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Bebop Spoken There

Buddy Rich: "I'm very tired of sixteen year old kids who think they know all about electronics and tell you how to play. They don't tell me how to play, because I tell 'em what they can do!" - (Crescendo March 1982).

Kermit Ruffins: “I’ll make 50 this year, and I don’t want to record nothing that’s real hot because when I get older I’m not gonna be able to play it.” – (Jazz Times October 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Today Friday October 24.

Afternoon.
RENDEZVOUS JAZZ - Black Horse, Monkseaton. 1pm. Free.
Classic jazz.
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Evening.
EYESHUTIGHT - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. £5 (£3 before 8.30pm.)
Contemporary Leeds based trio
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RAY HARRIS -Hoochie Coochie 54 Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 6SF. 8pm. Free. Popular funk/soul singer.
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ELKIE BROOKS - Middlesbrough Town Hall. £23.50. 8pm.
They don't come any better than Elkie.
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NEW CENTURY RAGTIME ORCHESTRA - The Millstone, Haddricks Mill Rd., South Gosforth, NE3 1QL. 7.30pm. 0191 2853429. £5.
Get there early - it's a big band in a small room!

Monday, January 31, 2011

R.I.P. John Barry

The sad news today is of the death of John Barry prolific film composer and arranger. Guardian obituary. Lance.

Corey Mwamba Jazz Heralds - 1000 word review by Sarah R.

Heralds are Corey Mwamba, Dave Kane, Joshua Blackmore, Ntshuks Bonga, Alex Bonney, Arun Ghosh.
Jan 25, Cluny.
Sarah R.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Djangologie @ The Bridge

Emma Fisk (vln), Jim Birkett, Giles Strong (gtr), Mick Shoulder (bs).
The reformed, renamed (i.e. ie instead of y don't ask me why) proved the perfect antidote to the afternoon's blues bash at the Central Bar. A choice mix of standards and originals made for a swinging session.
It goes without saying that Emma Fisk does Grappelli and does him good but there's also a lot of her own phrasology in Djangology - sorry Djangologie - as she swung through Coquette, Douce Ambience, Nuages, Undecided, The Autumn Leaf - a Mick Shoulder original that had some effective pizzicato passages from Emma - J'attendrai, Django's Stomp, A Quick One, Minor Swing, Sheik of Araby, Lady Be Good, Daphne and Besame Mucho.
Unlike most Hot Club, ensembles lead and rhythm was shared throughout and both guitarists were well versed in the idiom.
Mick's bass playing was better than his French and he kept the whole thing together with sound rhythmic support.
A delightful musical delicacy - or should that be delicacie?
Lance.

Skywalkin' @ The Central Bar.

Byron Baddoo (vcls), Kenny Kirsopp (ten/alt), Steve Coady (gtr), Keith Nicholson (bs), Dave Morton(dms).
The Skywalkers have been around for a long time and they are none the worse for that.
This afternoon, at the Central Bar, they kept the blues flag flying with some dynamic numbers.
This is no ordinary blues band - this is that and a whole lot more.
Baddoo is as baaaaad a bluesman as you're ever gonna meet this side of Sunset and Vine.
Byron hollers like he was born cross the tracks in the stockyards of Chicago. He's a bluesman - full stop.
However, although I dug his blues, I felt the patter overran. The Fufu gag went well past its sell by!
My old mate Kenny blew from a blue haze and played some great bar-walkin tenor and Louis Jordon alto. In fact a lot of the material was updated Louis Jordan and they don't come much better than that. Big round for Steve who did some fantastic guitar business.
The rhythm is great and infectious - by the closing number the floor was awash with gals shaking it around a bit!
Wow!
Lance

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jazz Library

Alan Barnes is today's guest on Jazz Library (Radio 3, 4:00 pm) discussing the work of Sonny Stitt. Russell.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Farewell Betty Smith

I was saddened to learn of the death of tenor saxist and singer Betty Smith on January 21 at the age of 81. I remember, just after I'd left school, going to see the Freddy Randall Band at Seaburn Hall, near Sunderland.
The band were great but most of all I was impressed by Betty who, wearing the band's blue blazer, a tight grey skirt and, perched atop high heels, leaned back, legs apart and blew some really booting tenor. I was captivated - I was 15 and in love with the instrument and the player!
I missed the last bus home and had to get a taxi - and my dad out of bed to pay for it!
I thought it was worth it although I don't think he did!
Local drummer Ian Forbes (see photo supplied courtesy of Ian - click here for photo with Jimmy Edwards.) played with her quintet in later years.
A much underrated player.
Sadly missed.
Lance.

RIP Gordon Bache.

Received the sad news yesterday that jazz organist Gordon Bache died on Monday Jan 24. Gordon was well remembered for his work in the '70s and '80s with Ronnie Pearson.
They were a convivial pair who got a good groove going and were popular around the night club circuit.
Later Gordon played at The Porthole, North Shields.
If anyone could add to these sketchy details it would be appreciated.
From Evening Chronicle:
BACHE (Blyth). Passed peacefully in hospital on 24th January, aged 68 years, Gordon, will be sadly missed by partner Pat and children Ann, Carol, Stuart, Getan, Emma and Katie and brother Ken and family. Would friends please meet for service at Blyth Crematorium, Cowpen Road on Tuesday 1st February at 3.00pm. Family flowers only please. A collection will be taken on the day in aid of Palliative Care, Wansbeck Hospital.
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Condolences to Gordon's family.
Lance.

Daryl Sherman dates

A Daryl Sherman update. Our girl is in the UK April/May but sadly isn't making it up to the north-east. Daryl, however, has asked me to pass on her best regards to the many fans and musicians she met when she played Saville and Trinity last year. Daryl appears at the following venues:- April 23, 24 Harlow Jazz Festival (w/Digby Fairweather Quartet) April 26, Pizza Express Soho Jazz Club April 28, Grimsby Jazz Society May 1, 2 Norwich Jazz Party May 3, The Green Man Pub, Wroxham Road, Rackheath, Norwich May 5, The Pheasantry, Kings Rd May 6, Torfaen Jazz,Ponypool, Wales May 7, Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea May 8, Chapel Arts Centre, Bath. More info to follow. Lance.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Creole Choir of Cuba @ The Sage - an Unforgettable Experience

These days it's not often I float home on a cloud after a gig - but tonight was one of them.
Was it Jazz? Who cares? I've given up on pigeon-holing. If it hits the spot it will do for me.
I'd read of their success at the London and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals so I figured this was going to be something else - AND IT WAS!
The Creole Choir of Cuba (6 women 4 men) although singing almost entirely in Creole - Cuba's second language - the ten performers had no difficulty in communicating with a sold out Hall 2.
The first set centered around the earthquake and the resulting cholera epidemic that devastated Haiti. One of the songs was so emotive I felt the tears forming.
This wasn't just music it was theatre it was dance it was grand opera over a salsa beat.
I needed a drink! A glass of medium white in the company of Mo (Scott) and Rod (Sinclair) brought me down to earth - at least for a while. They too dug it.
If I thought the first set had been something the second one knocked me for six - no make that ten - make it a million!
The harmonies, the choreography, the voices - Havana meets Covent Garden! The one concession to our native tongue was an almost barbershop rendition of Unforgettable - it certainly was!
On the movers the audience clapped, they stamped their feet and when the excitement got too much one girl got up and boogied up on to the stage - the choir, the audience and the girl loved it!
By the end I was wondering if I was going to have a heart attack! And there wasn't an instrument on stage apart from a couple of congas! So much for the power and versatility of the vox humana.
At the end it was a standing ovation and the band encored and exited through the audience singing and shaking hands.
Was this the best gig ever?
Maybe not but it's certainly high on the list!
Catch them even if you have to swim to Cuba!
Lance.

