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Bebop Spoken There

Howard Riley: “When I started out playing jazz back in the late 50s, early 60s, if you wanted a gig you had to learn some standards.” – (Jazz Journal April 2017)

Eric Harland: “I love swing and I’m always going to swing but I also know that you can take a hip-hop groove and improvise with that just like you would with a swing pattern.” – (Jazz Journal April 2017)

Today Thursday April 27

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Rd., Holystone, Newcastle (ish) NE27 0DA. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
Maine St. Jazzmen - Potters Wheel, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5EE. 8:30pm. 0191 4888068
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Dave Weisser & Alan Law - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. £5. (Students free).
BABMUS Presents - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. £3 (£2 students).
Strictly Smokin' Big Band - The Millstone, Haddrick's Mill Rd., South Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3DB. Free. 7pm. Open rehearsal.
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Emma Fisk's Hot Club du Nord - Lubetkin Theatre, East Durham College, Willerby Grove, Peterlee SR8 2RR.7pm. £8. 07425 145549.
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Paul Skerritt Band - The Pennyweight, Bakehouse Hill, Darlington DL1 5QA. 9pm. Free. 01325 468411.
Jazz Workshop w. Matt Roberts - Art Gallery, Crown St., Darlington DL1 1ND. 6pm. £5. Registration required. Part of Darlington Jazz Festival.
Richie Emmerson Quartet w Richie (tenor); Ted Pearce (keys); Alan Smith (bass) + drums tba - Dorman's, Oxford Rd., Middlesbrough. 9pm. Free.
New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - The Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees. 8:30pm.
Pocket Jazz Orchestra + Noel Dennis (trumpet) - The Ship, Church Lane, Redmarshall, Stockton TS21 1EP. Free. 8pm.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival (Day 3) @ North Shore. March 2

