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Bebop Spoken There

Alan Luff: “The general view is that Ella’s songbook recordings are the supreme exemplars of sophistication, fine diction and creative voice in the wide field of popular music.” – (Jazz Journal May 2017).

Steve Voce: “Most of us have been crashed into by cretins who walk along the road absorbed in the screens of their mobile phones.” – (Jazz Journal May 2017).

Number 22!

Bebop Spoken Here is currently listed at number 22 in the WORLD JAZZ BLOG Rankings!

Today Friday May 26

Afternoon
Harambee Pasadia - See RH Column.
Rendezvous Jazz - The Black Horse, Front St., Monkseaton, Whitley Bay NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.
Paul Wilkinson - St. Nicholas Cathedral, St. Nicholas Square, Newcastle NE1 1PF. 1:05pm. Retiring collection.
Mark Williams/Joel Byrne McCullough - Gala Theatre, Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA. 1pm. £5.
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Evening
Ruth Lambert Quartet - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9pm, £7 (£6 in advance.)
Hand to Mouth (Lindsay Hannon/Bradley Johnston) - High Friars Lane (Tyneside Cinema), Free, al fresco, 8pm. food and drink available.
?????????? - Billy Bootleggers - 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8pm. Free.
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Imelda May - Sage Gateshead. 7pm. £38.20/£27.30 VIP Option £104.
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Strictly Smokin' Big Band - Ushaw College, nr. Durham. 7:30pm. £7.
Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7pm.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Swing Manouche/ The Early Bird Band @ Ushaw College, Durham - Sept. 25

Mick Shoulder, guitar, Giles Strong, guitar, Neil Harland, bass and Paul Edis, clarinet.
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Matthew McKellar, drums, Dan Lawrence, bass, Francis Tulip, guitar, Ben Lawrence, trumpet (led by Paul Edis, clarinet / piano).
(Review/photos by Jerry)
Busy Friday - a new year, my 67th, a new venue for me and a new band, Swing Manouche, on their Durham début concert.
Ushaw, an imposing former Catholic seminary ten minutes’ drive from Durham city centre, has successfully reinvented itself as (among other things) a venue for live music and entertainment.  The concert hall,  a huge, rectangular room with a bar (bottled ales) at one end and, at the other end in front of a massive panelled fireplace, the performers. A mix of tables and chairs, settees and coffee-tables give a jazz-lounge atmosphere and friendly (volunteer?) staff made the audience feel welcome.
And so to Mick Shoulder’s Swing Manouche – more distinct from Djangologie  than the name might suggest, not least because only Giles Strong remains in his familiar berth whilst the introduction of clarinet in place of violin makes for a different overall sound. The set list, while still consisting mainly of Reinhardt compositionss (both Django and Lulu) and Mick Shoulder originals inspired by the same, was unexpected, to me, in its inclusion of “standards” such as All of Me, It Had to Be You and Roses of Picardy. Mick explained that these, and many other such “standards” often featured in the repertoire of gypsy bands, adapted to their own style – as Swing Manouche successfully did here. On these three numbers the clarinet featured prominently thus highlighting this new combo’s distinct approach. Midway into the second set came another surprise to me – a tune by Sacha Distel! Inspired by Django he became, apparently, an excellent gypsy jazz guitarist and composed Ma Première Guitare in honour of the first one he ever bought. All this was long before the crooning, velvet jacket era which put him, in my eyes (and Mick’s too, it would seem), right up there with Charles “Aznovoice” in the Pantheon of French vocalists!
In their first set we had been in more familiar territory: Coquette was a lively opener while Douce Ambience had a snappy finish and the slower, more romantic Shoulder original, Cigano Bolero had a lovely quiet ending…..after which Mick complained, tongue in cheek, that everyone’s solos were being applauded bar his and that our silence “wounded” him! Cue Django’s J’Attendrai and he got what HE was waiting for – loud applause! Playing bass, he said, was so much easier! Neil Harland, who makes everything look easy, just smilingly concurred. Anyway, maybe Mick had been in need of more obvious encouragement after all? He got plenty for the rest of the evening and was positively flying in the second half!
Nuit Solitaire, one of several tunes where the guitarists swapped roles, saw Giles solo-ing on an original described by Mick as “a sad one”: can bowed bass, with which this ended, ever be other than sad? Next up was a new Shoulder original, composed extempore (almost) and in mortal terror of Giles Strong’s large Alsatian, Gonzo, with which Mick found himself alone. Music, especially waltz tempo, seemed to soothe the “beast”, so Mick played on. Thus Valse á Gonzo was born. Lulu’s Swing took us into the interval….And Minor Swing took us out of it emphasising that, for all the differences with Djangologie, both bands are all about swing. Which theme continued with another new-to-me original, 51 Swing, some parts of which put me in mind of My Heart Belongs to Daddy. 26 Rue Norvins, in Montmartre, where there was a regular artistic “salon” from the 1930’s onwards, gave its name, R Vingt-Six, to another Django number – a fast one with lots more clarinet. Lulu Reinhardt’s Noto Swing was supposed to be the final number but the audience demanded an encore and got the traditional gypsy jazz closer, Dark Eyes, to send them home happy. Great stuff!
If you missed it, catch them next Friday at the Jazz Café.

Earlier, the Early Bird Band kicked off proceedings with last Friday’s line-up augmented by Ben Lawrence on trumpet. Art Blakey’s bluesy, Moanin, was their opener, featuring the first of several well-received solos by him. Their 4 numbers were by fine composers such as Blakey, Jerome Kern, Sonny Rollins and Francis Tulip! OK, admittedly this last still has a reputation to make but on the basis of his solos tonight and the quality of his Blues for Big Steve (for his Dad’s birthday!) he may do just that!  On this original, Matthew McKellar (using sticks tonight, except on Jerome Kern’s Yesterdays) got to solo as did Dan Lawrence, largely invisible behind his brother and some large speakers! Invisible but always much in evidence, especially on Rollins’ St. Thomas (appropriate in a former seminary), where, after a drum intro he and McKellar drove things along in fine style. Another great learning experience for these talented lads – and great fun for the audience again, too.
Jerry.

1 comment :

  1. A really great night. I can also recommend Ushaw as a venue - roomier than most jazz places plus free parking as well as an interesting building. There are pot holes on the drive though so take care.

    ReplyDelete

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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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