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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.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Zoe Gilby Interviews Ian Chalk

Zoe Gilby interviewed Ian Chalk of the Firebird Quartet who are this coming Sunday's (May 4 - 8.15pm) Splinter @ The Bridge band. Zoe's questions are in blue.
Tell us a bit about your band. How it formed? band line up and their influences?
The band in its current form was created about 4 months ago.  Previously I had a quartet for 4 years (Ian Chalk Quartet) which, although fun to play in and they guys were great, wasn't really going in the direction I wanted to go.  So the decision was made to create a quartet to perform contemporary jazz with best the musicians I could find to force me to up my game and they've certainly done that! The name of the band was changed to reflect the new start ....'Firebird Quartet' (and to remind people of our Sunday night residency at The Phoenix in York).
The line up is Bass - John Marley, Drums - Tim Carter, Piano - Martin Longhawn and myself on trumpet. Musically, I suspect we're influenced by everything we've ever heard as jazz musicians tend to soak up whatever music is around them but currently we're listening to (and performing the music of) people like Terence Blanchard, Kendrick Scott, Christian Scott, Roy Hargrove, Dean Taba and Wynton Marsalis. In addition, we perform a number of original compositions.  We play music in a range of styles from driving swing to grooves with a hint of hip hop.
Fundamentally, we believe that our music should be enjoyable to listen to.  I know that sounds like it should be an obvious thing to say but it isn't necessarily a view shared by the whole jazz community where, sometimes, the 'art' of the music can leave some of the audience behind.  We're firm believers in creating music with sufficient complexity to appeal to a contemporary jazz audience but will also make you want to tap your foot!
Best gig you've seen?
This is an easy question to answer although not a 'jazz' performance as such (although we could have a long conversation about what 'jazz' really is!).... Stevie Wonder at the Manchester Arena a few years back.  We had really good seats near the front and you could almost feel the amazing energy of the man.  I'm not a religious man (far from it!) but that is the nearest I've come to a spiritual experience. The start of the gig was Stevie being led onto the stage by his daughter while he played Miles's 'All Blues' on harmonica... more than a little thrilling! In our house, my kids have been taught that whenever Stevie's name is mentioned they must place a finger on their forehead and say the word 'genius'!
Favourite album?
Hmmm...tricky one as it tends to change on a daily basis.  Thinking on a 'Desert Island Discs' basis where I only have one album to choose then I think it would have to be 'Hot House Flowers' by Wynton Marsalis.  This was one of the first jazz albums I ever bought (possibly the very first) and I was seduced by the very cool album sleeve of Wynton stood in the middle distance, cool suit, lit in a spotlight, trumpet in hand.  The album is quite melancholic with sweeping orchestral arrangements but with joyous versions of 'When You Wish Upon A Star' and 'I'm Confessin'. It also includes a stunningly gorgeous version of 'Stardust' which is the music I want playing at my funeral (just so you know!).
What has been the highlight of your bands musical career so far?
The highlight is less to do with any one moment on any one gig than with how the quartet has gelled into such a fluid and coherent unit which has already far exceeded my expectations.  This has been helped by our regular Sunday night residency at The Phoenix in York (8pm till 10:30, free entry!) which has allowed us to develop our group sound as well as our material so that we can be relaxed in our work and can focus on the creative side of jazz.
If you could meet, talk with and jam with any musician (alive or deceased) who would it be?
Wow! Where do you start with this one? Duke Ellington? Dizzy? Miles? Stravinsky? Mozart?Bach?? I think the answer would probably be Miles.  I suspect he wouldn't necessarily welcome jamming with me as he could be something of a 'prickly character' but I would learn so much from him, not just about trumpet playing but about how to approach playing music.  Famously, he said "Do note fear wrong notes, there are none" and I'd love to have the same free approach.
Thank you Ian.

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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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