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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Gelly: “From 1 January 1920, when prohibition was imposed in the US, people didn’t stop drinking, they just stopped drinking legally.” – (Jazz Journal October 2017).

Regina Carter: “When I was a teenager, I would daydream about going out on a date and dancing to Ella’s music.” (Down Beat October 2017).

Today Wednesday November 22

Afternoon
Vieux Carre Jazzmen - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.

Evening
Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. £1. 8pm.

Billy's Acoustic Blues - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free (weekly).

The Village Hall New Orleans Band - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Rd., Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.

BBC Big Band - Middlesbrough Theatre, The Avenue, Middlesbrough TS5 6SA. 01642 815181. 7:30pm. £24.50.

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

Monday, May 30, 2016

In a Silent Way?

(By Steve T)
One of the things I like about the Jazz Café is that those who are really into it can sit around the band while those with less, though not necessarily no, interest can sit further afield and dip in and out as the mood takes them. Anybody who saw the recent Maigret with Rowan Atkinson will have noticed that the Jazz Café setting in Paris was very lively and noisy which is how it will have been in the mid-fifties. I don't understand why we always have to follow classical music which, I'm told, is moving away from the reverence of yesteryear. When I took my kids, aged 7 and 8, to see Haydn's Nelson Mass to celebrate the bicentenary of Trafalgar in 2005, they became a little fidgety attracting a few disapproving glances. Shortly after we saw Djangology at Masham Town Hall and, while their  behaviour was excellent, a lady on the next table was positively rude. Last November, at the London Jazz Festival, Saturday Night Fever was provided by the Average White Band and fellow (Jazz) Funk band Kokomo, featuring guitarist Jim Mullen.
People were milling around, to and from the bar, the loo, dancing, singing, cheering. I don't believe in disrespecting the band but I may ask my mate if he's ready for another, inform him I'm off to the loo or comment that I like the new song. A lady in front turned round and acted out zipping her lip. Rising to the bait I told my mate about the events of the previous night. He's a lifelong Bowie fan and most of his recent gigs have been Iggy Pop where, I'mtold, audience appreciation can become a little raucous, and he is bewildered by the idea of sitting in silence.
Friday night was Jazz, Soul, hip-hop singer Jose James at Ronnie Scott’s. An older bloke I found myself sat with suddenly rebuked a young lad in front, allegedly for chatting, though I hadn't noticed. For a moment, it looked like it could become violent and the older bloke would not have come off well so belligerents take care. In the end, it was the young lad who made the peace though not for that reason the older man told me. For all he knew, this may have been the youngster’s first Jazz gig, or the first uncomfortable night with a new girl, fumbling around for things to say.
The man in front with the lady with the zippy lips finally broke and told me to shut up and I pounced. I've been going to gigs for over forty years, since I saw Black Sabbath when I was ten, sometimes three or four a week, up and down the country and occasionally further afield, every genre you can think of, this is my eleventh band in three days including one featuring my son (I shouldn't but I couldn't resist) who once played with the guitarist who was on that stage earlier with Kokomo so, thank you very much, don't tell me how to behave at concerts.
Later on, my friend and I moved to the aisle to show-off our latest moves to Pick up the Pieces, that glorious horn section of just two saxes centre stage at last, and I glanced at the bloke who looked thoroughly miserable, though hopefully wiser. Thursday night was the Barbican with Miroslav Vitous and Emile Vicklicky on double bass and acoustic piano respectively. Anything beyond a cough or a sneeze would have been wholly inappropriate but isn't that just horses for courses? I don't know if my company were responsible for the disturbance at Ushaw on Friday. A couple of them were talking quietly through part of the first set but Jazz isn't really their thing (they left during the interval), they don't know the protocol and, while I could have said something, they probably wouldn't come back which isn't what the venues want and, while the musicians may prefer a quiet audience to a noisy one, they prefer a noisy audience to no audience. We shouldn't let the Noel Gallagher prophecy come true, that the people on stage at a Jazz concert have more fun than the audience.

Steve T.

4 comments :

Lance said...

I take your point Steve re horses for courses. However, the gig at the Caff was considerably more than the rustling of popcorn packets mentioned by Hugh at the Ushaw. I was sitting as close to Alice Grace as anyone in the room, as well as being next to one of the speakers and, despite my close proximity to the action, the extraneous noise - it would have drowned out the roar of the crowd from the Leazes End when NUFC thumped Spurs 5-1 - certainly detracted from my enjoyment - not least because they were coming from the next table! This wasn't a gig by a band with horns, keys, guitar, bass and drums but a duo set by, in effect, a form of jazz lieder. Such a setting deserves to be heard in intimate surrounds.
This afternoon, I dropped by my local watering hole where. unknown to me, a rock, guitar/vocal; bass guitar and drums. trio were giving out with covers of Beatles, Buzzcocks, Paul Young and others. The audience listened and applauded. It's a noisy pub anyway but, because of the volume, none of those uninterested in the music were able to drown out the band although, on this occasion, I have to admit it would have took some doing! This makes me wonder if sophisticated duos are right for Saturday nights at The Caff or maybe, as long as the punters are flashing the cash across the bar, who cares what's happening on 'stage'?

ReplyDelete

Steven T said...

I recall Mark Williams and Steve Glendenning with virtually a live and loud sex show right in front of them and I think they were eventually asked to leave. Maybe the answer is to put them upstairs but presumably there's a cost to that and maybe you're thinning out an already thin crowd. It's a tough one.
I was once told off for passing comments at a gig by a local rock band - Winter in Eden - at Bishop Auckland Town Hall and she got wrong too.

Hugh said...

As a listener to both the classical and jazz genres in the live setting, I can see your point, Steve. However, I think the main problem is a lack of awareness that what to the participants may seem a hushed conversation, to those trying to listen to the music is an unwelcome intrusion. I don't mind the odd short verbal exchange in a jazz setting, but if people want to hold an extended conversation, why can't they go out and do it? It comes down to good manners in the final analysis. It's not necessarily an age thing either - some of the noisiest (from the point of view of audience noise) concerts I have been to have largely been populated by people 10 or 20 years older than me (rapidly approaching retirement)!

Steven T said...

It sometimes seems that everybody from a certain generation went to Wigan Casino. Move up a generation and everybody went to see Hendrix and, another and they all saw Django Reinhardt. The old man of the village is of the latter.
Some time ago we took him to St Cuthberts in Crook see Ruth Lambert and the Customs House Big Band (supported by the Early Birds) and he had the time of his life.
Generally when newcomers turn up they quickly realise that people are not talking and moderate their behaviour accordingly: keeping it to a minimum, talking quietly, leaving early or not coming back, which is a shame because they may enjoy it in the same way I can enjoy a night of live folk without buying a bunch of albums for home or the car. We all moderate our behaviour every day in the way we interact with other people.
However, because the gentleman is half deaf, he didn't even notice the silence and, being in his eighties, wouldn't take any notice anyway, and of course he talks really loud.
I can't tell a lie, we found this hilarious, apart from number two son who seems to have stopped coming, but we haven't invited him to any more which is a real shame because he loves it and his health is deteriorating rapidly.
If you are in a cinema and somebody stands in front of you it would be perfectly reasonable to insist they sit down. However, if a basketball player sat in front of you, you would probably shuffle to left or right and have a perfectly good view and, if you lose one of the bottom corners, it maybe wouldn't be the end of the world.
My point is that nothing in life is ever black and white which may complicate things but also makes life richer and more varied, which is why issues should be up for discussion and not just closed down.

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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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