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Bebop Spoken There

Frank Tate: “Travelling’s part of life. It just goes with the job. It’s in one’s best interests, I think, to enjoy it, because it’s sure what you’re gonna be doing!” – (Jazz Journal February 1992)

Joe Temperley"I was on the bus as Carney's replacement. I said to Harold Ashby 'Where are we going?' He answered 'What difference does it make?' " - (Jazz UK January 2013.)

Archives.

Today Sunday January 22

Afternoon.
Joel Byrne McCullough (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 12:30pm. Free.
Going Dutch (part 1 of Double Dutch gig) - Lit & Phil, 23 Westgate Rd., Newcastle NE1 1SE. 2pm. £12/£10. JNE.
Alan Law - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle NE1 1RQ. Free 2.pm 0191 2331010.
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Musicians Unlimited - Park Hotel, Park Rd., Hartlepool TS26 9HU. 01249 233126.1pm. Free.
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Evening
Going Dutch (part 2 of Double Dutch gig) - Lit & Phil, 23 Westgate Rd., Newcastle NE1 1SE. 7pm. £12/£10. JNE.
Anth Purdy & Friends - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling St., Gateshead NE8 2BA. 6pm. Free with a 'jar at the bar' collection.
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Jam Session - Empty Shop, 35c Framwellgate Bridge, Durham DH1 4SY. 7:30pm. Free.
To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Zoe Gilby (vocals) & Andy Champion (double bass) @ Jazz Cafe. January 23 via Sheila Jordan @ Cantina Bentivoglio, Bologna, Italy. Summer 2015

(Reviews/photo of Sheila Jordan by JC)
Scanning the internet for possible jazz gigs prior to a trip to Italy last summer I was impressed by the range and variety of concerts on offer but unfortunately either the date or location meant they were not accessible. However, on closer examination, the gig listings of a jazz club in Bologna mentioned a concert by veteran American singer Sheila Jordan on a date that could work (if you ignored the 100 km diversion and over-night stay).  At that time I knew very little about her except that I remembered Zoe Gilby mentioning once or twice during gigs with her husband Andy Champion that Jordan had been an important inspiration in encouraging them to perform as a vocal/bass duo and that she was a pioneer of this format. As a fan of the Gilby/Champion performances, I felt this gig was worth making an effort to get to.
Fortunately, the Cantina Bentivoglio in Bologna turned out to be the business. It had the look of an Italian, pre-makeover Ronnie's - low ceilings, crowded and atmospheric with tables right up to the stage - with the same delightfully chaotic meal service. However, unlike Ronnie's in those days, the food was delicious.
The loquacious MC/owner was certainly passionate, as he spoke with great enthusiasm during his 20-minute introduction to the main act. Not understanding Italian, I presumed it was mainly about jazz but I thought I heard mention of Marx and Gramsci as well as Charlie Parker and Jordan.
Anyway, Sheila Jordan was a revelation. She had a band made up of her own American drummer and two excellent Italian musicians on trumpet and bass. Her opening piece was a five-minute introduction of the band members in vocalese, outlining their singular abilities in great detail, as well as including an announcement that she was 86 and a half - wow!
She had great stamina for a youngster and for the next two hours she sang and swang, scatted and vocalised songs and stories in a brilliant fashion. Many of the stories were about Charlie Parker, whose music entranced her as a teenager, and she described as a 14-year old trying to sneak into the club he was playing in wearing her mother's hat as a disguise, only to be quickly thrown out. But then Bird would come to the door and play a solo for her.
All the musicians were great but she did do a couple of duets with the bass player and the highlight of the night was a ten-minute duo version of 'Chasing the Bird' (which Parker is rumoured to have written for her) where she used all her vocal abilities and scatted and vocalised a succession of rip roaring solos. Amazing.
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This experience made me appreciate even more the great jazz there is on offer locally and the fact that there is a top quality vocal and double bass combination on the doorstep. A brief look through BSH's archives revealed that Zoe Gilby and Andy Champion have been performing in this format since 2009 so that now it is (one example) of their finely honed and highly creative musical talents. I arrived at the Jazz Cafe as Gilby was in full scat attack on Monk's Well, You Needn't . Next was one of my favourite songs, Joni Mitchell's beautiful lyrics combined with Mingus's tune and improvisations on Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. The clarity of Gilby's singing of the lyrics with the complex musical line was outstanding and even though I've listened to this track many times there were a couple of lines I didn't recognise, 'Were these in the original lyrics?' I thought to myself and a quick iPhone check revealed that (of course) they were. I just hadn't been listening properly before. The set continued with the spooky Red Right Hand by Nick Cave, their classic take on Pink Floyd's Money and Kate Bush's Kashka From Baghdad where Gilby did an interesting kind of sound box thing with the mike behind her hands.  All through Andy Champion was in sublime form demonstrating his imperious mastery of the double bass.
At the interval a lively crowd arrived in the Cafe, happily not the usual Friday night 'rowdies', but a group of mainly Parisien jazzers who were playing in the Paris-sur-Tyne festival the following day. This inspired the duo to even greater heights (not surprising given that now at least three of the Miles Davis Quintet were present and also possibly Garibaldi). They ripped into another Mitchell piece from her Mingus album The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines at breakneck speed but again with crystal clear lyrics. Then a trip to Graceland, Monk's Rhythm a Ning, followed by a subtly suggestive song found on a social media site called Halfway to Heaven which Gilby said could be about many different things - but isn't. (A bit like saying Kate Bush's Warm Room could be about DIY central heating).
Also a beautiful ballad, which might have been A Weaver of Dreams, and if so, it would have been a nice link to the set list of the 2009 performance. So seven years as a vocal/bass duo - just a few more to match Jordan's longevity. In the mean time, it's a duo combination not to be missed.
The large and attentive audience were highly appreciative of the duo's terrific performance and the international visitors demonstrated their enthusiasm with much applause and (metaphorically speaking) ringing bells, setting off kitchen timers and banging saucepan lids on tables. It was another great night at the Jazz Cafe.
JC.

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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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