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Bebop Spoken There

Bob Dawbarn (review of Joe Harriott's LP 'Free Form'): "Both horns scream and roar away, Keane at times doing a pretty fair imitation of an elephant angry with its keeper." - (Melody Maker, December 16, 1961).

Steve Race: "The non-musician critic knows how music ought to sound. But he cannot possibly know how it feels to create it. He is in the position of the marriage guidance counsellor who has never been married." – (Jazz News, June 6th 1962).

Archives.

Today Thursday July 27

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Rd., nr. Newcastle NE27 0DA. 1:oopm. Free.
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Tyne Valley Jazzmen - No 1 Champagne Bar, 1 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL4 7 NJ 12:30pm. Free.
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Evening.
Strictly Smokin' Big Band - The Millstone, Haddricks Mill Rd., South Gosforth NE3 3DB. 7pm. Cancelled for pub refurbishment. Back August 31.
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Alter Ego - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. £5.
Jo Harrop & Paul Edis - The Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm
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Maine Street Jazzmen - Potter's Wheel, Sunniside NE16 5EE, 8:30pm. Free.
Ray Johnson & Richard Herdman - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling St., Gateshead NE2 2BA. 8pm. Free.
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Paul Skerritt Band - The Pennyweight, Bakehouse Hill, Darlington DL1 5QA. 9pm. Free.
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Tees Hot Club w. Kevin Eland (tpt); Donna Hewitt (alto); Graham Thompson (keys); Mark Hawkins (drums) - Dormans, Oxford Rd., Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Free. 9pm.
Pocket Jazz Orchestra "Jazz & Tapas" - No 60, Arc, Dovecote St., Stockton TS18 1LL 7pm. £10.
New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton TS18 4AW. 8:30pm.01642 678129.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival (Day 2) @ North Shore. March 7