Maine Street Maintain the Magic @ Malones

Olive Rudd (vcl), Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt/vcl), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms).
Another rousing, rip-roaring, barnstorming performance by the Maine Street Gang.
Jim repeated his success of last week - Gonna Get a Girl - Herbie took us on a Slow Bus To Byker with lot's of other local references whilst Ray played some lovely Ruby Braffish phrases (they must come with the embouchure!).
Olive did, among others, You Can Depend on Me and a politically correct Eenie Meenie Minie Mo.
As ever the rhythm section was rock solid with Malcolm laying down the chords right on the nose and Alan walkin' the bass ten times round the block.
Mike was - simply - Mike.
Catch them next week or at the 100 other venues they play each week!
Lance.

RIP Barrie Lee Hall

One of the last of the later Ellingtonians died on January 26. Trumpeter Hall joined the Duke a year before he died and later played in the orchestra under Mercer Ellington's direction.
A plunger specialist he also performed with John Dankworth and Cleo Laine.
Barrie Lee Hall was 61. Obituary. Lance.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recalling, fondly, last Sunday's Singer's Night at The Bridge

Some video memories of Splinter's memorable singer's night last Sunday at The Bridge. Here Zoe Gilby does Midnight Bell. Claire Kelly and Whisper Not. Lindsay Hannon sings Darkened Room. Ruth Lambert and the emotive Blue Valentine. Thanks to Adrian and JazzAction for these tracks. Lance.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Art Blakey - The Egyptian

Hil sent me this clip of the 1966 Jazz Messengers featuring John Gilmore and Lee Morgan on The Egyptian. Lance.

The Sage on Thursday is the place to be.

The Creole Choir of Cuba play The Sage this Thursday, Jan 27, and it promises to be, as Mark Lamarr described it on BBC2, "A mesmerising experience...astonishing stuff...I'm lost for words...absolutely extraordinary." They were also, I'm told, a sensation at the London Jazz Festival and a big hit at the Edinburgh Festival. Within the confines of Hall Two it should be mind blowing. Tickets I believe are evaporating rapidly. Lance.

Maine Street Take Ashington.

As of March 2 The Maine Street Jazzmen will start a monthly residency (usually the first Wednesday in the month) at the Elephant in Ashington, home of Ashington Jazz Club.
Zoe Gilby and her Trio appear on Wednesday Feb 2.
All gigs start 8:30pm.
Lance.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Veitch Steps Into The Breach @ The Cherry Tree

Sue Ferris (ten/bar/flt), Roly Veitch (gtr/vcl), Neil Harland (bs), John Hirst (dms).
The previous post saw Jim Birkett and Roly Veitch disguised as folkies in the form of The Blaydon Aces.
Tonight, at the Cherry Tree, Jim Birkett was billed but it was in fact that other Ace of Blaydon who showed - Roly Veitch. One presumes JB picked something up whilst Ashington way. The quartet got underway with Pennies From Heaven which turned out to be compatible with my starter of Crab Fritters. Just as Sue and Roly's intertwining lines wove in and around each other so did the Fritter in Squash Puree and Granny Smith Apple wind themselves around my tastebuds. I suspect that it - the starter - came from the same place - Heaven!
Sue's tenor playing is as cool as the Basque Sauce that complemented my Moules Frites was hot!
Here's that Rainy Day brought the flute out and, later on, Mulligan's Walkin' Shoes and Stardust saw the dimutive lass blowing baritone. The tried and tested standards were rolled out with Roly's vocals including I Wished On The Moon and You're a Lucky Guy. A mini barnstormer from Sue on Blue Monk was deservedly acknowledged by the diners. John Hirst drove things along and Neil - in contrast to his Fender thrash with Mo, yesterday - was back on double bass and a tower, I use the word advisedly as he's about 9 ft tall, of strength.
Another fine Cherry Tree session.
Lance.
PS: I didn't have a dessert this week as, after I'd demolished my plate of Moules which piled up to about Neil Harland's eybrows, there simply wasn't room!

The Blaydon Aces @ Ashington Jazz Club

A unique coalition took place in Ashington last week.
This was a fusion of the long established Ashington Jazz Club and Ashington Folkmembers who came together for one evening to enjoy the talented Duo of Roly Veitch and Jim Birkett as the Blaydon Aces.
Those of us from the Jazz Club have had the pleasure, and recognize the brilliance, of these two established local musicians, while this proved to be a new experience for Folk Club members.
The versatility on guitars of Roly and Jim was established from the first number with Roly's vocals, in a distinctive and wonderful Tyneside and North East accent, being much appreciated. It is a rare occurence these days to hear the music of our heritage and all agreed that this is an art that must be preserved. The arrangements were delightful and melodic with an injection of humour within the lyrics. To the surprise of all some of the items were accompanied by a Bossa Nova rhythm which gave the duo the opportunity to air their skills.
The audience listened intently to the stories, the songs told while R and J skillfully and so professionally painted a classical background of great accompaniment, as the audience joined in some of the more familiar lyrics.
It was a masterful evening by two respected collaborators and we are fortunate to have both living in the North East. It is not surprising that they can move so easily between different genres of music and I recommend them to you all without any hesitation. Let us keep our traditions alive where and when possible alongside our love of Jazz in all its forms. Congratulations Roly and Jim and thanks to the two leaders of the Clubs for the use of the venue and arranging this for our delight. I suggest you take a look at Roly's web site for more information and listing of many of the songs presented to us.
Peter S.
Ashington Jazz Club.

Tonight @ The Cherry Tree

Tonight's Gourmet Jazz features Sue Ferris blowing tenor and flute with Jim Birkett on guitar, Neil Harland(bass) and John Hirst (drums). Four of the tastiest players on the circuit which means a tasty evening all round! Lance. The Cherry Tree Restaurant 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond. Tel 0191 2399924.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Quadruple Dead Heat @ The Bridge

Ruth Lambert, Zoe Gilby, Lindsay Hannon, Claire Kelly (vcl), Stu Collingwood (pno), Andy Champion (bs), David Francis (dms).
This was indeed a night to remember - three of the area's top singers and an outsider who almost pipped them on the line!
No it wasn't possible to separate them. Each girl has her own sound, her own style and each were totally amazing in their choice of material.
Zoe kicked things off with an original Bell House Hotel - brilliant lyric, then there was The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines - a memorable track from Joni Mitchell's Mingus album. I don't think I've heard Zoe sing better - she was up for it.
Follow that must have ran through every one's minds as Claire Kelly took to the stage - the sacrificial lamb to the slaughter.
This time round it was the lamb who slayed the butcher!
Whisper Not set the stall out - Claire was in the game. How many singers do you know who will attempt Gloomy Sunday? Who will do an uppish Pagan Love Song? - inspired by Jo Stafford, said Claire. The girl is too young to have even heard of Jo Stafford!
Interval time and a look around reveals a very well attended gig. Lot's of friends old and new and a few special ones.
Third set: Lindsay Hannon takes centre stage. Lindsay keeps the bar at the highest level particularly on The End of a Love Affair. But there are others, each one a gem, that somehow slipped through my subconscious. Down With Love didn't though - it jumped - Yip Harburg would be happy.
And so it was down to Ruth to draw things to a close which she duly did even playing some guitar chords along the way.
This had been a splendid evening. Apart from the girls, Stu Collingwood was an absolute monster on piano - Stu Rules OK? Ditto Andy on bass whilst Dave, although not featured prominently, did everything that was asked.
It was brilliant I cannot say more.
Lance.
Next week Djangology replace the advertised Carpus Trio.

Jazz Café Jam

Pete Gilligan (pno), Ray Burns (hca/acc), Eric Stutt (dms), Paul Grainger (bs), Dave Gray (tmb), Alan Law (pno), Matthew Office (gtr), Omid Ramak (Dms) etc.
No singers today - they are at the Bridge tonight - nevertheless there were some nice happenings.
That impetuous, and talented, young trombone player David took Satin Doll around the block 27 times - at the finish he blew a cadenza on a cadenza on a cadenza! This guy is a comer. Not that he had it all his own way - Ray Burns managed to have his say on harp over a considerably shorter number of bars without any loss of immediacy.
Apart from Pete, Alan Laws played good piano and Matt Office had his moments on guitar.
It was a good set, not least because of some pleasant company.
Lance.

Little Mo Band @ Central Bar, Gateshead.

