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Bebop Spoken There

Curtis Stigers: “I’m a jazz singer. I’m not a saxophonist. When I stand in front of a band like the Danish Radio Big Band or Ronnie Scott’s, I usually tend to leave the instrument on the stand.” – (The Northern Echo 20 July 2017)

Tamsin Austin, Director of Performance Programme, Sage Gateshead: “SummerTyne is our largest festival and we absolutely love it!” – (The Northern Echo 20 July 2017)

Today Saturday July 22

Afternoon
SummerTyne Americana Festival 2017 - Sage Gateshead. Day two of three. Details. From 12 noon all day.
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Evening
Steve Glendinning (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 7:30pm. No cover charge.
The Hookahs - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
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Big Chris Barber Band - Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. £21.50/£20.50.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Book Review: The Best Gig in Town - Jazz Artists at the White House 1969-1974 by Edward Allan Faine

There's no shortage of jazz literature - I've a floor to ceiling wall full of them (interspersed with Chandler and Elmore Leonard) - so do we really need more?
If the tome is unique then the answer is yes.
This book is unique.
Much has been written about Richard Nixon's Presidential time in office - Watergate and all that jazz or, to be more precise, Watergate without all that jazz.
Here the jazz is given centre stage and, although Watergate is touched on, emphasis is on the bands, artists, and distinguished guests of honour who appeared in the East Room.
It's quite a roster of talent: Duke Ellington; Henry Mancini; MJQ; Al Hirt; Peggy Lee; WGJB; Bobby Short; Pearl Bailey (twice); Billy Taylor (twice); Pete Fountain and Frank Sinatra.
Each concert has a chapter devoted to it, the background, the evening, the bigwigs (heads of state from France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Iran, Ivory Coast, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Apollo 10 Astronauts) and press reports in the aftermath. 
Needless to say some performances were better received than others - Peggy Lee overran and drank too much! Pearl Bailey blagged a White House chair and, on her next visit, tried to blag the Steinway!
It's a great read and, whilst it might not be another exposé of "Tricky Dicky", for the jazz person, it's a fascinating look at the inner circles of American politics and, in particular, the choices Mr P and his advisers made.
Obviously the artists booked were "clean" upstanding Americans - even Frank, with all his baggage, was an obvious choice for a gig when the Italian Prime Minister was the guest of honour. Sinatra changed his political allegiance as frequently as he changed bow-ties in his bobbysoxer years!
It's a book well written and well referenced - at times I felt I was sitting midst the blue-rinsed matrons and the portly governors and ambassadors listening to some of the finest music of the era.
The Best Gig in Town - Jazz Artists at the White House 1969-1974 by Edward Allan Faine  is now available on Amazon. (UK Link.)
Lance.

2 comments :

  1. on my wish list to read after your excellent review!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, mine too! Sounds fascinating .....

    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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