(Review by Russell).
The third and final day of the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival hosted more big bands than you could shake a drum stick at. Early birds made it in time for a workshop (10:00 am!) before the competition element resumed at eleven.  The Schools’ Section presented six ensembles to a throng of big band fans who just couldn’t get enough of the music. The first of two ensembles from Shropshire, Abraham Darby Academy Jazz Band, adopted a hit and run tactic, intending to leave the opposition trailing in their wake. The Jazz Police and Huntin’ Wabbits had the desired effect – some of those listening stood frozen, like the proverbial rabbit, as the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band searchlight shone directly into their eyes. The Sammy Nestico arrangement of God Bless the Child cooled the juggernaut’s cylinders before the getaway finale Sing, Sing, Sing.
Whitworth Park School had the unenviable task of following the band from Shropshire. The presence of Harry Warren, Neal Hefti and Harold Arlen in the programme ensured a creditable response and vocalist Charlie Moore won plaudits for her interpretation of Cry Me a River. The West Country’s other representatives – Burton Borough School Band – travelled in numbers. A thirteen-strong saxophone section, five trumpets, trombones, piano, bass and drums put together a balanced set ranging from Horace Silver (Sister Sadie) to Bill Reddie (Channel One Suite). Tenor saxophonist Luke Foreman performed impressively, so too altoist Katie Roberts on C.B.Talk and the rhythm section stepped up on the Reddie number.
Gateshead’s Little Big Band support the event year after year and it was good to see them back once again. David Blakey, the band’s MD, took time to explain that members of the ensemble have achieved grades 1 to 3 and are looking to progress further. Theme from James Bond, Ants in the Pants, Satin Doll, One O’clock Jump – excellent material, performed with distinction. The Basie classic swung - diminutive drummer Dylan Thompson (a young man with a big talent) and his rhythm section band mates made sure of that – and who knows how far these fledgling musicians will go?
Last year’s winners Bolton School Jazz Band sensed that the standard had risen over the last twelve months and they would need to raise their game to be in with a chance of retaining their title. Andy Weiner’s Cruisin’ for a Bluesin’ , Chick Corea’s Spain and Rule the Roost (Kris Berg) gave them every chance. The saxophone section impressed on the opener and the rhythm section drove the Berg number with more than a nod to Jaco Pastorius.
2012 winners Saint Aidan’s Swing Band (Harrogate, MD Vicki Elliott) boasted the presence in the ranks of a sousaphone player. Cool or what?! The four numbers under the microscope – When the Saints Go Marching In, Watermelon Man, Victor Young’s When I Fall in Love and the contemporary brass ensemble classic Brooklyn – suggested the programme could be the ace in the pack. Matt Knowles (tenor) led from the front on the opening number, the rhythm section proved to be a strong suite throughout and the trump card – Phil Martin (sousaphone) – had them all but dancing in the isles on Nat McIntosh’s NYC street-funk gem (2:05 pm – the first of the day’s tear in the eye moments). Adjudicators Mick Donnelly and Paul Jones compared notes, the efficient stage crew readied the arena for the presentation of awards and the bar and catering staff worked non-stop meeting the needs of the hundreds in attendance at the students’ union on the north bank of the Wear. A pint of the Leamside Brewery’s Adventure and a curry on the table, the results were as follows:
Adjudicators’ Award: Phil Martin (sousaphone) Saint Aidan’s Swing Band
Adjudicators’ Award: Dylan Thompson (drums) Little Big Band
Adjudicators’ Award: Charlie Moore (vocals) Whitworth Park School
Most Entertaining Programme: Burton Borough School Band
Best Section: Trombone Section, Saint Aidan’s Swing Band
Best Soloist: Luke Foeman (tenor saxophone) Burton Borough School Band
Best Band: Abraham Darby Academy Jazz Band
Abraham Darby Academy Jazz Band returned to the stage to remind listeners just how good they were with a reprise of The Jazz Police. The band’s 460 miles round trip to Shropshire will, no doubt, live long in the memory for the very best of reasons.  
The Youth Section attracted many entries and on the day eight bands were invited to perform. Paraffernalia, from just up the road in Gateshead, took an up-tempo approach. Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke and Horace Silver’s Filthy McNasty (good trombone from Cameron Barker, good guitar from Nathan Lawson) preceded an entertaining take on Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther (arr. Mike Tomaro). The recently formed Tyne Valley Youth Big Band boasted ten trumpets and boundless enthusiasm. From Herbie Hancock’s hypnotic Chameleon to the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble’s Planet Gibbous, the band impressed and next year they’re sure do so again. Ante-post favourites Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra arrived in Sunderland with a big reputation to uphold. Well drilled, well dressed (many of the bands at this year’s event entered the sartorial stakes), the first number – This Could Be the Start of Something Big – saw the even-money favourites’ odds shorten to a shade odds-on as Harry Johnstone (trumpet) displayed nerves of steel with a commendably restrained solo. Aaron Wrigglesworth (tenor) played with authority on Sting in the Tail and trombonist Harrison Maunde commanded the floor on Honk!  Catch as Catch Can closed out the set with yet another accomplished soloist – Jamie Edgerton (alto) – set to impress the competition judges. Tees Valley Youth Big Band (MD Bill Watson) chose to embrace classic ‘jazz age’material with ‘new composition’. Bill Bailey and ‘S Wonderful in the former category and in the latter, band pianist Katharine Noble’s Musica and Elizabeth Chapman’s Liz’s Tune. Hearing newly composed work in a competition setting added an extra dimension to the event and it is to be hoped that this development will be encouraged in future years. East Riding Jazz Orchestra opted for big band staples – Norwegian Wood, The Jazz Police and Watermelon Man – and none the worse for it, together with a difficult choice – The Girl From Ipanema. Jobim’s classic tune worked well and the Beverley-based outfit impressed. EASY Jazz Orchestra presented Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground, Theme From Family Guy, Li’l Darlin’ (good muted trumpet from Christian Benson) and Gordon Goodwin’s A Few Good Men. The Goodwin chart featured Nathan Steele (guitar), Mark Fortnum (alto), Matthew Roberts (tenor) and Jemmima Whyte (alto). A long day nearing its end, three bands were still to be heard. Local favourites County Durham Youth Big Band began confidently with Sunny (incorporating a Santana vamp) arranged by Matt Roberts, featuring guitarist Tom Stephenson. Cantaloupe Island examined the band’s section work and Victor Lopez’ Sweet Dreams showcased the immensely talented baritone player Omar Shade. Gordon Goodwin’s bank balance received a further boost with Kirklees Youth Jazz Orchestra choosing to perform two of his compositions – Huntin’ Wabbits and Count Bubba. The former heard the saxophone section introduce the piece and the trombones followed (George Hardwick solo). Growling, muted trumpet from Rafi Siraj and Cameron Woodhead’s alto added spice to the latter tune. Title holders Hull Youth Jazz Orchestra wound up the weekend’s non-stop action with a brave set and something of a first for the festival. A all-Latin programme (a Descarga/Guaracha, a Cha Cha Cha, a Pachanga.Mambo and a Plena). Performed with verve and obvious enjoyment, the ensemble gave it their all. Ray Barretto’s Swing La Modema heard the band as a large vocal ensemble with a solo spot for altoist Alex Gibson. El Rico Vocilon drew engaging solos from Lucy Clarke (trumpet) and Will King (trombone). The rhythm section shone on La Charanga and the vocal troupe of Beth Arrowsmith-Cooper, Luca Goaten and Henry Ellerker emerged from sections within the band. Mucho applause. The music marathon at an end, all that remained was for the adjudicators to confer one last time. The ailing Mick Donnelly (under doctor’s orders to rest at home, duly ignored) and Paul Jones, facing a long drive home to London, informed the festival’s director Bill Watson of their final deliberations. Thanks were given to an army of helpers and supporters (the Musicians’ Union, University of Sunderland, Sunderland College, Sunderland City Council and others) and the final results were announced:

Adjudicators’ Award: Bassist, East Riding Jazz Orchestra
Adjudicators’ Award: Abbie Finn (drums) County Durham Youth Big Band
Adjudicators’ Award: Katharine Noble (composer) County Durham Youth Big Band

Most Entertaining Programme: Hull Youth Jazz Orchestra                      
Best Section: Rhythm Section, County Durham Youth Big Band  
Best Soloist: Tom Stephenson, County Durham Youth Big Band
Best Band: Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra                                

Russell.                              

2 comments :

  1. Excellent review, Russell. Even though I wasn't there it almost feels I was with such detailed and enthusiastic commentary. Seems quite a gruelling day with so many Bands but with many rewards.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Unfortunately we failed to get the name of the bassist with the East Riding Jazz Orchestra who got an Adjudicators' Award. If anyone can oblige with the young man's name it would be appreciated.

    ReplyDelete

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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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