Mo Scott (vcl), Rod Sinclair (vcl), Neil Harland (bs), Lloyd Howell (dms).
After last weeks belter by the Ray Stubbs R'n'B All Stars the punters wanted something special to follow and something special they got!
The new tables and stools have arrived giving the Blue Room a nice clean anaesthetised look about it. This is wrong - to fit the music the tables should have cigarette burns, beer stains and a few other unidentifiable (to a nun) stains to give it that earthy blues bar ambiance - no doubt they will with time come (well maybe not the nicotine).
However, such peripheral thoughts were banished once Little Mo did Big Mama Thornton's Hound Dog. We were off down the highway taking no prisoners. Mo can do unrequited and do it good.
Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby? Cutting edge Dinah - Fever, Peggy on Vodka with a Valium chaser. BB King and the suspects all contributed to a tremendous set by Tyneside's Empress of The Blues.
Rod Sinclair switched back and forward from Tele to Strat and sounded good on both with some bottleneck for good measure. Likewise Neil kept the Fender flag flying with both 4 and 5 string bass.
Lloyd, a metronomic powerhouse, ensured the Greyhound bus arived in Chicago on time.
It was one helluva trip.
Lance.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Alexander Abdicates - New Century Ragtime Orchestra New Ragtime Kings - Gateshead Old Town Hall

A second full house at Gateshead Old Town Hall for a jazz gig! Admitedly from different ends of the jazz spectrum but both gigs drew upon the basic ingredients of melody, harmony and constructive improvisation - tonight wasn't even the Emperors old clothes! It was jazz entertainment.
The New Century Ragtime Orchestra aren't stand up zillion chorus blowers - their forté is a chorus here and there, a vocal, a syncopated riff and a solid ride out.
Guests Keith Nichols and Nick Ward - his bass drum is about half the diameter of the Tyne Tunnel - were impressive doing Fats Waller pieces but the strength of the band is the band themselves and I think Caroline could have been featured more.
As it was she strutted her vocal chords to great effect on You'd Be Surprised and That's You as well as in duet with Jimmy Mack on After You Get What You Want You Don't Want It
Steve Andrews, as ever, compered in his laconic style but, fortunately, left his verbosity behind for a languorous version of I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You. Steve has the fattest tenor sound I've ever heard - maybe it comes with the territory! Whatever this was good tenor playing.
Keith Stephen too indicated just how good a banjo player he is in his feature number. (Me praising banjo numbers! How good must that have been?)
Check them out - the New Century Ragtime Orchestra could be at a town near you! Overall, an enjoyable evening

Our Thoughts Are With (Mighty) Joe Young

I've just received the sad news that Joe Young is currently in a care home. Guitarist/Bassist Joe has been a figure on the north-east jazz scene since the late forties/early fifties firstly as the leader of one of the area's first modern bands then later as bass player with the Vieux Carré Jazzmen. Diane thanks those musicians and friends who have been supportive during this difficult period and would appreciate hearing, via this site, from those who may not have known the situation. Our thoughts are with Joe and Diane. Lance.

NCRO - Tonight at GOTH

Tonight's highlight is the annual concert at Gateshead Old Town Hall by the New Century Ragtime Orchestra with guests Keith Nichols on piano and Nick Ward at the 'traps'.
Vocals by Caroline Irwin help to recreate the hot dance music of the 1930s whilst Steve Andrews comperes and blows some beefy tenor.
Retro it may be but it's so beautifully done few can complain.
Dust off your high button shoes and Turkey Trot along to the Town Hall.
Recommended.
Lance.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2011

The Polls are now open for the All-Party Parliamentary Jazz awards 2011.
To nominate your favourite Band, Musician, Publication (eg magazine, BLOG...)
Nominations close on March 1. Lance.

Schmazz Factor @ The Sage Gateshead. January 20th

Schmazz @ The Cluny chose to present the 2011 Battle of the Bands event at The Sage in Gateshead rather than Schmazz HQ down in the Ouseburn Delta. It paid off in one respect - a good number of punters, some of whom were new to Schmazz, filled the Northern Rock Foundation Hall.
Triffid, formerly know as the Harley Johnson Trio, had the honour (drew the short straw?) of being first up for examination. Judging panel in place, audience attentive, the trio began rather quietly with pianist Johnson seemingly rumaging around under the lid of the Steinway looking for his sheet music. Ah, this was the performance! Bassist Ivan Scutt played quietly, perhaps too quietly. The set, in the form of a suite, rarely took off and it remained to be seen what the other entrants had to offer.
Hannabiell & Midnight Blue were, as they say, something else. Hannabiell is an energetic, all action, up and at 'em performer. Bass trombone, percussion and mbira were her instruments of choice. Her main instrument - trombone - was given such a working over that the great Gary Valente could well decline the offer of a toe to toe encounter. Blast after blast, legs and arms flayling, this was some show. The band - piano, bass and drums augmented by saxophone and two further percussionists played African jazz, funk and soul and more.
Paul Taylor, pianist with Long Lonesome Go, performed solo. Taylor took the time to talk about his approach to improvisation. Elements of twentieth century piano composition with, perhaps, a French influence were evident to my ear. This was a good set.
Soznak is a street band well know to shoppers on Northumberland Street in Newcastle. With the lights dimmed, the band - brass and rhythm section - marched into the hall with instruments lit by what appeared to be Christmas tree lights (an amusing touch, today they can go back into the loft until the end of the year). Leader Paul Miskin plays trumpet Township style, the band clearly enjoys the art of performance and it was a fitting end to the competition. The judges retired to deliberate over two hours plus of diverse musical entertainment. The interlude was the perfect opportunity to bring to the stage Carpus Trio winners of the inaugural Schmazz Factor competition. The trio gave a stupendous display. Virtuosic, tight, powerful, just great.
The judging panel returned to give its verdict. Triffid's drummer Rob Bates was commended, so too Paul Taylor. The winning entry - Hannabiell & Midnight Blue - was greeted with shrieks of delight.
Worthy winners, the band can be heard again (for free) in the King's Hall in Newcastle University at 4:00 pm, Thursday 3rd February. Russell

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Tale of Two Ditties - The Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's

Olive Rudd (vcl), Ray Harley (tpt), Herbie Hudson (tpt/vcl/hca), Jim McBriarty (clt/vcl), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms).
It was the best of times - it was the worst of times...
The best of times was Olive, in Maxine Sullivan mode, singing Every Time (every doggone time) and Hard Hearted Hannah. Jim did a great vocal on... omg! help me out someone I've forgotten the title! It was about someone wanting a girl... (Alan Rudd has obliged - Gonna Get a Girl - Hoagy Carmichael 1927)
The band were in stompsville on Alexander's Ragtime Band and Herbie went walkies on a religioso number - Over In The Glory Land. The T man also blew gut bucket slide and bended the Hohner 270 almost 180 degrees soundwise on another number. This is one good band.
Ray Harley has the big fat Harry James sound that leads the ensemble to the promised land.
Django Armstrong - I call him Django because today he had two fingers strapped together - kicked things along whilst Alan and Mike made sure the wheels didn't come off - they never do.
It was doubly good to meet up with Jill and Bill - jazz fans both and blog visitors. Also alto man Gordon and good buddies Bill and Chas.
So where, I hear you ask, are the worst of times?
The beer prices have gone up!
But yes, please someone, tell me the name of the tune Jim sang - it was great! (Gonna Get A Girl).
Lance.

Grab an earful of this!

A wild Yardbird Suite by Richie Cole, Bobby Enriques, Bruce Forman, Marshall Hawkins, Scott Morris. Phew! Lance.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Count Basie Dance Sessions

At a recent rehearsal someone pulled out Johnny Mandel's Straight Life. Afterwards I went back to the original recording on The Count Basie Dance Sessions - Clef circa 1953.
The general concession may be that The Atomic Mr Basie was the Count's greatest hour - the second time around - but I've always felt that these recordings (now all on one CD - Sixteen Men Swinging - or Spotify!) more than matched the Atomic. Check them out on Spotty.
Lance.

A Story of the Life Hereafter...

