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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!

Monday, April 30, 2012

DVD Released today - The Jazz Baroness

“An astonishing story” The Times. “Fabulous, brilliant film. I loved it” Hanif Kureishi. “Beautifully composed and bursting at the seams with fascinating material” Time Out. “Mesmerising” Stephen Frears.    
(Review by Lance).               
Most of us remember the BBC Documentary The Jazz Baroness shown a couple of years back on TV. It was the story of Pannonica Rothschild and her relationship with Thelonious Monk. 
Now it has been re-released on DVD with the bonus of a 100 minutes of additional footage including the Monk Quartet playing on a 1965 BBC television broadcast. As well as this there are interviews.
The Jazz Baroness tells the moving story of Pannonica Rothschild (‘Nica’ for short) and her great love for the jazz pianist-composer Thelonious Monk.  Directed by Nica’s great-niece, Hannah Rothschild, the documentary features the voice of Oscar® winner Helen Mirren who reads Nica’s words.  Shown as part of the BBC’s Storyville season, on HBO and at international film festivals, The Jazz Baroness will be released on DVD by 3DD Productions on 30th April 2012. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

DAGDA w. JEAN TOUSSAINT - Splinter @ The Bridge, Newcastle.

Jean Toussaint (ten/sop); Tom Harrison (alt); Billy Adamson (gtr);  Tom West (bs); Mike Clowes (dms).
I can count on one finger the number of times I've heard a former Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers' tenor man play the Bridge Hotel. Somehow, Benny Golson, Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter etc. didn't get around to it. Fortunately, Jean Toussaint did!
And he was in good company with the London based DAGDA - who'd drove up after a lunchtime gig at 7Arts Leeds
The late Chris Yates would have described Toussaint as "a tough tenor" and he'd have got it right!
The lithe alto solos of  Tom Harrison added to this musical experience and they  represent everything that is so good about many of the young players today. Tom has a lucidity about his playing that many older players would struggle to match. He simply soars like a Bird (and I use the word advisedly) breaking through the sound barrier at the speed of light. Breathtaking!

Jazz Café

Prior to The Bridge gig, I dropped in - or perhaps I should say swum in - as is my wont on a Sunday, to the Jazz Café where Peter Gilligan was doing some nice keyboard things. Claire Kelly sang Guilty - what a great tune! I first heard it as one of Mel Tormé's very early recordings (The Mel-Tones w. Artie Shaw). This was followed by early Sinatra and I Concentrate on You
After Claire left, Dawn, an opera singer with some commendable jazz leanings did If I Were a Bell, Satin Doll and the seemingly obligatory Summertime among others.
It was a nice place to shelter from the rain.
Lance.

Tonight's Jazz Line-UP on BBC Radio 3.

Tonight's Jazz Line-Up brings pumpin' jazz/fusion from the fantastic New York electric bassist, Janek Gwizdala, fresh from world-touring with the likes of ex-Miles Davis guitarist Mike Stern and top jazz/funk trumpeter Randy Brecker. Janek is here as part of a massive Euro-Tour, with an all-star band: 

BOB REYNOLDS (sax, New York) who's performed with Brian Blade, Tom Harrell, Richard Bona and rock star John Mayer...'One hell of a saxophonist!' Michael Brecker
GARY HUSBAND makes an outing on keyboards, but is also known for drumming with John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce, Robin Trower, Allan Holdsworth and Level 42
LOUIE PALMER (drums, London), who studied with world-famous Dave Weckl - 'Most exciting and proficient' says Thomas Lang; And Steve White's quoted as saying 'the real deal'.

Also punditry from LondonJazz's Sebastian Scotney and Rob Adams.
Introduced by Claire Martin.
BBC Radio 3 @ 23:30hrs.
Lance.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Doggin' Around Hull.

Annie O'Donnell is well known in Humberside jazz circles as a somewhat eccentric - and I use the word in the nicest possible context - character.
Apart from writing the libretto for a jazz based Opera/Nativity Play set in Hull her talent has spread to her dog - the appropriately named Duke.
Whenever Annie starts singing the dog joins in!
This unusual duo were interviewed yesterday on Radio Humberside by Peter Levy.
Follow this link - Annie and Duke make their long awaited Radio debut 15 minutes from the end of the two hour program.
The program is available for another six days but Annie and Duke are available any time for a Jazz Club or Festival near you!
Lance.

Friday, April 27, 2012

New Century Ragtime Orchestra - Jazz @ The Fell @ The Legion.


Steve Andrews (mc); Alan Marshall (alt/clt); Jim McBriarty (clt/alt/bar/sop/vcl); Tom Cook (cor); Caroline Irwin (cor/vcl); Ed Cross (vln); Don Fairley (tmb); Neville Hartley (pno); Keith Stephen (gtr/bjo); Phil Rutherford (sousa); Steve Doyle (dms).
(Review by Lance).
Quite a delightful evening at "The Fell @ The Legion".
With the NCRO the unusual is often the usual. Just how they come across and acquire orchestrations for so many obscure tunes amazes me. Don't, however, confuse obscure with mediocre because pieces such as Louisiana Bobo and She's a Gorgeous Thing deserve to be heard over and over again.
A thought occurred to me during The Varsity Drag that the band could change its name without changing the music stands - They could become the New California Ramblers Orchestra. So much of their output is reminiscent of that 1920's equivalent of the Johnny Taws/George Rowell orchestras (local reference only older readers will recognise). Dave Kerr informed me that all the best stuff was in the second half which meant I had to miss it rather than miss the 54 bus.

Meet the Fireflies.

The Fireflies are a buzzing, glowing collection of musicians sent from sonic space to tickle your ear drums with a violin bow, a guitar pick, some killer vocal chords, big bass strings and a whole tribe of delectable percussion vibrations! Fusing jazz with a little Latin inspired happiness, you won't be able to stop yourself from catching the dancing bug and shimmering all night long. The Fireflies are a mischevious bunch who take your favourite tunes and turn them into something to make you beam and laugh - you might even catch a few original tunes in there too, if they don't fly away too soon!
Fireflies comprises, Elaine Binney on violin, Richard Gilroy on acoustic guitar (from downtown Lester Brown), Rachel Mate on vocals who is a brand new jazz vocalist to the scene, Nick Alevroyannis on percussion (from Principal 3) and Dom Hornsby on bass (from Manilishi).
Elaine Binney. 

News Flash! No More Rascals.

Feisty Fiddler Elaine Binney and her fellow Jazz Rascals have split up. A new band - Fireflies - is on the drawing board preparatory to their first gig at Hoochie on May 31.
Watch this space...
Lance.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Zoe Gilby Quartet @ Hoochie Coochie.

Zoe Gilby (vcl); Mark Williams (gtr); Andy Champion (bs); Richard Brown (dms).
(Review by Lance)
Zoe was "On song" tonight. Everything seemed to gel from the opening Love For Sale to the final Caravan via more Duke with Don't Get Around Much Anymore, more Cole with What is This Thing Called Love?, Jobim's The Waters of March, Leiber and Stoller's Some Cats Know and the inevitable Secret Love as done by Doris and Carmen.
All performed brilliantly - Zoe has a way with a lyric that seems to give it an extra dimension. An unusual inflection or holding the note for half a beat longer than expected - all the hallmarks of a great jazz singer. With great support and solos from Andy, Mark and Richard - although the latter had to wait for the last number for his moment in the spotlight - this was well worth braving the storms for.

