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Bebop Spoken There

Ben Pollack: "The kind of people who go for the old style New Orleans jazz are the same kind of people who go in for collecting antiques." - (Down Beat May 5, 1950).

Flip Phillips: "I heard this band out in California. I think - Lu Waters, isn't it? They sure can march down the street but I wouldn't want to march with them!" - (Down Beat June 15, 1951).

Today Sunday June 25

Afternoon.
Joel Byrne McCullough (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 12:30pm. Free.
Mitch Laddie Band - Tyne Bar, Maling St., Newcastle. 3pm. Free.
Blues @ The Bay - Tanner Smith's 17-19 South Parade, Whitley Bay NE26 2RE, 0191 2525941. 4pm. Free. Blues jam w. Scott Wall & Charlie Philp.
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Musicians Unlimited - Park Hotel, Park Rd., Hartlepool TS26 9HU. 01249 233126.1pm. Free.
Somethin' Blue - Vesuvio, 3a Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RL. 01325 788564. 5pm. Weekly.
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Tyne Valley Big Band - Herding Hill Farm, Shield Hill, Haltwhistle NE49 9NW. 2pm. Support from Tyne Valley Youth Jazz Ensemble. 01434 320175.
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Evening
Jake Steels Quintet - Quakerhouse, Mechanics' Yard, Darlington DL3 7QF. 6pm.
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Hokum Hotshots-- Billy Bootleggers - 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Customs House Big Band with Ruth Lambert Supported by The Early Bird Band. @ St. Cuthbert’s Parish Centre, Crook. Friday June 12.

(Review by Jerry).








I put a dent in my car tonight and swore profusely (the other car had ne’er a scratch!) which is why we arrived late and missed most of the numbers performed by The Early Bird Band! We did get to Meet the Flintstones though – enough to illustrate the talent and burgeoning confidence of the three young musicians playing (aided and abetted by Paul Edis and Barry Black): Ben Lawrence (trumpet), Dan Lawrence (bass) and Francis Tulip (guitar). Expect to hear more of these guys in the future!
Crook is a soothing place at which to arrive vexed: nibbles and flowers on the tables, bottled ales waiting at the bar, pizza at the interval and now candelabra in the windows! “It’s the little things that count”, said the ladies who shared our table. “We’ve come all the way from Richmond, across the border.”
Ruth’s vocals were mostly cheery and soothing too, on standards such as ‘S Wonderful, Teach Me Tonight, I Got the World on a String and on a brilliant version of one of my all-time favourites, Summertime. She asked if we knew any jokes when a misplaced sheet of music delayed proceedings before the band launched into (ironically) At Last! “Invigorating” might be a better word for some of the other tunes – an up-tempo It’s Almost Like Being in Love and a stompingly good Mambo Italiano (“That’s nice!”). Neither “nice” nor “soothing” apply to the evening’s encore, Mack the Knife – memorably grisly as ever! I’d not realised how long a history attaches to this anti-hero and his song. I learn something new (to me) at every jazz gig!
Though soothing in parts, the band (minus the “singist” as Ruth was dubbed at one point!) helped my therapy more by grabbing my eardrums and shaking me out of irrational car-owner mode (what are bumpers for anyway?). A sextet is loud, a big band at full throttle is a BLAST (especially for us on the front row)! This fact had registered after the first numbers, a medley from West Side Story and The Count is In and was reinforced through the first set on Basie’s Straight Ahead, Curious George, and Count Bubba’s Revenge. Full throttle was usually flagged up by bandleader, Peter Morgan, giving a dip of the right shoulder, rotating his torso clockwise then delivering a vicious uppercut to the air in front of him!
The “doo-wap” of Tuxedo Junction – the bandleader’s favourite as it featured “the best section in the band” – illustrated another point for me: with so many instruments and so much volume on tap, a big band can be infinitely flexible by varying tempo, volume and the emphasis on different sections (and then there are the solos as well). The Customs House Big Band did this brilliantly: with power comes the capacity for great subtlety.
In the second set two Edis originals were featured back-to-back: Hefty Boots and Loop the Loop – both regulars now in the CHBB repertoire. Both were excellent but the latter was of particular interest to me as I had seen it being rehearsed at the Crown last year, but had never heard the whole piece. It is quirky, funky, infectiously rhythmical and full of beefy baritone sax and bass notes. Great!
Catch as Catch Can had opened the second set and was followed, later, by You Make Me Feel so Young (well, they cheered me up, anyway), All My Life and Blues in the Closet  before the evening  ended with the aforementioned Mack…..
An excellent evening: this savage breast was suitably soothed.
Jerry.


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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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