Bev Getz posted this on Facebook and, not surprisingly perhaps, Hil drew my attention to it...
The horn section of a jazz combo were killed in a tragic car accident. Arriving in heaven, God personally greeted them and asked each who they were and what they did on earth.
Sax Player: I was a tenor sax player and I made people happy with my music.
Trombone player: I was a trombone player and I taught people the love of music.
Trumpet Player: I was a trumpet player and I believe you are sitting in my chair...
Lance.

Schmazz Battle of the Bands 2011

This year's Schmazz Factor Battle of the Bands will take place at The Sage, Gateshead tomorrow, Thursday January 20, at 7:30pm. Order and line-up consists of: 1. The Harley Johnson trio (aka Triffid) 2. Hannabiell and Midnight Blue 3. Paul Taylor 4. Soznak. Each band will have a slot of 20-25 minutes each. The judging panel includes Ros Rigby, Tim Garland and Adrian Tilbrook. Previous winners, the Carpus Trio, will also be performing. Tickets are a fiver. Lance.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Django Bates' Beloved Bird for The Sage

The word is about that the Django Bates Trio pay tribute to Charlie Parker with their Beloved Bird program at The Sage, Gateshead on Sunday May 29 More details later. Thank you to Sarah R for this info. Lance. PS: The gig will not feature Evan Parker as I incorrectly surmised - just (just!!) the trio. My apologies for misleading information! It was pure, and not very inspired, guesswork on my behalf.

Thank you from Hilary Gilby

Dear Friends and Musicians,
I'd like to thank all those who attended Mike’s funeral.
Cullercoats RNLI tell me Mike’s friends raised £225 with their kind donations. Perhaps it’s wrong to single anyone out in particular, but I would like to say a big thank you to the members of the Customs House Big Band and to Peter Morgan, who presented the band’s generous donation. Thanks to all of you who made the huge effort, during some particularly bad weather, to pay your last respects to Mike. On behalf of the whole family: your presence helped make a very sad day more bearable.
Wishing you love, joy and peace,
Hilary.

Noel Dennis + Paul Edis Trio at The Cherry Tree, Monday 17th Jan 2011.

Noel Dennis (tpt, flg), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bass) and John Hirst (drums)
Busy (painting) so this is terse, But to compensate, I’ll write in verse. Of derby-game, least said is best -
And food can soothe the troubled breast. So out we went last night to see Music (and food) at The Cherry Tree. The crab and prawn linguine Was (please excuse the rhyme!) divin-y, And for dessert the chef had made a Choc-sauce thicker than a pitch invader! Post-stadium ‘twas good to be In a shrine of taste and subtlety Where we supped on food and jazz (conjugal) -A feast of trumpet (and some flugel!). The baby-grand got well worked over When Paul gave us Fred Freeloader: Mick was Mingus for the night And John, on drums kept things skin-tight, Brushing up, if not a storm, A sirocco-breeze, nice and warm. Noel’s solos kept us looking -His feet go Flamenco when he’s cooking! He cooked so much last night, ‘twas plain -He thought we really were in Spain! A mixed set-list of new and old All the standards here were gold. The only downer (don’t know why) Is that the punters were in short supply! If you’ve never been, please note -The jazz is HOT and the cuisine’s HAUTE! Now sadly, and with mild revulsion, I must get to grips with some white emulsion!
Jerry.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nightingale Available

Having been impressed with Gabi's singing at the Jazz Café and The Chilli over the past couple of years along with her enthusiasm for the music, and despite the fact we don't, as a rule, do a gigs wanted thing, I had no hesitation, in posting the following: Female Jazz Singer would like to sit in/rehearse/join working band. Standards, (own jazz pad). Tyneside based. Contact gabriele.heller@btinternet.com. Lance.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sam Coombes Quartet @ The Bridge Hotel.

The city is alive as I take a leisurely stroll back to the High Level and the Bridge Hotel for The Sam Coombes Quartet: Sam Coombes (alt), Dave Patrick (pno), Mario Caribe (bs), Stu Brown (dms).
After last night's grand turnout for Milestones I'm optimistic that a large proportion of those 'fans' will be at the Bridge for the Lee Konitz inspired altoist but, as so often happens, fans are fickle.
Drummer Brown led his own sextet at last year's Sage Jazz Festival, Mario Caribe is a bass playing name - last heard him at Lockerbie Jazz Festival - whilst Dave Patrick is known on the world jazz stage surely a combination to have them beating down the door.
Sadly, not so.
Nevertheless, for the second time in two days we heard some dazzling alto playing . A goodly mix of originals and standards made this a delightful session. Darn That Dream, Have You Met Miss Jones and Miles' 7 Steps To Heaven were all shown the respect they deserved whilst the originals were just that and displayed not only the leader's creativity as a composer but also pianist Patricks' talents in that direction.
An excellent gig deserving of a wider audience.
The musical loop was complete - finishing on a high note - but where were the people?
Lance.

The Sounds of The Loop - Gateshead/Newcastle on a Sunday

No, I'm not talking about The Loop in Chicago - I'm talkin' Gateshead - y'all hear me? - The Central Bar.
On a Sunday afternoon there is no better place to start your journey than in the newly refurbished upper Blue Bar where The Ray Stubbs Rhythm 'N' Blues All Stars play to a packed house.
Not Chicago? This is the Windy City and all points West, East, North and South as Ray (vcls/harp), John Hedley (gtr), Trevor Whitehouse (bs), Ray Snowdon (pno) and Brian Ferry (dms) make the Southside rock courtesy of Junior Wells, Howlin' Wolf, Sleepy John Estes and a dozen more poetic blues legends. Ray tells their stories with white hot emotion and vocal chords raised on Thunderbird wine and rusty razor blades.
John Hedley stamps his own brand on the music - it's stratospheric. The rest of the group lay it down solid. Maybe they're low on subtlety but they rate high on sheer excitement.
Intermission and it's time to pack my suitcase and move on down the line.
I walk over the High Level Bridge into Newcastle, passing the Bridge Hotel where the Loop will be completed later, and on to The Jazz Café.
Lindsay Hannon is trying out a song in which she appeals to be seduced which explains the line forming on the right. Pete Gilligan and Paul Grainger on piano and bass kept her on track (or was it vice versa?) and the end product (of the song) sounded good. Gradually the place fills up with musicians and singers. Claire Kelly chants That's Life, Funny Valentine and I'm Beginning to See the Light. Stu Findon bleows tenor and Dave Gray, the young trombone player, has a blast - Kid Ory plays Modern. Gabi I Got Rhythmed. There are many other delights about to unfold but my journey takes me elsewhere...
Lance.

A Belated Obituary - Ralph Hutchinson

Ralph Hutchinson was born in Newcastle and lived, I believe, in the Walker area of the city - either Scrogg Rd., or Welbeck Rd. I don't suppose there's a blue plaque indicating the house although there should be.
Ralph was a trombone player who played with the legendary Tommy Sampson band before going to America in 1948.
Although he began as a bebop player with the extremely modern Sampson band which included Joe Temperley, in The States Ralph achieved acclaim with Muggsy Spanier's 1952 Ragtime Band before going into the studios where he worked on the Jackie Gleason Show. Ralph was with Muggsy for 5 years alongside clarinetist Darnell Howard, drummer Barrett Deems, bassist Truck Parham and pianist Floyd Bean. In a long article in the Mississippi Rag the trombonist recalls fellow slideman Trummy Young coming into a gig and saying to Ralph - "Just called in to see what I can steal from you."
As well as working as a musician he also moonlighted as a golf pro! (or should that be daylighted?)
Today I discovered Ralph died in July 2008 aged 83.
RIP Ralph - one of Newcastle's finest trombone players.
Lance.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Milestones: the Music of Miles Davis @ Gateshead Old Town Hall

