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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

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Today Tuesday September 26

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Black Bull, 98 Front St., East Boldon NE36 0SG. 1pm. Free. 0191 5365127. 2nd of 6 consecutive gigs. 2 mins from East Boldon metro.
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Evening
Maine Street Jazzmen - Royal British Legion, West Jesmond Ave., Newcastle NE2 3EX. 8:30pm. £5.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Square One @ Durham Ushaw Jazz Festival - August 28


Peter Johnstone (piano), Joe Williamson (guitar), David Bowden (bass guitar) & Stephen Henderson (drums)
(Review by Steve T/Photos courtesy of Gordon Carlton)
With FDT and the Lawrence brothers behind, and Ben now ‘out’ as an aspiring Jazz keyboardist, I imagined that, with Whiplash, this could be them in a few years.
Circumstances beyond their control meant they played the theatre rather than the lounge which the just over thirty would have comfortably filled. No matter, the theatre is such a splendid room it still looked okay and, if you choose Jazz as a profession, you have to get used to empty seats.
Five impressive originals: two from bassist David Bowden, and one each from guitarist Joe Williamson, keyboardist Peter Johnson and Drummer Stephen Henderson.
Immediate comparisons are the classic Jazz Rock bands and the more instrumental progressive rock bands but with far less bombast. Effective changes in tempo and juxtaposition between quieter moments and moments of real power, with some fantastic building to get from one to the other, and a couple of classical oriented interludes on piano reflecting the pianists own continuing musical education in classical piano.
The final piece was Puppet Love, which was more obviously rocky, with riffs and things before settling into a funk groove, Bowden on bass as successful as any of his contemporaries on the solid body guitar variety of his instrument more widely associated with funk.
They declined the invitation to play an encore, leaving us to buy their current EP (with an album forthcoming) to hear more from them and myself, Ben Lawrence and others duly did.
They’re all Glasgow alumni and are solid musicians with none obviously stronger or weaker than the rest. With two Scottish natives and a Londoner I spoke to Darlo lad Joe Williamson to alleviate any potential language barrier.
Unsurprisingly, his major guitar influences are Mike Walker (currently an Impossible Gentleman), John Schofield and Pat Metheny, in that order, as well as the blues. The centrality of melody comes in large part from folk music and particularly from drummer Henderson, with Steely Dan and Oz Noy their major influences in this regard.  
We wish this young band every success in the future and hope to see them back in the North East soon.
More housekeeping tasks to take care of so I only caught a few bursts of the New Century Ragtime Orchestra. Not really my thing but I spoke to loads of people afterwards who thought they were terrific, leader Steve Andrews even rivalling Alan Barnes in the joke stakes.
Steve T

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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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