R.I.P. Derek Bridge.

(By Peter Ayton) (Photo courtesy of former BBC producer George Lambelle and BBC Radio Teesside.. Derek Bridge is  pictured at the rear in the centre. behind the seated George Lambelle.)
Derek was born in Brighton and, as a youth, went for lessons to the  same sax teacher as Barbara Thompson and indeed knew Barbara through this. As a young sax player he performed  in various palais  bands of the day - In particular The ‘Denis Langford Band’. Whilst playing  with these various  orchestras, he came to  blow alongside such notable musicians  as drummer/keyboard player Garry Husband  and the great tenor sax player, Red  Price.  Derek eventually went on to work and tour extensively  with Adam Faith’s  band .

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jazz Esquires @ The Porthole.

Miles Watson (tpt/vcl); Terry Dalton (tmb); Tony Winder (sax/clt); Robin Douthwaite (gtr); Stan Nicholson (bs); Laurie Brown (dms/clt). Brian Lynam (hca).
Can't really say too much about today's session as I was in the bar with James Carr - see previous post.
However, despite being pianoless, they got a good sound on the opener - It Don't Mean a Thing -  and it did have that swing! 
I heard strains of Brian Lynam playing what may have been A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation! Don't mock - forget the words - it's a great tune!
One of my favourite LP's is Joe Newman's The Happy Cats - the above photo isn't the picture on the sleeve!
Lance.
PS: I won a bottle of vino in the raffle!

Bobby Carr @ The Porthole, North Shields.

Met up with James Carr this lunchtime at The Porthole, North Shields. James is the son of legendary (North East and far beyond) trumpet player Bobby Carr.
We chatted about his dad as, although only 10 when Bobby died, James remembers him vividly
As indeed we all do.
Just about all the band, and a few of the customers,  knew Bobby - had played gigs with him - and were a font of memories. One story centred around an argument between Bobby and a pianist at the Oxford Galleries.
It had almost come to blows 'cept Bobby didn't want a busted lip so he kept his hands in front of his mouth and the pianoman didn't want to damage his hands so he kept them behind his back! I don't think anyone was hurt apart from the Oxford Book of Everyday English Usage - if such a book exists!
James showed me certificates of Bobby winning trumpet awards with the Ronnie Callaghan Octet in the annual Melody Maker Dance Band Contests (1952/53) plus photos with Norman Wisdom at a Royal Command Show and many more.
James plans to scan me these items so watch this space. He was, needless to say, overwhelmed that so many people remembered and spoke so highly of his dad.
Lance.
PS:Can anyone remember who was with Bobby that fateful winter night when he suffered a heart attack pushing the car in the snow at Peterlee?
PPS:Who is/was the artist "BN" who sketched Bobby in 1974?

We Free Kings - Schmazz @ The Cluny. April 24

Toby Greenwood (tenor saxophone), Mark Chandler (trumpet & flugelhorn), Jamil Sheriff (keyboards), Richard Hammond (double bass) & Dave Walsh (drums).

(Review by Russell).
I made a bee line for Cluny 2, the Head of Steam’s subterranean annexe. We Free Kings were about to offer up gifts. Arriving in the nick of time, descending the staircase it was eerily quiet. I opened the door into pitch dark silence. Now I know Schmazz is struggling for funds but surely the gig hadn’t been cancelled at the eleventh hour? Perhaps such huge numbers had turned up to bade farewell to Schmazz that there was a last minute switch to the main venue upstairs. I wandered up to the main place and sure enough there was the regular band of Schmazz diehards. It wasn’t heaving it was just the regulars. An ‘admin error’ had listed the gig as being in the other space. So, it was to be service as usual – young, new, original, innovative and ‘interesting’. Well, well, well. What do know?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ray Dales w. the Jeremy McMurray Trio @ The Cherry Tree, Jesmond.

(Review by Lance).
Ray Dales (alt); Jeremy McMurray (pno); Peter Ayton (bs.gtr); Richard Brown (dms).
Regular readers will know that I like to link the food with the music which isn't always easy and, at times, a little contrived. However, no such jiggery pokery was required for my starter - Pork Rillette, Warm Toast and Chutney. No sooner had I taken a mouthful than the band opened up with So Nice. Those two words said it all for the food and the music.
Despite our relative longevity I'd never actually heard Ray Dales until tonight although I knew of him. It was well worth waiting for as his Benny Carter-like lines floated through the Jobim tune with ease and I knew a treat was in store.

Those Were The Days! Newcastle Jazz Festival 1972. (Actually 1977)

Andy Hudson kindly sent me this flyer from 1972 Newcastle Jazz Festival of which he was, at the time, Director. Of particular interest and, in retrospect, much amusement are the admission charges.
Nothing over £1.75 - for individual concerts by Melly, Ball and Bilk - lesser mortals such as Stan Tracey, Don Rendell and Ronnie Scott were a snip at £1.25! whilst Teddy Wilson came in at £1.50!
Thank you Andy for the flyer and those wonderful concerts.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jazz Café

Lindsey Hannon (vcl); Pete Gilligan (pno).
It was good to have Pete back on keys and to hear Lindsay chilling out with some tasty and often unexpected vocals.
I'm Thru With Love, In a Sentimental Mood, Little White Lies, This Can't Be Love, How High The Moon - as a ballad - and a host of others including Jelly Roll's Winin' Boy Blues, a tune that was surely dedicated to proprietor Keith.
Lindsey sang beautifully and Pete's piano enhanced it - Keith's rants against the world didn't!
Lance.
PS: Photo left (by Kav) indicates more musicians and customers arrived after I'd left for the Bridge..

Redemption Jazz @ The Bridge

John Hall (ten); Jim Hall (keys); Keith Tulip (bs); Martin Wake (dms).
I enjoyed  this band  so much  at Hoochie back in January  that I looked forward  to   this  gig  with   eager   anticipation.  Was  that   anticipation fulfilled? Well, yes, maybe...
John blows great Dexter/Coltrane tenor you  cannot fail to be overawed by his blasts. Simply amazing! So why didn't I stay to the death?
I desperately  needed to  hear a ballad. I wanted John Hall to exchange his belligerence for tenderness for just one, perhaps two, numbers. Show that he had a sentimental side alongside his macho, kick the door down,  technique.  However, I  had to leave for the number 27 so maybe the romanticism  came later - possibly when   someone laid claim to the unmanned flugelhorn standing forlornly by the keyboard.
Brother  Jim produced  some keyboardian   sounds and Tulip and Wake did the business in the basement.
Apologies if this is a bit negative but I just needed more light and shade.
Lance.

