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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Newton: "Somebody once said, 'If you're going to steal, steal from the best'. That's what I try to do." - (Jazz Rag, Winter 2018).

Monday December 10

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Dean Stockdale Trio – Beaumont Hotel, Beaumont St., Hexham NE45 3LT. 01434 602331. 7pm-9pm.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Gibside, nr Rowlands Gill, Burnopfield NE16 6BG, Tel: 01207 514827. 7:00pm. ‘Jazzy Christmas Songs & Carols in the Chapel’.

Chris Farlowe and the Norman Beaker Band + Teresa Watson Band - Newcastle Labour Club, Leazes Park Road, Newcastle NE1 4PF. Tel: 0191 261 8646. Doors 7:45pm. £22.00. (£17.00. adv.).

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Jazz Action @ The Stockton Weekender August 5

(Review by Russell).
Participants had toiled long and hard for this once in a lifetime opportunity and gold medal performances were sure to be cheered to the echo. Yes, the Jazz Olympics had returned to the Georgian Theatre in Stockton on Tees. Security was tight. Entering the Green Dragon courtyard an exit-entry technician (bouncer).searched suspicious looking jazz fans (aren’t they all?). Those found to be in possession of alcohol and other performance-enhancing substances were fast-tracked into the venue. Tables were set out in decadent cabaret style in the dimly lit former Wesleyan chapel. The best seats were bagged and finely- tuned fans were determined to see out the marathon all-dayer. Electrolytes or not the beers were on the table…gold medal performances were assured.