Graeme Flowers (tpt), Alan Barnes (alt/bar), Ian Price (ten), Terry Seabrook (pno), Paul Whitten (bs), Spike Wells (dms).
This wasn't just a tribute band - it was a hardblowing neobop sextet that stood firmly on it's own 12 feet.
It would be sacrilege to say that Milestones was better than the original - without the original Milestones wouldn't exist! However, in the 50 + years that have passed since Miles and Co ruled the (Royal) Roost jazz has advanced and tonight's performers have absorbed those changes whilst still keeping within the unwritten rules.
This was arguably the best concert I have heard in Gateshead Town Hall since Sonny Stitt took it apart in the 1960s - Gateshead Town Hall and any other Gateshead venue come to think about it.
The music was based around Miles but at times the front-line came across almost like the Jazz Messengers with Graeme Flowers as close to Lee Morgan as he was to MD.
I wasn't complaining!
Alan Barnes is amazing - I've heard him do Johnny Hodges, Benny Goodman, Bird you name it, his technique is not only phenomenal but it is so adaptable.
I don't recall hearing Ian Price previous to tonight but I'll look forward to hearing him again he blew hard bop tenor yet, when the occasion demanded it, he could also do gentle.
Terry kept it all together on piano and had some great originals to complement the Milesian epics. Boppin For MD really hit the spot and That's What was what it was all about.
Spike on drums Paul on bass - they did the business and did it good.
A very good turn out for driving straight down the middle modern jazz.
Is it a coincidence that tributes to Brubeck, Mingus and Miles have pulled better than average audiences? Is the jazz world getting hip to the 'Emperors New Clothes'?
Photos from Pam Young.
Lance.

Press Release From Uk Jazz Radio and National Jazz Archives.

Sounds interesting - details. Lance.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Review: The Magnificent Eric Delaney by Eddie Sammons

This is the revised and updated 2010 edition and it makes good reading - despite the fact that it has a photo of me next to the great man himself (In Rosie Malone's)!
Still going strong in his eighty seventh year Eric Delaney is a survivor and Eddie Sammons has captured his life - well most of it! - in great detail.
From his early days as a child prodigy through playing in Geraldo's Band, his own big band and various smaller units both at home and abroad it is a portrait of a man who never waited for opportunity to knock but made it happen. There are a number of musicians with North-east connections mentioned - Des Lumsden (who provided much of the material), Vince Bovill, Malcolm and Brian Saul, Ronnie Aspery, Colin Hodgkinson, Gerry Gerke and, of course, Bobby Carr (who joined in 1957) are some of the ones I noticed. There is also a couple of photos from The Porthole with Miles Watson and Doug Fielder and references to such local venues as the Fiesta Club, Stockton, the Sage, Gateshead, the Rex, Whitley Bay and Newcastle City Hall.
He also married a Sunderland lass - Pat Bergson.
A girl, Sarah Jane Burn from Annfield Plain, is quoted as winning a drumming competition - wonder what became of her?
Parochial interests aside - it's a great read that takes you back to the days when the Big (or in Eric's case 'biggish') Bands roamed the pre-motorway land to the present time when Eric Delaney still plays concerts, clubs wherever there's music he's there. The mutual admiration between Eric and Louis Bellson indicates if nothing else does Eric's standing in drum society.
I automatically reached out for my Oranges and Lemons CD at the finish of each chapter. Truckin' is a really fine arrangement. Eric told me a risque story about the title of that tune which I won't repeat here!
The Amazing Eric Delaney (329 pages) by Eddie Sammons is available from Amazon £11.99 + pp.
Lance

A Few For The Diary.

Milestones: The Music of Miles Davis is the next Jazz North East presentation - tomorrow - Saturday Jan 15 at Gateshead Old Town Hall and it features pieces associated with Miles in the 1950s/'60s including the Kind of Blue compositions as well as others from in and around the same period. The stellar line-up is Alan Barnes (alt); Ian Price (ten); Graeme Flowers (tpt); Terry Seabrook (pno); Paul Whitten (bs); Spike Wells (dms).
The concert starts at 8:00pm but there is a pre-concert video at 7:30pm.
----- Splinter's Sunday evening sessions at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle continue this Sunday Jan 16 with the Sam Coombes Quartet.
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The Schmazz Factor Competition takes place at The Sage on Jan 20 and features four bands plus last year's winners the Carpus Trio. There are more details elsewhere on this blog.
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The New Century Ragtime Orchestra are at Gateshead Old Town Hall on Saturday Jan 22,
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Splinter's Sunday Jan 23 session is a Gala of Gals featuring, in alphabetical order, Claire Kelly, Lindsay Hannon, Ruth Lambert and Zoe Gilby.
----- The Creole Choir of Cuba play The Sage on Jan 27 and it promises to be, as Mark Lamarr described it on BBC2, "A mesmerising experience...astonishing stuff...I'm lost for words...absolutely extraordinary." They were also, I'm told, a sensation at the London Jazz Festival and a big hit at the Edinburgh Festival. Within the confines of Hall Two it should be mindblowing.
These are just some of highlights...
Lance

Parisian Swing 2011

'The first LP I ever bought was called Parisian Swing'with Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelly and the Quintette de Hot Club de France. As was the great thing with LP sleeves at the time, the back cover had a detailed version of Django's life and music as a Gypsy guitarist. It told the story of the caravan fire when he was 18 that paralysed two of his fingers on his left hand, which meant he had to completely redesign his guitar technique. Listening to the record it seemed completely unbelievable that he could play so fast without the use of two fingers but the superb black and white picture on the front of the album, which featured the quintet in smart white dinner jackets and bow ties, clearly showed his two paralysed fingers.
Since then I have been a dedicated fan of Django's music, so a planned weekend in Paris to visit the Marche aux Puces (the huge flea market) at Clignancourt and the chance viewing of a Guardian article on the 'Best Gypsy jazz bars in Paris' combined in pleasing harmony.
The article listed the small bar 'La Chope des Puces' next to the Marche as being one of the best places for jazz manouche (or Gypsy style) in Paris. Having paid homage to Django at the square named after him, we then headed for the bar at the advertised start time. However, the advertisement giving the time had neglected to mention that this was, in fact, the start time of that period at musical events in foreign countries (and the Jazz Café) where nothing happens, and very slowly.
The bar, where the music was to take place, was as authentically basic as promised and more or less empty, and around the walls were pictures of Django and guitars belonging to various Gypsy guitarists. Out the back was a restaurant with a small, but interesting museum of related material.
We took the opportunity to have lunch and I have to say, that when it comes to food, the Cherry Tree is going to have to watch out. This being France, and lunchtime, the menu was set and 'earthy'. In fact I'm pretty sure that my starter of 'rough' country pate possibly contained some actual earth. My main course of Pot au Feu was probably an even more risky choice as it was impossible to know exactly what animal might have been eviscerated to provide the contents of the glass bowl that appeared from the kitchen. If you have ever wanted to carry out bone marrow surgery while eating, Lance, then this is the place. Meanwhile, some people with guitars had appeared, and a lot of jovial handshaking and Gallic bonhomie ensued around one table by the door where an older, and obviously significant, man held court. This group then tucked into the full array of gastronomic delights the bar offered, eating with obvious relish. All this was quite atmospheric and entertaining. The only disadvantage was that we were on about our fifth bottle of beer and no music had begun.
Mais non, c'est pas de problem....at last the two people with the guitars moved towards the tiny space on the floor and, after a few final adjustments, burst into life, and what life it was! Immediately I was transported back to Paris in the 30s (figuratively speaking). The two musicians, who turned out to be brothers, Ninine and Mondine Garcia, looked the part with slicker back black hair, jeans and hand-tooled leather boots, but more importantly really played the part. Mondine was straight into the driving rhythmical accompaniment so typical of Django's music (apparently the style of accompaniment is called the 'pump' - or should that be 'le pump') and Ninine was firing off rippling solos at electrifying speed.
Unlike Lance, while I can generally hum the tunes, I can only identify about one title in five. So while I did notice Night and Day pass by in about 3 minutes and I Will Wait for You was played at such a tempo that it seemed to suggest he wasn't really going to wait that long, many other familiar tunes passed by unidentified. But regardless of titles. the music was fabulous and had all of that scorching power that attracted me to Django in the first place.
Even better, after about half an hour, the older man at the table got up and took over lead guitar duties and elevated the music to another level. It turned out he was Marcel Campion, le patron of the bar, who also runs a manouche guitar school above the club. You really got a sense that here was someone fully connected to a tradition who yet was taking it further. Later the original duo were joined by a violin player which was very enjoyable but didn't quite have the beauty of the original Django / Grappelli band. All in all a fantastic musical experience (and a unique gastronomic one) and as an added bonus a constant selection of locals came in and out who would not have been out of place in an early Maigret novel. The collection of wigs and rouged lips was something to behold. So if you are in Paris at a weekend, forget the Flea Market and head for this bar - go easy on the beers though, they are expensive..

