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Bebop Spoken There

Ahmad Jamal: "[On commercial success] If Leopold Stokowski couldn't have afforded a baton, I don't think he would have enjoyed his career as much" - Crescendo, February 1982.

Avishai Cohen: “For me, Billie Holiday is the ultimate example of singing nothing but the truth.” – (Jazz Times October 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Friday October 31.

Afternoon.
RENDEZVOUS JAZZ - Black Horse, Monkseaton. 1pm. Free.
Classic jazz.
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Evening.
PHILIP CLOUTS QUARTET - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. £5 (£3 before 8.30pm.)
Nice trumpet playing, good band.
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NIGEL PRICE ORGAN TRIO - Ushaw College, Durham DH7 9RH. 7.30pm. 0191 3738501.
Price (gtr); Pete Whittaker (B3); Matt Home (dms).
Sticks to the Sticks. It may be out of town but well worth setting the Satnav.
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LADIES OF MIDNIGHT BLUE - Live Theatre, Quayside, Newcastle. 8pm. £5.
You've heard the girls? Then come on down and shake your butt with 'em!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What I Did Instead of Going to see Sons of Brubeck @ The Sage. Jazz 625 BBC4

Dave Brubeck Quartet: Dave Brubeck (piano); Paul Desmond (sax); Eugene Wright (bass); Joe Morello (drums); Introduced by Steve Race. I was prevented from going to The Sage concert, so this was the next best thing. The programme took me right back to childhood. As a little girl who knew no jazz, I remember being enthralled by the catchiness of the tune Take Five. Dave Brubeck has popular appeal for all sorts of people, even little girls of 10, which may explain why some jazz afficionados turn up their noses. They are missing out. The black and white film from 1964 and the young serious-looking audience created quite a worthy atmosphere, but the music was sheer fun. The quartet played a piece composed by Brubeck’s brother Howard, with the usual wonderful piano from Dave. I thought I heard shades of Getting to Know You from The King and I. Was I imagining this? This was followed by The Wright Groove, with lightly brushed drums and a lively bass solo during which Wright retuned a string whilst playing it. Nice one! Then came the classic Take Five, with more piano and less drums than on the Time Out album. Sounds of the Loop, which portrayed the percussive sounds of Chicago, was brilliant. I’ll swear the piano was pounding out street and traffic noises. Then came the drum solo, fast and furious, so that the drumsticks became a visual blur which sounded like killer bees invading the Chicago streets. Steve Race was on hand to ask Brubeck about his composition methods. Brubeck explained that he often thinks up tunes in his head, then tries them out on piano, and he prefers ‘heard music’ to music being written down. What other answer did Race expect from a jazz musician? It works well, as I love Brubeck’s strong tunes with their unusual timings and endless opportunities for improvisation. That’s what attracted me as a little girl, though I couldn’t have put it into words at the time. A good half hour’s television. Ann Alex.

Brubecks Play Brubeck @ The Sage, Gateshead

Dave O'Higgins (ten/sop); Darius Brubeck (pno); Chris Brubeck (bs.gtr/tmb); Dan Brubeck (dms). The 'Winter Wonderland' - not! continued and it was with wellies, Barbour jacket and Beanie hat that I made my precarious journey in the direction of the Metro to Gateshead. I was only half joking when I said, as I left, "I may be a little while". The weather had depleted audience numbers more than somewhat yet those hardy souls who turned out were rewarded with an evening of many pleasures. Blue Rondo a la Turk got things moving although it wasn't until they hit the 4/4 section that it moved jazzwise. This was the opening round with the protagonists feeling each other out getting their measure before bursting forth. Darius' solo reminded me of just how much his dad contributed to the locked hand block chord style associated with Buckner and Shearing - Darius too. In Your Own Sweet Way is a ballad worthy of repetition and Darius said it was the most covered version of all Dave's tunes. and so it should be - melodically perfect, harmonically correct. On tenor, Dave (O'Higgins) kept the faith without losing out in comparision to the original. Nomad. Dave Brubeck, it is said, heard this melody being played by a flute-player on a camel outside his hotel room in Kabul! Did the guy get royalties? Dave O'Higgins blew atmospheric soprano and swung like no flute-playing camel jockey ever did! Dance of the Shadows and The Lion in the Bar were a couple of originals by the boys. Chris and Dan did the former - a piece full of intriguing intervals whilst the latter, by Darius, was a rockier, rollier number that brought the first set to a close. Drinks in the bar and all seemed to agree it had been a good set. The second set saw It's A Raggy Waltz - my personal fave of the 'pops' - Strange Meadowlark with Chris on trombone - a full, rich, Urbie Green-like sound - in duo with Darius. The Golden Horn and Koto's Song followed with the inevitable Take Five to close during which Darius managed to work Winter Wonderland into his solo - a minor keyed WW at that! and, of course, for an encore - Unsquare Dance.
Dave O'Higgins held his own, Darius is more restrained than his father which can be a good thing or a bad thing according to taste! Chris did the business on bass and Dan has got the Joe Morello feel to the numbers.
I went home happy and even though I fell on the ice it was only the ice that broke!
Lance.

World Service Project @ Splinter @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. November 28th

Dave Morecroft (keyboards), Conor Chaplin (electric bass), Neil Blandford (drums), Tim Ower (alto & tenor saxophones) & Raphael Clarkson (trombone) World Service Project ventured up north at the worst possible time - Newcastle was enveloped in snow with frequent blizzards adding to the difficulties of travel in and around the region. Only the hard core Splinter @ The Bridge crowd braved the elements and it made for an intimate gig. WSP played it loud. The music played was predominately that of Dave Morecroft. Bassist Conor Chaplin maintained a low slung funk groove and drummer Neil Blandford hammered his kit as Tim Ower and Raphael Clarkson took it by turn to build and burn their solos.
Ower was particularly impressive on alto and Clarkson blew hard, striving to be heard. Tunes included There's Always One, Hero of the Bus and Relentless, the latter being the title of the band's recently released CD. The set list included Blandford's arrangement of a Nirvana tune, smelling something like... It would be good to hear the band again playing to a bigger crowd.
Next Sunday's Splinter session features the peerless Claude Werner Quartet. Those keen (foolish?) to trek into the Northumberland snow field can hear Werner on Wednesday night (December 1st) in the cafe of Hexham's Queens Hall (8:00 pm).
Russell.

MARTIN TAYLOR CANCELLED!

Tonight's Martin Taylor concert at Alnwick Playhouse has been cancelled due to the weather conditions. A spokesman for the theatre said they hoped to re-schedule in the spring.
Lance.

NO SCHMAZZ TONIGHT

Even those incurable optimists at Schmazz have had to bow to reality . . . so tonight's Cluny gig, with DAVE KANE and his RABBIT PROJECT, has had to be cancelled. Schmazz are hoping that they can re-schedule the band during the first few months of 2011, but for Dave Kane fans who can't wait that long, help is at hand. The Leeds-based bassist is a member of the Tommy Evans Orchestra, who are scheduled to appear at the Cluny in two weeks time on 14th December. Let's hope that the snow has cleared by then! Paul B.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Memories of Dave Brubeck

With Dave Brubeck hitting 90 on Saturday and the Brubecks Play Brubeck show hitting The Sage, Gateshead, tomorrow I took Time Out to reflect on my memories of the Great Man.
According to my collection of programmes I saw him live on at least four occasions.
Twice in 1961, once in '62 and once with a Newport Jazz Festival package that included the Buck Clayton All-Stars, the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet and the Dave Brubeck Quartet - even in this illustrious company Dave topped the bill.
I recall Jim McDowell and I going down to Leeds when, for some reason, he missed out on Newcastle. It was worth the trip.
Eleven vinyl discs and Four CDs are further proof that this was no passing fancy!
The most recent was Park Avenue South recorded in 2002 - the maestro hadn't lost his touch!
Dave was successful - discs in the Hit Parade - he even made a lot of money!
To the "critics" this was and is artistic suicide - their heroes are supposed to starve in garrets and die an early drug/alcohol related death or get shot in an alley back of Birdland. Dave didn't go down that road which is why he is still swinging at 90 years of age.
I recall how fashionable it was to praise Paul Desmond and Joe Morello and denigrate Dave as if they were serving some kind of sentence!
Well Desmond is quoted as saying in Marian McPartland's book - All In Good Time - I would never have made it without Dave. He's amazing harmonically, and he's a fantastic accompanist. You can play the wrongest note, possible in any chord, and he can make it sound like the only right one!
I'll take Desmond - and the late Steve Race - over those critics who prefer a hatchet to a crotchet which they probably think is some kind of knitting.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow night and hearing the sons carry on the family tradition.
When I interviewed Darius Brubeck last week, as a precurser to tomorrow's show, one of the things that came across was his sincerity - obviously a family trait!
Don't let the snow put you off - it's the only game in town!
Lance.

