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Bebop Spoken There

Jackie McLean: “I can't understand British audiences. In Britain there doesn't seem to be any curiosity." (Melody Maker, April 1, 1961).

Charles Mingus: "It seems to me that if our records were not issued in Britain, the British cats would have to think for themselves" (Jazz News, July 26th 1961)

Archives.

Today Monday July 24

Afternoon.
Jazz in the Afternoon - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
????????
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lucky Peterson @ Sage Gateshead Summertyne Americana Festival 2016 - July 23

Lucky Peterson (vocal, guitar, Hammond, keys); Shawn Kellerman (guitar); Tim Waits (bass); Raul Valdes (drums).
(Review by Steve T/Photos courtesy of David Rodgers)
If there's a better night in Tyneside this year the shock to the system will likely precipitate musical paralysis. Never quite understood what that meant but, hopefully, I have your attention.
It goes on, nights like this must be well spaced apart lest civilisation breaks down and anarchy spills on to the streets.
It actually comes from a review of a gig in London (not Tyneside) from 1982 by Maze who, for the next decade, could guarantee a bi-annual ten night residency at Hammersmith Odeon.
Back on Tyneside and it's Saturday neet at the Sage Gateshead Americana Festival.
You know the routine, the ghost of Pete Green, Rory Gallagher or Stevie Ray Vaughan comes out to sing one, he's all flash and technique and the crowd lap it up. He then brings on the bluesman who has to work really hard to win the crowd over, which generally takes a couple of seconds and this was no exception.
Borrowing one of my shirts - the red one with the cannabis leaves - black trousers and hat, with black and red spats, he heads straight for the Hammond and immediately brought the funk back to Sage 2.
Level 1 only, and not much over half full, I've never understood those who go to blues gigs and them who don't. I think that, as soul fans and jazz fans, we allowed rock people (and pop/rock media) to lay claim to it, forfeiting our own heritage. If only the hundreds on the concourse knew…
Some virtuosity on the Hammond, some soul in his voice - as always with true blues - some great growling and screaming and I Can See Clearly Now.
Another artist not taking himself too seriously, stubbornly holding a note until everybody raised a hand, he switched to a keyboard that sounded like a vocoder but without him needing to sing into it. Well this tickled him and the audience too, as he posed for photos.
Grown men and women punching the air en masse and surely this is the North East blues event of the year.
“Oh shit!” he exclaimed as the band came back in gently, some subtlety from the Canadian guitarist who I'm warming to. In my experience, white Canadians have a better feel for the blues than from anywhere else, with Watermelon Slim the most convincing white blues artist I've ever heard.
Our man switched back to Hammond with a roar, adlibbing, Midnight Hourbass and drums now thunderous behind him, showing that blues has real power too. 
Blues singers have always had soul, going back to Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, but ever since Bobby Bland emerged in the late fifties, most blues singers have had soulful voices to compare with the best soul singers. Around the same time, guitarists like Little Milton, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Albert and Freddie King added a proto-rock guitar sound to the blues, borrowed by Clapton and sent into orbit by Hendrix and back to the blues in an irresistible combination of a soulful voice with rock guitar which has been the template for most blues ever since. Underpin it with a Hammond and you've just gone nuclear.    
Straight into Smooth Sailing from his latest album Son of a Bluesman which he is, his father being night-club owner and friend to the greats James Peterson. You know you're getting old when even the blues artists you're watching are younger than you - he's 51 - but good to see it continuing in such good hands.
He returned to his keyboard, now sounding like an electric piano, for something that could have been a love scene from an early seventies Blaxploitation soundtrack on Stax.
Jazz people have a tendency to denigrate soul as a sub-genre of pop (like classical people do about jazz) but while it's not as expansive as jazz (or classical), for depth it's unparalleled though rendered unsympathetic to discursive analysis - if I have to explain, you wouldn't understand doesn't exactly stand up to academic rigour.
The song built up to a real soul belter; early in the morning, in the Midnight Hour, keep on loving you, holding you, the band took it back down and he was stage front, testifying.
He picked up his guitar for the first time and was straight into some good-rocking blues and all cameras were out as he wandered down amongst the audience, sitting in various empty seats playing his axe, soulful and sensitive, then raw and explosive. You can trace every blues guitarist of the last fifty years back to somebody called King and with Lucky it's mostly Albert with a bit of Freddie, via Son Seals.
Johnny B Good and people were rocking out all over the place, throwing themselves around, any inhibitions left on the concourse, and Roz Rigby's up and at them, break-dancing and spinning round on her head. Just kidding, her elegance held up, but it must be so rewarding for her, as one of the chief architects putting on this sort of thing, to see her ambitions so gloriously fulfilled. He asked if it was the best show of the festival so far. Best show of Sage Gateshead so far! 
The band were instrumental but the audience were singing along, Go Johnnie Go Go… to this most anthemic of black rock and roll songs, with added blues gravitas.
The Canadian took a solo and there's no doubt he's fast, but it was Lucky’s rhythm that was happening.
Back on stage, back on Hammond and we were off on Stevie Wonder’s I WishNow back on his keyboard, sounding like an out of tune acoustic piano for some good ole-time blues, I Got a Woman accompanied just by tambourine. Suddenly the piano was back in tune and it turned into Purple Rain
Then we were getting down again.
He left the stage but was never going to get away with it, Sage 2 clapping and stomping and shouting for more like when we used to think encores were real.
He was back on the organ putting out a slow rhythm. I thought what a generous instrument the Hammond is, making so much sound from so little effort. You still with us? Yes Lucky, we've missed our lifts, our trains, our buses, our taxis, the parking meter's ran out. 
Johnny Taylor’s Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone and Ros Rigby’s chap's on his feet too, but it doesn't make it to the chorus before it's I'm Ready and he's Drinking TNT and Smokin' Dynamite hoping Some Screwball Start a FightHe seemed to have an idea, switched to piano and it's Got my Mojo Workin’both songs written for Muddy Waters by his dads' old mate, legendary blues songwriter Willie Dixon.
Sensing the mood of the nation and the world, and wanting to spread some much needed optimism, he ended with the Gospel classic Oh Happy Daythe band then reverting back to the blues while he took the applause; but no standing ovation, we'd done that for the last hour.

Coming back from Cheltenham last year or the year before, Sarah Cox was doing her eighties show on Radio 2 and her special guest for the night was asked a series of questions about the eighties and when asked best night out? he immediately responded Maze Live. As we filed out of Sage 2 to a now empty concourse, there wasn't any need to ask if people had enjoyed it. When people talk about this in the future we'll be able to say we were there!
Steve T.

1 comment :

  1. Excellent review of the gig and proud to say "I was there" and have sent photos to prove it!

    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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