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Bebop Spoken There

Howard Riley: “When I started out playing jazz back in the late 50s, early 60s, if you wanted a gig you had to learn some standards.” – (Jazz Journal April 2017)

Eric Harland: “I love swing and I’m always going to swing but I also know that you can take a hip-hop groove and improvise with that just like you would with a swing pattern.” – (Jazz Journal April 2017)

Friday April 28

Afternoon
Rendezvous Jazz - The Black Horse, Front St., Monkseaton, Whitley Bay NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.
Dean Stockdale Trio - Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1pm. £5.
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Evening
Emma Fisk's Hot Club du Nord - St. Cuthbert's Centre, Church Hill, Crook DL15 9DN. 7:30pm.
Matt Roberts Sextet - Voodoo Café, Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 8pm. £6. 01325 467555. Darlington Jazz Festival.
Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7:00pm.
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Lazy River Jazz Band - Blenkinsopp Castle Inn, Nr. Greenhead CA8 7JS. 8pm. £5. Dancers welcome! 07721 375278 for more details.
To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

CD Review: Jeff Benedict Big Band - Holmes.

Jeff Benedict (sop/alt) Adrian Williams (alt); Jeff Ellwood, Ken Foerch (ten); Charlie Richard (bar); Steve Hawk. Jeff Jarvis, Tom Tallman, Frank Rico (tpt); Paul McKee, Jacques Voyemant ; Otto Granillo, Gerry Amoury (tmb); Dave Askren (gtr); Matt Harris (pno); Tim Emmons (bs); Paul Romaine (dms).
(Review by Lance).
I've procrastinated doing this review for too long! It hit the streets in July but - big confession coming up - it's easier to post a trio review with only 3 names to type in as opposed to the 17 here!
However, I've bitten the bullet and typed - and listened! Boy have I listened! This is one cracking CD totally representative of the current big band scene both in the UK and the USA.
I get the message from this (and locally) that big band jazz is alive and well. A mix of originals by Benedict and trombonist McKee interspersed with compositions by Sting, Duke, Metheny, Zawinal, Coltrane and Michael Brecker.
The roots aren't in Kenton or Herman (maybe a little of the latter in Benedict's alto feature on Easy Living) rather, it's Jones-Lewis/Clarke-Boland that springs to mind with, as is unavoidable in just about any quality big band, a hint of contemporary Basie.
The joy of big band jazz for me is not just the exciting soloists (of which there are plenty here) but that of hearing 5 saxes phrasing as one. They may be blowing Selmer. Yamaha, Conn, Buescher or whatever horns. The mouthpieces may be one of the many gobstoppers crafted  by Link, Guardala, Dukoff, Lawton or what came with the instrument and, using a variety of reeds from the usual suspects, still manage to get that blend of 5 people speaking with unforked tongues. Brassmen too somehow seem to be able to blend as one - at least they do here !
That the bands of Ellington, Gillespie and early Basie rarely achieved this perfection was both their strengths and their weaknesses. The power of their soloists and arrangers more than made up for any loose ensemble work.
Here we get the best of both worlds! I'm not going to suggest that these guys are better than their illustrious predecessors - far from it but, and it's a big but (no lewd comments please!) they have absorbed, learned and developed their own style whilst, incorporating contemporary influences along the way - even Gonsalves never played a tenor solo like Ellwood does on Caravan!
Benedict takes the alto solos, Ellwood and Foerch the tenor spots, McKee puts in some expressive slidework on most whilst Voyemant solos on Brecker's Delta City Blues, Jarvis on Coltrane's Naima and Tallman on Benedict's Holmes are the featured trumpet soloists and Harris, Ascram and Romaine are also in there pitching,
There won't be many better big band records this year - next year either!
Lance
Available Tapestry Records.

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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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