Wednesday at Ashington CANCELLED!

Another gig hits the dust - or rather the snow. Ashington Jazz Club's Christmas Party due to be held on Wednesday at The Elephant and featuring The KEITH STEPHEN'S TRIO and CAROLINE STEPHENS (or is it still Irwin?) has been cancelled.It has been a cruel winter and it has only just started!
Lance.

Chilli CANCELLED - Wednesday.

The latest fixture to fall foul of the weather is Wednesday's session at The Chilli by TAKE IT TO THE BRIDGE. Hopefully it will be up and running next week. Lance.

Review: Branded by Brass Jaw

Ryan Quigley (tpt); Paul Towndrow (alt); Konrad Wiszniewski (ten); Allon Beauvoisin (bar).
One of the highlights of this year's Gateshead Jazz Festival was the horn quartet - Brass Jaw.
They exploited the acoustics of the old St Mary's Church to their best advantage and I came away totally uplifted which, of course, is what you're supposed to do when you leave a church.
Ryan Quigley and Paul Towndrow could easily lay claim to being the UK's number one on their respective instruments with the other two not far behind.
However, one thought did stick - it's great live but, given the scope granted when performing quadrophonically in front of an enthusiastic audience, would it stand up on a cold winter's morn with only the ghosts of Christmas for company?
It stood up!
In fact the ghosts were dancing - no haunting for them this year.
Four great horn-players going off in four different directions yet never losing sight of each other. This is truly amazing music-making that sometimes combines arranged ensembles with solos that are conventional and sometimes free whilst at other times the ensembles remind me of the Art Ensemble of Chicago doing a Dixieland gig! Brass Jaw are avant garde yet still manage to remain within the bounds of convention - albeit boundaries that they themselves have extended.
Such is the strength of Allon B's baritone sax backing that the absence of a rhythm section as such isn't missed in the slightest.
14 of the 17 tracks are band originals the others being Rodger's and Hart's Little Girl Blue, John Lennon's Drive My Car and Frank Zappa's Peaches En Regalio.
This could be my Record of the Year!
Branded by Brass Jaw is officially released on Dec. 1, 2010 on Keywork Records.
It can be obtained from http://www.brassjaw.co.uk/.
Lance.

Arts Centre, Darlington CANCELLED Tonight.

The EXTREME WEATHER conditions have caused tonight's Splinter @ The Arts Centre gig by EXTREME MEASURES to be cancelled. Adrian is EXTREMELY SORRY. Lance.

Cherry Tree Jazz CANCELLED Tonight

Bad weather has forced the cancellation of tonight's gig by the ALAN GLEN TRIO at the Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond. It is hoped the popular trio will be re-scheduled in the near future. Lance.

Corner House CANCELLED Tonight

Due to the severe weather and with further heavy snow showers forecast, Monday (Nov 29) night's gig at the Corner House is CANCELLED. Weather permitting, The Vieux Carre Jazzmen will be at Cullercoats Crescent Club on Wednesday 1 December, 1.00 - 3.00pm. Brian Bennett.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Album From The Pimps

Nick Pride and the Pimptones are in the process of releasing a new album - A Midnight Feast of Jazz. It includes a vocal by Zoe Gilby and this preview sounds good. Click here. Lance.

Soul Brothers - Ray Charles/Milt Jackson

Ray Charles (pno, alt); Milt Jackson (vbs, pno, gtr); Billy Mitchell (ten); Skeeter Best (gtr); Oscar Pettiford (bs); Connie Kay (dms) - 1957.
I stumbled onto this little gem via Spotify and it served to emphasise my view that the 1950s were Jazz's Golden Era. I say this because, although I remember it being issued on Atlantic, at the time there was so much good stuff around I somehow never got around to checking it out and the reviewers in Jazz Journal and Jazz Monthly both dammed it with faint praise...
My loss - until now!
No vocals from Charles but he plays some blistering alto sax on How Long Blues as well as blues tinged modern piano on the other tracks. Milt also plays piano - as well as guitar on How Long Blues and Milt's Guitar Blues.
However, as expected, it's his vibes playing that scores - away from the MJQ his roots were as down home as Ray Charles'.
Billy Mitchell blows powerful tenor which, coupled with Best and Pettiford's contributions, go to make this an album well worth picking up on.
Lance.

Vintage Melody Makers.

Colin Aitchison - our man in Hong Kong - has put some of his collection of 1940s/1950s Melody Makers on-line. They make fascinating reading
and to think they only cost 3 old pence each!
Lance.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Brubeck is Brewing

This coming week could be said to be Brubeck Week. Not only do we have Brubecks Play Brubeck at The Sage, Gateshead on Tuesday, Nov. 30 (7:30pm) - see interview - but on the same night, at the same time on BBC4 there is some Jazz 625 archive footage from 1964 of the original Brubeck Quartet.
On BBC4 later that week, on Friday Dec 3, there is an Arena program - Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way. It is shown from 9:00pm - 10:30pm.
All in all a good week for those, of which I am one, who are Brubeckly inclined.
Lance.

Killer Shrimp @ Corner House, Newcastle. November 26th

Damon Brown (trumpet, loops & vocals), Ed Jones (tenor saxophone & loops), Mark Hodgson (double bass) & Luke Flowers (drums).
The cold spell continued. From the outside the Corner House never looked so inviting. The band arrived on time - would the audience?
Minutes before the off one hardy soul had arrived (huskies happy to rest up outside). Thirty minutes past the supposed first set start time sufficient numbers had congregated to constitute something resembling an audience.
The band, professional to the last, played a blinder.
So, you thought the big attraction would be drum maestro Alyn Cosker? Read on. Front line leaders trumpeter Damon Brown and tenor man Ed Jones brought a new sound to Newcastle. Firmly rooted in bop territory, added elements gave the band and listeners something a little different. Hip Hop, drums 'n' bass, loops and a Brown vocal reggae number were incorporated into the collective sound of the quartet. The wonders of laptop electronics, used sparingly, on occasion morphed Brown and Jones' sound into something akin to that of steel pans! This was post electric Hancock and similar to the guitar synth sound of which John McLaughlin was once so fond.
Tunes old and new included It Never Happened, Baltic Wharf (how appropriate given the arctic conditions in the north east!), Lef An Lee (celebrating the talents of pianist Leon Greening), Sticks and Stones and others ensured this was a gig to remember.
Bassist Mark Hodgson coped admirably with the new musical elements thrown at him and the star of the show (for this reviewer) was drummer Luke Flowers. He has played with the band many times. His credits include working with the wonderful Corrine Bailey Rae and the Cinematic Orchestra. Flowers is a superb technician with an in built sense of time. He can, seemingly, play any style, any tempo, all done with great taste. As one astute listener said to me 'Flowers is a better fit (than Cosker) in this band'. I couldn't disagree.
An excellent night. The concert was a Jazz North East presentation. The promoters' next offering is at Gateshead Old Town Hall (Friday 3rd December) featuring Ig Henneman's Kindred Spirits. An On the Outside event, the line-up is star-studded to say the least. For those with musically adventurous ears this is one not to miss.
As I write the blizzards threaten a white out. Round up those huskies, don't be deterred and get to Gateshead Old Town Hall next week (Friday 3rd, 8:00 pm prompt).
Russell.

