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Bebop Spoken There

Sonny Rollins: "I work very hard. I wear out suits playing." - (Downbeat May 29, 1969.)

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Bob Brookmeyer: "The group's philosophy? We're saving to buy new uniforms - the ties wore out." - (Crescendo March 1965).

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Archives.

Today Tuesday March 28

Jonathan Silk's Fragment Quartet - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. £10/£8. JNE/Schmazz gig.
Maine Street Jazzmen - Royal British Legion Club, 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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Northern Monkey Brass Band - The Fox, West End Tce., Hexham NE46 3DB. 9pm.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Bluebut @ The Bridge. November 2

Chris Janka guitar,  Mark Holub drums, Pamelia Kurstin theremin
 (Review by Steve H.)
What a week that was for jazz in Newcastle. One only need glance down the gig reviews on this blog to see just how many and how varied the programme was. Can any city of this size ever have boasted such a veritable feast of quality music? Not surprisingly not everyone can attend every gig and the audience does seem to divide along somewhat factional lines.
The final gig of an entertaining and dare I say it exhaustive week provided the most original offering of all – Bluebut. This is a trio comprising of guitarist Chris Janka, drummer Mark Holub of Led Bib fame and Pamelia Kurstin on theremin. I have seen countless configurations of jazz ensembles over the years from soloists to big bands but none of them has ever featured a theremin. This omission was put quite magnificently to rights on Sunday night at The Bridge. This gig had been described as thrash jazz, improv rock meeting rampaging robots with Captain Beefheart and Jimi Hendrix additions. In fact I didn’t find it that crazy, the hard drumming and throbbing guitar were ever present but amongst all of it I could hear fragments of all the previous gigs I’d attended during the week. Quite easily the highlight of the week was the virtuoso playing of the ever so jolly Kurstin; she was literally playing thin air ! Someone in the audience suggested that Pamelia appeared to be playing air guitar but to me it seemed more like she was sewing an invisible coat as she plucked delicately in the vortex between the theremin and her fingers. The sounds elicited were not as one imagines emanating from a horror or sci-fi movie but were fascinating genuine musical solos. I’ve heard somewhat irreverently that Kurstin is the finest  improvising theremin player in the world. Well if there is a better one around I certainly want to hear them – simply mesmerising.    
Steve.       

2 comments :

  1. Unfortunately, I couldn't get to this in person (as I was visiting planet Earth at the time) but can I congratulate the BSH reviewer for magnificantly keeping up the pretence that the 'theremin' actually exists. I had read the various previews with interest and was intrigued by the mention of this mysterious instrument that was never explained or described. So I had my suspicions but only now do I realise that it is of course a McGuffin - brilliant!
    It was clever to mix in a distracting description of his Halloween night in the Bigg Market ... 'thrash jazz, improv rock meeting rampaging robots' (personally I'd seen some rampaging robots, a couple of Captain Beefhearts and numerous zombies getting into taxis on Osborne Road to head down town)...with the actual gig.
    The analogy to playing air guitar is a good one as naturally everyone can relate to that but the idea that Kurstin could have 'plucked delicately at a vortex' is a complete scientific impossibility. This defies the laws of Quantum Physics as if she had gone near a vortex she would have immediately been sucked in, pulled through a wormhole in the cosmos and dumped in a parallel universe probably with One Direction playing constantly on repeat. Also the idea that she could have worked as Harry Potter's tailor is frankly unbelievable, as everybody knows his invisibility cloak does not really exist.
    However the clincher is the photo, which is a really nice touch. But just like the photo of the faked moon landing where the flag throwing a shadow is the giveaway, it's the same with this one. Although it appears to look quite convincing and the 'instrument' seems real enough with a black box and a metal loop, if you look at the reflection in the window at the back of the stage - there are No People! Now I know this is not a total impossibility at a Sunday night session but there are the heads of some audience members in the shot.
    So a terrific jazz conspiracy, congratulations to all concerned. When is the band coming back? I want to be 'there'.
    JC
    This is getting worrying...I even had to prove I'm not a robot to send this comment.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a honour JC to inspire such a creative response if there's been a better comment on this blog please point me too it. By the way the big headed beardy bloke in the front is me proving I woz there.

    ReplyDelete

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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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