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Bebop Spoken There

Jeff Lindberg: "You can have innovative new music and you can play music of the masters. They're not going to cancel each other out" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Friday May 24

Afternoon

Jazz

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Giles Strong Trio - Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. Tel: 03000 269 524. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Evening.

Blues/Soul/Funk

Dave Kelly & Christine Collister - Gala Theatre & Cinema, Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA . Tel: 03000 266 600. 8:00pm. £18.00.

The Hookahs - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

Groove-a-matics - Lindisfarne Club, West St., Wallsend NE28 8LG. Tel: 0191 262 4258. 9:00pm.

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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Paul Edis Trio @ The Cherrytree, January 21

Paul Edis (pno); Neil Harland (bs); Adam Sinclair (dms).
(Review by JC.)
The blurb for the Monday night gig at the Cherytree said the Paul Edis Trio would 'salute the pianists of yesteryear'. To the uninitiated, a somewhat unpromising title maybe with the old-fashioned language suggesting an evening of Mrs Mills perhaps, or Russ Conway. But I knew better - this event was not to be missed. Occasionally at gigs, I have heard Paul play pieces from the early jazz piano players, particularly a fabulous version of Tea for Two by Art Tatum, and there have been reports on BSH of him re-creating pieces by other stride piano greats. And of course, his shows presenting the life and work of Bill Evans have been terrific.  So (hopefully) to get all of these and more in one show was going to be a treat.
As my usual accompanist had taken to her bed ill, I went with another friend and we arrived early as I felt I couldn't really stay out all night in the circumstances.  The snow was thick on the ground and Paul opened the session by saying he had travelled through the bleak mid winter to get to the gig, which I suppose is one way of describing the train journey from Gateshead to Newcastle.  Adam Sinclair and Neil Harland had also made it, from locations unknown, as had a good turnout of hardy diners from Jesmond and its environs.
The set started with a great interpretation of Oscar Peterson's version of C Jam Blues, which made me think I must listen to more of his stuff. Paul then explained that Peterson had been very influenced by Nat King Cole, in his early manifestation as a jazz piano player rather them a singer, and he followed with a nice NKC piece, the title of which I didn't catch. The next offering was one of the one's I'd been waiting for - Tatum's version of Tea for Two. As part of the intro, Paul said that Peterson was even more influenced by Tatum and very rarely played the piano in his presence.
(Further researches later revealed that when his father played Tatum's Tiger Rag to the teenage Oscar, he couldn't believe it was just one person playing and had given up the piano for three weeks). Well, I can confirm that there was just one person playing the piano on this tune at the Cherrytree, although he may possibly have had three hands. Listening to a Tatum tune there is something about the speed and virtuosity that is startling at first, but always the melody comes through in between the sweeping cadenzas. At the end of the piece, Paul explained that the high 'C' on the piano was stuck and that was a note Tatum used a lot. It didn't take away from my enjoyment and I don't think too many people in the audience noticed but maybe it's the possible title for a new tune for Oscar - C Jammed Blues. Next up was Bill Evans, another Tatum fan, and of course, a big favourite of Paul's. There is something about the gentle melodic complexity of Evans music that is very affecting and this piece was no exception - beautiful.
Introducing the next piece, Paul said he had been reading a biography of Thelonius Monk, which told the story behind the piece he was going to play. During his life Monk suffered from mental health problems, apparently manic depression, and one night in the 1950s, he and a friend, a gay singer, went to a club to play but the crowd weren't happy with the situation and some kind of mayhem broke out. In the melee, Monk did his best to protect his companion and afterwards the friend said 'Well you needn't', which became the title of the tune.
As the person with me at the gig commented, 'A manic depressive Black Monk with a gay singer - three discriminations between the two of them - going to a club in the 50s. No wonder its a good tune!'. One of the great things about hearing tunes in different piano styles one after the other is that you get a sense of how radical some of the changes were at the time. Paul described how Monk used to sometimes play with his hand spread out flat to give a very percussive sound and warned us that this was going to be a bit different to the previous piece. With that he launched into the tune, full of jagged chords and angular melodic twists. It was like a cubist painting turned into music and it sounded stunning. 
The performance had now become a cornucopia of musical delights and a kind of jazz piano fan's Tardis , zipping back and forward through jazz time. It was also a guessing game of who might come next and what the link with the previous player might be - 'Monk rhymes with funk, so maybe Herbie Hancock?'  No, Duke Ellington's In a Mellow Tone and after that Brubeck's Unsquare Dance, so we had a tune written by a man born in 1899 followed by a piece written by someone who died in December 2012. Then Monk was back with Rhythm-A-Ning, apparently based (loosely) on Gershwin's I've Got Rhythm - g-g-great! The story this time was of the bad relationship between Monk and Miles and how once during a gig, Monk got up from the piano while Miles was soloing and went over, put his hand in Miles's pocket and pulled out (at that moment I had no idea where the story was going) ....a packet of cigarettes. He lit one and walked around the stage. How to win friends and influence people.
The interval followed and at that moment I was sorely tempted to get the nearest husky, tie a small barrel of brandy around its neck and send it home to my sick 'patient' - especially when I heard Paul would be playing some Jellyroll Morton in the second half. However, wiser counsels prevailed, so I never did hear if Mrs. Mills or Russ made an appearance later on.
I know this review has, for obvious reasons, concentrated on the piano player (I don't think there was a female singer present) but it's important to say that Adam and Neil did a great, unobtrusive job, although it would have been fun to hear Neil do a Slam Stewart impersonation on Tea for Two. However, if there are ever shows doing 'drummers and bass players of yesteryear', I'll be there. As I had hoped this (half a) gig was real treat. Play it again, Paul.
JC

