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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Gelly: “From 1 January 1920, when prohibition was imposed in the US, people didn’t stop drinking, they just stopped drinking legally.” – (Jazz Journal October 2017).

Regina Carter: “When I was a teenager, I would daydream about going out on a date and dancing to Ella’s music.” (Down Beat October 2017).

Today Monday November 20

Afternoon

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 NE30 4QS. 1:00pm. Free.

Classic Swing - Marquis of Granby, Streetgate, Sunniside NE16 5ES. Tel: 0191 488 0954. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

?????

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

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

R.I.P Bill Smith

I've just heard the sad news that clarinetist and saxophonist Bill Smith died on Friday (May 1). Bill played with many local bands including the River City Jazzmen, Roly Veitch and co at the Black Bull, Blaydon, George Evans and many others.
A quiet unassuming man, he will be remembered not just as a fine musician but as a lovely person.
Funeral details will be posted when known
Thanks to Roly for passing on the sad news.
Bill Smith was 88.
Sadly missed.
Lance.

15 comments :

Steve Andrews said...

Very sad news. Bill was a lovely man and a great saxophonist, in spite of which he was very unassuming and would always help you out if he could. Apart from his long service with Roly's band at Blaydon and with the River City, he also played for several years with the New Century Ragtime Orchestra. I first knew him as a "modernist", playing in a two-tenor quintet at the Barnes Hotel in Sunderland in the very early (?) 1970's with Sid Warren (another great sax player), Ray Chester on piano, and I think Dave Fox on drums - can't recall the bass player, but it was a good band. He'll be greatly missed.

Gordon Solomon said...

Sad news indeed. Bill was a kind and gentle person who was well thought of by everyone. He was also a superb musician, playing clarinet and various saxes, and had a lovely tone and a very inventive style of playing. I remember reedman John Barnes playing a feature duet with Bill and afterwards taking me to one side to tell me that the River City were very lucky to have such an excellent reed player as a member. Too true! Bill started playing in 1945 in Kettering and at one time took lessons from clarinet star Sid Phillips. He moved up to Sunderland in the 1950's and played with Roy Fox and the Don Smith band. During the 1970's he began to play with the smaller jazz groups in Newcastle, first with the Saratoga Jazzmen, then the River City in 1986 until it disbanded in 2009. I will miss him.

Bill Harper and Anne DeVere said...

So sad to hear the news of the death of Bill Smith, a lovely man & a superb musician.Anne & I both worked with Bill on many occasions & always had the greatest respect for his sensitive interpretations & consumate "swing". So much so that when Anne & I decided to cut our first CD, "Feelin' Good!", Bill was the obvious choice to include as a special guest along with Bill Waite & Peter Stuart. He was absolutely delighted to be asked to take part & would not accept a fee for the session, the only proviso being that "could he have a copy of the finished product."? He arrived for the recording armed with his full complement of instruments, alto, tenor & clarinet without any warning of what would be expected of him. As you know ,Anne is not one for performing old "potboilers or trite & mundane material &. this day was to be no exception. With little or no instruction from either Anne or myself, Bill cut the charts & changes flawlessly, all at first sight, soloing on most of the 17 tracks which were nearly all first takes. The whole thing was wrapped up in 4 hours which was amazing !! It is a perfect example of the wonderful diversity of Bill's playing.His clarinet solo on The Feelin' Too Good Today Blues, is a joy to behold.Anne gave him the nickname of Wild Thing, because he was such a gentle man. A great loss on the jazz scene.

Roly said...

I first heard Bill playing with Peter Gascoigne's Saratoga at the Corner House on Sunday evenings. Those sessions were great. I was very taken by Bill's lovely way of playing and gorgeous tone. It was a privilege to later work with him at Blaydon and occasional other gigs. He was a special player and person.

carstairs said...

Bill played clarinet and tenor with a wonderful tone a restrained yet swinging style in my Sweet & Hot Orchestra alongside Matty Hutchinson or Arthur Mowat, Trevor Johnson, Stan Coates ( all sadly no longer playing) and Jim McBriarty. What a consummate musician and such a gentle man.
After one gig at the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival, guest Matthias Seuffert praised Bill as a " total band member, first class soloist and ensemble support".
In recent years he was dogged by arthritis - which led to him changing to a covered hole clarinet - and breathing problems which caused him to retire from gigging , but everyone who was privileged to play alongside him will treasure his memory.

Ian Chester said...

I must echo what has already said above about Bill being such a lovely man and superb musician. My dad, Ray Chester, thought the world of Bill, who was his first choice tenor player in his various bands for many years. I particularly remember dad writing a wonderful arrangement of the Days of Wine and Roses, with Bill specifically in mind, who, without fail, always played the solo beautifully and flawlessly. Some of you may not be aware that Bill was a joiner by trade, and dad commissioned him to make his band's music stands at least 30 years ago. Such was the quality of manufacture, they outlasted both dad and his band! I'll really miss the lovely man that is Bill

Ernie Jackson (on F/b) said...

Played with Bill in many different bands .A great player a great musician and a gentleman .Rest in peace Bill

CCJAZZMEN said...

So sorry to hear about the death of Bill Smith, first saw Bill playing with Dad at the High Pont Hotel in Whitley Bay, now long gone, in the 1980's, then many times on my visits over the last few years with the River City Jazzmen, Bill had a wonderful warm tone on tenor sax and a beautiful sound on clarinet, he will be very much missed. R.I.P.

Colin Aitchison
Hong Kong.

Jazztpt said...

I sat next to Bill many times playing dances with the Ray Chester Octet. Durring the intervals most of the band headed to the bar while Bill and Matty Hutcherson played clarinet duets in the band room. Bill was a lovely, decent and gentle man and a wonderful musician, very sad to hear of his passing.

Russell Gunning

Andrea Turcotte said...

Thank you so much, everyone, for your kind tributes to my dad. He loved his music and my sister, Tracy and I are so proud of him and his legacy. My dad's funeral will be held on Tuesday, 19th May at 3.30 p.m. at the Sunderland Crematorium. Kindest regards, Andrea Turcotte

Anonymous said...

What a sweet unassuming guy and WOW what a tenor player, he was an inspration when I was in the South Tyneside Saturday big band, goodbye Bill, you were a wonderful guy, I will miss you and that tartan hat.

Barbara Benner said...

Hi Russell, Can you tell me if Matty Hutcherson also used to teach clarinet? I am looking for my old clarinet teacher who I am sure has passed away. He used to teach me at Mortimer Road School and was in big bands when he wasn't teaching. He was an amazing man and musician. If you have any news on him, could you let me know on benner_barbara@yahoo.co.uk

The Free-Thinking Lady G said...

I was in South Tyneside band for years-brilliant and so inspiring! I was taught flute by Arthur Mowatt and sax by Mr Hutchinson..Stan coates conducted..I take it Arthur has now passed away? Great teachers, all of them..

Lance said...

Sadly all gone now...

Lance said...

Apologies but Matty is still with us but no longer playing.

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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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