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Bebop Spoken There

Jackie McLean: “I can't understand British audiences. In Britain there doesn't seem to be any curiosity." (Melody Maker, April 1, 1961).

Charles Mingus: "It seems to me that if our records were not issued in Britain, the British cats would have to think for themselves" (Jazz News, July 26th 1961)

Archives.

Today Wednesday July 26

Afternoon
Vieux Carre Jazzmen - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. £1. 8pm.
Jo Harrop & Joel Byrne McCullough - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 7:30pm. No cover charge. 7:30pm. 0191 2399924
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Roly Veitch was right!

(By Dave Brownlow)
Responding to your recent re-blog of Roly Veitch’s conclusion that “the bass player is the most important member of the band” as a one-time bassist myself I can wholeheartedly agree! Roly’s comment set me thinking about some of the “greats” in jazz history and their bassists.
Tommy Potter was Charlie Parker’s first-choice bass player from 1947 – 51 for good reason. He had a light, bouncy, rhythmic tone - perfect for the Bebop Quintet Bird was developing then. Tommy’s sure-footed choice of notes helps listeners to know exactly ‘where you are’ in the chord sequence which must have given Charlie great confidence to launch into his Bird-Flights-Of-Fancy.
Ray Brown was a stalwart of Oscar Peterson’s Duos and Trios from 1949 – 1966 which provided a musical association of great benefit to both men. Ray had a formidable attack, a huge, rounded, sustained sound emanating from the centre or lower reaches of the bass soaring up into the cello registers in solos. His ‘time’ was rock solid – it needed to be to hold together Oscar’s at times break-neck playing within the group!
The great Bill Evans chose his bassists with care because he was looking for a musician who could be an “equal” in his conception of the piano trio in jazz. At the forefront was Scott La Faro whose association with Bill was tragically short. Scott’s sound was huge throughout all the bass range, his drive powerful and he took technique up to a new level. With the drummer, he was able to challenge the leader, and raise the tension in pieces, building up to resolution in dramatic ways.
Miles Davis’ long-time bass player was Paul Chambers who worked with the trumpeter through several of his career phases – namely The Quintets, The Gil Evans Projects and The Kind Of Blue Sextet. Paul’s playing was light toned, ‘springy’ and swinging and his note choice was more unusual because his bass-lines did not contain so many ‘root’ notes. As a result, the bass part was more free-flowing which made Paul one of the first players who could play competently within Miles’ idea of  using tunes based on modes, scales or one or two chords (i.e. So What).
Finally in this brief review of some of the “greats” and their bassists is Gary Peacock within the “Standards Trio” of Keith Jarrett. Gary had (and has) the most extravagant technical ability on the bass moving from strong ‘root’ notes into cello-like sorties into the upper reaches of harmony and indeed harmonics, taking risks even when just accompanying ! This constantly imaginative playing undoubtedly spurred on Jarrett to reach his more outrageous moments.
I believe these few examples from the history of jazz fully support Roly’s wise assertion!
Dave Brownlow

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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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