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Bebop Spoken There

Artie Shaw: “I'm not interested in giving people what they want--I'm interested in making music.” – (DownBeat October 15, 1939).

Jason Marsalis: “There's so many places that this music can go and there's a lot yet to be discovered.'” – (DownBeat April 2018)

Today Sunday March 18


Musicians Unlimited - Park Inn, Park Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Tel: 01429 233126. 12 noon. Free.

Jason Isaacs & the Ambassadors of Swing - Hoochie Coochie, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. 5:30pm (doors 4:00pm). £16.00.

Revolutionaires - Tyne Bar, Maling St, Newcastle NE6 1LP. 3pm. Free.

Somethin’ Blue - Vesuvio, 3a Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RL. 5:00pm. Tel: 01325 788564. Matt Case (saxophone) & Mike Hepple (guitar).


POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER! Zoë Gilby Quartet - Black Bull, Bridge Street, Blaydon NE21 4JJ. 8:00pm. £5.00. Rescheduled August 19.

Alter Ego - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £5.00.

Bradley Johnston - The Fire Station, High Street West, Sunderland SR1 3DT. Tel: 0191 594 7241. 6:00pm. Free. New weekly residency.

Gypsy Dave Smith - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A letter and an email between Ron Chapman and Johnny Smith.

The recent death of guitarist Johnny Smith prompted number one fan Ron Chapman to send us this correspondence between the the two guitarists. Thank you Ron. - Lance.
3rd October. 2004.
Dear Johnny,
Last year I attended the Wrexham Jazz course in the hope of meeting you, but it turned out even better than I had hoped. I heard you play!
I enjoyed your visit into the class with Louis Stewart where we were being instructed by Mundel Lowe. I handed my camera to one of the guitarists in my group and the photo that he took was published in the Just Jazz Guitar Magazine in the May 2004 issue.
The purpose of this letter is to give you my own appreciation for the hours of pleasure that your recordings have given me. I am pretty sure that I have every recording that was ever issued; the quality of your playing never ceases to amaze me. I learned Moonlight in Vermont, which is the tune that I open every performance with. I also play among others The Girl with the Flaxen Hair, You are too Beautiful and The Shadow of your Smile. It’s after trying to emulate your smooth style of chord playing and the fast single note runs such as you are famous for that I began to doubt that no amount of practice could make me as perfect as what I was listening to.
After 40 years of playing I can play the long stretch chords without much problem and I know that you will disagree with me, but after practicing your runs for hundreds of hours without perfecting them I came to the conclusion that no amount of practice would ever make me sound like Johnny Smith. I wonder if there are any tips which you could pass on to help me attain the speed and clarity of single note runs. I guess there must have been a moment in your life when you realised that you could do it! I struggle; I listen to your recordings and try to copy.  I know that you practiced for hours on end but I think what makes you exceptional is perhaps that touch of genius.
Many thanks.  
Ron Chapman.
Howdy Ron, good to hear from you.  Thanks for all the nice words, indeed a compliment coming from you as I was very impressed by your playing of "Send in The Clowns at Wrexham" fine playing indeed!
Sandy and I are ok, just keeping out of everybody's way.
I was fishing in Baja in June and getting ready to go back October 7th for a week. Fishing is great and October and June are the best months. In June, the marlin were running 250 lbs. and up. We release all bill fish that are not badly injured.
Stay well my friend and keep up your playing, thanks for staying in touch. 
Your friend                                                                                               
Johnny Smith

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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.)
Contact: I look forward to hearing from you.