Brenda Update - Single Recorded

Brenda Sokell, winner of the Alan Titchmarsh Show's Singing Pensioner competition has recorded White Christmas with the Chelsea Pensioners singing group. Brenda and the 'boys' appear on the show on December 13 on ITV1 the day on which the single is released.
Whose to say she won't have the coveted Christmas Number One?
Let's give her the support needed.
Further details. Lance.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mick Beck and Phil Marks @ Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. November 23

Mick Beck (tenor saxophone/bassoon) Phil Marks (drums).
A freezing cold night (signalling the cold snap to come - Newcastle is now blanketed in snow) welcomed the duo of Mick Beck and Phil Marks to the Bridge Hotel. The pair, seasoned campaigners on the free jazz front, know a good pint when they drink one and sank one or two during two well received sets by the small but select audience.
Beck is known for his blistering tenor work and he didn't disappoint. His facility on bassoon is most impressive and his musical partner Marks deserves to be known as a percussionist rather than merely being described as a drummer.
His kit was that of a child's. So compact was it that he was able to pack it away into one case and travel by public transport! A little kit maybe, but Marks is one big hitter. A crack-shot style, he dovetailed with Beck's bellowing saxophone and where called upon eased off the power using brushes and mallets.
The gig was another in Jazz North East's On the Outside series. Further gigs are deserving of the support of the more adventurous listener.
Russell .

Jammin' The Blues

Val Dunmore posted this YouTube clip on Facebook. It's the classic 1944 ten minute short Jammin' The Blues.
Lester Young, Harry Edison, Illinois Jacquet, Barney Kessel, Marie Bryant are just some of the participants.
The black and white camera work is absolutely awesome.
Don't miss this.
Lance.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Remembering Malcolm Saul

It's hard to believe that it was 20 (21 - see comments) years ago today that pianist Malcolm Saul left us - a void still felt in local jazz circles.
Malcolm was the automatic first choice when it came to accompanying visiting American stars such as Lockjaw Davis, Al Cohn, Joe Newman and his all-round ability enabled him to fit in with any band in any style. Malcolm's daughter Janet brought his anniversary to our attention on Facebook and I know that all who knew him or heard him play will want to share their sadness with her.
Janet - Malcolm will never be forgotten.
Link to previous post.
Lance.

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie's

Olive Rudd (vcl), Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tmb/vcl/hca), Jim McBriarty (clt/vcl), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms)
The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing, but I can weather the storm, what do I care if icicles form - I've got my love to keep me warm.
The snow was snowing and the wind was blowing and indeed icicles were forming but that was where the song and I parted company. No love to keep me warm just a Men's Beanie bought in the Pound Shop.
Nevertheless, once esconsed in Rosie Malone's with a flagon of the brew that was true and the company of Charles C made for a pleasant afternoon. Jimmy Mack sang Avalon, Herbie sang Red River Valley with different words and Olive wowed with her version of Crazy 'Bout My Baby.
Working Man Blues had some wailing horn from Ray and Herbie trammed and sanged and played harmoni-c-a on Louisian-i-a.
Olive returned for East of the Sun and the band finished off the set with Shimme-Sha-Wobble.
Highlights of the second set included; Pete Kelly's Blues - Charlie gave me a dvd of same to pass on to Bill S - Stevedore Stomp, Sunnyside of the Street and Olive gave out with Lock My Heart And Throw Away the Key.
Ray alternated horns and his embouchure seems to have moved slightly to starboard since his recent dental treatment - still sounds good.
The snow looked like returning so I once more prepared to weather the storm albeit still without the basic essential for raising the body temperature! Lance.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Singing Pensioner - Final Tonight.

The final of the Alan Titchmarsh Show's Singing Pensioner competition takes place tonight on ITV1 at 5:00pm. Cramlington 's Brenda Sokell is among the finalists. We wish her the best of luck. Lance. To vote for Brenda call 0901 161615 03 NEWS FLASH! BRENDA WINS! Sings Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bebop Spoken Here Interviews Darius Brubeck

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

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ruth Lambert @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond.

Ruth Lambert (vcl), Jeremy McMurray (pno), John Pope (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms).
It gives me a good feeling when I see a room full of people at a jazz gig as, Time After Time, it isn't always so. However, tonight - even though there was No Moon At All we had You (Ruth) and the Night and the Music (J.McMurray Trio).
You Don't Know What Love is until you've heard Ruth sing it or tasted the Potato and Poached Egg Salad with Crispy Pancetta.
It wasn't the pale moon that excited me, that thrilled and delighted me - oh no it was the Double Lamb Chop with Bubble and Squeak and, of course, Ruth emoting The Nearness of You.
Ruth opted for Black Coffee a la Peggy Lee whilst I went for a bottle of Black Sheep a la Masham. Both hit the spot.
Love Me Or Leave Me, taken at the fashionably fast tempo singers prefer to do it at these days, swung like crazy.
This was a night of classic food and classic songs with Ruth, despite coming in on the tails of a migraine, as adventurous as the menu whilst Jeremy, John and Adam were solid throughout - unlike the Mulled Winter Fruit with Vanilla Ice Cream they didn't Crumble.
My Romance, Jimmy Dorsey's immortal love song - I'm Glad There Is You - Almost Like Being In Love and How Insensitive just some of the others.
Long may the Cherry Tree continue to present good food and good music.
Lance.

Tonight @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond.

The Chef's Special at the Cherry Tree Restaurant tonight is Ruth Lambert served up with a side dish of Jeremy McMurray (pno), John Pope (bs) and Adam Sinclair (dms).
There is also food to die for on the menu.
Music served from 7:45pm, Food from 6:00pm.
Lance.
The Cherry Tree Restaurant,
9 Osborne Rd.,
Jesmond,
Newcastle.
Tel. 0191 2399924

Claire Martin @ Early Music Centre, York. Sunday 21 Nov.

We don't see many female jazz singers of this calibre here in York so it was a pleasure to go along to this Sunday afternoon treat. This was a one set only gig which lasted one and a quarter hours kicking off with the dynamic and exciting Gareth Williams playing Cole Porter's Everything I Love a new one on me but with the Porter stamp all over it. Gareth had forgotten his music actually but no worries as here was a jazz pianist who had it all in his head and at his fingertips. Described elsewhere as a "triumph of Welsh wizardry" he was completly wrapped up in his work.
Claire then came on looking wonderfully casual in black setting the standard with a bluesy rendition of another new one on me Breaking up my Duron Shoes.
Two Johnny Burke/Jimmy Van Heusen numbers followed. The gorgeous I Thought About You and the equally entrancing But Beautiful. Claire's voice; full of light and shade, bending notes, enthralling to watch , always in command. She then gave us the Burton Lane/ Alan J Lerner's Come Back To Me a favourite of hers from her younger days listening to Sammy Davis's version.
More goodies included A Weaver of Dreams Carmen McRae style, and When I Fall in Love from a Richard Rodney Bennett arrangement. My particular fave followed It Could Happen to You. After a bit of short seasonal fare with Winter Wonderland and The Christmas Song which she invited us to singalong with, it was back to Cheek to Cheek with a nod to Strictly, and finally a storming Perdido (Spanish for lost), this being her best number in my opinion. What I liked about Claire was the way she introduced each number by naming the composer/lyricist. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in November.
Liz.

Tim Kliphuis Trio Mini North-east/west Tour

Dutchman Tim Kliphuis is fast gaining a reputation as one of the most imaginative, exciting and entertaining violinists on the acoustic scene. Performing with Bruce Rollo on bass and James Birkett on guitar they combine Gypsy, Classical, Folk, Tango, World music and Grappelli jazz to create an inspired and daring fusion with soulful melodies, driving rhythms and funky chords. “The prodigiously talented Dutch violinist ... fearsomely fast and fun” – Time Out Newbiggin in Teesdale Village Hall 24/11/2010 7.30 pm 01833 640807 Queen Elizabeth School Hall - Harlequin Theatre 25/11/2010 7.30 pm 015242 71275 St Mary's Church, Wycliffe 26/11/2010 7.30 pm 01833 627540 Watson Institute, Castle Carrock 27/11/2010 8 pm 01228 670054 Whittingham Village Hall 28/11/2010 7.30 pm 01665 574964 For more information about Tim Kliphuis please visit their website Photos

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rod Sinclair & Jim Birkett @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle.

