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Bebop Spoken There

Ken Peplowski: I try to play the clarinet like a clarinet and not like a guy doubling on another instrument.– (Down Beat July 2004).

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James Morrison: “I’m not a trumpet player that doubles on flugelhorn. I’m a musician that plays trumpet, flugelhorn, euphonium and the rest. – (Jazz Journal January 1992).

Archives.

Today Friday January 20

Afternoon
Rendezvous Jazz - The Monkseaton Arms, Front St., Monkseaton, Whitley Bay NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.
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Evening
Triggerlawross - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9pm. Free.
Zoe Gilby/Mark Williams - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle NE1 1RQ. 6pm Free. 0191 2331010.
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Graeme Wilson Quintet - Traveller's Rest, 2 West Auckland Rd., Cockerton, Darlington DL3 8ER. 01325 382576. 8:30pm. £6..
Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7:00pm.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Ushaw Ensemble – St. Cuthbert's Suite, Ushaw College, Durham - March 18

Paul Edis (MD/piano); Graham Hardy (trumpet/flugel); Graeme Wilson (tenor sax/bass clarinet/flute); Emma Fisk (violin); Alice Burn (Northumbrian pipes); Rob Walker (drums/tympani); Paul Susans (double bass).
(Review/photos by Hugh C).
A decent crowd assembled in the newly refurbished Francis Thompson Room, preparatory to the world premiere of Paul Edis’ St Cuthbert's Suite – a suite specially commissioned by Ushaw College.
After a brief introduction, Durham's Dr Jazz himself, Paul Edis, announced that the Suite was to be played in the second set.  As befitted a serious composition we were provided with detailed programme notes.  Before that though, we were to be treated to some lighter material, each with a connection (sometimes tenuous!) to religion or the religious life.  There followed approximately 50 minutes of music, each of the front line musicians taking a solo role in one of the items.  Included were Solitude, Meditation, Confirmation, [Our] Lady be Good and St. Thomas. 

Alice Burn played a solo pipes rendition of Cheviot's Lament (written to commemorate the devastation of the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak).
After interval refreshment and a chance to have a quick look at some of the other splendours of Ushaw Hall, an expectant audience reassembled to prepare for the world premiere.  Another first may have taken place that evening as well – Paul Edis did wonder aloud if this was the first incorporation of Northumbrian pipes in a jazz setting.
St. Cuthbert's suite consists of eleven individual components which ran, more or less, back to back for around 45 minutes.  Each component related to a particular phase in St Cuthbert's life and events after his death:
St Cuthbert's Theme
A Shepherd From Melrose
A Vision
The Indefatigable Evangelist
Solitude
Many Miracles
The Death of Cuthbert
The Vikings
Seven Years Wandering
The Wonder Worker of Britain
Dunholme
The programme notes were very helpful and an integral part of the performance in my view -  enabling one to follow the progression of the suite.  The notes provided both a brief historical background and an outline to the musical progression.  The musical instruments to the fore in a particular section were highlighted and an outline provided of the compositional thinking behind what was being offered.  In the notes, Edis cites influences from composers as wide ranging as Ellington, Debussy, Ravel and Messiaen.
The musical styles were wide ranging, but definitely, in my view, within the confines of jazz in my view.  Each of the soloists excelled and the ensemble evenly balanced in this, their first performance.  The depiction of the Vikings by freely improvised playing was, I thought, particularly effective.  The audience were appreciative, with loud applause at the end of the performance.  Paul did suggest we could clap during the Suite if we wished, but no-one did – I felt this was entirely appropriate, given the nature of the piece. However, there were one or two recalcitrants toward the back of the room who insisted on maintaining a conversation during the music.
The evening was rounded off by a rousing rendition of Ellington's Come Sunday.
All in all, an excellent evening - congratulations to Paul Edis and the Ushaw Ensemble. 
The Jazz at Ushaw season continues through the year:  The James Birkett and Bradley Johnston Duo (guitars) play at 7.30pm on Friday, April 29 and the Susan Ferris Quintet (featuring several of the musicians from the Ushaw Ensemble) are on Friday, May 27 at 7.45pm, with an early bird session at 7.15pm. Full details here:  http://www.ushaw.org/events.html
Also don't forget the Durham Jazz Festival over the three days of the August Bank Holiday weekend.  I am assured by the festival organiser that full details will be available soon, including a feature in forthcoming edition of Jazzwise magazine.
Hugh.

1 comment :

  1. St Cuthbert’s Suite – So good we heard it twice. Having heard and enjoyed the first performance so much we decided there was no better way of spending Saturday afternoon than by hearing it again. There is a pamphlet to accompany this composition with the various aspects of St. Cuthbert’s Life wonderfully interpreted by Paul Edis and brought to life by a fantastic group of musicians.
    Once again I was so involved with listening that I cannot do justice to the various moods evoked by this awe inspiring work. I hope and believe there may be a CD in the near future. Thanks to all who took part with a special thank you to Paul Edis.

    ReplyDelete

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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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