Darlington Jazz Festival @ The Forum Music Centre. April 21 (& 22)

(Review by Russell).
The first Darlington Jazz Festival was a tribute to the late Alf Hind. I didn’t know Mr.Hind but having heard fulsome tributes to the man it is clear that he was and is held in the highest regard by all who knew him. Musician and educator, he taught brass in schools throughout Darlington, directed the Darlington Youth Big Band for many years and took students to the Royal Albert Hall to perform at the School Proms with the likes of Sir John Dankworth and Ronnie Scott and found time to tour America with his young charges. The festival was about Hind, his family (present at the Forum), former pupils, colleagues and friends. 
A former pupil helped put together this event: Shaune Eland, himself a musician and educator, wondered if a weekend event would work. He needn’t have worried as it was/is a total sell-out! Saturday, the first day of two, ran for twelve hours. Two spaces - main hall and bar – offered big bands in the larger space and small group sessions in the informal setting of the bar.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Some updates


A music student at Newcastle University, I occasionally find myself on Bebop Spoken Here - a good place to find out what musical occurrences are going on in the North East!
A few weeks ago, I noticed that Bebop Spoken Here had been at the Sound '12 Festival at the Sage, Gateshead and heard Newcastle University Sax Quartet. I thought I'd let you know that we are putting on our own concert next week on Saturday 28th of April at Live Theatre, and are playing two sets including some numbers with drums and vocals. If anybody fancied checking us out again then it'd be lovely to see you there.
Furthermore, I am also involved in another ensemble who played in the evening at Sound '12. Taupe are an original jazz trio, taking rhythmic patterned influences from the likes of Meshuggah and Dave Brubeck and seeing what happens. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in then we're playing this coming Thursday (for free!) at Bar Loco, near St James' Park. We'd probably be on around half ten but the 'Blue Rinse' evening we're part of are always a truly eclectic and interesting evening of music.
It'd be great if you could make it along to either of these, and in the meantime best wished for the continued success of the blog.
Jamie Stockbridge

Darlington Jazz Festival - Sold Out!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Blue Jazz Quintet/Take it to The Bridge Jazz Workshop April 18.

(Review by Ann Alex.)
Karen Rann, Jeff Smith (saxes); Chris Finch (Keys); Dave Parker (double bass); Michael Howard (Drums, not the MP); Andria Moffatt (Vocal). Plus A.N.Other (vocal) 
The assembled souls were treated to an evening of delightful and varied jazz from the Blue Jazz Quintet. They opened up with a bebop standard, Ladybird, which featured solos from everyone (except the drummer), and swopping 4s between tenor and soprano saxes. Coltrane’s Impressions, included a 10 bar addition on piano, composed by Chris Finch. Clever stuff. 
A very atmospheric On Green Dolphin Street took us to a superb version of Willow Weep for Me which included a lyrical soprano sax solo from Karen and ended with some lovely bowed bass. Alice in Wonderland is a tune that I find amusing as it sounds nursery-rhymish, or is it just me having a second childhood?

CANCELLED: Irma Thomas & The Norman Beaker Band at The Sage Gateshead

The Sage, Gateshead, released the following statement yesterday:
Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, Irma Thomas & The Norman Beaker Band have had to cancel their concert here on Thursday 26th July. We hope to have more information about a possible rescheduled date on Monday. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Death of a Legend. Bert Weedon R.I.P.

If I had a pound for every copy of Bert Weedon's Play in a Day guitar tutor I sold when working in a music shop I'd be a millionaire twice over. In those days it was the guitar tutor and many famous names started from there.
Although known for his early Shadows/Duane Eddy type numbers he was no mean jazzer either and could hold his own in any situation.
Bert Weedon died yesterday (April 19) aged 91.
R.I.P.
Obituary.
Lance.

Wilbur's Fate @ Hoochie Coochie April 19.


(Review by Lance).
Jordie Cooke (gtr); Dave McKeague (dms); John Pope (bs/bs gtr); Matt Foster (ten/bs clt).
It were ne'er a fit night out for man nor beast - even the coolest of cats was huddled up to the CD (Cat Disc) player. However, I'm a fit knight so I ventured forth. My quest? To discover the Fate of Wilbur! Before this, however, I had to acquire some sugar free mints for 'er indoors, Simple task you may think?
Not in Newcastle! The Toon isn't a sugar free zone surprise, surprise! Jason's quest to find the Golden Fleece was child's play by comparison! After Fenwick's, Superdrug, WH Smith  and McColl's  failed to deliver I gave up and bought a pack of Tic Tacs.
I digress.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

R.I.P. Teddy Charles

I first came across Teddy Charles on an EP by Wardell Gray. It was quite an important disc to me because, not only did it introduce me to the tenor playing of Wardell Gray it also acquainted me with Frank Morgan's alto playing, the pianist Sonny Clark and the exciting vibraphone sounds produced by Teddy Charles. Four tracks - The Man I Love, Paul's Cause, Lavonne and So Long Broadway - they're on Spotify under Gray's name (The Complete Jazz Series 1950-55)
Charles more than holds his own with these heavyweights in fact his lithe loping lines offer moments of relaxation without in anyway compromising his approach.
He went on to make many albums under his own name but, because these were the tracks I heard first - they say you always remember the first time, they are the ones I will remember him by.
Teddy Charles died April 16 aged 84.
Rest In Peace.
Obituary.
Lance.

R.I.P. Moira Brown

The death has been announced of Moira Brown, widow of the late Ray Brown - former Tyneside drummer and bandleader (Tyne Valley Stompers).
Moira, who died suddenly on April 17 aged 75, was an enthusiastic member of the Gateshead Jazz Record Society.
The funeral will take place on Monday April 23 at 10:00am at St. Peter's RC Church followed at 11:15am by cremation at Saltwell Crematorium and afterwards at Gateshead Fell Cricket Club - the venue where Ray formed the original Jazz At The Fell jazz club.
Our condolences go out to her family.
Lance.

Marian McPartland Petition



‎94-year old MARIAN McPARTLAND, the First Lady of Jazz, has devoted over 75 years of her life to the jazz world as pianist, composer, mentor and host...
As the UK's (arguably) greatest jazz export and an American Icon I feel she is worthy of receiving the Kennedy Centre Honour.
Click on the link at the top of the page to sign the petition.
Lance.
Marian interviewed by Billy Taylor.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thank you from Rita Nicholson

Today was the funeral of  sax and clarinet player Bill Nicholson who passed away on April 10. His wife - too soon to use the word widow - Rita has asked for her thanks to be passed on to all who sent cards and messages.
Our condolences and sincere best wishes for the future go out to Rita and family.
Lance.

Geordie Sinatra Trailer

CD Review: Euan Burton - Occurrences


Euan Burton (bs/comp); Will Vinson (sop/alt); Mark McKnight (gtr); Steve Hamilton (pno/Rhodes); James Maddren (dms).
Scottish double bassist and composer Burton's latest project is a seven part suite - Occurrences.  Each of the seven parts is titled, respectively, One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven. Each of the seven parts are also seven pillars of musical wisdom (my description not Burton's!) in the form of original compositions depicting occurrences the composer has lived through. He doesn't say what they are - that is for the listener to interact with. Suffice to say I found happiness, sadness, love, pleasure, poignancy, melancholy and optimism.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cambridge Folk Festival – But It’s Not All Folk

The Cambridge Folk Festival is held, this year, from July 26 to July 29 (Thurs-Sunday) in the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge, and the guest list indicates there’s stuff of interest to jazzers as well. The publicity mentions blues, soul and R&B from the US; Keb Mo Band; jazz, folk and American hoe-down from a band called Steamchicken; and the UK quintet The Moulettes, who are influenced by jazz and just about every other genre. Jazzers may also be interested in Billy Bragg’s celebration of Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday.

Funding Blow For North East Jazz.