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chubby Takes Over.

You pick up a CD, play it once, file it away and promptly forget about it. We've all done it - then, years later, you stumble across it and say, "Hey, I don't remember buying this!" Out of curiosity you play it and you say - "This is terrific!"
I did that today with this CD. It's by bassist Chubby Jackson in 1958 leading a bunch of Woody Herman alumni who, like himself got their big break with Woodrow.
If you've got Spotify check the link below.
Lance.

Maine Street Jazzmen Rule - OK?

Ray Harley (tpt); Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl); Jim McBriarty (clt/vcl): Malcolm Armstrong (pno); Alan Rudd (bs); Mike Humble (dms); Olive Rudd (vcl).
As the band blasted through Panama it occurred to me that this was the finest north-east Dixieland band since the halcyon days of the original Panama Jazzmen back in the 1950s.
The opening Indiana reinforced that view and when Jim McBriarty sang The Varsity Drag I closed my eyes and I was transported through time to some mid-west college campus. When I opened them I expected to see a chorus line of co-eds going 'up on the heels, down on the toes' but, instead, it was back to reality.
And it was grim reality!
On my last visit they were bereft of real ales and today they had but Jennings Cockerhoop. No complaints 'bout that 'cept they ran out before my quota had been reached.
Musically things were much better with Olive doing How D'ya Like To Love Me? with just clarinet and rhythm - it worked well - and the full band gooseing her along on You Can Depend On Me.
Blue Skies was another one that kicked for her whilst the boys blew a Climax Rag that was indeed musically climactic.
There is a whisper going around that the Maine Street Mob are due to start a monthly residency in Ashington - watch this space.
Lance.

Rock Night - No Dinosaurs

Outside the remit of this blog perhaps but, nevertheless, I feel obliged to mention it as I know one of the youngsters involved and encouragement never harmed anyone.
I'd have been there myself if I hadn't read the last sentence
"My Last Dawn" and 4 other bands will be playing at the O2 Academy this Friday (14th), starting at 7p.m. at the much subsidised rate of £3.00 - tickets in advance from the O2 box office or on the door on the night. It is suitable for young teenagers - they are very strict over who gets alcohol.
Lance.

Triffid, (formerly known as the Harley Johnson Trio) /Take It to The Bridge @ The Chilli Jan 12

Harley Johnson (keyboards), Ivan Scutt (electric bass) & Rob Bates (drums) We don't hear much of Harley Johnson these days. I think he's been in the woodshed. We know him well from his excursions into the world of Thelonious Monk. What would this appearance at the Chilli reveal?
Well, Monk is still a guiding light but now there is a contemporary element to his playing .The influence of Esbjorn Svensson springs to mind. All the Things You Are (with Rachmaninoff decoration), a re-working of So What and Take the A Train were in the hour long set list. Bassist Ivan Scutt knows his way around the fretboard and drummer Rob Bates is inventive with a good sense of time. The undoubted highlight was an original composition titled The Sage Tune (entries on a postcard suggesting a better title). Title not withstanding, this number was the business; excellent small group musicianship, exhibiting flair and verve with confident, trusting smiles between the three musicians on the stand. Take It To The Bridge: Dave Weisser (flugelhorn & vocals), Barrie Ascroft (keyboards), Dougie Fielder (tenor saxophone), Jim Crinson (guitar), Ivan Scutt (electric bass) & Rob Bates (drums) Dave Weisser's workshop session has been going many a year and from time to time it unearths welcome new talent. Currently, five string electric bassist Ivan Scutt is in attendance as is drummer Rob Bates (they were on double duty with Harley Johnson). The material changes from week to week. This week, plucked from a well-thumbed bulging pad, we heard Tadd Dameron's Good Bait with a round of solos to warm up the band. Like Someone in Love was taken at a leisurely pace with relaxed vocals from band leader Weisser. Tenor man Dougie Fielder called Summertime. Mutterings from the band ensued...what's the key? do you know the chords? Weisser suggested keyboards' stalwart Barrie Ascroft simply shout out the chords (easy when you know how!) and the sextet negotiated its way through the changes with Jim Crinson playing some tasteful lines.
A second set high point featured Weisser playing flugel on Loverman (Where Can You Be?)
Next week's workshop session features...well, who knows. Go along and find out, there is always something worth hearing. The Harley Johnson Trio can be heard next week at the Sage in the Schmazz Factor competition (Thursday 20th). Russell.

Blowing Up A Storm in Kowloon

Colin sent me this YouTube clip of Tim Faulkner having a tenor blast at Ned Kelly's Last Stand http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNOL8_4r2JE This guy can blow! Lance.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Moonlight is Dimmed in Vermont

Just heard of the death of Margaret Whiting (seen here with Johnny Mercer) on Jan 10 aged 87. Maybe she was/wasn't a jazz singer but she could interpret a lyric along with the best of them and in the class, and I use the word advisedly, of popular singers 'Maggie' rates pretty high.
Her pedigree was of the thoroughbred variety - her father was Richard Whiting composer of My Blue Heaven, Too Marvelous for Words and many more.
Her first hit back in the mid forties - Moonlight in Vermont - seemed the obvious choice for this short remembrance but then I came across the Lies of Handsome Men which I find has a surprising contemporary 1970s feel to it and photo montage is brilliant even if they did miss me out! Also try Spotify for a hilarious duet with Bob Hope - Blind Date. Farewell.
Obit.
Lance.

Quote of the Week

I told him I was a musician and he replied, "It must be difficult selling a non-essential commodity!" --- Pianist Judy Carmichael on KLRM.

Jazz concert at the Lit & Phil

The Lit & Phil has teamed up with Jazz North East to bring Australian pianist Alister Spence to the Lit & Phil. Alister is considered by many critics to be the most creative and original pianist working 'down under', and over the past few years has begun to build an international reputation through tours of Europe, North America and the Far East. He will be performing at the Lit & Phil with a truly international quartet - the bass player hails from Canada, the drummer is Swedish, and saxophonist Raymond MacDonald comes from Glasgow. Friday 18th February, 8.30pm £10 / £8 concessions (including Lit & Phil members).
Please contact the Lit & Phil for tickets:Tel: (0191) 232 0192

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ruth Lambert @ The Cherry Tree.

Ruth Lambert (vcl), Stu Collingwood (pno), Neil Harland (bs), Paul Smith (dms).
I had a ringside table tonight at the Cherry Tree. Comfortably ensconced, Ruth joined me and thrust the Concise Edition of the Gasbook in front of me and said, "Pick out some tunes for me." Meanwhile, at the other side of me the waitress asked me if I'd like to order?
The food choice was only slightly simpler and I deliberated long before deciding that Black Pudding Terrine with Pickled Apples looked as safe a banker as Newcastle against Stevenage in the FA Cup - well one out of two isn't bad I suppose and the starter was indeed delicious.
For Ruth's starter I wondered what our worthy constituent in York - Gasbook specialist Liz - would have chosen had she been here and there it was - her favourite - It Could Happen To You. A worthy choice that Ruth exploited to the full.
To follow came, I'm Glad There Is You, How High The Moon, that lilting Jobim piece Agua De Beber, Peggy's He's a Tramp, Nightingale Sang in BS, Old Devil Moon and Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea which is where I was when it came to deciding on a main course.
I opted for Rump Steak done medium rare upon the chef's recommendation. The steak was accompanied by French Fries and Peppermint Butter which was just perfect as were Ruth's own accompanists.
The trio opened up the second set with Stu playing All The Things You Are and adding a few more just as he'd done so brilliantly with A Train in the first set. My Spiced Apple Crumble with Nutmeg Ice Cream didn't need tarting up!
Nor did Ruth who gave out with You and The Night and the Music, Way You Look Tonight and I Fall In Love Too Easily. The meals over, the conversation stilled, I felt all four really loosened up on the latter two numbers - one a swinger the other perhaps the most touching ballad ever written (I know there's many more but that one gets me every time).
The Black Orpheus tune that seems to have more names than Elton John's "son" - Tears Of A Fool this time round - featured some good drumming from Paul, No Moon At All, S'wonderful and 'Round Midnight showed Neal to be at his most inscrutable best .
Metro time meant I missed the finale but it had been a very digestible evening both musically and otherwise.
Lance.

