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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 Friday March 24

Afternoon
Rendezvous Jazz - The Black Horse, Front St., Monkseaton, Whitley Bay NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.
Mick Shoulder's Swing Manouche - Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1pm. £5. 0300 0269520
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Evening
James Harrison & Caroline Bagley- Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9pm. Free.
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Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7:00pm.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Vasilis Xenopoulos with the Paul Edis Trio @ Opus 4 Jazz Club. November 21

Vasilis Xenopoulos (tenor saxophone), Paul Edis (piano), Andy Champion (double bass) & Adam Sinclair (drums)
(Review by Russell).
Vasilis Xenopoulos was taking no chances. On his last visit to the Traveller’s Rest in Darlington he made it in the nick of time (seven hours on the M1).This time, London-Darlington by train appeared to be a better bet. Vasi X (typing Xenopoulos a number of times could result in a case of rsi) arrived in good time (3:30pm!) and took time out to check-out Darlington town centre (TK Maxx a major attraction).
The Traveller’s Rest is a comfortable roadhouse pub in Cockerton on the outskirts of town. The Ferryhill Brewery a guest at the bar, talk of jazz, festivals, birthdays, a lost wallet, a pleasant way to spend a half hour or so waiting for Vasi and co. to complete their soundcheck in the upstairs room. A queue formed long before the doors opened, winding its way down the stairs. A queue at a jazz gig!!! The place was packed, beer flowed, jazz deity looked down from the walls – Dizzy, Lady Day, Tubbs, Zoot et al – ready to commune with the Greek God of Xenopoulos.
Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Bobby Timmons. Then the Great American Songbook. Vasi X knows his stuff and mixes it up to great effect. A bop workout, a ballad, waltz tunes, an impromptu request – nothing gets by him. Tiny Capers opened the show with Vasi in spectacular form. His solo didn’t elicit mere applause. It was greeted with full-throated cheers the like of which aren’t heard at your regular jazz gig. Vasi shared the stand with long-time friend Paul Edis. The acclaimed north east-based pianist played a blinder (what’s new?) and is a headline attraction in his own right. Superb playing; the anticipating accompanist, a razor sharp ear to the main man’s tenor inventions and solo flights par excellence. Talking of accomplished soloists…Andy Champion was on the gig. As rhythm sections go, the phrase ‘first call’ springs to mind. Working alongside Adam Sinclair, they constituted the dream team. Champion as accompanist was as good as it gets – ‘on-the-money’ playing, an abundance of technique held in check. And then, stepping up to solo – if there is a better bass player in the UK Bebop Spoken Here needs to know. The ‘sartorially elegant’ Adam Sinclair (he likes to wear a tie) is the best in the business – if there is a better drummer Bebop Spoken Here needs to know!
Vasi mined the Blue Note catalogue. Lee Morgan’s Cesora (from the Cornbread album) a gem, Champion broke a string and played on. Our tenor man took a request (affording Champion time to re-string) and in doing so re-examined Summertime (a familiar tune, a new perspective). A steaming Dat Dere had one thinking it couldn’t get any better. Opus 4 Jazz Club patrons were having a ball. Their cheering had to be heard to be believed. No polite applause for them, this was 52nd Street, Darlo-style!
The interval; bar staff run off their feet, chatter, chatter, Guitarist Tom Stephenson (soon to further his studies with Tommy Smith and co.) was in the house and was knocked-out by the first set. He wasn’t alone! Vasi and Edis had their respective latest CDs available at the door (both come highly recommended), made themselves available to chat with the Opus 4 regulars and the second set couldn’t possibly match the first, could it?
Second set. Groove Merchant (it’s on Vasi’s Wind Machine album) upped the stakes. The standard impossibly high, the excitement levels at fever pitch, your reviewer decided the listening experience was everything (pen and note pad lay dormant). Sit back and enjoy, you only live once. Manteca would challenge Adam Sinclair, so said Vasi. Oh, yeah? It didn’t phase him one little bit. Scorching it was, Sinclair had it down. More Cheers. Fats Waller’s Jitterbug Waltz, You Must Believe in Spring More cheering, people on their feet, a cry of Bravo!  If you think this sounds like it was a canny gig, you’re right. The good news is they’re going to do it all again tomorrow night at the Black Bull in Blaydon. If you love listening to your old Blue Note albums, if you love the GASbook, if you know fantastic, swinging tenor playing when you hear it, then this is your chance. No ifs, buts or maybees. If you are a jazz fan, no excuses, get to the Black Bull, Sunday, 8:00pm. The place should be full to capacity. Get there early, they’re likely to be queuing round the block.           
Russell.                       

        


             

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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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