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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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Today Sunday June 24

Afternoon

CANCELLED!

Musicians Unlimited - Park Inn, Park Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Tel: 01429 233126. 1pm. Free. Note: Cancelled re World Cup screening.

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More Jam - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 3:00pm. Free.

Stu Collingwood Trio - Charts (formerly Flynn's), 63 Quayside, Newcastle NE1 3DE. 4pm-7pm. Free.

Somethin’ Blue - Vesuvio, 3a Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RL. 5:00pm. Tel: 01325 788564. Matt Case (saxophone) & Mike Hepple (guitar).

Memphis Cruisers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 3:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazztones - Quakerhouse, Mechanics’ Yard, Darlington DL3 7QF. Tel: 01325 245052. 6:00pm. £5.00.

Bradley Johnston - The Fire Station, High Street West, Sunderland SR1 3DT. Tel: 0191 594 7241. 6:00pm. Free.

Jazz Jam - Court Inn, Court Lane, Durham DH1 3AW. 8pm. Free.

George Benson - Sage Gateshead, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4666. 7:30pm.SOLD OUT!

Big Muddy - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £6.00. (£3.00. student)

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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mediocrity Everywhere! Not Here. Kamasi Washington @ Manchester Academy. June 28.

Kamasi Washington - Tenor. Ryan Burrow - Trombone. Brandon Coleman - Keyboards. Miles Mosley - Acoustic Bass. Tony Austen - Drums. Ronald Bruner Jnr - Drums. Patrice Quinn - Vocal. Ricky Washington - Flute, Soprano.
(Review by Steve T/Photo top left by Faye MacCalman/stage photos by Francis T)
This was the claim of bass player Miles Mosley during his showcase piece Abraham and there's no argument here. Next to this, all current Jazz, and pretty much all current everything seems mediocre, and there was certainly nothing mediocre about this, so no apologies for another lengthy review.
This was always a no-brainer for me and the only question was when and where: Glasgow on Monday or Birmingham on Wednesday. Both proved impossible and I'm afraid, right now Kamasi Washington trumps Tim Richards.
Set opener My Sweet introduced the frontline and the best trombone solo of the night, his bone increasingly interfered with, transforming its sound like I've never heard before on this instrument.
We also got the first solo from the man himself. He started slowly and I wondered whether he was more bandleader, composer, visionary (a question put to him later by Early Bird Dan Lawrence but left hanging) but his solo grew and grew and I heard Coltrane, through Sonny Rollins back to Coleman Hawkins in this most forward thinking of Jazzmen.
Next piece Final Thought showcased keyboardist Brandon Coleman aka Professor Boogie. Playing mostly clavinet, an instrument made famous by Stevie Wonder though put to best use by Chris Jasper in the Isley Brothers, but the first time I've heard it put through a wah wah. His solo climaxed with the horns coming in behind the Profs' frantic antics.
Next up, Patrice Quinn who remained onstage throughout, with her strange dancing and gesticulating, grinning and giggling to herself. Joined by Ricky Washington - the leader’s father - on flute and later soprano, it was at its best winding down to piano, cymbals and voice, replaced by tenor then flute.
Kamasi claimed that Miles Mosley plays bass like no one on earth and, from my experience, he told the truth. Playing acoustic he had it echoing and making all kinds of strange sounds before whisking up a seriously funky groove worthy of its electric lovechild. Part singing part rapping (known in reggae as sing-jay), he sounded eerily like George Clinton and the whole thing was like a massive funk jam before an almighty bass and clavinet funk-off.
A massive drum dual followed by two extraordinary practitioners, Ronald Jnr taking the honours for me as he seemed to provide the syncopation for the funkier moments.
Another song, another drum pileup and Kamasi, eloquent and witty throughout, regaled like a high priest, though more Sun Ra than Courtney Pine, asked if we'd like another. Silly question, two, three! We'll see he said.
Patrice Quinn was back up for The Rhythm Changes. A Billie Holliday reincarnation or trying too hard? Not a particularly great singer and, in terms of verse/chorus, not particularly great songs, I wasn't sure; it's on a knife edge, the site of so much great art, where people like Trane, Hendrix, Bird, Linda Jones and Jaco precariously walk a tightrope between bad-taste and greatness.
By the end everybody was on their feet, many had piled to the front to plead for more. A bit of a double fault (and a lone tennis reference) in my view when they played a 100 mph run through of brief solos. The place was ripe for a huge jam, they have the material and it wouldn't have been out of place. A minor quibble though.
Kamasi Washington is at the vanguard of a movement you feel could take over the world. Known as the West Coast Get Down, it includes Trane nephew Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamarr, Thundercat and, beginning with Miles Mosley album Uprising in September, material from each of the individual band members here.
Kamasis' own epic album - erm - Epic was unanimously heralded, both by the Jazz press and the broadsheets, as the best album of last year though, at three hours including choirs, monologues and allsorts, it's patchy though brilliant at its best.
It was great to be a senior citizen at a gig again, though worrying to have so many feeling that having the music wasn't sufficient, and they needed something to snuggle up to or pin on a wall as well, and were prepared to pay three times as much for.
However, I think everybody felt they were part of something important; mixing rock and funk, just like the late sixties and seventies, but representing the history, present and future of the music simultaneously, in a way Robert Glasper, Christian Scott and Terence Blanchard, lacking a focal point, haven't quite managed. Terence Blanchard was great at the Sage doing something similar, but must negotiate his past, and feels the need to walk backwards across the stage and turn his back on his audience to accompany his electrification. Perhaps now they have a figurehead.
Gig of the year so far? Gig of the year! 
Steve T.
NB. No space to do it justice but if you're into Indo Fusion with a touch of African, check out Sorathy Korwar who got things off to a fine start.

1 comment :

Steven T. said...

Incidentally, the photo with Francis Tulip and Dan Lawrence was taken on Dans phone by the girl who is playing tenor at the Bridge on sunday - I'm sorry I forgot her name but she was with John Pope. Couple of others there from the North East we recognised too.

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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.
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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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