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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

Archives

Today Tuesday September 26

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Black Bull, 98 Front St., East Boldon NE36 0SG. 1pm. Free. 0191 5365127. New residency 2 mins from East Boldon metro.
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Evening
Maine Street Jazzmen - Royal British Legion, West Jesmond Ave., Newcastle NE2 3EX. 8:30pm. £5.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
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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.
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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.
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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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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: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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