two saxes, and the fiddler - Elaine Binney - took it up.
It was g-o-o-d..... Eric Stutt and Paul Grainger made sure it stayed that way. Keep this session going Keith - I love it!
Talking 'bout the fiddler - Elaine took an extended chorus on My Funny Valentine that was quite simply beautiful. Lyndsay's vocal wasn't bad either! As the animated inebriate sitting in front of me said, "It was medolic (sic)"
And it really was. But I shouldn't single out! Everyone who gets up and blows at the JC is adding their page to jazz history
I reluctantly moved on down the road to the Bridge Hotel where If Destroyed Still True - conveniently abbreviated to IDST - were appearing as part of the Splinter Sunday night sessions. Jazz Café Photos.
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After leaving the feel-good factor of the Jazz Café for the sombreness of The Bridge I sensed, by the lack of bar activity, that this wasn't going to be a one for the diary...
Simon Kayler (ten/sop), Simon Beddoe (tpt/flg), Johnny Tomlinson (pno), Nick Tyson (gtr), Seth Bennett (bs), Tommy Evans (dms).
IDST are a great band - I love them, having heard them a couple of years back at Scarborough.
Tonight they made everyone - which wasn't many - realise what a good band they are and they were playing original material.
There were moments when they swung like as though Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers had been re-born in the 21st century! Tempo changes, floating, drifting rhythms - hard blowing. An amazing sound for an unmiked front-line.
Original material. This is always the stumbling block I have.
Is anyone going to be whistling these originals as they go to work tomorrow?
Is anyone going to work tomorrow?
Lance.
Next week HCW (replacing the Carpus Trio).

Ashington Jazz Club Wednesday October 06. 10. 10

  • This was an evening full of surprises which began with a program of standards presented brilliantly by the Graham Hardy Trio. The selection was very reminiscent of the wonderful Chet Baker but without the vocals. An appreciative audience listened intently to the arrangements and applauded enthusiastically as each masterpiece ended. At times you could have heard a pin drop as members were captivated by the sound. Indeed there are a number of adjectives which came to mind during the performances – relaxed, gentle, smooth, mellow, soulful , meditational , cool and swinging. That about sums up the group. Graham was ably supported by Giles Strong (Guitar) and Paul Susans (Double Bass) who were very comfortable and harmonious in that style.

    Programme- Bye Bye Blackbird, Mellow Tone, Delilah, Man I Love, Meditation, Stomping at The Savoy.

  • This was a great way to spend an evening with stress free chamber Jazz.

  • Thank you Trio – that was great.

Surprise Number two – We had experienced the CALM now for the STORM.

If any of us were so relaxed in a comfortable chair with an enjoyable drink before us then we were to be brought back to reality for on came Horn Dogs with the biggest band in our Club’s history of almost 26 fantastic years. As was mentioned by our conductor this was one over the eight as you shall read.

The Band had been joined by our Club Director, John Taylor, who surprised us all with his Sax. This was his best kept secret for not even his supportive wife had any idea this event would happen .Complete with pristine white shirt and Club Logo he joined the group in their first number and proved to us all that he is a man of many talents who did not cause any embarrassment. Didn’t he do well?

Afterwards the band jumped into its stride with a lively show. The renditions were loud, energetic, exciting and a total contrast to the previous session. At times the Jazz was frantic, pacey but always in the best possible taste and by the end of the evening the audience was as physically and emotionally exhausted as all the band members. Audience responses had been electric and our guest musicians had replied as only they knew how. We enjoyed and loved their Jazz Style,new to Ashington and we embraced it. If the Band are in need of sponsorship then Boots might be an option as our elderly enthusiasts would love to be taking whatever they are on. Thank you Horn Dogs for the night.

Programme – What a Friend, Big ‘n Breezy, Tears of a Clown, Do what-cha want, Mellow Felony, Remember When, Saints go marchin ‘ in, Hey Jude, Horn Dogging (imagine that) and High on Life.

Peter S.

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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 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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