Jazzwise reports that Schmazz and Jazz North East have had their joint grant application rejected by Arts Council England.
We hope to have more on this story later.
Details.
Lance.

Solihull Jazz and Blues Festival.

If you're looking to a) Celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee or b) Escape the Queen's Diamond Jubilee then a trip down Birmingham way may be the answer.
Solihull in the West Midlands is set to get visitors jumping and jiving at the first-ever Solihull Jazz and Blues Festival which runs from Friday 1st- Monday 4th June 2012.
Organised by Solihull Business Improvement District (BID) with support from the legendary Jim Simpson from Big Bear Music, probably the oldest independent record label in the UK; the festival is designed to bring local residents, visitors and jazz and blues aficionados together to enjoy some of the most-popular and accomplished performers on the circuit across the four day event.

Art Pepper: (More) Tastes From The Widow's Kitchen.

Laurie Pepper gives a further insight into writing Straight Life with Art Pepper.
Art Pepper: Tastes From The Widow's Kitchen.
Lance.

Monday, April 16, 2012

They Said Goodbye to Brookmeyer.

There is a wonderful report of the memorial service held at St Peter's Church Manhattan on Doug Ramsay's famed blog Rifftides.
The report is by David Sherr who collates perfectly what must have been a moving experience for those remembering the great valve trombonist/pianist/composer/arranger. Bob Brookmeyer died Dec.15 last year aged 81.
Lance.
PS: I remember hearing Brookmeyer with Giuffre at Newcastle City Hall. The latter was riding high with his recording of The Train and the River from Jazz on a Summer's Day but this version was even better!

Sean Noonan’s Bourne to Brew @ The Bridge. April 15

Sean Noonan (drums & vocals) & Matthew Bourne (keyboards)
The Bridge Hotel’s audience first visited the weird world of Brooklyn drummer/vocalist Sean Noonan some twelve months ago and this year’s excursion promised more strange tales of landladies and silkies. Once again Noonan drew heavily on his 2010 CD release Set the Hammer Free. Classics – one hearing confers ‘classic’ status – such as the scary Drunkard Landlady and the heroic Legend of John Henry had the audience laughing out loud all the while agog at the brilliant musicianship of Noonan and Matthew Bourne (keyboards). Pecos Bill (howl like a coyote Noonan!) and Silkie from the Sea confirmed what many of us suspected to be the case…Noonan is bonkers!

Shakespeare’s Sonnets and All That Jazz

Bebop Spoken Here has received some samples of musical versions of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, played on reproductions of the original instruments. The music isn’t jazz but is closer to tasteful popular music. Readers may like to hear it anyway, and there’s also a photo of the instruments. Some of these are unbelievably large. I’d love to see some of our musicians trying to lug around a theorbo, a giant lute with a very long neck!
I was interested in this as I love The Sonnets, and could bore for Great Britain on the subject, so please don’t let me start. 
 The poems are about love, death, the tyranny of time and change, and also mention is made of social protest and scientific developments during Elizabethan times, which were extensive. If you decide to read some of them (I’d love you to!) don’t be concerned about those love poems which are from one man to another, that was merely a poetical fashion of the time, and doesn’t mean the same as it would for us today.
My main point is that maybe another jazz version of the poems is overdue (I can't recall any since Cleo Laine's Shakespeare and All That Jazz which wasn't solely dedicated to The Sonnets). I suggest a small combo of piano, bass, drums, with saxophone and a male and female singer. I wonder if anyone is up for this.
The CD referred to above is released by Abbey Universal on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23rd, Shakespeare: The Sonnets.
Ann Alex.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Filthy Six @ Hoochie Coochie

Nick Etwell (tpt); Frank Waldan (ten); Pete Whittaker (org); Nigel Price (gtr); Dan Drury (bs); Pat Levett (dms).
This may or may not be the actual line-up but I'm sure it's close! At least close enough for Boogaloo beats a la Blue Note. This was good funky driven party music as per Lou Donaldson and the likes of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff and Jack McDuff. The only surprise was that it wasn't until the end that folks got up and danced.
Leader Etwell played well in the idiomatic style of say Blue Mitchell never overreaching himself as he hit the right groove. Tenor player had some good solos whilst the Hammond (ish) sound took me back to those good old days when every band, club and bar resounded to the Hammond/Leslie set-up.
However, for me, star man had to be the guitarist (I didn't catch the names and in actual fact it was Nigel Price (see comment)) and his blast on Mozambique was something else!
A strange anomaly was that the only guy with a music stand was the drummer!
All in all, a good gig that maintained Hoochie's reputation for class acts.
Lance.

Chicago meets Lanercost.

On the 5th April 2012, walking into Dacre Hall at Lanercost I didn’t know what to expect of the musician Greg Spero, having never heard his music before. However, if the atmosphere of the audience was anything to go off, then I was feeling positive anticipation. We arrived at Dacre Hall at 7:10pm so we had 20 minutes to wait until the show began. Dacre Hall itself is an old stone building with a spectacular wood panelled fire place and quite a small venue.
Soon enough the main lights were all turned off, and in the centre of the room where the band was set up, a spotlight shone. Greg Spero, a young man from Chicago, who is an exceptionally talented pianist, was putting on a performance and he was backed by Andy Champion (bass) and Adrian Tilbrook (drums).
They started off with the song ‘Hills’, a catchy tune that sounds even more beautiful live than it does on Spero’s album ‘Acoustic’. Greg spoke to us about his adventures in England, and his excitement about playing for us at a sold out show. The next 2 songs he played were ‘Autumn Leaves’ and ‘When I Fall in Love’, which are just a couple of examples of the musical talent that Spero possesses. He then proceeded to play the song ‘Universe’. ‘Universe’ is a beautiful piece of music that you find yourself getting lost in whilst listening to it, but not only do you get lost in its beauty but Greg seemed to completely immerse himself into the performance. 
 The first set ended with a cover of Miles Davis’ ‘Blue in Green’ which completely complements the original, and even that is an understatement. Local Saxophonist Roz Sluman sat in on some of the numbers. Simply saying that she’s brilliant doesn’t do her justice, the crowd loved seeing her perform and she honestly was amazing.

New Orleans Z'hulus - Jazz in the (Boston) Spa, Saturday April 14

Brian Turnock (bs), Emile Van Pelt (pno), Phillippe De Smet (tmb), John Defferary (clt), Dan Vercruysse (tpt), Lielian Tann (dms)
At last, a real and tangible benefit to being "European" .... we were indeed fortunate to experience a band who are very popular all over Europe at Jazz Clubs and Festivals,and currently on a UK tour.
Boasting a truly European line up of Belgian, Dutch and German based stars, the Zhulus lived up to their name with a robust display of virtuoso jazz in the revival form of New Orleans Jazz.
Original member Brian - 28 years and counting - led the way with not only brightly coloured trousers but a fine display of bass playing. The "back row" was completed with Emile's hard driving piano in true New Orleans style, and the oustanding young - and beautiful - Dutch drummer Lielian. Dan on trumpet led the band, and his deft touch was a highlight. Alongside, to me, the star of the evening, John Defferary on clarinet ....50 years of experience gained with the likes of Chris Barber showed as this outstanding reeds man shone! Completing the line up, the very able Phillippe on trombone, another founder member.

A Night To Remember...

