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Bebop Spoken There

Michael Feinstein: “Fred Astaire is my favorite singer. To me, he was the perfect interpreter of American popular song.” – (Jazz Times December 2014).

Bud Shank: “Once I saw California – that was it, I stayed.” – (Jazz Journal May 1991)

Archives.

Today Saturday February 25

Afternoon

Tees Valley Jazzmen - Devonport Hotel, 16-18 The Front, Middleton One Row, Darlington DL2 1AS. 01325 332255. 1:30pm. Free.

Evening

Bradley Johnston (Solo guitar) - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 7:30pm. No cover charge.

Redemption - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. £5.

Rendezvous Jazz/ Levee Ramblers NOJB 'At the Jazz Band Ball 2' - The Exchange, Howard St., North Shields NE30 1SE. 7:30pm. £10/£8.50.

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

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

CD Review: Johanna Graham Quartet - Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.

Johanna Graham (voice); Martin Bowie (gtr); Tim Greenhalgh (bs); Damian Rodd (dms) + Rory Simmons (tpt).
(Review by Lance)
I usually farm out vocal CDs to my team of vocal experts - I mean, how many more times do I want to hear Summertime? However, occasionally I pull rank and say "This is mine!"
Which is what I've done with this one even though it does contain the dreaded Summertime!
This is Ms Graham's début album and already I'm short-listing it.
Given the current attention being paid to the return of Kate Bush it is perhaps fitting that the album opens with The Man with the Child in his Eyes. Lightly swinging, trumpet and guitar solos, immaculate bass and drums and a vocal that offers a credible alternative to the Kate Bush version.
Funny, a Nat King Cole hit from the 1950s, is an emotive tale of lost love. Johanna fighting her feelings and almost having us (and herself) believing it. Masterful storytelling.
Lennon and McCartney released I Will on the legendary White Album and Graham brings her own take to the table - delicious and enhanced by Simmons' tightly muted trumpet.
Too Much, an original by Graham and Martin Bowie, has echoes of bygone divas such as Ella, Anita, Shirley Horn and present days wonders such as Diana Krall and Claire Martin. Fine open horn on this one and nice West Coast (USA) guitar sound. I'm Through With Love - if I had to choose just one tune from the album this would be it! Fortunately, I don't have to make that very difficult choice particularly as the next track is James Taylor's Don't Let me be Lonely Tonight.
People are Strange is a reminder of the quality of music laid down by The Doors and once again our girl proves she can do covers that don't sound like covers. The second original by Graham and Bowie, Empty Serenade, is a sorrowful, reflective piece made all the more melancholic by Greenhalgh's bass. Is this just a song or is she really pouring her heart out ? Either way she gets the message across.
More sadness - When Sunny Gets Blue - but with hope for the future...
No hope for the future in Stormy Weather but Johanna Graham's performance suggests a rosy future for her! The scatting rounds off an excellent disc.
And now it's time to hold up my hand and say that the bonus track - Summertime - is the least worst version of that overworked tune!
Highly recommended.   
Lance.
The CD: Johanna Graham Quartet - Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight (Label - 33 Records) is being launched at Pizza Express, Dean St., Soho, London on May 25.

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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: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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