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Bebop Spoken There

Mundell Lowe: “...we also had to play for a floor show, which consisted of girls dancing--some of 'em were dressed, some of 'em were not so dressed.” – (Crescendo September 1974).

Philip Larkin: "It's marvelous background music if you can find the foreground" - (Daily Telegraph April 17, 1969).

Today Sunday November 29

Steve Glendinning (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 12.30pm. 0191 2399924.
Musicians Unlimited - Park Inn, 82 Park Rd., Hartlepool TS26 9LN. Doors 12 noon.
Alix Shepherd (Solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Gala Big Band - Town Hall, Market Place, Durham DH1 3NJ. 7:30pm. 03000 267200.
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. Doors 7pm. £5.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

CD Review: Karen Mok: Somewhere I Belong

Karen Mok (vocals and guzheng); names of other musicians not given, instruments are: keys, guitar, sax, trombone, violin, bass, drums. (Review by Ann Alex)
This    This could well turn out to be my CD of the year.  Karen Mok, from Hong Kong, is said to be ‘one of the most successful Asian recording artists of all time’ and this is her début English-language album. The lady has already had 15 successful albums and has starred in over 40 films. 
Somewhere I Belong comprises; 7 jazz standards, 3 rock tracks 
jazzily, and 2 Chinese songs, of which 1 is self- penned.  The general feel of the album is intimate and seductive.  Ms Mok sings sweetly, enticingly and dramatically by turns, and on some tracks she plays a traditional Chinese guzheng, a large stringed instrument which has many tonal colours, sometimes sounding like an exotic sort of harpsichord.  The rest of the band are well-competent musicians, whom I guess are those worker bees of the musical world, session musicians, but I hope they’ll forgive me if they are all well known instrumentalists.  They contribute well, giving us effective short solos throughout the album.
Tracks which stood out include Stormy Weather, with brassy chords and guzheng indicating the storm, the sax representing sadness, and raindrops from the keys – such a clever arrangement.  Then there is the sheer fun of A Fine Romance, a fine Jerome Kern number, with such amusing words and period details of American daily life by lyricist Dorothy Fields. My absolute favourite was Moon Over Bourbon Street, which is a highly dramatic narrative, sung with an actor’s skill, with the sax, bass and keys creating a powerful moonlit atmosphere.  Ms Mok’s version of the rock song Wicked Game, shows off her wide vocal range.
I strongly recommend that BSH readers get on to YouTube immediately to watch the video of Karen Mok talking about the making of this album, with samples of the music.
The CD is released in the UK on March 11 on Decca Records.
Ann Alex 

1 comment :

  1. Love your reference to session musicians as "The worker bees of the musical world" - priceless Ann!


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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: I look forward to hearing from you.

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