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Bebop Spoken There

Piers Paul Read: "Bruce Reynolds and Biggs shared an interest in Sex, Jazz and Hemingway." - (The Train Robbers by Piers Paul Read, Coronet Books 1979.)

George Shearing: "Speaking about Johann Sebastian Bach I think he'd be a real jazzer if he were alive today. I mean any man who has two wives, twenty kids, gets kicked out of the church for being too harmonically radical and drinks beer can't be all wrong can he?" - (Crescendo March 1984.)

Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance

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Apologies for any inconvenience, this is due to circumstances beyond my control.

Today Thursday July 19

Afternoon

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Maine St. Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Holywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NJ. 8:30pm. Free.

Alexys de Alfaro: Guitar Dreams with Coco Vega - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling Street, Gateshead NE8 2BA. Doors 7:00pm. A ‘jar on the bar’ gig. Guitar & percussion.

Alter Ego - St James’ & St Basil’s Church, Fenham Hall Drive, Newcastle NE4 9EJ. 7:30pm. £10.00.

Jesse Bannister Quartet - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. £10.00. (£8.00. concs.). JNE.

Northern Monkey Brass Band - Jubilee Park, Spennymoor DL16. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Big BRASS Bash (Durham Brass Festival).

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm.

Tees Hot Club w. Donna Hewitt (alto); Josh Bentham (tenor); Dave Archbaid (keys) - Dormans Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 9pm. Free.

Jazz Jam - Fire Station, High Street West, Sunderland SR1 3DT. Tel: 0191 594 7241. 8pm. Free.

Billy's Buskers: Plug in and Play - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 7:00pm. Free.

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

Monday, May 04, 2015

Book Review: Music is Forever - Dizzy Gillespie, the Jazz Legend and Me by Dave Usher w. Bert Falbaum

Jazz tomes these days are becoming increasingly more accessible, by which I mean that they tell a story the non-dedicated jazz person can relate to.
Edward Allan Faine's The Best Gig in Town gave us an insight into the various artists who appeared at the White House during the Nixon administration and Music is Forever also pays a few visits to the White House.
Music is Forever  is a fascinating recollection by Dave Usher of his association and deep friendship with Dizzy Gillespie - a friendship that began when Usher was 14 year-old and gave Dizzy and his wife a lift from a concert hall to their hotel. During the war years age restrictions on driving were lifted thus enabling young Usher to meet his idol and be of service.
This isn't a book riddled with "..and then Dizzy recorded 8 sides for RCA" or a technical analysis of solos accompanied by pages of musical notation. No, this is a personal recollection by a guy who was maybe Dizzy's closest friend. We get inside info on many of the trumpet star's state sponsored trips abroad. Like the South American jaunt where fellow trumpet player Joe Gordon complained he wasn't getting any solos. Dizzy said, "You can play Night in Tunisia on the next gig" The next gig happened to be in Quito, Ecuador, the highest capital city in the world where the air was extremely rarified - it almost killed the poor guy!
But the warmth that comes through in this book is incredible - these were two guys who had a bond forged through jazz. Dizzy, a black musician, Dave, a white, Jewish non musician, found. as I'd like to think all BSH readers do, that jazz transcends race, religion, politics - it certainly did with Diz (although he did run for President in 1964 against Johnson and Goldwater - imagine if he'd made it!) His manifesto included Charles Mingus as Minister of Peace he'll take a piece of your head faster than anyone I know! and Jon Hendricks as Poet Laureate.
Diz didn't make the final cut but he did play the White House in 1972 under Carter and 1978 when George H.W. Bush was top man.
Apart from Diz, Usher also has his own story to tell.
The family business was re-cycling oil and, before he became president of the company, he'd developed pioneering techniques and methods for cleaning up oil spills etc. He also, after meeting Dizzy, formed the Dee Gee label. Remember The Champ? that was on Dee Gee - I wonder why it has slipped out of the current bop bands' repertoires? 
Dave Usher was also involved with Chess Records via their Argo label recording artists such as Sonny Stitt and Ahmad Jamal.
Co-writer Berl Falbaum, who got in on the ground floor of the Usher/Gillespie association, realised there was a story to be told. It took him 20 years to get the project off the ground but I'm pretty damn sure it was worth waiting for. Can you wait for Christmas?
Lance.

1 comment :

Hilary S said...

Mike and I were newly wed and living in Glasgow. In 1972-3 our dear late beautiful friend Ruby Carter who was the vocalist in the Locarno band which Mike worked in, had been invited to a party that a local business man was giving in a large marquee. Lots of live music (even a pipe band) I can't now recall some of the other bands names.
In one corner Ruby saw Dizzy and trio setting up with the one and only Carmen McRae. We stood in awe listening to their set. Mike, being a trumpet player, was a huge fan of Dizzy. We were invited back to their hotel for drinks.
Being newly married to a musician I wasn't aware that one had to remain cool at all times in the presence of the great and good. Mike and I had just acquired a kitten and named him Dizzy. I started to tell the great man this, when I was aware of a certain pressure on my arm from Mike (trying to shut me up) However as Dizzy had this wonderful beaming smile on his face, I continued. Everyone relaxed and started to laugh as Dizzy said, “Gee you guy's called a little kitty cat after me?" Carmen then said laughingly, “I always knew you were an old dog John, I never knew you were a kitty cat".
Many years later when Zoe and I met the lovely Jeanie Bryson, Dizzy’s daughter, in New York, I told her the story...she also laughed.

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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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