3 comments :

Lance said...

Nice one JC - I take it the food was of an edible standard?

Paul Edis said...

Thanks for the review JC. Shame you couldn't stay for the second half - hopefully do a similar idea soon...

Here's the stuff about Monk in full - from 'Thelonius Monk - The Life and Time of an American Original' by Robin D.G. Kelley. I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone.

WELL YOU NEEDN'T

‘A diminutive, gay black man with a rich baritone voice, Beamon struggled to make it as a singer. Monk befriended Beamon as they were both hanging out at the Smith’s house. Beamon hired Monk to play a gig with him at a gay club in Manhattan. Before Beamon was to take the stage, a stand-up comedian offended the audience with some snide, insensitive remarks, prompting an angry brawl. Monk’s niece Benneta Bines relates the story: “Thelonius grabbed him up and said ‘Let’s get outta here.’ And Charlie is saying, ‘But I haven’t sung yet!’” They got out intact, but it was one of those adventures Thelonius would never forget. When Monk offered to name a song after him, Charlie responded, “Well you need not.”

MILES - IN REHEARSAL

‘...Davis and Roach met at Thelonius’ apartment to go over the music...the session turned sour when Miles made disparaging remarks about Monk’s playing. Monk just glared at first, but Miles would not relent and soon the dispute escalated into a shouting match...Monk said, ‘This is my band, my music.’ Miles said, ‘But you’re not playing it right, Monk.’...Monk finally said, ‘I think you better leave. This is my mother’s house and I don’t want no violence in here’

ON THE GIG...

‘in an act of playful comeuppance, Monk left the piano, snuck up behind Miles during his solo, reached into his shirt pocket for a pack of cigarettes, and dug into his jacket pocket for matches. After he lit up, he put everything back into Davis’ pockets. “It was like a vaudeville act,” recalled Celia Mingus. “And Miles – Miles wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of missing a note”’

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Monk reference, Paul, it's definitely on my list. The background details really add to the enjoyment of the gig. Hope you can do another one like it soon. JC

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