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Bebop Spoken There

Hugh Masekela: “I advise every kid to check out their past because without a past you are in limbo.” (Songlines December 2017)

Leo Richardson: “I think your image is really important. You look at those old Blue Note recordings and you look at the liner note, the booklet and they’re in the studio and they’re wearing shirt and ties. They used to wear suits all the time.” – (Jazzwise December 2017/January 2018)

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 them all 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

Today December 14

Afternoon

Interim Recitals (Final Year Music Students) - Recital Room, Armstrong Building, Newcastle University NE1 7RU. Inc. Ben Richardson (jazz piano) 10:00am.

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

Evening

Christmas Swing w Danny Reed - Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields NE33 1ES. 7:00pm. £18.95.

Indigo Jazz Voices - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £5.00.

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

Maine Street Jazzmen - Potter’s Wheel, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5EE. Tel: 0191 488 8068. 8:30pm. Free.

Tees Hot Club w. guests - Dorman’s Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 8:30pm. Free.

Durham University Big Band - Riverside Bar, Dunelm House, New Elvet, Durham DH1 3AN. 8:30pm (doors 8:00pm). Free admission. The band’s ‘Jazzy Christmas 5’.

WCEA Big Band - Whitburn Church of England Academy, Whitburn SR6 7EF. Tel: 0191 529 3712. 7:00-9:30pm. £4.00. (£10.00. family of three). Tickets must be purchased in advance by December 8th. ‘Christmas Swing-a-long’ to include school choir. Whitburn Academy competes regularly at the annual Great North Big Band Jazz Festival.

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

Monday, October 12, 2015

CD Review: Colin Towns’ Mask Orchestra – Drama

(Review by Russell)
The Mask Orchestra’s new album, the seventh release in its quarter century existence, is a sprawling work across two discs drawing inspiration from the world of theatre. The CD is Colin Towns’ response, and contribution to, major British theatre productions. Drama – a succinct title – is realised by a wonderful array of British jazz talent. Veteran, established and emerging names are to be found in all sections of the band which must make life a lot easier for the bandleader as he writes material knowing that he can call upon some of the finest musicians available to him.      
Colin Towns stated it was important that the musicians knew the synopsis of each play so they would have an understanding of the composer’s inspirations and intentions. Meeting theatre director Terry Hands opened doors for Towns; visiting theatres, discovering many texts and ultimately collaborating with directors.
Drama opens with classic works; Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The compositions feature a raft of soloists, the latter hears Julian Siegel’s baritone motif with a firing trumpet section behind him. Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead has a demonic sense of fun about it (Andrew McCormack, piano), Equus a Modernist filmic/theatrical quality. Arrangements throughout are never too far from suggesting a sense of urgency. Hysteria (Terry Johnson, playwright) closes the first CD with a three way tenor exchange between Tim Garland, Nigel Hitchcock and Julian Siegel.
Two of Peter Shaffer’s plays make it onto the recording, Equus, on disc one, and on disc two The Royal Hunt of the Sun. The music for the latter takes as its starting point the Art Sphere Theatre, Tokyo production (Terry Hands, director, 1994). Percussionists Stephan Maass and Joji Hirota duel (opening and closing the composition), Gateshead born Chris Montague, a singular emerging guitar talent, suggests an Americana feel, and Peter King has a blast on soprano giving way to the orchestra’s tumbling momentous finale.
Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest would suggest all things American and it doesn’t disappoint. Barnaby Dickinson (or is it Jack Nicholson?) plays crazy trombone as Peter King switches to alto, Montague finds a disturbing chord or three and the ensemble
retains a collective sanity amidst institutional bells, alarms and on-street sirens. Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen (Emma Lucia, director, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, 2013) doesn’t allow a slackening of the pace with more superb, frantic ensemble work featuring the trumpets of Rory Simmons, George Hogg and Graham Russell. Jane Eyre offers some respite; Simon Allen’s soprano solo a calming influence.
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (Terry Hands, director, 2003) comes in at nineteen minutes and forty nine seconds. The composition features so many soloists it is easier to indicate that almost all step up; a proud brass band emerges expertly combining the sounds of the British colliery band and a French Quarter marching band. Veteran Alan Skidmore, tenor, leads the way for the reeds, a contemporary big band at its best.
Colin Towns’ Mask Orchestra has three concert dates this week: Thursday 15 Manchester at the Royal Northern College of Music, Friday 16 Southampton, Turner Sims Hall and at LSO St Luke’s, London, Saturday 17. Colin Towns’ Mask Orchestra Drama is out now on Provocateur Records PVC1044.       
Russell.          
George Hogg, Graham Russell, Henry Lowther, Rory Simmons (Trumpet/flugelhorn)Barnaby Dickinson, Tom White, Harry Brown, Roger Williams (trombone); Peter King, Simon Allen (alto/soprano); Tim Garland, Alan Skidmore, Nigel Hitchcock (tenor/soprano); Julian Siegel (baritone/tenor/soprano/bass clarinet/clarinet/flute); Stephan Maass (percussion/electronic percussion); Andrew McCormack (piano); Arnd Geise (bass); Chris Montague (guitar); Ralph Salmins (drums);  Colin Towns (keys); Joji Hirota (percussion).    

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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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