Rod Sinclair (left), Jim Birkett (gtrs).
What a delightful vignette. Every guitar player on the Planet Earth and beyond should have been crammed into The Bridge to listen and learn from these two masters of their craft. As it was, the gathering was small, albeit select. Admitedly it wasn't an evening for venturing forth weatherwise but musicwise it should have been unmissable - after all these years I still cannot fathom the jazz audience - fickle is the word that springs to mind.
However, as I've said so many times - it's their loss.
A choice selection of works from jazz masters past and present - Eddie Lang to Pat Metheny - saw Rod and Jim interpret them brilliantly.
This was the perfect partnership alternating lead and rhythm as befitted the piece with Rod's acoustic sound complementing Jim's jazzier electric sound - and vice-versa.
Just look at the set list:
Stagefright - Dick McDonough/Carl Kress.
Gentle Rain - Luis Bonfa.
Autumn Leaves - Django(ish).
Eddie's Twister - Eddie Lang/Lonnie Johnson.
Skating in Central Park - John Lewis.
Suite for Two Guitars - original.
Dedication - Albert Harris.
Nuages - Django.
Always and Forever - Pat Metheny.
Feeling My Way - McDonough/Kress.
In Your Own Sweet Way - Brubeck.
A Bireli Lagrene piece.
Uno Praisie - Luis Bonfa.
Need I say more?
Lance.

Jazz Café Jam

Sarah Travena (ten), Peter Gilligan (pno), Matthew Office (gtr), Paul Grainger (bs), Eric Stutt (dms), Gaby, Claire (vcls).
Elaine Binney (vln), Omid Ramak (dms), ? (gtr/vcl).
I approached The Forth wondering as I passed if anyone knew that the licensee of the pub was once Heavyweight Champion of the World Tommy Burns. Burns was a glorified cruiser punching above his weight before losing the crown to the mighty Jack Johnson and I guess Pink Lane has seen a few guys punching above their weight over the years.
Nearing the Jazz Café the unmistakeable sound of Pete Gilligan beating his keyboard into near submission filled the night air. Pete plays great piano. As I drew closer I could also hear Eric Stutt's easily identifiable ride cymbal and Paul's bass. Matt's guitar could also be heard - just. It was only when I got inside that I realised Sarah was blowing tenor but I had to get close up to hear the nice things she was doing to Besamé Mucho. Her solo was as long as her skirt was short - easy on the ear and the eye but why oh why isn't she miked up?
Likewise the vocalists who were miked had to struggle to be heard above the rhythm section.
Gaby did a lovely I'm Thru With Love despite the thunder and lightning going on behind her.
Having said all that - it's still a great afternoon.
After the regulars left for the coast Elaine, Omid and a guy who played acoustic and sang Summertime joined Matt and Eric as I too left - for The Bridge.
Lance.

If You Like Good Music Then Tonight's Your Night.

Tonight is the night for those of us whose roots are firmly 'On The Inside'.
Down on the Quayside at North Shields, Zoe Gilby will be gasbooking it at the Quay Tap House (formerly Milazzo's) alongside Peter Gilligan and the Jazz Café Exiles.
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Some 30 odd miles down the coast at Redcar Jazz Club (Coatham Memorial Hall Redcar, TS10 1RH 01642 483263) Ruth Lambert will be giving her interpretations of the Songbook. Ruth will be in the exalted company of the Ray Dales' Quartet which means Ray on alto, Jeremy McMurray (pno), Tubby Ayton (bass) and Paul Smith (dms).
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Ruth is also at the Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond tomorrow night with Jeremy on piano, John Pope (bs) and Adam Sinclair (dms).
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In town tonight at The Bridge Hotel Jim Birkett and Rod Sinclair are this weeks featured Splinter @ The Bridge artists. The guitar duo will explore the many aspects of jazz guitar from Eddie Lang onwards.
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A little further afield, at York's Early Music Centre, Claire Martin struts her stuff.
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Underpinning it all is the Jazz Café Jam Session which may be a bit short staffed on stage this afternoon although I'm sure that Lindsay Hannon will keep things swinging!
Lance.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thank you Colin.

Regular site visitors will note my frequent reference to Ned Kelly's Last Stand - the jazz fun pub in Kowloon, Hong Kong. I've never been there but it sounds like a place I should have been - add it to the list that includes Shelly's Manne Hole, Earthquake McGoons, The Famous Door, Birdland, Kelly's Stables and the pre-Beatles Cavern.
Well Colin and I go back a long way - his father, Hughie Aitchison - the greatest authority on Ellington (Duke) that I ever met - and I worked together for many years in a well known Newcastle music shop (J.G. Windows).
Colin and I were in the Newcastle Big Band together and I have followed his career with interest ever since. He's been leading the China Coast Jazzmen at Ned Kelly's for quite a time - often alongside such illustrious sitters-in as Bob Wilber (see photo) and Pug Horton. All this leads up to the package that came through the letter-box yesterday.
A Ned Kelly's Tee Shirt and a CD of the band playing live.
The Tee Shirt is great - expect to see me wearing it around the gigs until I'm told to get it laundered! The CD gives a first hand impression of a typical night at 'Neds'. Small band swing (Opus One; Jersey Bounce; Sing, Sing, Sing) and Dixieland (Bill Bailey; High Society; Basin Street etc).
It's not music to lend a critical ear to it's music to tap your feet to, have a laugh and a smile and, after a few beers, a sing-a-long.
Thank you Colin. Lance. PS: Roy Willis reminded me of this YouTube clip , with brief introduction from the late Chris Yates, that Colin posted of Red Rodney blowing Days of Wine and Roses at the Corner House, Newcastle back in 1985.

We're really very modest but...

...I didn't think I should let this go by without bringing it to your attention. http://blog.uk.cision.com/2010/02/top-five-uk-jazz-blogs/ Lance and Co.

Zoe Gilby Split Personality?

According to Zoe's MySpace site she is singing at Milazzo's on North Shields' Quay tomorrow night yet I've received an invite from Paul Grainger saying she's at the Quay Tap House - also on North Shields' Quay. Are these two venues one and the same? Has one been cancelled? Is she alternating between the two? Is one of the dates wrong? Does she have a twin sister?
Clarification urgently required.
Lance.

My Heart Belongs to Darlo! PAUL EDIS SEXTET at OPUS 4 JAZZ CLUB (The Travellers’ Rest, Darlington)

Paul Edis (piano), Mick Shoulder (bass), Adam Sinclair (drums), Chris Hibbard (trombone), Graham Hardy (trumpet/flugel), and Graeme Wilson (sax) Our first time at Opus 4 and what a great atmosphere: a friendly welcome; a big room well-populated with people who know their jazz; a half-time raffle; massive photos of jazz greats looking down approvingly from the walls and (a final attraction?) cask “Magnet” on in the bar! And then there’s the music…. The band’s talent as arrangers was showcased by the opening My Heart Belongs to Daddy (arr Mick Shoulder) which was followed by Graham Wilson arrangements of Autumn in New York and Una Poca Loca. Later it was back to Mick for his arrangement of Softly – as in a Morning Sunrise, during which he worked up a sweat on one of the best received solos of the evening. Elsewhere, Chris Hibbard featured prominently on Being With You and the beautiful Black Orpheus and the band as a whole (their talent as musicians was showcased all night!) did justice to In a Sentimental Mood and Out of Nowhere. There was a lot of fresh material tonight – at least four originals from Paul getting a first airing, as far as I know. Dedicated to jobsworths the world over, the “New Orleansy” (Paul’s words) Administrate This! featured pumped up bass from Mick, a muted trumpet solo from Graeme, and Adam being turned loose near the end to shake the windows and rattle our brains! Put a Lid On It was “Monk inspired” and, after a quirky piano intro, featured solos from Graham, Graeme and Paul. The “African influenced” Sharp 9/8 (sorry, Paul if I heard that wrong!) was infectiously rhythmic with outstanding drumming from Adam throughout and a scorching solo from Graham Wilson. The final number, Blues for Dad, gave everyone a chance to strut their stuff and ended with cries of “more!” which were rewarded with a “kamikaze” blast of Graham Wilson’s Up Late by way of an encore. WOW! Not sure what the Shadows were on about all those years ago with Stars Fell on Stockton – if it’s jazz you want, go to Darlo!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gerry Richardson's Big Idea @ Corner House, Newcastle. Thursday 18th November