(Review by Russell)
Day two. An early start for some at an over subscribed workshop. Tutors, participants, North Shore staff and festival volunteers were at it early. LeedsBig Band Theory launched the competition proper at noon. The Open Section (senior bands, typically a university big band) attracted no fewer than nine entries. The Leeds-based band led by MD Edd Maughan were making a return visit to Sunderland with two familiar faces from the Durham County Youth Big Band in the ranks – drummer Abbey Finn and a busy (what’s new?) Tom Hill (trumpet).
The first tune of five – Tune Up – was a band composition. Were they tuning up or were they  playing Tune Up? The latter. A kaleidoscope of colours, bold, ambitious, would it catch the ear of adjudicators Mick Donnelly and Paul Jones? Here’s That Rainy Day caught the ear of your reviewer.
Newcomers to the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival MSC Big Band (Manchester Student Community Big Band) made a big impression. South Rampart Street Parade a good choice with a contemporary treatment. The band’s resident composer/arranger Sam James offered the band Taste My Grape (My Grape is Fizzy) – it tasted good. At one o’clock precisely the first of the day’s highlights. At short notice vocalist Jenny Shrimpton depped for the unwell Fabia Carney. Shrimpton sang Skyfall (Adele, 007). This was one of the great performances anywhere, anytime. What would the adjudicators think? The band’s MD Tom Guyer and Assistant MD Sam Walker – Guyer (keyboards), Walker (drums) a young man from the north east studying medicine – led from the front with enthusiasm.
MD Dave Hignett is a man big on talent (a top trumpet player) and big on enthusiasm. His Tyne Valley Big Band (all twenty five or twenty six, or not quite sure of the numbers) crowded the stage, someone fired a gun (metaphorically) and they sped off on several crazy laps of Theme from the Flintstones. You couldn’t help but smile. The show-stopping Barbara Hignett (vocals) stopped the show and, literally, silenced the crowd, finger to lips ‘Shhhh’ as she hushed It’s Oh So Quiet. Then, bang!!! What a showgirl! A dynamic Live and Let Die (Andrea DeVere, tenor saxophone), Tyne Valley Big Band-style. A community band to be proud of.
University of Lancaster Music Society Big Band presented four numbers. The band’ s joint MD Jonathan Vince (Matthew Clare, co-MD) led his troops into battle with his own epic tenor solo on As Time Goes By. Vocalist Amelia Jay sang clearly, in tempo on It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing). A good set. Musicians and audience were looking for refreshment. The bar had been open for a couple of hours. A frothy pint of the Leamside Brewery’s Adventure,  a ‘hello’ to familiar faces on the way back from the bar - Tony, John, Peter, Alex, Tom, a familiar face every step. 
Pre-competition, two of the bands’ proposed programmes looked good (on paper) and one of them – Durham Alumni Big Band - were ready to go. MD Shaune Eland conducted three pieces – ESP (arr. Matt Roberts), Alfedo (arr. Stan Sultzmann) and James Hamilton’s Back on Your Heads. Alex Baker (tenor) on ESP exemplified what this band is about – consummate musicianship, no ‘show’, no grandstanding. All sections could be heard at all times. A sign of a good band. Ian Robinson took a flugel feature on Alfredo and the ensemble work on James Hamilton’s piece was a delight. Special mention for Paul Grainger (double bass). A late dep for the unavailable Amy Baker. Grainger sight read the parts and Shaune Eland thanked him for doing a grand job. Mind you, PG had it easy working with an ace rhythm section – Dean Stockdale (piano), Tom Stephenson (guitar) and ‘the award-winning’ Stephen Fletcher (drums)!
Last year’s Great North Big Band Jazz Festival included the debut appearance of the sensational Managers’ Big Band. Dynamic isn’t the word. Pianist MD Ben Shepherd and his Bolton-based band make Buddy Rich appear a shrinking violet! They were back. Tank! (Opening Theme to Bebop Cowboy), comp. Yoko Kanno, set the pace (breakneck) and it didn’t slacken. Kyran Matthews (tenor) stripped paint off the walls. Last year’s award-winning trumpeter Jay Shepherd played impossibly brilliant stuff on Portrait of Louis Armstrong and it left one question hanging in the air…Had they done enough to win? A big band fan and supporter of Bebop Spoken Here suggested they could well have done more than enough. 
Title holders Durham University Big Band came out fighting. MD Chris Jones didn’t have to crack the whip as his charges ripped into Whiplash. All to play for. Richard Turner’s Too Minor (arr. Rueben Fowler) featured solos from alto sax player Dan Garel and Ollie Farley (guitar). 
The Durham students were followed by Huddersfield University Big Band, themselves previous winners at North Shore. Neal Hefti, Gordon Goodwin, Don Menza – good choices. Perhaps the best selection was Bob Florence’s E-Motions (Part 2). Baritone saxophonist Jenny Ashley starred in this moody piece (was it in E?). MD Sean Miller directed with quiet authority. A most impressive set.
The final band on the stand was making its debut public performance. The Gala Big Band has been put together in a matter of months at its Gala Theatre base in Durham by pianist MD Paul Edis. An ensemble drawn from the local community, Edis informed the North Shore audience that no fewer than forty five musicians have signed up to rehearsal sessions! Whittled down to more manageable big band numbers, Edis and co kicked-off with Basie’s One O’clock Jump. Edis must be delighted to have veteran pianist George Hetherington on board. Section soloists stood up and went for it. Nervous or not, they did themselves proud. Lil Darlin’  cut the mustard, no mean feat considering the delicate beauty of the composition.  The Gala Big Band will be in concert at the Gala Theatre on April 19.
The adjudicators – Paul Jones and Mick Donnelly – deliberated. Heads together, their comments committed to paper, the bands (all nine of them) joined the audience to hear the results (including four additional Adjudicators’ Awards). Festival Director Bill Watson invited Professor Gary Holmes, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Sunderland University, to present the awards:
Adjudicators’ Award: Andrea DeVere (tenor saxophone) Tyne Valley Big Band
Adjudicators’ Award: Ollie Farley (guitar) Durham University Big Band
Adjudicators’ Award: Jenny Shrimpton (vocals) MSC Big Band
Adjudicators’ Award: Jonny Dunn (trumpet) Durham Alumni Big Band
Most Entertaining Programme: Tyne Valley Big Band
Best Section: Saxophone Section, Durham Alumni Big Band
Best Soloist: Kyran Matthews (tenor saxophone) The Managers Band
Best Band: Durham Alumni Big Band     

A winners’ concert followed the competition. Big smiles, relaxed playing. A great way to end another memorable day at the twelfth Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. Day three (Sunday) starts with a workshop, then the competition element resumes with Schools and Youth Sections. A guaranteed great day out.
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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