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Bebop Spoken There

Jeff Lindberg: "You can have innovative new music and you can play music of the masters. They're not going to cancel each other out" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Saturday May 25

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - St. Cuthbert's Church Hall, Dovecote St., Amble NE65 0DX. 12:00pm - 3:00pm (music from 1:00pm). £10.00. See poster for more details.

Sax on the Tyne, St George's Church Hall, St George's Close, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2TF. 5:00-7:00pm. Free (donations). A Jesmond Community Festival event.

Evening

Baghdaddies - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 6:00pm. £10.00. Whitley Bay Carnival.

Lady & the Jazz Tramps - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £6.00. (£3.00. student).

Radio Pensacola Band - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations).

Blues/Funk/Soul

Teresa Watson Band - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

GIJF Day One: Stan Tracey’s Under Milk Wood

Bobby Wellins (tenor saxophone), Steve Melling (piano), Andy Cleyndert (double bass), Clark Tracey (drums) & Ben Tracey (narration.)
(Review by Russell/photo courtesy of Ken Drew)
First night of the festival and Hall Two was near, as damn it, full to capacity. No real surprise given that one of the seminal works of British jazz was being revisited by a stellar line-up. Stan Tracey’s Under Milk Wood is fifty. Recorded in 1965, composer Tracey is no longer with us, but the tenor saxophonist on the recording date – Bobby Wellins – continues to perform, his powers undiminished.
The first set featured, effectively, the Bobby Wellins Quartet. The genial Scot clearly took great pleasure in leading an A-list band. Pianist Steve Melling played Melling, a good idea too, as who could emulate Stan Tracey? A fine pianist in his own right, the frame a little fuller, Melling’s flowing lines, light of touch, echoed those of Wellins.
A handful of tunes, forty five minutes flew by. Bass and drums – Andy Cleyndert and Clark Tracey – have worked together for years. The pair look little different from days gone by; Cleyndert now wearing spectacles (his music stand some distance from eyes), Tracey’s hang-dog visage much the same as it’s always been. Set highlights included Lover Man and an achingly good It Never Entered My Mind.
What to say about the Dylan Thomas-inspired work heard second set? The album (the original vinyl issue a collector’s item) has entered British jazz lore. Hearing B Wellins (tenor saxophone) play it live was a privilege. The Tracey family dynasty maintained a connection to the piece – drummer Clark and grandson Ben as narrator. Clark has it in DNA, Ben, word perfect, similarly has inherited the family jazz gene. I Lost My Step in Nantucket is a rarity – a British jazz standard, that’s the hallmark of Under Milk Wood. Thomas’ dark comic verse, delivered impeccably by Ben Tracey, frequently elicited a chuckle in the dimmed auditorium. It was, surely, as the author intended. The jazz was superb; solos punctuated the drama, the audience aware that on this occasion, applause should be reserved for an appropriate pause in the story. Under Milk Wood is a work to be heard on special occasions, this the 50th anniversary year, is one of them. Gateshead Jazz Festival got it right – an ‘I was there’ occasion.
Russell.

2 comments :

Hugh said...

Exellent summary, Russell. I too was pleased that the applause was reserved for those appropriate breaks in the delivery of Under Milk Wood - apart from that one man in the front...

Ken Drew said...

We've all seen it, heard it and enjoyed it quite a few times - but it still has a freshness when played live to this day. For me, seeing Bobby smile at various points of the prose was priceless. Ken D.

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