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Bebop Spoken There

“I win all the awards; others make all the money.”Buddy DeFranco (Down Beat February 10, 1966).

Bebop Spoken There Archives: Greg Abate to Mike Zwerin.

Today Wednesday April 23

Afternoon
VIEUX CARRE JAZZMEN -Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
New Orleans Jazz. Raffles and a jolly afternoon.
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JAZZ ESQUIRES -Black Horse, 68 Front St, Monkseaton, Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear NE25 8DPPhone:0191 253 69311pm. Free.
Entertaining mainstreamers.
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Evening.
TAKE IT TO THE BRIDGE JAZZ WORKSHOP - The Chillingham, Chillingham Rd., Heaton. 8:30pm. £1.
Regular workshop - sitters in welcome.
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BUSKERS NIGHT HOSTED BY RUTH LAMBERT - The Avalon, 26 South Parade, Whitley Bay. 9pm. Free.
All welcome. Keyboards, free buffet, drinks tokens for performers, real ale, real music.
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LEVEE RAMBLERS. NEW ORLEANS JAZZ BAND - Springwell Village Hall, Fell Rd., Gateshead NE9 7RP. 0191 4162630. 9pm. £2.
Band includes includes Peter Wright (tpt) and Ian Wynne (pno). Classic New Orleans.
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JAZZ AT THE BAY- Cleveland Bay pub, 718 Yarm Rd., Eaglescliffe, TS16 0JE 01642 780275. 9pm.
The Teesside Hot Club swinging at the Bay. Fortnightly,Back on April 30.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ North Shore. March 2, 2013