You can never tell how a Saturday night at the Jazz Café is going to go. It started with some Asian students filming us (Debra Milne Ensemble) for a website about Newcastle’s coffee shops “Of which the Jazz Café is very special”. Unfortunately they left before the best bits. However, two other customers enjoyed themselves so much, they wrote us a note and left it with Kerry at the bar. At the end Keith decided on a tribute to the musicians of The Titanic, and set up his projector to show the latter part of the movie. Whilst we abandoned ship, a group made themselves comfortable with their wine in the corner, we cleared the decks, but the musicians played on as the ship went down…..
Debra Milne.

JAZZ AT THE FELL AT THE BRITISH LEGION CLUB - Get Fell In.

Dear Friends and club members. Please will you advertise at your club, other sessions and let your friends know that special guest jazz musicians are on at the club on Friday 20th April. 8.30. 11.00
ANNIE HAWKINS BASS, JEF MILNER TROMBONE, MARTYN SHARP TRUMPET.
They will be with Paul Bacon dms and Liz Bacon clt. Oliver Soden, pno and Doris Fen bjo. Supporting our local club means local band and guests are presented each week.
Your support is needed for the club to continue. Ron Pollard needs to pay for the weekly bands he puts on
WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU SOON.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Farewell to Hal McKusick

Sad to learn of the death of Hal McKusick aged 87. One of those musicians whom aficionados knew but didn't quite make it with the general jazz hoi polloi. This was probably by choice  - preferring to settle for the comfort zone (financially) of the studios rather than the hustle bustle of the road. Later he was a musical educator in New York. These two tracks with Barry Galbraith on guitar, Milt Hinton (bs) and Osie Johnson (dms) show him to be a cool, swinging alto player well worth listening to.
McKusick died April 11.
RIP.
Obituary (including tantalising snatch of 'Round Midnight...)
Lance.

Blues in the Closet - Vasilis Xenopoulos with Jim Mullen


Vasilis Xenopoulos on tenor with Jim Mullen on guitar, Matt Ridley on bass and Matt Home on drums. Recorded at Jagz, Ascot, February 2011
www.vasilisx.com
Lance.

Friday, April 13, 2012

CD Review: "Frequent Flyer" – Lorenzo Feliciati.

I first saw and heard Italy’s Lorenzo Feliciati at UK Bassday 2007 in Manchester. On the bill that day were the likes of Laurence Cottle, Jeff Berlin and Hadrien Feraud. A truly impressive line-up, with Lorenzo Feliciati, who must be one of the most underrated electric bass players in Europe, proving a match for the best on that day.

This latest prog-jazz-rock album entitled "Frequent Flyer" (RareNoise Records) includes fine contributions from some of the best players around including trumpeter Cuong Vu (who has worked with Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny), Bob Mintzer and King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto. An ultra modern touch is added to 4 of the tracks by turntable master DJ Skizo. The album contains a host of players from the Italian progressive scene, and their influence can clearly be heard throughout the CD. This album will hopefully put paid to him being described as one the "best kept secrets" of the European music scene and propel him to the success he deserves.

You Can't Keep a Good Man Down - More on Bobby Carr.

I am James Carr, (son of the late Bobby Carr - pictured left).
Thank you so much for the interest shown in my dad's musical career and life. I googled Bobby Carr trumpet and discovered the wonderful tributes and comments on my dad on the Bebop Spoken Here site.
I am now 43 but was only 10 when Bobby died in March 1979. I remember my dad vividly and always knew he was top of his game with his trumpet.
I still have lots of memories and photos of Bobby and can post you some copies if you wanted me too. He was a wonderful dad and person and I have missed him every day since the 33 years since his passing.
Although I didn't inherit his musical skill for instruments, I have a huge love of rock music and a huge cd collection.
I would love to swap stories and information with you or anyone else on Bobby and in particular would love to speak to Cormac Loane who's tribute to my dad made me smile and laugh as yes I remember his green Ford Capri/ heavy consumption of brown ale/ sense of humour/Hoffbrau House gig outfit of Lederhosen, which I used to find hysterical!
I have some of my dads old memorabilia like his Melody Maker young musician of the year awards from the 1950s and his old Green Howards army scarf.
As well as myself Bobby had a daughter Jane who is 48 and married to Ronnie with 2 teenage daughters Anna (15) and Kate(13).
James Carr.

Budtones @ Queen's Hall, Hexham. April 12.

Stuart Findon (ten), Fiona Littlewood (vcl/ten), Tim Knowles (gtr), Jim Crinson (bass), Harley Johnson (keys) and George Hitton (dms),
Many many thanks "Buds" for last night's gig. It was wonderful - you were sounding edgy and relaxed at the same time - full of great surprises. 
The drum 4's were outstanding and we really enjoyed hearing Harley for the first time - doing seemingly impossible things with time, and really exploring the cracks between the chords.

This one will keep us grinning for a good long time.
Hazel Hanley

Kit Downes Quintet @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 12 April


Kit Downes (piano), Calum Gourlay (double bass), James Maddren (drums), James Allsopp (tenor saxophone, clarinet & bass clarinet) & Lucy Railton (cello)
Bebop Spoken Here’s Hoochie Coochie Man chose to give the Lit & Phil a miss. Had he turned-up at Kit Downes’ gig he would have had to stand at the back of the room – it was busy! I can allay fears of the music heading in a direction other than some jazzers would wish. If you like the MJQ, if you like it acoustic, the Lit & Phil was the place to be! Pianist Downes began by saying how nice it was to be able to play an acoustic session in a place like the Lit & Phil. James Allsopp’s bass clarinet playing surprised many – as swinging and bluesy as you could wish to hear. – and he was no slouch on clarinet and tenor sax! Talented is the word. Bass and drums were as secure as could be; Calum Gourlay (an in demand bass player – Tommy Smith, Colin Steele) and drummer James Maddren were impeccable throughout. Maddren’s touch is quite something – a first call player, no question about it. The addition of cello worked well. Lucy Railton played it straight ahead and occasionally ‘out’. Fear not, this was nothing to frighten the horses corralled up the road at the Hoochie Coochie ranch. Indeed Downes’ inclusion of Schubert lieder worked wonderfully. So, two sets of exemplary acoustic jazz, a full room and all CDs on sale found new homes. Who said jazz isn’t like it used to be? Is the Lit & Phil the new Corner House? Whatever, this was a good night.
Russell      

Royal Garden Blues - Ruth Digs

I'm Putting all My Eggs in One Basket, Garden in the Rain, various Rose songs, Diggin' My Potatoes, Green Onions, Lettuce Fall in Love, Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens, are just some of the songs new allotment holder Ruth Lambert (pictured left) might now be singing. Seems as though the green fingered Ruth has acquired "Just a plot, not a lot of land" and will be living The Good Life.
Any more suggestions of songs she may be singing?
Lance.
PS: Trombonist, pianist, Brian Chester has half of an adjoining plot so who knows but that there may be a few jam sessions taking place on this stretch of The Good Earth!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Safe Sextet @ Hoochie Coochie