Gerry Richardson's Big Idea: Gerry Richardson (Hammond), Rod Sinclair (guitar), Graeme Hare (drums), Garry Linsley (alto saxophone), Stuart Johnson (tenor & soprano saxophones), Sue Ferris (tenor & baritone saxophones, flute), Mark Webb (trumpet & flugel horn), Dave Hignett (trumpet & flugel horn), Keith Norris (trombone) Hammond maestro Gerry Richardson reconvened Big Idea at the refurbished, if not salubrious, Corner House Hotel. Guitarist Rod Sinclair was on top form and drum dep Graeme Hare was so good that the fixture that is Paul Smith wasn't missed at all!
Stone Church opened proceedings. Blues for Big Red was a feature number for Sinclair (Rod was once upon a time a redhead) and Another Dark One revealed Hare's excellent sight-reading skills as he negotiated a convoluted drum 'n bass pattern with Stuart Johnson's soprano playing setting the standard.
Richardson's 'greatest hit' (aka African Sunset) was just about guaranteed to be in the set and Arturo Sandoval, Michel Camilo and Paquito D'Rivera were honoured with a cracking Autumn in the Barrio (no surprise then that the trumpets - Hignett and Webb - were to the fore). Richardson's late night saloon bar tune Think I'll Lay Waste to Myself Tonight is made for the bandleader's down beat Mose Allison style delivery - this was GR at his vocal best. Take the Tee Train, a Richardson classic, closed out the first set.
The interval meant a trip to the bar. There was a queue a mile long. It was the band, they had beaten me to it! Refuelled (eventually), the second set provided yet more highlights including Big Jazz Club in the Sky and Gil Scott Heron's Lady Day and John Coltrane. The latter number is a favourite of this reviewer. It exemplifies the very spirit of Big Idea.
Two sets of good tunes with plenty of solo opportunities for all - altoist Garry Linsley knows the material inside out, Keith Norris had a blast and the diminuitive Sue Ferris yet again produced a big sound on tenor, muscular baritone and free-flowing flute. A good session.
The versatile Rod Sinclair can be heard in another context on Sunday evening with fellow guitarist James Birkett at the Bridge Hotel as they play the music of the likes of Charlie Christian, Carl Kress and Dick McDonaugh. Russell

LJF News - ARTHUR H CANCELLED

Arthur H was involved in a motorcycle accident yesterday. Although he avoided serious injury, he fractured his wrist – his hand is in a plaster cast and he is unable to perform. His concert in the Queen Elizabeth Hall tonight has been cancelled: when he is recovered, we hope to reschedule this performance for 2011. Tickets will be refunded at place of purchase. Arthur Jeffes, the leader of Penguin Cafe, was due to play a special set of his own piano music as the first half of this concert. Arthur Jeffes will now play his own short concert tonight in the cabaret setting of The Front Room (in the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer) starting at 7.45pm. Admission is free. Across Southbank Centre, tickets are still available for the gospel double bill in the Royal Festival Hall of the Golden Gate Quartet and the Harlem Gospel Choir (the Harlem Gospel Choir were featured on ITV’s Daybreak this morning), and just a few tickets remain for the Purcell Room celebration of legendary South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo, which features special guests Keith Tippett and Jason Yarde among the many musicians associated with this great player. We all wish Arthur H. a speedy recovery.
Lucinda Hilberry
Serious.

Samuel Seftons' Photo Exhibition @ Kings Place

If you're passing through Kings Cross try and drop in at Kings Place, York Way. In case you don't know (I asked the girl in the internet café about half a mile away for directions and she'd never heard of it!) it's a multiplex arts development that apart from concerts both classical and jazz is currently showing a jazz photo exhibition by Samuel Seftons.
On view (and for sale) are some iconic images of the Jazz Greats. They're good - in fact they're very good - but they ain't cheap ranging from £140 for George Melly to to £995 for a shot of the Basie Band that is about 3 ft wide.
Look good over the fireplace even though you may have to sell the fireplace to buy it!
Lance.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chucho Valdes & The Afro-Cuban Messengers + Ibrahim Maalouf @ The Barbican.

Chucho Valdés (pno), Mayra Valdés (vcl), Lazaro Alarcon (bs), Juan Castro (dms), Yaroldy Robles (perc), Dreiser Bambolé (bata drum/vcl), Carlos Hernandez (ten), Reinaldo Alvarez (tpt/flg).
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Ibrahim Maalouf (tpt), Nenad Gajin (gtr), Frank Woeste (Rhodes), Xavier Roger (dms), Benjamin Molinaro (bs).
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They stood up and applauded wildly and justifiably so. If one man and one band deserved a standing ovation it was Chucho Valdés and the Afro-Cuban Messengers.
This was Harlem meets Havana - a Cuban Jazz Carnival.
The two horns provided the Messenger content and both would have been at home in any of Art Blakey's ensembles. They dug in and blew hard bop over the most pulsating rhythm section I'm ever likely to hear. In Hernandez you have tenor player who can hold his head high with the best of them - eat your heart out Mr Lloyd!
Alvarez too could swing as well as being beautifully lyrical on flugel.
The various percussionists gave the beat and a lot more conjuring up a variety of sounds from their armoury.
As for the leader well, he simply held it all together as well as chipping in with some wildly extravagent and exciting solos. Mayra Valdés was used sparingly revealing a powerful and emotive voice but it was Bambolé who took most of the vocals in-between Bata drumming.
It was great night as I knew it would be from the moment Alarcon kicked things off with a pizzicato bowed bass solo. Earlier on the French Arabian trumpet player's quintet got the ball rolling with a set that was, by his own admission more rock than jazz. Strangely, a section of the audience applauded that announcement!
Ibrahim Maalouf is a good trumpet player with a big fat sound and a band that at times really did rock the rafters - if they have rafters at the Barbican. However, there were too many deep reflective moments for my personal taste. Nevertheless the crowd liked it so who am I to complain?
A fitting and satisfactory end to my mini London Jazz Festival
On the free stage the Younger Zen (pictured right) had set the ball rolling with a brilliant set. Wade Austin (steel pan), Konrad Foster (bs. gtr), Siemy Diengue (dms). Playing sax in the Chilli Road Band, as I do, I thought I knew a bit about steel pans but never had I heard them played like this! Wade Austin plays runs that any sax, trumpet, guitar player would be proud of - if they could manage them! Add chords and contrapuntal lines and he becomes a keyboard/vibes player - amazing! I just wished the steel panners of my acquaintance could have been here!
Lance.

Barb Jungr (vocals) Simon Wallace (Piano) The Sage November 17th

Barbr Jungr (vcl), Simon Wallace (pno). Every now and then I go to hear a singer that I’ve never heard of before. I’m so glad I did go to this concert with Barb Jungr as I can only describe the experience as WOW! Don’t ask me to classify her singing as it fits no category I’ve ever heard of except So Good. Just Simon Wallace on the grand piano and Barb Jungr perched on a high stool, wearing a long dress with a jagged red and silver pattern.
Barbr told us she would sing the songs of male song writers that she loved who wrote ‘post Great American Songbook’. She began with Mark Cohen’s Walking in Memphis, sung in her own vigorous style, almost all on one note, every word crystal clear. Changing the tune so much shouldn’t work, but it did, gloriously so.
This was followed by Bob Dylan’s Ride me High and songs by Neil Diamond, Todd Lundgren, Bruce Springsteen and others. She gave very much her own take on songs such as Paul Simon’s tale about living in a small dull town (‘a bit like Rochdale’); Can’t Get used to Losing You; Red Red Wine; Witchita Linesman; and Love Hurts. The way she sang brought out fresh meaning to the songs. Towards the end of the concert Barb treated us to a wonderfully sensitive version of a song about going out into the world aided by the strength of your family (didn’t catch the title, sorry, sack the reviewer) and she ended with a feisty version of Lust for Life before running from the stage. You’d have to hear this singer yourself to understand her skill and style, I’d describe it as feisty, enthusiastic, cabaret-like but with gospel type endings to some songs, and lots of self-deprecating humour. Lots of chat between songs, such as the tale of the 400 year old pianist who accompanied her at Northampton, or comments about which songwriters she’d prefer not to sit next to at a dinner party. Simon Wallace on piano was wonderful, with lots of jazzy elements and a rippling right hand. He could have given a concert on his own. The audience almost filled level 1 of hall 2, and we were thanked for being there profusely by Ms Jungr, and she really meant it. See her for yourself. I can’t wait for the next time! Ann Alex.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Emilia Martensson @ The Spice of Life

