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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)

Today Wednesday April 26

Afternoon.
Vieux Carre Jazzmen - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. £1. 8pm.
Levee Ramblers NOJB - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:30pm. £3.00.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Jeremy McMurray-Mark Toomey Quintet @ Blaydon Jazz Club. September 19

Jeremy McMurray (piano), Mark Toomey (alto saxophone), Paul Donnelly (guitar), Peter Ayton (bass) & Paul Smith (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Roly Veitch)
Jeremy McMurray and Mark Toomey made a return visit to the Black Bull with former Djangology guitarist Paul Donnelly a welcome addition to the line-up. The Teessiders are seasoned performers - one of bassist Peter ‘Tubby’ Ayton’s claims to fame is a gig with Spike Milligan and Paul Smith (drums) boasts a you-name-them-I’ve-played-with-them  CV - and this Blaydon Jazz Club date was all about Bird.  

All about Bird? Well, Mark Toomey plays authoritative Charlie Parker-inspired alto, and there is no getting away from it…thankfully. A man of few on-stage words, Toomey took turns with pianist McMurray to announce the tunes. Kicking off with Au Privave, they hit the ground running, taking off into Birdland, a round of solos introducing the band to the select Blaydon audience. A broader offering unfolded with Latin-infused selections and a standard or two. Lover Man up-tempo, There Will Never Be Another You (Toomey unable to resist a Bah bah you/ewe quote), and the altoist firing on What’s New?

Guest Paul Donnelly upped the ante leading off on Four Brothers. A Djangologist turned bebopper, the harmonic language fully assimilated, this was great guitar playing. To close the first set Toomey dipped into his soul jazz bag, pulling out Work Song. Paul Donnelly shone once again, Wes Montgomery would have been impressed!

An out of town party arrived, baulked at the extortionate door charge, retiring garrulously to the adjoining bar to continue their conversation. Jazz fans? Not really, ‘out on the hoy’ is the expression. Toomey began the second set with Ornithology prompting the note: He knows his way around the alto! Similarly, Donnelly found his way around the fret board with consummate ease on Joy Spring and again on A Day in the Life/Black Orpheus. The man at the keys, Mr Jeremy McMurray, is familiar with the 88s and a sense of enjoyment is evident in his playing. On this Blaydon date he peppered solos with fleeting quotes. No time to stop and think: That was… just go with the flow. If one tune is heard at the Black Bull more than any other it could well be Stella by Starlight. The McMurray-Toomey set list just happened to include the tune and met with audience approval. One of the all time great numbers. The quintet closed the evening on Wee. Mark Toomey’s gigs on Tyneside are few and far between. Next time, get along to hear some first rate alto playing.

Next month sees the return of Vasilis Xenopoulos. The London-based Greek saxophonist is one of his generation’s finest exponents of swinging, mainstream tenor saxophone. His friendship with pianist Paul Edis brings Vasi ‘up north’ on an annual basis. Last year they played a memorable gig at the Black Bull. The place was understandably packed out. There is every prospect of October’s visit (Sunday 23) resulting in another full house at Blaydon Jazz Club. Xenopoulos and Edis will once again be working with Andy Champion (bass) and drummer Russ Morgan. Four top class musicians, this promises to be one of the gigs of the year. The first set starts at 8:00pm. Admission a mere £7.00., pay at the door. You haven’t been to a jazz gig in years but you regularly read this blog? Right, here’s the plan …switch off the television (and PC), all roads lead to Blaydon. No excuses!

Russell.          

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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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