Don Forbes (tpt); Dr. Steve Summers (alt/sop); John Rowland (ten); Alan Laws (pno); Paul Grainger (bs); Eric Stutt (dms).
My head said that I should be at the Lit and Phil for the Kit Downes Quintet. Love Kit's piano playing - not least on my recently reviewed George Crowley CD- Paper Universe. However... the thought of bass clarinet and cello in the line-up meant my heart tilted me in the direction of Hoochie Coochie where the Safe Sextet (trumpet/tenor/alto front line) were, eventually, struttin' their stuff.
I say "eventually" as it did take them some time to get started
Don't get me wrong - they're a great band and with Doctor Jazz - Steve Summers - on alto/soprano sax a band that jumps in all directions.
Swing, Bebop, Blues and some funky stuff just to create the right Hoochie mood.
The aforementioned doctor dished out prescriptions on how to blow modern alto and soprano whilst pianist Laws too knew his musical medicine.
Rowland played tenor with a Websterish cutting edge and leader Forbes had his moments with some good open horn.
Grainger and Stutt were absolutely rock solid driving this fine, if at times, disorganised, band.
Catch them every Friday at the Jazz Café.
Photos.
Lance.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Blaydon Bulletin

Thurs 3rd May - 8.30pm. £5.00 - Mark Toomey Quartet
Mark is renowned as a Charlie Parker devotee but these days is a bop saxophonist of much wider range embracing the likes of Richie Cole, Cannonball Adderley, Phil Woods, Art Pepper and Paul Desmond. He is playing fantastic alto at the top of his game. The quartet also features the great Jeremy McMurray on piano, Pete Ayton bass and Kevin O'Neil dms.
Thurs 7th June - Blaydon Races Festival - 8.30pm. £6.00 - John Hallam (sax/clnt) with Paul Edis Trio (Paul/Mick/Adam)
John is respected throughout the UK as a fine, versatile multi reed player (Mulliganesque baritone, Getzish tenor, Goodman style clarinet). With the acclaimed Paul Edis Trio featuring the leader's thoughtful, Bill Evans inspired, piano.
Thurs 5th July - 8.15pm £5.00 (includes buffet - as is our custom, please bring some small food contribution).
SUMMER CONCERT - James Birkett/Graeme Wilson Quintet - James gtr, Graeme Wilson tnr sax, Jeremy McMurray pno, Mick Shoulder bass, Adam Sinclair dms.
A great band of top NE players put together by James for this concert.
Aug - No Session.
Roly.

Bill Nicholson Funeral Arrangements.

The funeral of saxist/clarinetist Bill Nicholson will take place at 11:30am on Wednesday April 18 at Durham Crematorium.
Thanks to Ernie Jackson for keeping us informed.
Lance..

CD Review - George Crowley Quartet; Paper Universe


George Crowley (ten); Kit Downes (pno); Calum Gourley (bs); James Maddren (dms).
George Crowley is a new name to me although he's been on the London scene since 2007.
Listening to his first CD reveals him to be a swinger at heart even though he does dip his toe into more turbulent waters at times. The tone is dry - if Warne Marsh had been around today he may have sounded like this - but the ideas are fluid and flow like a spring tide after a full moon.
A name to keep an eye on both as a player and composer.
Alongside, Kit Downes - another acclaimed star who is still rising - provides sensitive accompaniments and forceful interplay as well as soloing with technique and taste.
Gourley and Maddren provide the support to which we've come to expect from them with strong melodic solos from the former and punchy percussive support from the latter.
I look forward to hearing more of this band and the leader - sadly the Launch Tour only comprises three London gigs plus one each in Cardiff and Bristol.
George Crowley Quartet - Paper Universe. (Whirlwind Recordings WR4622).
Release date May 7, 2012.
Launch May 15, 2012 - Vortex, London N16.
Lance.
PS: Kit Downes can be heard with his quintet at the Lit and Phil, Newcastle tomorrow night (April 12). More details in listings.

CD Review: Match & Fuse (No.3) World Service Project & ReDiViDeR

World Service Project won the 2010 Peter Whittington Jazz Award. What to do with this welcome funding? Buy some equipment? Pay for some (expensive) studio time? Tax the transit? No, nothing like that. The plan was to establish links with like-minded bands across Europe, arrange reciprocal double bill tours and record the project. WSP invited ReDiViDeR to undertake a short tour of the UK in January and the bands are soon to re-unite to play some dates in Ireland (ReDiViDeR’s homeland).
The project is ongoing and the recent release of a third limited edition CD – Match & Fuse (No.3) – documents the project to date.
ReDiViDeR, a quartet, was put together in 2007 by drummer Matt Jacobson to showcase his own compositions. The two tunes on this release – And Much and The End is the Best Part - combine rare grooves with free sections. Trombonist Colm O’Hara is prominent throughout, bassist Derek Whyte improvises with a light touch and Nick Roth (alto sax) plays with commendable restraint. Leader Jacobson has assembled a fine quartet and on the evidence of this release will appeal to a wider jazz audience. 
Dave Morecroft (keyboards) is the driving force behind World Service Project. The tunes are invariably a rollercoaster ride and the two compositions on this CD are no exception. Drummer Neil Blandford scurries a frantic shuffle on Dance of the Clown as saxophonist Tim Ower assumes control of the piece with Raph Clarkson (trombone) in comic pursuit. Clarkson excels on Villian of the Aeroplane, Ower supplies insistent fragments, Morecroft has his say and all of it is held together by Conor Chaplin’s fleet-fingered bass playing. For more information on World Service Project check out www.matchandfuse.co.uk
Russell

CD Review: Match & Fuse (No.4) World Service Project & Tribraco

Dave Morecroft’s developing project – Match & Fuse - introduces Italian band Tribraco. A four piece (two guitarists, bassist and drummer) formed in 2004 features on two tracks on the latest limited edition CD (no.4 in the series). 
The Human Cannonball (comp. Lorenzo Tarducci) confounds expectations with an opening Western swing feel (tight drumming by Tommaso Moretti) then perplexes the listener with an un-credited soprano saxophonist entering the fray (guitarists Tarducci and Dario Cesarini use loops/effects but surely don’t imitate a horn player?) Sergente di Ferro further confounds expectations (no bad thing) with a brooding sub-Zeppelin Euro rock workout (Moretti impressing once more in tandem with bassist Valerio Lucenti). 
Tribraco’s two tracks on this sampler CD (one very different to the other) encourage further investigation of the band’s recorded output. A better bet – check them out at a gig. World Service Project’s two tunes reaffirm the quintet’s credentials as subversive, challenging, committed pranksters. You get the riff, you’re into the groove…stop that, let’s go this way. The Screamer opens with drummer Neil Blandford in rockabilly mode, ‘bone man Raph Clarkson gurgles and in no time at all (Zorn Time) its Ska time, all-together-now lunacy, Morecroft’s modal Fender Rhodes and a solo contribution from bassist Conor Chaplin before the band take it out. Change the Fucking Record (listen to it and you’ll get the joke) jumps to Tim Ower’s tenor saxophone and Clarkson’s consistently good trombone work. 
A bonus track features an earlier Match & Fuse collaboration between WSP and Berlin trio Schulbus. World Service Project and Tribraco are currently touring the UK. 
Tonight (Wednesday 11 April) get along to Basingstoke (The Haymarket @ Anvil Arts www.anvilarts.org.uk), Thursday 12 April the bands roll up at the Vortex, London (www.vortexjazz.co.uk) and on Friday 13 April Birmingham (The Drum, Potters Lane, Aston www.the-drum.org.uk) gets a chance to hear the Match & Fuse project.
Russell