Emilia Martensson (vcl), Jim Hart (vbs), Barry Green (pno), Phil Mulford (bs), John Blease (dms).
I arrived at Spice in time for the last set. Unfortunately I'd missed Sarah Ellen Hughes' set but managed a quick chat with her before settling down to listen to Emilia Martensson.
Emilia is Swedish and gives jazz interpretations to Swedish folk songs as well as contemporary pop songs from the likes of Paul Simon.
She does it well and even though I'd just left Norma Winstone Emilia didn't pale by comparision.
On vibes, Jim Hart continues to reinforce my opinion that he is the world's best player (and yes I know Gary Burton's in town) - his solo on Joe Henderson's Black Narcissus added an extra dimension to Emilia's performance.
Barry Green on piano also soloed well as did bass whilst drums kept the ship steady.
A fitting end to an enjoyable evening and another crowded room.
Lance.

Norma Winstone Trio/Charles Lloyd Quartet @ The Barbican

Norma Winstone (vcl), Klaus Gesing (bs clt/sop), Glauco Venier (pno).
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Charles Lloyd (ten), Jason Moran (pno), Reuben Rogers (bs), Eric Harland (dms).
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I don't think I've heard Norma to such advantage. Her sound, her pitching, the timbre of the voice was as near to perfection as anything I've heard from her yet. This wasn't happy music - it was dark and sombre, not like the blues, more related to a Gothic poet such as Keats or Shelley. The voice filled the vast chasm it created beautifully. Alongside, the bass clarinet added it's own portent of doom whilst the piano provided haunting support.
Even the popular song Everybody's Talkin' took on a completely new identity.
This really was something else.
During the interval the queue for the CD that provided the material - Stories Yet To Tell - stretched to the coast (a slight exageration I admit) and the trio happily signed copies until the bell went for Round Two.
After Norma's set and Piero Odorici's tenor playing last night, Charles Lloyd faced a bar that was almost impossibly high and in my eyes at least he failed to clear it.
The sound was pure but so it should be for a guy who plays so many long notes! Not that there was anything wrong with his playing but each number seemed to drag on for an eternity before anything happened.
I Fall In Love Too Easily was the exception. This was a masterpiece beginning soft and mellow building up to a frenetic climax from Lloyd before Moran took over and upped the tempo. Wow!
If only there had been more like it. As the night drew on I began looking at my watch more frequently mentally calculating whether I could catch the last set at The Spice.
In the end I decided to go for it.
Earlier, on the Freestage, I enjoyed listening to the Kairos 4Tet (pict right) in the company of the Good Doctor Nicola, The 'Pres' of Chile Claude and ex-pat Ben Gilbert.
Despite my reservations it was a good evening much appreciated by the crowd.
Why don't all jazz gigs pull such large numbers?
Lance.

John Etheridge @ The Royal Albert Hall Café Consort

This was a magical gem. John Etheridge playing solo guitar to an enthusiastic audience at the Royal Albert Hall's Café Consort.
I first heard John Etheridge with Stephane Grappelli and, over the years, have since heard him in many different contexts.
At this afternoon's free concert his playing was sheer delight. Opening with Rollin's Doxy he gently explored the theme before indulging in a restrained yet challenging improvisation. It didn't disturb the diners one bit.
Next up was a catchy, townshippy, tune by Abdullah Ibrahim. John echoed my sentiments when he said 'Fancy changing a show-biz friendly name like Dollar Brand for Abdullah Ibrahim!"
My Romance was just that - a romantic interpretation of a lovely tune.
Perhaps the choice moment was the emotive take on Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. Mingus' minor key tribute to Lester Young reached down and grabbed you - a thing of beauty through pain.
And so it went on, a master class in the art of lyrical playing served up alongside the Mozzarella, cheese and tomato pannini's.
Lance.

Tonight @ The Sage, Gateshead.

For those of you unable to make the London scene that charismatic songstress Barbr Jungr is at The Sage Gateshead.
Despite my absence Bebop Spoken Here will still be represented so look forward to a perceptive review not only of Ms Jungr's singing but her stage personality and perhaps some fashion comments...
Don't miss her she's fun! Lance.

More Jazz Festival

The London Jazz Festival is just so massive it is impossible to take in all the events you want to see. Tonight I've opted for the Charles Lloyd Quartet and Norma Winstone at the Barbican even though it means missing out on the Spice of Life and Sarah Ellen Hughes - the sacrifices one has to make. Still, The Spice will be there forever and I'm sure I will catch Sarah Ellen again unless New York beckons...
This midday John Etheridge is flying solo at the Royal Albert Hall Café so I guess I'll be motoring west (London Transporting to be precise.)
Lance.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

London Jazz Festival - Cedar Walton Trio @ Ronnie Scott's.

Cedar Walton (pno), Piero Odorici (ten), Daryl Hall (bs), Willie Jones III (dms).
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Tim Lapthorne (pno), Arnie Somogyi (bs), Stephen Keogh (dms).
Cedar Walton is a jazz legend and deservedly so. His blues tinged bopperisms inspired a host of Blue Note hornmen - Donald Byrd, John Coltrane just a couple of his associates. Two storming sets showed that he has lost none of his fire yet tonight, there was extra fire from Italian tenor player Piero Ricci - please correct me if I've got the name wrong. (I've been corrected!)
He blew like there was no tomorrow running the changes skilfully and inventively. Reminiscent of Hank Mobley, Charlie Rouse, Wayne Shorter he nevertheless contrived to be his own man. In a Sentimental Mood being particularly poignant as he searched for the truth and maybe found it - he is someone I will look out for again.
This is not to take anything away from Cedar Walton he played jazz piano the way it should be played - straight down the middle. Over The Rainbow where he applied a double tempo middle section was an object lesson in harmony and chordal substitutions.
On bass Daryl Hall solid and swinging the perfect anchor.
I've heard more drum solos than I care to remember and you would think every permatutaion of kit had been used up. However, I have to say that Willie the Third produced some cross rhythms twixt snare and bass drum that maybe I hadn't met before - or perhaps my memory's fading!
Two great sets.
Earlier, the Tim Lapthorne Trio played a set of mainly originals (I Should Care being the exception) that set the scene perfectly for the headliners.
I'm rarely impressed by 'originals' but these had some melodic and harmonic value that the leader and composer exploited to their best advantage.
Look forward to hearing them again.
Ronnie's was deservedly 'House Full'
Lance.
PS: Nice to meet and chat with young Japanese jazz piano student - Keiichi. Tonight must have been both educational and enjoyable for him.

London Jazz Festival Update - STRAYHORN THE SONGWRITER MOVES FROM PURCELL ROOM

The performance of Strayhorn The Songwriter, which features two special singers in China Moses (one of the stars of the Jazz Voice gala which opened the Festival) and Alexander Stewart, with new arrangements of Strayhorn classics like Lush Life and Take the A Train, has sold out in the Purcell Room on Saturday 20 November, and will now move across to the Queen Elizabeth Hall to take the slot in which Ute Lemper would have played. The concert is curated by Frank Griffith and Alex Webb with a fascinating narrative from Sirena Riley. Tickets are on sale at £20 + bkg. Tickets for Purcell Room concert will be valid for Queen Elizabeth Hall – Southbank Centre will contact bookers direct. The show will begin at 7.45pm Ute Lemper’s concert this Saturday 20 November has been postponed for medical reasons – we hope to announce a new date tomorrow. southbankcentre.co.uk / 0844 847 9910
Lance.