Alter Ego @ Splinter @ The Bridge. January 9th

Keith Robinson (alto sax), Niall Armstrong (tenor sax & flute), Dave Hignett (trumpet & flugelhorn), Andy Hawking (keyboards), Andy Champion (electric bass) & David Francis (drums).
The new season of Splinter gigs at the Bridge Hotel kicked off with the Blue Note to hard bop sound of Alter Ego. This was just the sort of session to blow away the cobwebs and encourage people to switch once more to gig-going mode.
The spirit of the Jazz Messengers is with the band from first note to last. Drummer David Francis drives the band Blakey style and the front line, led by altoist Keith Robinson, could easily be mistaken for Messengers' alumni. JJ Johnson's In Walked Horace and Miles' Compulsion featured in a varied first set with solo opportunities for all. The set's closing number - ETA - exemplified what this band is all about; tight, together ensemble work with one cracking solo after another.
The second set opened with Bingo (the tune, not the game. Now there's an idea - an interval raffle and a game of bingo). A couple of tunes by Bobby Shew (a visitor to the Corner House long ago) - Kiss Abyss and Dancing Bishop were right up Dave Hignett's street (trumpet?). A favourite of, I'm guessing, Keith Robinson, is altoist Bobby Watson (another who has played the Corner House). Watson is drawn regularly from the pad and this time we heard Ode For Aaron. The power of Robinson and Hignett is balanced by the unhurried, considered tenor and flute playing of Niall Armstrong. Pianist Andy Hawking impressed, finding the right chord and producing fully formed solos time and again. Recent recruit Andy Champion has secured the bass chair in double quick time. He has readily established a rapport with Francis and his solo flights are the stuff of legend. The gig set the standard for the season.
Next week checkout the acclaimed Sam Coombes Quartet (Sunday 16th).
Photos. Russell.

Tonight @ The Cherry Tree - Ruth Lambert Quartet

Ruth Lambert is tonight's star attraction at the Cherry Tree (9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond tel. 0191 2399924) along with Stu Collingwood (pno), Neil Harland (bs) and Paul Smith (dms) - and of course a Table d'Hote`to make your mouth water.
Music starts around 7:45pm but dinner is Served from 6:00pm.
A visit to the Cherry Tree is a memorable occasion and never more more so than when Ruth is on the Menu.
Lance.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Super Sunday. Jazz Café Jam

Lindsay Hannon, Gaby, Fiona Littlewood, (vcl), Pete Giliigan (pno), Alan Law (pno) Stu Findon (bs), Matt Office (gtr).
Stepping into the Jazz Café is, in many ways, stepping back in time. The place exudes history and you are taken back to a magical time when - I believe - the world was a better place. Maybe it wasn't...
The Pink Lane venue doesn't book the Courtney Pines of this world although, if CP were in town the chances are he'd drop by for a blow after his gig. No, the Jazz Café is the way things were when we (me!) were young.
The audience is young and student based the only difference is they no longer wear Duffle Coats.
They talk and chat and that's okay. If somebody blows something good enough they'll shut up.
Lindsay caught them tonight with Body and Soul. You could have heard a knicker drop!
Alongside the blonde bombshell was a new face on the scene - Luke Phillips - who fluted his wayround the changes. It was a tough trip but he made it scoring (Clifford) Brownie Points. Earlier, Luke had blown some funky choruses on a Summertime sequence - keep a look out for Luke!
Lindsay was in superb voice today and her take on You've Changed drew on every nuance of this wonderful ballad - The sparkle in your eyes is gone tells it all.
Gaby strutted her Teutonic charm around God Bless the Child and Like Someone in Love and Fiona did nice things to Yardbird Suite and There is no Greater Love.
Pete Gilligan kept it all together moving from piano to drums when Alan Law put done his tenor case and took over on keys! Sax player Stu Findon was, of course, playing bass. On top of the music there are the insults from the Maitré D' (to me) - "That shirt must have been a Xmas present!"
When he doesn't insult you is the time to worry - means you're off the A list!
More excellence over at The Bridge where Alter Ego blew up a storm. However, still slightly feeling the effects of the past week's Ague I left at halftime - no reflection on the music which will be dealt with by Russell.
Lance.

Rendezvous Jazz @ The Piper, Cullercoats. January 8th

Maureen Hall (vocals), Iain MacAulay (trombone, trumpet, bagpipes & vocals), Jim McBriarty (clarinet, alto sax & vocals), Mac Smith (keyboards), John Robinson (double bass) and Jim McKeown (drums) + Teresa Armstrong (vocals), Roy Gibson (keyboards) & John (vocals) December's inclement weather put paid to Rendezous Jazz' Christmas party. The January session was a late Christmas/New Year party and the band's fans turned out in large numbers, so much so that extra chairs were brought through from the bar.
A free buffet was on offer as was a record number of raffle prizes (sixteen or more). Proceedings opened with mild mannered Jim McBriarty singing Angry. McBriarty angry? Hardly. Nevertheless, it was good fun. Maureen Hall chose to look to to the future and sang Summertime (roll on spring!). Trombone man Iain MacAulay sang, in his own inimitable way, The Lady is a Tramp.
A first set highlight was McBriarty playing excellent clarinet on Creole Love Call. Hall closed the first set with 'S Wonderful. Indeed.
The interval entertainment was, as ever, provided by Teresa Armstrong accompanied by Roy Gibson and John did a quick turn.
The band, refreshed, played a succession of favourites - I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Hall sang, McBriarty played alto, MacAulay soloed on trombone, Mac Smith on piano), It Don't Mean a Thing (McBriarty sang) and MacAulay took the vocals on I Wan't a Little Girl (not exactly Joe Turner more like MacAulay) with good clarinet and trombone. This being the time of year it is we were treated (tortured? only joking!) to the delights of Iain MacAulay's bagpipes breathing life into When The Saints Go Marching In backed enthusiastically by the ever reliable Jim McKeown (drums), bassist John Robinson and piano man Mac Smith.
February's session, usually first Saturday in the month, will be held on February 12th (second Saturday). Russell.

I've Got A Thing About Ike Isaacs now!

Came across this photo of Ike Isaacs taken at an impromptu jam session pose on the Summerfield stand at the British Music Fair, London c. 1976. Left to right: Louis Gallo with CSL D Gypsy {sales tag still attached), Ray Gallo (playing an oval sound hole CSL Gypsy), Ike Isaacs and Maurice Summerfield on cutaway Electric Ibanez models.
Lance.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

That Spring Thing Mystery solved!

I mentioned in an earlier post of my being enamoured of a tune I heard Kenny Baker playing - I've Got a Thing About Spring. I scoured the Western Hemisphere, crossed the ocean-wide, but failed to discover the origins of this lovely tune.
Desperate measures were called for. I knew there was only one guy on the planet who could solve this mystery - he did pretty good on finding out exactly what this thing called love is, he discovered the depth of the ocean and the height of the moon as well as uncovering the perp who put the Benzedrine in Mrs Murphy's Ovaltine - Mike Durham.
"250 bucks a day plus expenses".
We haggled and I got him down to 249.
Sure enough - Mike came through.
Mike played a hunch that took him to Digby Fairweather. A horn player who once led a band called Velvet.
Mike remembered they once cut a record.
I've Got a Thing About Spring was one of the tracks!
Producing his Sherlockian magnifying glass, Mike examined the label and was able to identify the composer's name next to the track.
It was one of the guitarists on the record!
No not Denny Wright - the other one!
IKE ISAACS!
Not only a great guitarist but a fine composer too!
Thank you Mike - the Milky Bars are on me.
Lance.