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dave's Dialogue

Just a little update to let you know about the upcoming appearance at our Wednesday night Chilli session of a new line-up, the Katherine Stone Quartet. Katherine is a jazz vocalist, and her quartet is made up of herself, Alan Law on keyboards, Mick Danby on bass, and Steve Doyle on drums.
The night they are scheduled to appear is Wednesday, 2 May, 2012. Hope to see you there!
----- 
In other news, I hear from drummer Michael Howard that next week's Chili session, with special guests the Blue Jazz Quintet, will also feature some of the participants from the Sage jazz vocal course, the names of whom are not known to me, but we're looking forward to hearing some new talent on that night, 18 April.
----- 
Tomorrow night's Take It To The Bridge sees the return to these shores from Florida of our friend Ray Truscott, on 6-string bass, and the first appearance with us of Daniel Reid on drums. Thanks to Lance and also to Paul Grainger, our bassist of a few weeks ago, for Daniel's phone number! Also, tenor saxophonist Paul Gowling has been dazzling us most weeks, and his presence is most welcome, since he usually brings some new material to play.
Dave.
TAKE IT TO THE BRIDGE /JAZZ WORKSHOP - Chillingham , 89-91 Chillingham Road, Heaton NE6 5XL 8:30pm. £1. 0191 2659602.

Message From Mike Durham

Hi everybody: well, now you've eaten your Easter eggs, here's another sweet treat for you - this time for eyes and ears, rather than taste-buds: just a reminder that Professor Keith Nichols will be presenting his famed one-man show "Fifty Years of Jazz Piano" at the Trinity Centre on Saturday night at 8.00pm. We've even had the piano tuned, so don't miss this superb excursion through the evolution of piano jazz style, presented by our very own BBC Jazz Heritage Award winner and all-round good fellow. Call (0191) 285 6130 to reserve your seat!
Mike.

World Service Project No. 4 w. Tribraco.

Led by pianist Dave Morecroft, London-based WorldService Project’s combination of lyricism with burning intensity, unruly progressions and flowing melodic phrases has quickly brought them to the forefront of the UK scene, including upcoming Jazz in the Round in London end of April and representing UK at recent 12 Points festival in Porto.
match & fuse is a series of joint adventures in music, initiated by WorldService Project, with bands from across Europe. Based around a residency at the Vortex in London, the bands tour the UK, followed by a return tour of the European country, and the release of a limited edition CD. Each gig sees a set by each band, finishing with a 2-band mash-up.
After the wild ride of match no. 1 with SynKoke through Norway & UK in September, match no. 2 with Berlin trio, Schulbus, in November, match 3 with Ireland’s RedivideR in January….. Match no. 4 is set to go off.
Tribraco formed in Rome in 2004, by Lorenzo Tarducci (guitar, loop machine) with Valerio Lucenti (bass), Tommaso Moretti (drums), Dario Cesarini (guitar, loop machine, effects). Like tight-rope walkers, these musicians run a fine balance between the structured composition and free improvisation, syncopated and pressing rhythms…which they describe as psycho jazz rock. They frequently work with actors, dancers and video makers, in live performance, audiovisual concept and music for films and theatres.
The tour starts tomorrow (April 11) in Basingstoke - for full details visit the Match and Fuse website.
Lance.

R.I.P. Bill Nicholson (tenor sax/clarinet)

I've received the sad news, via Hilary Gilby and Ernie Jackson, that sax player Bill Nicholson died this morning aged 82. His wife, Rita, asked Ernie to let folk know so, at Ernie's request, I'm passing on the sad news.
Although I didn't know Bill personally I knew of him. He was, says Ernie who played in many bands with him, a great tenor and clarinet player and, above all, a true gent.
When details of the funeral arrangements are announced I will let readers know.
Condolences to Rita and family.
Lance.
PS: Not to be confused with Billy Nicholson the trumpet player who is still with us.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Jazz In The Afternoon. Crescent Club Cullercoats Easter Monday.

Iain MacAulay (Tmb/tpt/vcl/mc);Derek Fleck (reeds; Brian Chester (kbd/tmb); John C.Hallam (db/bb); Jim McKeown (dms); plus Barry Soulsby (clt); Roy Gibson (kbd); Doris Fenn (bjo); Teresa Armstrong & John Breddle (vcls).
In this ever changing world it's nice to know some things remain the same and Jazz In The Afternoon is one of them, apart from the view, the band having moved from the lounge to the bar. 
A varied programme, Sweet Sue and a smooth version of Marie, Blue Monk,(funny how you never hear Monk's Crepescule With Nellie these days), C.C. Rider Blues then banjo time with Just A Little While To Stay Here and Walking With The King both full of period charm. 
After the interval Teresa & Roy gave us Out of Nowhere, my request, and then an excellent My Old Flame. The two trombones said they Couldn't Give Us Anthing But Love, John Breddle promised to see us In His Dreams and then told us There'll Be Some Changes Made, Barry joined the band for the finale Dr. Jazz verse & chorus from Ian & sousaphone solo from J.C. Hallam. All in all a pleasant afternoon with a band who make it look so deceptivley easy.
Miles Watson

Groove-a-matics @ Tyne Bar - The Show Didn't Go On!

Seems I'm fated not to catch the Groove-A-Matics. I missed them when they won the north east heat of the New Brunswick Battle of the Blues Competition as I wasn't well. Today I made the trek across the Tyne Bridge and the circuitous route to the Tyne Bar only to find it was their turn to be sick and a dep rockabilly band took their place.
I hung around for a while but it wasn't really my scene so I headed back into town. By now it was raining and I took shelter in a city bar. A pint later the toon army arrived so I left to join the queue for the Metro home.
I've had better days with the toothache.
Lance.

Quote of the weekend

In the Jazz Café talking about Famous Grouse whisky owner Keith said, "They must have named it after me!"
Lance.

Swing City Trio w. Ray Harley @ Darlington Arts Centre. Saturday April 7.

Steve Andrews (reeds), Roly Veitch (gtr), Roy Cansdale (bs), Ray Harley (tpt)
Faced with the choice of battling with the DIY crowds at B+Q on an Easter weekend, or a short trip down the road to support the last days at the Arts Centre with some easy listening classic jazz, we deliberated only for a minute ........"put away thy paste board" we heard, it was an easy choice really ........
Thankfully the snows of the previous week had eased and; the "men from Cumbria" (Roy and Steve) made it safely across the Pennines. The ever diminishing Steve Andrews produced the usual polished performance on sax and clarinet, his partner on the front line on this occasion the excellent Ray Harley, star of Maine Street Jazzmen and surely one of the best trumpet players around........they blended together beautifully to ease a good crowd through a most relaxing session .......it's a long time since I've been so relaxed on a Saturday afternoon, though perhaps the Toon's welcome on the welsh hillside the previous evening and the smooth Deuchars IPA may have added a tad to my mellow mood ........

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Greg Spero Trio - Splinter @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle.


