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Bebop Spoken There

Orrin Evans: “I’d like to see a younger audience and an audience that looks more like me at the clubs.” – (Down Beat November 2014).

Kevin Flanagan: "Besides, I'd got sick of playing jazz to people who looked like my father." - (Straight No Chaser Issue 0ne Summer 1988.)

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Today Friday August 18

Afternoon
Rendezvous Jazz - The Black Horse, Front St., Monkseaton, Whitley Bay NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.
Levee Ramblers New Orleans Quartet - Tynemouth Metro Station, Station Tce., Tynemouth NE30 4RE. 1pm. Free.
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Evening
Kentucky Cowtippers - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
Ray Johnson & Richard Herdman - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling St., Gateshead NE8 2BA. 8pm.
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Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7pm.
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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 24, 2014

Book Review: Off Key by Mark Robertson.

(Just a reminder that Mark Robertson's excellent first novel is officially launched this Saturday June 28 - follow this link to learn more - Lance)
The definitive jazz novel, in my opinion, has yet to be written despite the efforts of many well known literary figures. Evan Hunter's Second Ending perhaps came closest - until now that is.
Mark Robertson's Off Key could only be written by someone at the heart of a provincial jazz scene and whilst I'm sure it isn't semi-autobiographical, the characters and situations are so familiar and, occasionally, thinly disguised it might well be. The fact that it's set in the north-east adds credence to the theory. 
Fiction it well may be, but it does relate to life in the jazz lane - The grotty gigs out in the wilds with an audience of three, the rusting band van forever breaking down, the wayward self-destructing genius, the struggle to maintain a home life with a jazz life, the conflicting personalities in any group of two or more (in this case four) etc.
Mark Robertson has successfully merged all these ingredients and more into 108,000 words - not one of which I skipped - particularly page 262 where a well known jazz blog is mentioned!
Off Key began life as a screenplay before surfacing as a novel.. If it ever reverts to its original format the BBC or ITV will have no problem with the casting - they're all in a jazz club near you.
The author's cover comment "The greatest story ever told about love ... and jazz (in Sunderland)" perhaps needs to be amended to cover a wider area! Highly recommended.
Mark Robertson's novel, Off Key  is published by Matador Press and available now.
ISBN: 9781784620073 - Paperback; £8.99 
eISBN: 9781784626785 - ebook: £2.99
Lance.
Synopsis. 
OFF-KEY BY MARK ROBERTSON                             
THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD ABOUT LOVE and jazz . . . in Sunderland.
Once unheard of, Charlotte and Kyle’s relationship is becoming ever more commonplace in today’s society. She is the breadwinner and Kyle, in his own eyes at least, is a musical genius. Should Charlotte accept playing second fiddle to a saxophone or should she listen to her best friend, Dainty.
 “One day you’ll wake up. Kyle will be gone and you’ll be left with a basket of dirty Y fronts and ovaries that look like walnuts.”
Will Charlotte take Dainty’s advice and go?  And if she does what is left for Kyle? Only an autistic boy to get through a music exam and an alcoholic has-been to rehabilitate.
As for Dainty, why should she be beholden to vows that he cast aside for nothing more than a shag with her best friend?  “For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” . . . in bed with her and in bed with her bridesmaid! Bastard!
Author Mark Robertson, himself a professional musician, has written about a present day dilemma, what role should each person play in a relationship?  He knows the half-world of gigs and record producers, all waiting for that elusive break, those partners who cheer them on and the others whose patience sometimes runs out. 

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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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