Hong Kong Happenings from Colin

Colin Aitchison, "The Guvner" of Hong Kong, sent me this link to the Happy-Go-Lucky-Big-Band. It's a delightful page expressing their love of the music of Duke Ellington expressed in their own version of English. Lance.

More from the Penguin Jazz Guide

Bud Freeman: I had ambitions to be a Shakespearean actor when I was a young man, but I've been strutting this stage ever since... You don't have to learn swordplay to be a jazz musician, though it might help with promoters.
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Creed Taylor on Harry James: He had no small opinion of himself, an ego the size of Plymouth Rock, but then he was moored to Betty Grable and that can't have helped. I didn't care much for that vibrato either. It just seemed to be saying, "Look at me!"
From The Penguin Jazz Guide - The History of the Music in 1001 Albums. ISBN 978-0-141-04831-4.
Lance.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mike Gilby Latest

With Hilary Gilby's permission I have posted the latest news on trumpet player Mike Gilby's failing health.
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"Please excuse me writing to you this way. Sadly it's to inform you of Mike's continued and worsening ill health. As you know he is now dependant on 24 hour nursing care. Last Wednesday (10th) he was rushed to North Tyneside Hospital in a coma, and near death. For the time being visiting is by close family only, as he is being barrier nursed. We are encouraged by the fact that he appears to be making some progress. I will let you know of any further developments.
Kindest regards,
Hilary, Michael, Scott and Zoe."
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All our thoughts are with Mike and Family.
Lance.

VOTNJO - Simply The Best!

John Warren (cond/comp/arr), Stan Sulzmann (ten/comp/arr), Graham Hardy, Shaun Eland, Gary Nicholas, Jonny Dunn (tpts), Alex Leathard, Chris Hibbard, Keith Norris, Caroline Norris (tmbs). Andy Bennett (alt/clt), Rod Mason (alt), Graeme Wilson (ten), Sue Ferris (ten/flt), Niall Armstrong (bar).
Paul Edis (pno), Andy Champion (bs), Mark Williams (gtr), Adrian Tilbrook (dms).
If a Splinter gig never gets any better than this then I won't complain. If you missed it well that's your misfortune and I'm sure that those who packed out the Bridge will never stop telling you about it.
Difficult to single out any one piece or person but, for me, the killer moment was Stan Sulzmann playing Ruby My Dear. The Monk tune seemed to dig down into my soul as Sulzmann explored it from top to bottom - inside and out - every which way. Sumptuous, I wanted everyone I loved to be called Ruby.
Should also mention Jonny Dunn's trumpet work - really impressive new kid on the block.
The band were on top form skating through the arrangements as though they were Noddy's first Lesson!
Believe you me they weren't! John Warren deserves to be ranked alongside Gil Evans and Stan's weren't bad either!
Incredible charts brilliantly executed by a fantastic band - what else can I say?
Lance
PS: If there was a downside it was the noisy party sitting at the front - they spoiled it for everyone - themselves included if they but knew it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to Keith and Café

Best ever afternoon at the Jazz Café! A welcoming glass of champagne, salmon sardi's to feed half of Africa and some good sounds to wash it down.
Keith, as befits one celebrating many years jazzing the planet, looked resplendent in a smoking jacket purchased at great expense from Oxfam (by his own admission - I'm an Age Concern man myself when it comes to tailoring) proudly surveyed his empire and he wasn't disappointed at what Pete Gilligan, Paul Grainger, Matthew Office and Eric Stutt were putting down.
Claire added some vocal pizazz to I Got Rhythm, Round Midnight with Mark Williams joining the parade for the latter.
Tony Rose, passing through from more southerly climes, blew some nice tenor on S'Wonderful and Out of Nowhere.
Harley Johnson and his trio had a blast and did things to Take The A Train.
It was feel good day with old friends a plenty - Terry Ellis, John Hedley and Judith whom I hadn't seen for 25 years.
"You had more hair when I knew you" she said.
Didn't we all?
Lance.

Preview - Lewis Watson Quartet @ The Cherry Tree

I was meaning to leave a comment on Lewis Watson's last gig at the Cherry Tree but didn't get round to it. However, as I see he's appearing there again tomorrow night it's another great opportunity to hear a terrific player who is not gigging nearly enough.
Lance has described the last gig in detail but I must say I wondered how Lewis's robust and constantly inventive style would go down with an audience accustomed to the more standard (but very excellent) music usually provided by the GAS men and women at the CT. I needn't have worried. By the end of the evening couples were happily dancing what I would have called a slow smooch as Lewis was digging seriously low notes from beneath the floorboards of the restaurant in 'Body & Soul'.
They continued through the gloriously melodic 'Softly as in..' and were delightfully unperturbed as he segued into Bird's 'Now's the Time' (by special request). I did wonder if the dancers knew that the riff for this tune was turned into a raunchy rock and roll number about a dance called the 'Hucklebuck'. The chorus which explains how to do the dance ends:'Wriggle like a stick, wobble like a duck, That's what you do when you do the Hucklebuck'.
JC.

News Flash! TRIMMERS GIG TRIMMED!

Bad news for those who were planning to take in TAKE FOUR at The Trimmers Arms, South Shields this afternoon/evening. The gig has been cancelled at mega short notice!
The band aplogise for any inconvenience caused through no fault of their own.
Lance.

Mississippi Dreamboats @ Airport Church, Blakelaw, Newcastle. November 13th

Paul Bacon (drums), Liz Bacon (clarinet), Mac Smith (keyboards), Mac Rae (trumpet & vocals), Doris Fenn (banjo) & Ian Heslop (doulbe bass)
The Dreamboats' paddle steamer berthed upstream in the Newcastle suburb of Blakelaw to help raise funds for the Pakistan Relief Fund.
Airport Church (nowhere near Newcastle International Airport) was the venue and a good sized crowd turned out to support the cause and, of course, enjoy the sounds of New Orleans jazz.
The Bacons have been practitioners of the art for more years than they care to remember. So too the rest of the band, come to think of it! Mr.Bacon's playing in the New Orleans' style was exemplary, Mrs. Bacon's clarinet likewise. Old hands Smith, Rae, Fenn and Heslop contributed much to the ensemble sound and Mac Rae played good trumpet and sang well, particularly on Corrina,Corrina and a stompin' Sheik of Araby.
Russell.

SURREAL! VOTNJO @ The Bridge Tonight

Tonight's Splinter gig at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle is a really special one. Not only a chance to hear the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra under the direction of John Warren but also featuring saxist STAN SULZMANN, recently heard at The Sage with the Kenny Wheeler Orchestra.
All shoe-horned into the upper room at the Bridge!
You want surreal? Tonight you've got it - it will be out of this world and all for a fiver!
On a 'notes for notes' basis this has to be the sale of the century - don't miss it unless you want to live a life of regret.
Lance.
8:00pm Bridge Hotel, Castle Chare, Newcastle.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Down on the Jersey Shore

Hi Lance,
Just thought I'd give you an update on what's happening down here on The Shore.
November 17 has Natalie Cole at the Count Basie Theatre in Redbank and Tony Bennett on the 23rd. We've also had James Cotton playing the blues in Ringwood Public Library. More blues with Richie Havens at the South Orange Performing Arts Centre.
In Madison, Nancy Nelson and Marlene Ver Planck were at the Shanghai Jazz Restaurant and Bar.
Chris Botti was at the McCarter Theatre Centre in Princeton on Monday and on Tuesday trumpet player Joe Wilder played a concert with guitarist Jack Wilkins on the Newark campus of Rutgers University.
On November 19 Mike Barris and Friends salute Louis, Django and Bessie in a concert supported by the Women's Club of Redbank and the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation.
It's part of a series of concerts called "Reckless Steamy Nights".
So, as you can see there's quite a bit happening - shame you couldn't pop over!
Lydia.
PS: Most of the above information is from Mike Barris' Barris Beat column in the Asbury Park Press.

Django Spins in his Grave.

