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Bebop Spoken There

Grant Green Jr.: "One thing that most people--especially jazz cats--don't realise is that all of your jazz standards were once pop standards" - DownBeat July 2018).

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Bobby Sanabria: "Tito Puente was not a very tall man, but when he played the timbales he was a giant among men." - DownBeat July 2018).

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Today Saturday June 23

Afternoon

?????

Evening

Get in the Band - 1) Great North Museum (Hancock Museum), 2) Central Station & 3) Sage Gateshead. Times TBC. Free but ticketed. For details visit: www.sagegateshead.com

Eric Burdon & the Animals + Hilton Valentine’s Skiffledogs - Newcastle City Hall, Northumberland Road, Newcastle NE1 8SF. Tel: 08448 112121. 7:30pm. £86.00., £66.00., £46.00.

Teresa Watson Band - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

Dean Stockdale - Zeffirellis, Compston Rd., Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9AD. 01539 433845. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Bradley Johnston @ Sage Gateshead – Dec 8

(Review by Russell)
Future Grooves (BMus Assessments) at Sage Gateshead – futures determined. Rewind a few years to Blaydon Jazz Club: lecturer James Birkett arrives with a shy teenage guitar player. During the interval they play a couple of tunes together as a guitar duo. The rest, as they say, is history. Bradley Johnston went on to play many gigs and record an album with mentor Dr Birkett, more than hold his own at high calibre jam sessions and find the time to form his own quartet amidst his music degree studies. Last night Johnston kept a most important appointment…
Future Grooves (2015’s degree course student performances at Sage Gateshead) included several final year examinees. Bradley Johnston was one of them. Sage Two, the intimate, multi-tiered cockpit-like performance space, welcomed Johnston to the stage with a huge round of applause. Solo, duo, trio, quartet and horn-augmented octet, BJ had clearly been thinking about his set and how best to present it.
A solo piece to begin the set leading off with Alfie, Johnston in a multi-layered spotlight, alone, the man and his acoustic guitar. BJ invited the engaging Belinda Voshtina to sing a number with him. Switching from acoustic to lightly amplified electric, Johnston recalled the great Joe Pass in his accompaniment of Voshtina on Take Love Easy (a magical never to be forgotten moment). Bassist Paul Grainger and drummer Tim Johnston made it a trio on All the Things You Are and pianist Peter Gilligan completed the quartet (seated at Sage Two’s Steinway) on Michel Petrucciani’s Looking Up (BJ in his element, ideas flowing). To conclude the examination the Lickety Split horn section strolled onto stage – Messrs. Bellis, Eland, Gowland and Marshall. Johnston thanked all of the musicians for giving of their services and said he had to go out with a Pat Metheny number. The American guitar hero has been a major influence and BJ tore it up on See the World. ‘See the World’? It’s as sure as night follows day that Bradley Johnston and his guitar will see the world many times over.               
Bradley Johnston (guitar) with Peter Gilligan (piano), Paul Grainger (double bass), Tim Johnston (drums), Belinda Voshtina (vocals) & the Lickety Split Horns: Eddie Bellis (trombone), Kevin Eland (trumpet), Paul Gowland (tenor saxophone) & Alan Marshall (alto saxophone)
Earlier, several other students gave of their best in front of the assessors and a supportive audience. The performances were for the most part non-jazz sets incorporating familiar rock and pop tunes. Phil Richardson sang and played no fewer than three guitars with his band of student friends. Here Comes the Sun, Lovely Day – hit tunes long before the young man was born! Jack Simpson and the Gastric Band presented a powerful set of guitar and vocals, again focusing on well-known numbers from a previous era: Fleetwood Mac, The Police, Cream. Simpson chose to play a solo acoustic guitar and vocals piece written by Lindsay Buckingham and delivered a positive Message in a Bottle to the three examiners. Cream’s White Room and Badge confirmed Simpson’s blues-rockin’ abilities. Was he aware of the legend that White Room had been written late at night in the waiting room at Newcastle Central Station as Eric, Jack and Ginger were booked onto a midnight train heading south (possibly after a gig at the Club A-Gogo)? Simpson’s bass and drums – Steven Hall and Michael Mather – gave sterling support.
Steph Old offered something different. A vocalist, with Gary Spalding accompanying on guitar, later to be joined by a second voice and a percussionist, Old opted for a more up to date programme. Unashamedly ‘pop’, Old’s voice (sore throat not withstanding), soulful, assured, breezed through Boyzone to Jesse J. Student Johnny Roxburgh acted as MC for the evening. An easy, saloon bar charm – Bobby Darin meets Bobby Darin! – belied his age (twenteen) and the fact that later he too was to give his finals’ performance! The t-shirted Roxborough took the opportunity during an interval break to don a three piece – his band members played the game, all suited for the occasion – and emerged as Johnny Roxburgh and the Pirates. Feelin’ Good (the Newley-Bricusse number given the to-be-expected big band horn arrangement), Straighten Up and Fly Right, a finger snapping Moon Dance, a strong vocal treatment of Sophisticated Lady with the accompaniment of Phil Richardson (acoustic guitar) Roxburgh produced a most entertaining performance. The man can sing! There is more than one big band in the region which could do worse than snap up his services. For the record: first year bassist Steven Hall worked in several of the bands – one to watch. And two of the ‘pirates’ are well known on the jazz scene – tenor man Johnny ‘Blue Hat’ Davis and ‘bone man David Gray.
Future Grooves continues Wednesday and Thursday at Sage Gateshead. Admission free but ticketed, check the venue’s website: www.sagegateshead.com
Russell.

2 comments :

Ronald Ainsborough said...

Great review Russell. BJ set sounds as if it is an I was there moment

Bradley Johnston said...

Thanks for your kind words Russell, it was our pleasure. See you soon!
Believe!

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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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