(Report by Russell).
Saturday at the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival is the day the big boys and girls come out to play. This year’s open section attracted no fewer than ten bands. Ten years ago Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra won the inaugural event and this time round had the (dubious?) distinction of leading off at that well known jazz hour…12 noon. Vocalists were well represented in the band - indeed a feature of this year’s competition was a plethora of very good vocalists throughout the day - and after the opening Flight of the Foo Birds the singers took centre stage. Ella El-Salahi sang, with a real jazz feeling, Cry Me a River followed by Shona Crosson who was plagued by a mic malfunction and to their credit the adjudicators allowed a second take of Why Don’t You Do Right? (well done Shona!). A third Newcastle vocalist - Sreenag Krishamoorthy - cut a suave figure with his performance of Beyond the Sea.
County Durham has an enviable reputation in music education and the Durham Alumni Big Band boasts some of the best players on the scene. Heavyweight composers were in the pad - Dave Holland and Chick Corea - as was County Durham lad Matt Roberts and it was his tune Hymn for Him that featured the excellent Jonny Dunn (trumpet) and Steve McGarvie (reeds) supported by a sympathetic rhythm section (bassist Amy Baker outstanding).
Title holders Durham University Big Band (winners in 2011 and 2012) were up for the hat-trick and submitted an ambitious programme; Stan Sulzmann’s Jack Stix, Sammy Nestico’s Ya Gotta Try Harder and Kenny Wheeler’s Enowena. The Sulzmann number featured trombonist Chris Jones and Luke Steven (drums), the Nestico chart the tenor saxophonists Matt Sulzmann and Duncan Walker and on the quintessential Wheeler composition, the magnificent Beth Aggett (voice).
Big Band Theory from Leeds were new to the competition and something of an unknown quantity. Two Seconds to Midnight (comp. Alan Baylock) with energetic section work marked the band as serious contenders. Baylock’s All the Way featured Benji Powling’s stunning tenor playing, Frank Foster’s classic Shiny Stockings received a respectful reading and it was down to the band’s vocalist Caterina Comeglio to steal the show singing A Tisket, a Tasket.
Competition regulars Lancaster University Jazz Orchestra had some fun with Theme from Naked Gun (think Leslie Nielsen and laugh), Randy Newman’s You’ve Got a Friend in Me and the ever-popular Count Bubba (comp.Gordon Goodwin).
First time visitors Tyne Valley Big Band, led by the indefatigable Dave Hignett, took to the stage in  numbers (massed ranks more like!). Musicians everywhere, this really was a big band! Drawn from the Tyne Valley community, this outfit were out to enjoy themselves. Basie’s Corner Pocket, Sammy Nestico’s Lonely Street, Eric Morales’ Feelin’ the Funk -  good tunes all. Familiar face Alastair Lord nailed the top C stuff in the trumpet section and Andrea De Vere blazed a trail on tenor and alto. To top it off vocalist Barbara Hignett unleashed a killer version of Mack the Knife. Was this Live at the Sands, Las Vegas or the Students’ Union, Sunderland University? No matter where, great stuff! Six bands done, four to go.
Next up Leeds College of Music Big Band, for some, serious challengers to Durham University Big Band’s recent dominance at the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. Their competition entry - an all Maria Schneider programme - no doubt struck fear in the hearts of their rivals. If they could pull this off they were home and dry. Big hitters sat in the sections - the fearless Kim Macari (trumpet), the brilliant Will Howard (tenor), Adam Taylor (guitar) and pianist Oli Cadman (impressive on a recent visit to the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle). Dance You Monster to My Soft Song ticked all the boxes - exemplary ensemble work with a spot-on solo by Adam Taylor. Will Howard’s extended solo on the ballad My Lament will live long in the memory and Gumba Blue boasted killer trumpet from Macari and dazzling piano (Cadman).
Another Yorkshire band followed - Huddersfield University Big Band - and surely had it all to do. A varied programme began with All or Nothing at All with a feature from trumpeter George Green. Mozart’s Symphony No.40 in Gm (arr. Gordon Goodwin) distilled the essence of a big band; the ensemble, listening sections, a simmering, cookin’ rhythm section, switch-back tempi and a crowning clarinet contribution from Chris Jolly. The set concluded with the infectious Brazil anchored by a disciplined trumpet section led by Nathan Blake.
This year’s long distance travellers were Cardiff University Big Band setting off at stupid o’clock (the sort of time any self-respecting student would be arriving home after a half-decent night out). The band arrived on time (just) and proceeded to give a very good account of themselves. Altoist Jack Mcdougal opened on Sussudio, the second number in the book introduced another impressive vocalist - Elise Parish - who sang with some style on Everybody Needs a Best Friend (comp. Seth Macfarlane and Walter Murphy) and Radiohead’s High and Dry closed the set, drawing approval from the many student players of the other bands listening with a beer in hand.
It had been a busy day and it was left to the Customs House Big Band to bring down the curtain. Porter, Strayhorn, Goodwin. You can’t go wrong. Add vocalist Ruth Lambert and you’re onto a winner. Led by Peter Morgan, the band from South Shields never fails to entertain. Love for Sale (tenor solo from Alan Marshall), Take the A Train (strong solo from trumpeter Mick Hill, typically good piano from Bill Brittain) and Gordon Goodwin’s Sing Sang Sung worked as a good blow out number interspersed by Lambert’s fabulous vocals on Teach Me Tonight and Mambo Italiano.
Ten bands, variety, great playing all round, the adjudicators - Paul Jones and Pete Long - were faced with an unenviable task. Deliberations concluded, Bill Watson assembled the cast. Marie Nixon (Chief Executive, Sunderland University Students’ Union) thanked all and sundry, happy to confirm the institution’s continued support for the event. Pete Long offered the adjudicators’ comments on the many performances and the winners were duly announced. Three adjudicators’ additional awards went to:
Caterina Comeglio (vocalist, Big Band Theory), Beth Aggett (voice, Durham University Big Band) and Lancaster University Jazz Orchestra’s drummer Michael Jay. 
Winner Best Balanced Programme: Big Band Theory.
Winner Best Section: Cardiff University Big Band (Brass).
Winner Best Soloist: Matt Sulzmann.
Winner Best Band: Huddersfield University Big Band. So, a busy day, an inspiring day. Congratulations to all. Tomorrow’s competition features school and youth bands. Another grand day is guaranteed. Down beat 11.30.am.
Russell.                       

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Alternatively, email me - lanceliddle@gmail.com.

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 Maggie, Tony, 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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