Wilbur’s Fate were first into the arena. Drummer Dave Mckeague had failed a late fitness test, so the band’s one-time traps man David Francis was the obvious late call-up. Guitarist Jordi Cooke writes much of the material but isn’t keen on playing the frontman. Frontline partner tenor saxophonist Matt Forster played a blinder stretching out during several solo opportunities. John Pope resumed double bass duties having been away for some warm-weather training and the Pope-Francis axis took up where it had left off. Lost at Sea, Rift, a Metheny-esque number and a couple of bop charts won warm applause. A good opening set.
Gold medal favourites (odds on with some bookies) the Paul Edis Sextet took to the stage with a dep in the ranks. Drummer Adam Sinclair was on the physio’s table leaving Edis no option but to call on the services of Rob Walker. Well, strike that gold now. Pianist Edis, in pugnacious mood, told jobsworths the world over to Administrate This. Ravelations from the debut CD There Will Be Time followed (having been played the day before on Radio 3’s Jazz Record Requests it was a no-brainer), then Echoes and Sharp 9/8 with some dark tenor from Graeme Wilson. Winning tunes kept on coming. Graham Hardy blew beautiful flugel on Elegy (bassist Mick Shoulder made a typically sensitive contribution, so too the fine trombone player Chris Hibbard), then we heard Angular (a favourite). Who wrote that one? Yeah, what about that other number…was it Tadd Dameron? No, I think it could be a Bud Powell chart. Think again. These great tunes are from the pen of Paul Edis. Wilson is no mean composer himself - Up Late is up there with the best of them. The absence of Adam Sinclair is likely to diminish any performance yet Rob Walker’s playing was just great, no more so than on the hard-blowing closer Blues for Dad.
Double bassist Mick Shoulder remained on stage to play a Hot Club set. Djangologie do Django as well as anyone, no, make that better than anyone. This performance reunited old friends. Guitarist James Birkett was another absentee at Stockton so who better to draft in than Dave Harris? Harris worked with Shoulder and violinist Emma Fisk in Djangology - the original incarnation of the quartet - making him the obvious choice. The one hour set flew by. Belleville, Nuages, Stompin’ at Decca, Dark Eyes and many others (including a Shoulder composition - Django Stomp) won applause time and again. The virtuoso Fisk soloed with élan and also time and again won applause. The unheralded rhythm guitarist Giles Strong played magnificently throughout – gold medal standard without a doubt.
The Stockton all-dayer could not have gone better with three first rate sets. Heptathlete Jessica Ennis excelled in seven disciplines. Likewise, the Stockton jazz crowd was in it for the long haul with four more disciplined performances to come. Musicians prepared in the warm-up area (aka the bar) and next to be under starters’ orders were Legohead. Guitarist Lloyd Wright, toting a Telecaster, cracked on with the music in partnership with bassist Jon Proud and versatile drummer David Francis. A tight trio – bass and drums had it nailed  - is the perfect vehicle for Wright to weave endless intricate lines. Bunkers and Ashes were two of many highlights in a fast-paced set by a three musicians who clearly enjoy working together.
Time for electrolyte replacement. Time for a vocalist. None better than Zoe Gilby. Wor Cullercoats Lass assembled her A-list quartet – Mark Williams (guitar), Andy Champion (double bass) and Teessider Richard Brown (drums) – to play a mixture of standards and originals. Time to highlight the latter: Your Words, Is it Me?, In it Together, The Midnight Bell, On the Edge…an impressive list. Gilby has come a long way in a short space of time. A set incorporating original numbers standing comparison with standard material is no mean achievement: the languid Your Words, The Midnight Bell (lyrically accomplished - story telling at its best), On the Edge (a film noir narrative). Williams’ guitar playing is the stuff of legend, well documented in the pages of Bebop Spoken Here. It will come as no surprise to regular readers that he did it again. Ditto bassist Andy Champion. A Gilby/Champion voice and bass duet has become a staple. Pink Floyd’s Money was, well, on the money. Is there a more laid back drummer than Richard Brown? Undemonstrative (ideal when working with a vocalist), he knows what he’s doing and he did it again at the Georgian. Gilby concluded her set with Harry Edison’s Centrepiece. A blow-out and good fun.
Andy Champion didn’t have time to go to the bar as his own  band – ACV – took to the stage. A high-calibre band recruited to play the bassist’s own compositions (an acclaimed CD – Fail in Wood – under their belts, the next one in the can), many of the numbers have, effectively, become standard repertoire. It could be said Wilbur’s Fate have take on board something of ACV – praise indeed. Graeme Wilson’s composition She Said it Ugly opened a set comprised of almost exclusively Champion’s material from the forthcoming second CD. Degree Absolute (guitarist Mark Williams prominent), Nutmeg State (Wilson on baritone) showcased the ensemble, Second Season (a rare ballad) and What’s for Breakfast? gave some indication of just how good the ‘difficult’ second album is going to be. Two favourites concluded the set; Dust Red featured a dazzling bass solo and the glorious Without Bones knocked ‘em for six. Mark Williams threw in fusion licks for fun (Wilson stood back in admiration), Paul Edis hammered the keys and drummer Adrian Tilbrook tore it up. What next? Surely the gold medals had been won.
Don’t forget the party boys, the one and only Funk Regulators! The Brown brothers, drummer Richard and Steven (vocals and guitar) give it Soul with a Capital S. A horn section of Danny Allen’s bootin’ tenor and Thomas Hill’s top C trumpet work and Mark Jackson’s keyboards bolted on to a funkin’ rhythm section (Anthony Ord – bass, Nick Brown – percussion and vocals and Richard Brown) makes this one helluva goodtime soul revue band. Great vocals from Brown S, these boys sure do know What is Hip?  Oh yes. A surprise guest for one number only. Zoe Gilby singing a duet – It Takes Two - with Soul Brother R.Brown. Just the one number from Zoe. Next time do the whole set! Oh, almost forgot! So much happening! Lloyd Wright depping on guitar. No problem for Lloyd. Smiles all round. A great way to end the day. Lord Tilbrook, chair of JASOC (Jazz Action Stockton Organising Committee), happy with his day’s work slipped off into the night. Award that man a gold star or a medal or something! Gold medals all round.
Russell      

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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.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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