I called into my local music shop last week and asked the assistant if they had any information on Maccafferri's. The young man looked at me and said, "Are they a group?" Liz.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Huddersfield Hot-Line

THE ZOE GILBY QUINTET Huddersfield Jazz Club Date: Saturday 13 November Venue: Syngenta Cellar 8.00pm Zoe Gilby – vocals Mark Williams – guitar Noel Dennis - trumpet Andy Champion – double bass
Richard Brown - drums
A rising young star on the jazz scene receiving accolades wherever she appears, Zoe has been making a real impression with her interpretations of the Great American Songbook whilst appearing at prominent venues and festivals throughout the UK and we are pleased to welcome her quintet on their first visit to the Cellar.
"Sparkling debut by an exuberant singer whose lively personality comes across on every track. Sheer enjoyment throughout" Jazz UK Magazine. "An impressive performance from a sophisticated young singer. Her voice has real character. Powerfully sultry and expertly handled" Jazz Journal International. "Talent, skill, and a beautiful voice." Mod Radio, Madrid. Tickets: £13 on the night/£12 in advance/concessions.

Brenda Sokell Live

If you can put up with 3 short ads (it is ITV) this is the direct link to Cry Me a River. John T.

More Penguin Pontifications

Mal Waldron on Charles Mingus: Mingus had this idea that you didn't have to hit the note dead centre, like a bullseye, but you could place your notes round about it, inside the concentric rings but not bang in the middle. It was liberating, though not so easy for the piano player. From The Penguin Jazz Guide - The History of the Music in 1001 Albums. ISBN 978-0-141-04831-4. Lance.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Jazz Gig in South Shields

A new late afternoon/early Sunday evening gig has kicked off at the Trimmers Arms, South Shields. The down beat is at the unusual time (for gigs) of 5:00pm and runs till 8:00pm.
On guitars Jon ? and Ian Parkinson (who also does bass and vocals). Keyboards are by Val Hanson and drums is Tony Burke.
You can hear a sample of the quartet stretching out on Watermelon Man on YouTube.
Worth checking out.
Lance.

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

Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt/sop), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl).
Having been exploring the Lunar Landscape of music with AVC it was down to earth and, if not quite back to the Delta certainly to the upper reaches of the Mississippi with the Maine Street Jazzmen.
Culture shock it may seem to some but to me it was just moving from one room to another. Both comfortable rooms just different views.
Bill Shaw, celebrating one of his many birthdays, informed me I'd just missed a version of Mahogany Hall Stomp to rival that by Armstrong and Kid Ory.
Maybe. The band were certainly going for it as was Olive when she laid out I Thought About You.
Sing like that Olive and I'll never stop thinking about you!
The Weary Blues wasn't tiring at all - for the listener - and Olive's Soon reminded me just what a great number the old Gershwin song is.
Lance.

Student Performances @ King's Hall, Newcastle University. November 11th

Charles Bayley (alto saxophone), Chris Chadwick (piano), Niall Gibson (drums) + electric bass The big boys ACV played the King's Hall at lunchtime. Having had my appetite whetted I went back for more later in the afternoon to hear the wannabie big boys perform in public at the regular student session.
This week's line-up included a trio of young musicians billed as playing a 'jazz standard'. The trio had expanded into a quartet by gig time. A music department academic introduced the trio as advertised, yet omitted to mention the addition of a bass guitarist - perhaps he didn't notice.
The standard Some Day My Prince Will Come was performed with great credit. Pianist Chadwick got the waltz time and Gibson used brushes effectively. Then it was bonus time. Bird's Yardbird Suite was taken at a lick. Altoist Charles Bayley stretched out and our bass player got to grips with the tune. Good stuff. Yet more new names to keep an eye on. Russell .

ACV @ Kings Hall, Newcastle Uni.

Andy Champion (bs), Graeme Wilson (ten/bar), Mark Williams (gtr), Paul Edis (pno), Adrian Tilbrook (dms).
The portraits looked down from the walls. I was reminded of the opera Ruddigore where the portrayed ancestors came to life.
I wondered how the subjects of portraits in Kings Hall would handle coming to life 'midst an ACV gig?
I'd like to think they enjoyed it as much as I did.
Not that there weren't problems.
The acoustics, full of booming echoes did the band no favours despite an intensive sound check. Mark had some guitar amp hang-ups that were only sorted by a change of amp.
This meant that the band weren't heard at their 100% best. Nevertheless, 90% ACV is equal to most band's 120% if that makes sense.
What I like about ACV is that they are a jazz group seeking to extend the music's horizons without knocking down the walls. All five can operate in any genre you care to name but it is as a forceful contemporary unit such as this where they truly blossom.
I'm not going to single out - they've all been well documented within these pages 'cept to mention that, with every gig, Andy takes on a whiter shade of Mingus and a bass sound near as full.
Can you think of a better way to spend 50 minutes on a Thursday afternoon?
Lance.

Free gig Newcastle University.

Don't miss out on ACV at Kings Hall, Newcastle University this lunchtime (1:10 - 2:00pm). One of the most inventive and hard swinging bands around. And it is free! Lance.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hugh Masekela & The Mahotellah Queens @ The Sage, Gateshead.

Hugh Masekela (flug/voice/hand perc), Randall Skippers (keys), Cameron John Ward (gtr), Abednego Fana Zulu (bs), Leroy Sauls (dms), Francis Manneh Fusters (congas).
Mahotella Queens: Hilda Tloubatla, Nobesuthu Mbadu, Mildred Mangxola.
On a bitter cold evening Hugh Masekela's Band proved to be the ideal antidote to the cold. The infectious rhythms of the Townships soon got the circulation going and it wasn't long before most of the audience were either dancing in the aisles or moving energetically in their seats.
Even the slower numbers that told of suffering and sorrow still had that sense of hope about them - that tomorrow freedom will arrive. Masekela sang and shouted, he screamed he hollered and, most of all, played some lyrical, tear your guts out, flugel horn.
No trumpet - just flugel - at times sounding just a little like Clark Terry.
The band were as tight as a fish's rhythm section with young guitarist Ward exceptional.
Of course it wasn't all music... Masekela is a legend, not only as a musician, but as a frontman - a man who connects and with humour.
He pronounced Gateshead as Gaitsheed (as taught him by Eric Burden!) He also pretended to confuse it with a favourite African delicacy - Goats head!
There was so much more but best try and catch him live.
Whoee! This was some gig!
Earlier, the Mahotellah Queens had opened up the show with a lively set that saw the three ladies (all in their sixties) produce some brilliant harmonies, a bit of choreography and some good singing. Any one of them could have held their own in the Singing Pensioners Competition although not once were they referred to as OAPS!
Yes this was some gig!
Lance.

Brenda Sokell - The Singing Pensioner

Singing Pensioners is the rather unfortunate title given to a talent show currently running on the Alan Titchmarsh Show. Not that I've got anything against pensioners - I'm one myself. However, it doesn't do the entrants justice. Local lass Brenda Sokell, a name not unknown to this blog, looked anything but a lady of venerable years as she sang Cry Me A River.
The judges decreed it was a fine performance and Brenda is now in the Final.
Well done Brenda.
Lance.

Gateshead International Jazz Festival details released.

Although nationwide the current jazz excitement centres around the London Jazz Festival which opens this weekend, up here in the North-east our eyes are already looking towards next year and the 7th Gateshead International Jazz Festival which takes place at The Sage on March 25, 26, 27.
The program has now been officially released and full details can be found on The Sage website.
Too much to list here at this early stage so I'll just say my personal choice will be the Joe Lovano/Kurt Elling concert on the Saturday evening.
The Festival is supported by Gateshead Council, Arts Council England, north east england and SERIOUS.
Lance.

Masekela at The Sage - Tonight!

Tonight I guess all roads will lead to The Sage, Gateshead, for a rare appearance by South African Legend, trumpet player, voicer, Hugh Masekela and his full band. Every note, every word echoes both joy and sadness as Masekela digs deep beneath the surface of South African 'Culture'.
It will be a night that shouts out 'Freedom'.
It will be a night that will stay with us for ever.
Supporting, the Mohatella Queens vocal trio should also bring the raw energy of the Townships to Gateshead who I am sure will give back some of its own in appreciation.
Lance.

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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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