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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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Youre Vote is Important

Voting is now taking place for Nominations in the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Please take this opportunity to vote in the various categories including MEDIA where a vote for Bebop Spoken Here would be much appreciated.

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.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Will Todd's Mass in Blue @ Newcastle City Centre

Newcastle Choral Society Conductor and Musical Director Mark Anyan
The Will Todd Trio (Will Todd – piano; Geth Griffith – bass; Jim Fleeman – drums. With:  Lorna James – soprano (vocal) and Sue Ferris – alto saxophone.
(Review by Hugh C).
My attendance at this performance was a triumph of the power of advertising – having seen the flyer which has been at the top right of Bebop Spoken Here for the past couple of weeks. 
The event was held in the mock baronial splendour of the banqueting suite at Newcastle Civic Centre (Asian weddings a speciality according to the publicity).  This venue proved to have a reasonable acoustic.  The Choral Society sang without amplification; the instrumentalists and the soprano being gently helped by modest electronic enhancement.  The choir seating was tiered and the soprano soloist and MD were raised on a platform, the audience and instrumentalists were all on the level.
I personally was unfamiliar with the work of, Will Todd (despite him being a County Durham lad).  My interest was sparked by the concept of a choral concert with a jazz twist.
Will Todd started to play piano as a child and soon became interested in the chromatic palette offered by twelve bar blues – much to the dismay of his piano teacher!  This, combined with his love of, and participation in, choirs and choral music came to together in Mass in Blue.  Originally written in 2003 as a commission by Hertfordshire Chorus (named Jazz Mass at that initial stage) the Mass has been performed on many occasions both in the UK, Europe and the US – often with the Will Todd Trio.  This success was apparently much to the surprise (and delight) of the composer, who as with many artists, suffered from self-doubt.
Mass in Blue is in the standard liturgical format:  Kyrie – Gloria – Credo – Sanctus – Benedictus – Agnus Dei.  The text is in Latin throughout, but was helpfully printed in full in the programme with an English translation adjacent. 
Each of these involved the Newcastle Choral Society – who appeared to be greatly enjoying themselves.  There was apparently initially some concern among some of the singers that it was too difficult and they had never sung anything in the jazz oeuvre before.  Conscientious practice under the direction of MD, Mark Anyan seemed to have dispelled any of this! 
The trio were on fine form (very familiar territory for them, obviously!) with subtle melodic interplay between the piano in particular and the soprano soloist,  who also often weaved  a virtuoso vocal line around the choral parts – this being beautifully delivered by the very capable Lorna James.
The saxophone part is optional.  I am glad this option was chosen!  Sue Ferris (well known locally as a jazz saxophonist and flautist, but also an orchestral flautist according to the programme notes) delivered a flawless account on alto sax (I must admit I initially thought it was tenor until I saw Sue walking out clutching an alto!).
The Mass contained elements of jazz, blues, gospel, and spiritual (and, I’m sure, others I did not discern).  All in all this was a very interesting and rewarding experience for all present, both choir and audience. 
After the interval we were treated to “Songs for Christmas” – a combination of both sacred and secular items including the old favourites and two audience participation numbers, both delivered with gusto.  There were even a few brave car-key jinglers during Jingle Bells!  The accompaniment (piano mainly, with organ for the audience singing) was ably provided by Mike Dutton  - well known as an accompanist on the local choral and classical vocal scene.
Hugh.

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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.
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Lance

About this blog - contact details.

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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