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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

Archives

Today Saturday September 23

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Day two of three.
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Evening
Bradley Johnston (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 7:30pm. No cover charge.
Rockafellas - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
Tobie Carpenter Organ Trio - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. £10.
Thin Man + Jon Gordon - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. Free.
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Nikki Iles & Stan Sulzmann - Great Hall, Hexham Abbey, Hexham NE46 3NB. 10pm. £10/£8.
Pat McMahon Trio - Tannery, Gilesgate, Hexham NE46 3QD. 01434 605537. 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, October 31, 2015

James Birkett & Bradley Johnston @ The Jazz Café – October 31

James Birkett (guitar) & Bradley Johnston (guitar)
(Review by Russell/Photo courtesy of Mike Tilley)
From the brilliance of the Buck Clayton Legacy Band at Sage Gateshead to the brilliant guitar duo of Birkett and Johnston at the Jazz Café to catch the last half an hour or so of their set. Party goers were getting in to the swing of things, ten thirty a little early for the stop-outs. Herbie was in his horse box, patched up, he’ll survive. At skateboard central – the Head of Steam –an indie thing was going on, wannabe dudes on the street practicing dude-ism at the door. Pink Lane and wouldn’t you just know it, Oh when the Saints…go marchin’ in. The party goers needed little persuasion, singing (and swaying) along to the resident Pink Lane Balkan street band.
From the surreal to the sublime…James Birkett and Bradley Johnston were playing jazz guitar; All the Things You Are. A one time master-pupil arrangement, theirs is now a duo, pure and simple: Birkett and Johnston, jazz guitar duo. Student Bradley Johnston – he is still a student, soon to graduate – has grown from an Adrian Mole 13 and ¾ years old (or thereabouts) in to the real deal, able to stand alongside, or as he does, sit alongside James Birkett as an equal. Dr Birkett is a master musician, he cannot be other than proud of BJ’s development.
Imagine Johnston as Lonnie Johnson and Birkett as Eddie Lang, playing Blue Room in a 20s roadhouse. A bit of a stretch, granted, but for a wee while the Jazz Café transported its Saturday night crowd to somewhere along the turnpike in Hicksville. James’ Waltz, a Johnston composition written for a certain JB, then a certain Nuages, then the duo’s now familiar showstopper, Chick Corea’s Spain. Birkett remarked that this was just about the first tune he and Bradley played together. BJ nodded. If they could play Spain they could play anything. And of course, they did. Tyneside (and beyond) is lucky to have so many ‘hang-your-hat-on’ musicians on the doorstep. Birkett and Johnston are two of them. 
Russell.
Footnote: Herbie (local knowledge required) is doing just fine.

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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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