Greg Spero (pno); Andy Champion (bs); Adrian Tilbrook (dms).
A truly magical evening by a charismatic young Chicagoan. Tell me another jazz musician who plays a gig in Cumbria then the following morning does a ten mile round trek to the top of Scafell - the highest peak in England? - Did Andy and Adrian go with him I wonder?
This was the the third gig of four for the trio and they have blended into an as one unit.
Mixing standards and originals from his latest CD, Acoustic, Spero mesmerised the room with his playing never more so than on the second number - Autumn Leaves.
The tune began with the leaves falling by my window but it developed logically to the point where the leaves weren't falling - the trees were being felled with a chainsaw! As the pianist's playing became more percussive drummer Tilbrook responded in kind and the tension became almost unbearable. "What a beast!" said Spero in praise of. Adrian's performance. Latin Fusion Blues saw more intensity as Greg explored the infinite permutations of the 12 bar form.

Tonight @ The Bridge

Don't miss fantastic Chicago pianist Greg Spero tonight at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. 8:0 pm only a fiver!
Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media

Dos Guitars/Elaine Binney and the Jazz Rascals @ Ashington Jazz Club. Wed. April 4.

Dos Guitars: Alessandro Brizio and Luca Allievi.
Elaine Binney and the Jazz Rascals: Elaine Binney (vln); Steve Brown (keys); Keith Mills (bs); Jae Brooks (dms); Rachel Mate (vcl).
The meeting of the club on Wednesday evening was a special event which attracted a good crowd who came for the first Double Bill at the Club in almost 28 years. A first for the Club and a successful event thanks to John Taylor’s vision. International guests were on the stage. Dos Guitars from Italy and Jazz Rascals from the Toon who presented a varied musical treat for Jazz enthusiasts in the Ashington Area.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Jay Phelps Big Band @ The Sage.

Jay Phelps (tpt); Jack Jones (ten); John Turville (pno); Richard Shepherd (bs); Matt Home (dms) were just some of the names I caught of this 17 piece band. If anyone has the full line-up please let me know.
It was John Turville who kicked things off with the lengthy piano intro to Basie's The Kid From Red Bank. I can't say I'd ever imagined Turville playing Basie but he did and very effectively too.
More Basie with Shiny Stockings followed by a Phelps original - Jay Walking. Not surprisingly the composer featured himself on this one. Straight ahead bop bugle unlike the firebrand that was Phelps in his Empirical days. Jack Jones remained seated for his tenor solo as did most of the soloists until the later stages.
Next up was Clare Teal who gave a scintillating performance (see separate review).
After Ms Teal departed the spotlight returned to the band with Ray's Idea and Duke's Such Sweet Thunder. The latter saw Phelps make effective use of the plunger in true Ellingtonian fashion.
The concise opinion during the interval was that the band was very tight albeit somewhat polite.
This all changed in the second set!
A suite by the leader - Movement For The Modern Artist. comprised four sections - My Love; My Soul Endeavour; My Uncertainty; My Gift.
A discordant intro that made some of Mingus' more outré works sound like In A Monastery Garden told us we were in more contemporary waters.
Politeness is abandoned although there are mellow moments as well as swinging dissonance. Baritone and alto do some scorching whilst Phelps holds it all together playing and directing. Superb rhythm section - great band. No disrespect to Shiny Stockings but this is what the more forward thinkers amongst us came to hear.
Ms. Teal returned and every man (and woman) had a few choruses on the final I Just Want To Make Love To You.
A good concert that deserved to have had wider appeal.
Lance.

Clare Teal w. the Jay Phelps Big Band @ The Sage.

It must be all those pork pies that Ms Teal told us she eats, that must be what makes her sing so well! There’s no other explanation for such a big voice with such a wide range, and such enthusiasm and friendly chat from this Yorkshire lass.
After three of four numbers from the band, on bounced Ms Teal, clad in black top and trousers, telling us in song that it was Too Darn Hot. This was followed by a change of mood to a sophisticated, slidey version of We’ll Be Together Again, and then came Let Me Off Uptown, with help from Jay Phelps himself on trumpet and repartee between choruses as they re-created the number made famous by Anita O'Day and Roy Eldridge with the Gene Krupa Band. Blues In The Night, heartfelt and dramatic, rounded off Ms Teal’s contribution to the first half of the show.
The second half brought us more of the band alone and then Clare returned with A Foggy Day, which included a delightful solo from John Turville on piano. This was followed by a sensitive Skylark, as arranged by Alan Ganley, and Feelin' Good, with an effective bass accompaniment to the verse which mentions butterflies. The final number was a lively Cheek to Cheek. Everyone on the stage pulled out all the stops for the encore, which was I Just Wanna Make Love To You, and this included impressive solos from all the players. A great ending to a massively enjoyable gig.
Ann Alex

Eric Stutt on Good Friday @ The Jazz Café (On Facebook)

What a night at the Cafe wires were crossed and the whole band turned up, it was supposed to be closed, I arrived first with the Police smashing in the door,they said he (Keith) could have been in there (Massive padlock on the outside) but they have to follow through. We all went for Coffee and then a drink with Clare who turned up and we went to her Pub up the Lane, came back to the cafe as we were told Keith had turned up. Blowing a fuse ha ha I ask Keith if we should play to pay for the front door. We did and had a ball as a nice little crowd turned up, what a night.,. Dont forget folks and musicians we are on at the Hooch on Thursday please bring a crowd I am.
Photo by Kaveh Emami.
Eric Stutt.

We Have Our Agents Everywhere - look out for them at a gig near you...

Thursday April 5 is one for the record books - Four separate reviews from four different gigs at four different venues by four different people!
David Gosling reported on Greg Spero at Lanercost - making Sunday at The Bridge a must (as well as Zefferelli's and Carlisle Jazz Club on tonight and next Thursday respectively). Russell reviewed the Zoe Gilby Quartet at Blaydon, Jerry waxed lyrical about the Paul Edis Sextet at Hexham whilst Lance threw in his two-pennyworth on the Strictly Smokin' Big Band at Hoochie Coochie.
Our operatives are everywhere so, next time you go to a gig, be careful what you say - the guy (or the gal) in the corner taking copious notes may be a BSH Agent - Licenced To Spill (the beans)...
'M'

Spero sets the pace - Greg Spero Trio @ Dacre Hall, Lanercost. Thursday April 5.

Greg Spero (el-pno); Andy Champion (bs); Adrian Tilbrook (dms) + Roz Sluman (alt).
After the marathon 25th Anniversary Memorial Concert with the Buddy Rich Big Band at the London Palladium on Monday Greg Spero began his mini tour of Cumbria and Newcastle with a quick rehearsal followed by a sell out performance at Lanercost’s Dacre Hall.
The expectations in the audience were high, given the extensive local media coverage for the event, and from the first bars it was clear they would be surpassed.
The trio began with Hills, the opening number from Greg’s new CD Acoustic, and the pace continued through a first set encompassing self-penned numbers and standards.
Local saxophonist Roz Sluman took the stand to deliver a stunning solo on another track from Acoustic Universe.
Lennon and McCartney’s Blackbird began the second set and was followed by a spellbinding version of Over the Rainbow with Greg Spero’s piano ingeniously scattering the melody throughout the tune just when the audience weren’t expecting it.
Roz Sluman excelled again on Footprints and the trio behind her were clearly enjoying themselves. None more so than when they stepped into a hip-hop, funk laced version of Herbie Hancock’s Sly.
This was magical stuff and those attending the remaining three gigs are in for a real treat.
David Gosling.

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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.
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