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Bebop Spoken There

Howard Riley: “When I started out playing jazz back in the late 50s, early 60s, if you wanted a gig you had to learn some standards.” – (Jazz Journal April 2017)

Eric Harland: “I love swing and I’m always going to swing but I also know that you can take a hip-hop groove and improvise with that just like you would with a swing pattern.” – (Jazz Journal April 2017)

Friday April 28

Afternoon
Rendezvous Jazz - The Black Horse, Front St., Monkseaton, Whitley Bay NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.
Dean Stockdale Trio - Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1pm. £5.
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Evening
Emma Fisk's Hot Club du Nord - St. Cuthbert's Centre, Church Hill, Crook DL15 9DN. 7:30pm.
Matt Roberts Sextet - Voodoo Café, Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 8pm. £6. 01325 467555. Darlington Jazz Festival.
Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7:00pm.
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Lazy River Jazz Band - Blenkinsopp Castle Inn, Nr. Greenhead CA8 7JS. 8pm. £5. Dancers welcome! 07721 375278 for more details.
To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

CD Review: James Morton - The Kid

James Morton (alt); + Fred Wesley (tmb); Pee Wee Ellis (ten); Andy Shepherd (sax); the Easy Access Horns; Alex Johansen (vcl) Simon Picton (gtr) & Others.
(Review by Steve T).
British saxophonist James Morton was influenced by James Brown, Hip Hop and Jazz it says here; but all you really need to know is he was bitten by the Godfather. At a time when most of his peers in the British funk field were bitten by people who were bitten by James, or by people who were bitten by people who were bitten by Brown, it's quite refreshing to go back to the source.

To say he wears this influence on his sleeve is something of an understatement, but he's backed it up by enlisting heavyweight assistance from alumni of his idol. Saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis was an important component  of the James Brown sound at its most vital time and did some gigging and tutoring in our region a few years ago, including guesting with another JB legend - Maceo Parker - at the Gala in Durham.
Trombonist Fred Wesley took over leadership of the JBs when George Clinton stole Bootsy and co. for his own fledgling funk empire and Fred and Maceo would soon follow. The last time I went to Hoochie Coochie was to see Fred and the new JBs when it was full of funkateers, trombone players and presumably Lance, who likes a bit of hoochie in his coochie. Some of the former moaned that it got too Jazzy in the middle but all of these musicians aspire to play Jazz. Fred was thrilled when he was able to record 'to someone' with 'proper Jazz musicians' but humbled that he may not be good enough. I love trombones and I love Fred Wesley.
As if Morton didn't have enough strength in the horns department, there's his mentor Andy Sheppard for good measure, as forceful and instantly recognisable as ever.
Just in case anybody didn't spot the JB connection, track two Stand Up sounds suspiciously close to James' own I got the feeling, so much so that I had to check whether it was a cover. At times later in JBs' life, his fortunes became perilous and he was strapped for cash, but I'm sure he wouldn't have succumbed to the unfortunate current trend of suing for writer credits going on in the media and law courts at the moment, not least because the song was never the thing for him. Imagine the chaos if the estates of great folk, Jazz, Blues, Soul and Reggae artists started suing each other. I believe Uptown Funk currently has about eleven writer credits (and rising) and Brown should certainly be one of them.   
Following that, Eyelets sounds like a James Brown reworking of Curtis Mayfield's Impressions anthem People get Ready and the next track introduces his very own Lynn Collins, a singer who made her name as part of the JB empire. And so it goes on but not always so blatantly. There's also some fancy, funky guitar work from Simon Picton which pricked up a pair of ears in the back of the car. 
In his heyday JB brought out records almost every week and the saturation of availability due to arch-baddies Amazon, CDs and downloads means you can access it all. But beware, it wasn't all great.
This may all sound critical but it's a fine album and if you don't already have enough James Brown type stuff - and you can't have too much James - this would be a good place to start, or should I say continue?
Steve T.
Release Date July 8 on Matusik Records.

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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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