Ian Brown Remembered @ The Fell

Dave Rae supplied this photograph of Ian Brown with Bill Colyer, taken back stage at a Ken Colyer Trust Festival at Sand Bay, Somerset Easter 1998. The Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band were playing back to back with a reunited Crane River Band which included Sonny Morris, Monty Sunshine and all. (all of course apart from Ken Colyer who died in the '80s).
Last night's session at Gateshead Fell by the Rae Brothers was dedicated to the memory of Ian.
Lance.
(Thanks to Roly and Dave for providing the photo and text.)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Ian Brown by Roly Veitch.

The sad news that cornet player Ian Brown passed away came through yesterday. Ian died after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer, which meant he was unable to play for the past couple of years.
Ian was an absolute gentleman in every sense - a gentle, caring person liked by all who knew him. He took up trumpet in the early 50s and I believe had connections with local players such as Clem Avery, Trevor Johnson, and John Saxelby. He was inspired by Ken Colyer (Crane River Jazz Band) and became involved in the local New Orleans jazz circuit, well loved for his tasteful, lyrical style.
For many years he played with Brian Carrick’s Heritage Hall Stompers, in fact running the band when Brian was away eg. working abroad. I think it would be during that time he got to know Keith Stephen very well. Ian had a lot of time for Keith and vice versa – they were very close. Ian and Winifred managed to get to Keith and Caroline’s wedding last May – I know they were so pleased he was well enough to come.
In 1995 Ian met Dave Rae who invited him to guest with them at their Springwell session. The one-off get together went so well that this was the birth of Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band. It is well documented how popular this band became (and still is) playing at fests all over the UK and working abroad too. Ian left the Rae Bros amicably in 1998 occasionally coming back to play the odd gig, his last tour with the band being to Bude in 2003.
Ian leaves his wife Winifred, daughters Lesley and Helen, and four grandchildren.
Roly.
Acknowledgement - Thanks to Dave Rae and Brian Bennett for help with the above information.

Shower Singing in Public

What do others think? Check Lady Gaga out here and then tell her (politely of course) to stick to the day job. SR.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Death toll Rising...

After last year's bumper jazz departure lounge I'm sad to inform you that the gates, pearly or otherwise, are still open...
Brian Rust, who died Jan 5, 2011, was one of the first jazz persons to realise that as well as the music itself being recorded there was also a need for the listeners to know who played what. That he did just that is demonstrated in the number of discographies he compiled.
More details can be found here of a man for whom jazz - and its infra-structure - was his life.
Brian Rust - sadly missed - died age 88.
----
Another piece of news we don't want to hear... Trumpet player Ian Brown died on Tuesday Jan 4. More detailed information and obit. shortly.
Lance.

Darlington's Impressive Swan Song or the Second Coming?

Despite reports of the closure of Darlington Arts Centre being mooted in the media they have announced the following list of jazz events for 2011.
Fri 21 January 8pm Josephine Davies Quintet. Fri 4 February 8pm Stan Tracey Trio. Wed 23 February 8pm Julian Smith Runner up in 2009's Britain's Got Talent Fri 4 March 8pm Osian Roberts/Steve Fishwick Quintet. Fri 1 April 8pm Robert Fowler Quartet. Fri 6 May 8pm Dave Barry.
A listing any out of town promoter would be proud of.
Could it be the reports of its demise being greatly exagerrated or are these bookings of longstanding being honoured?
Lance.

Things To Come

Still housebound and consequently unable to get my weekly fix at Rosie Malone's I've taken time out from coughing and sneezing to look at a couple of gigs coming up this month.
The Creole Choir of Cuba play The Sage on Jan 27 and it promises to be, as Mark Lamarr described it on BBC2, "A mesmerising experience...astonishing stuff...I'm lost for words...absolutely extraordinary."
They were also, I'm told, a sensation at the London Jazz Festival and a big hit at the Edinburgh Festival. Within the confines of Hall Two it should be mindblowing.
Milestones: The Music of Miles Davis is the next Jazz North East presentation Saturday Jan 15 at Gateshead Old Town Hall and it features pieces associated with Miles in the 1950s/'60s including the Kind of Blue compositions as well as others from in and around the same period.
The stellar line-up is Alan Barnes (alt); Ian Price (ten); Graeme Flowers (tpt); Terry Seabrook (pno); Paul Whitten (bs); Spike Wells (dms).
On the subject of future gigs Derrick Cogger - The Doctor Jazz of Belford - has suggested the Cannonball Adderley inspired Scottish Quintet Mercy, Mercy, Mercy would be a group he'd like to hear in the not too distant future - hear, hear, hear or even here, here, here.
More immediately, Alter Ego re-start Splinter's Sunday evening sessions at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle this Sunday Jan 9.
In the meantime to get fit for these happenings I'm going to try a time honoured Scottish potion handed down through the ages: Eye of newt, toe of frog, fillet of a fenny snake, wool of bat, tongue of dog... er perhaps I'd best stick with that other Scottish remedy - that of Mr Johnny Walker!
Lance.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Colin Johnson Funeral Announcement

The funeral of pianist Colin Johnson will take place on Wednesday, January 12 at Whitley Bay Crematorium -1:30pm. Previous post. Miles.

Tonight at Ashington

Tonight's session at Ashington Jazz Club is billed as an 'Open Mic. Night'. Beyond that you are as wise as I am.
It could be interesting to see who drops in to the Elephant Pub then again who knows?
Whether this is purely a singers night or a trendy name for a Jam Session or a Jazz Workshop - to be even trendier - I'm not sure but it's free so you've got nothing to lose.
Check it out.
Lance.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Battle of the Blues

The bands going forward for each regional heat of the UK’s ‘New Brunswick Battle of the Blues’ have now been announced and the organisers are now turning their attention to ensuring each event is a huge success. The response has been overwhelming and the quality extremely high so we can promise a great night out at each of the heats for music lovers. Heats are being held in the second half of January in Southampton, Billericay, Beeston (Notts), Chorley (Lancs) and Glasgow.
Now although there aren't any local heats there are local bands involved.
At Glasgow we have The Bushwackers from Chester-le-Street and at Burnley, Lee Bates and Billy Newton from Gateshead and Chris James from Carlise.
So let's hear it for the boys and hope they reach the final in Canada.
Lance.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Tonight at the Cherry Tree

Tonight is a rather special night at the Cherry Tree Restaurant (9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 0191 2399924).
A return visit by the Alan Glen Trio.
There are few better trios than this and it galls me that, laid up and housebound with what seems like Galloping Malaria - of which there is no known cure - I will miss the flattened fifths and diminished sevenths laid down by Alan on piano ably abetted by John Pope on bass and David Carnegie on drums. Listening to CDs by Hampton Hawes and Bud Powell will go someway to alleviate the pain musically but Pot Noodles as opposed to the Cherry Tree's renowned Bavette Steak avec Frites?!
Pass the Codeine.
Lance.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Jam Session at the Jazz Café

Claire Kelly (vcl), Pete Gilligan (pno), Paul Grainger (bs), Mark Williams, Matthew Office (gtr), Eric Stutt (dms).
I shudda stayed in bed!
No reflection on the music but the dreaded lurgi had took control and I was a bit zombified.
Not sufficiently stricken to not appreciate Whisper Not, All Blues by Matthew, Pete etc nor Claire's take on Summertime and the lovely version of I've Got The World on a String which, after some hesitancy all round eventually copped.
Claire finished off with West Coast Blues - a dangerous choice given that all the local big-hiitters have put their brand on it. Nevertheless, Claire did okay plus there was a belting solo by Mark (pictured) and Pete.
Fiona and Stu arrived carrying horns and Lindsay - whose birthday it was - was said to be on her way but the dreaded chest infection was getting worse - thank God I'm not Dolly Parton! and, reluctantly, I left - desperate for some TLC.
Not one of the things Nexus offer to travellers...
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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