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Bebop Spoken There

Michael Feinstein: “Fred Astaire is my favorite singer. To me, he was the perfect interpreter of American popular song.” – (Jazz Times December 2014).

Bud Shank: “Once I saw California – that was it, I stayed.” – (Jazz Journal May 1991)

Archives.

Today Wednesday February 22

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.
Lindsay Hannon - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 7:30pm. No cover charge.
Chris Sharkey Trio - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8ppm. £4 (Students free).
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Cancelled this week only. Levee Ramblers NOJB - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:30pm. £3.00. Cancelled.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Terence Blanchard and Inner City Ensemble @ Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal - September 18

(Review by Steve T)
This was ostensibly part of the Lancaster Jazz Festival about a twenty-minute drive away, but I found no trace of the main event so I’m guessing they didn’t want to encourage people to head to Lancaster.
On close inspection I found there were no breaks in proceedings in Lancaster so it was really a case of one or the other and, while I was disappointed to miss Lancaster, and particularly the threat of a Sonny Rollins/John Zorn cross, the chance to see Terence Blanchard in a more acoustic setting than we got at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival in the spring, proved the greater attraction for me.

Terence opened things up with just the rhythm section. Looking less hip-hop than at Sage Gateshead, in shirt and jacket but ripped jeans reminding us he’s more ‘street’ than academy, he’s a magnificent trumpet player, as you’d expect even if you haven’t seen him, but this collection of young people held their own.
Once the nine-piece horn section took their places he left them to it, Featuring French Horn, tuba and oboe, instruments the blurb told us are unusual in Jazz and, without checking, the Miles Davis nonet who recorded the Birth of the Cool sessions in 1949 is probably the nearest comparison I can come up with.
Before leaving the stage he related his experience working with them through the week to his own apprenticeship with Art Blakey when he was a young Messenger, the legendary drummer and bandleader encouraging them you blew Monk, you blew Trane…no pressure then he conceded. Of the Inner City Ensemble musicians, who’d all successfully auditioned for the opportunity, he said that if you think about where they are now, he was real excited about where they’ll get to in the future.
Without their mentor they played Bud, not Buddy, a commission from the Kennedy Centre not due to be unveiled until next year. It opened with the pianist, confirming his warning that he’d been saving himself, then a repetitive bass riff, piano and drums building to a massive crescendo.
Tenor next and she impressed throughout, followed by a well-crafted, uncluttered guitar solo, taking his time, leaving loads of space and not just trying to get as many notes and ideas out all at once.
Some great exchanges between trumpet and trombone, joined by woodwind sans saxes; and a large part of the dynamics of this performance was the selection of the combination of horns.
There were lots of quieter moments with just the rhythm section, a ‘bone solo doing great things with a mute before the whole band came back in, ‘bone, clarinet and bass clarinet in particular bringing a strong Ragtime feel.
The next piece wasn’t introduced but was more of the same, with massed horns, though more swing than big band, or am I playing semantics? Another trumpet solo led into a fine clarinet outing and the rhythm section took it right down, guitar, piano and bass riffing in sync as the drummer, busy throughout the set, whisked up a storm before a big Ragtime finale with all blowing free to end the first set.
They returned with Terence Blanchard who outlined the second half. Beginning with Choices, title track of an album written for Hurricane Katrina which ravaged his native New Orleans and referencing the choices politicians had allegedly made before the disaster. This would be followed by Social Justice, a piece from the forthcoming album from his electric band – E. Collective – continuing the ‘Black Lives Matter’ theme from their last album and finishing with Don’t Run for legendary bass player Ron Carter.
Recorded spoken intro from the album, trumpet, trombone and now we got the flute coming through loud and clear, evocative of another great trumpet player who went electric, Donald Byrd and his early Jazz Funk outings, before bass clarinet and more trumpet, this time from the mentor and with a slight echo.
Social Justice began in big band mode before trumpet from Adam, a storming bass clarinet solo from Sam, switching to tenor, then back to the melody, brass section with him, back to tenor, bass and hi-hat as the drummer did the business once more. Piano, reeds, French Horn and then Sam started honking away frantically, the kitchen sink now in behind him.
The mentor took another solo, whatever was going on with his trumpet sound in the horn or the mic, some sonic booms coming from the bass (guitar since the break), like Bootsy Collins space bass or Bernie Worrels’ bass synth, both from the peak of P Funk. Slightly out of view, I even checked to see it wasn’t the tuba making this extraordinary sound.
He switched back to acoustic for the final piece, a round of solos including trombone and flute, two instruments I love but both under-represented in small group Jazz, piano trio behind the flute and just hi-hat and bass behind the ‘bone, each solo backed by a different configuration from the assembled horns, climaxing in extended ‘lines’ featuring the mentors trumpet with bass clarinet.
It was a great idea to feature instruments not generally associated with Jazz and my only criticism would be that we didn’t get enough of them and, I think I remember correctly, no solos from French Horn, tuba or oboe. The oboe in particular, I would have liked to hear more from, used to great affect by Andy McKay when Roxy Music were still considered experimental rock.
Nevertheless, it was a fine way to spend a Sunday afternoon, led by one of the greatest trumpet players and Jazz artists of his generation, and featuring an extended list of names to look out for in the coming years. I have no doubt that those of us who were there, I estimate ninety or a hundred, will be saying in the future, I saw him or her in Kendal with Terence Blanchard and I have no doubt, he’s thoroughly proud of every one of them.
Steve T.
Terence Blanchard – Trumpet + Mike DeSouza – Guitar; Ashley Henry – Piano; Tom McCredie – Bass; Sam Gardner – Drums; Adam Chatterton – Trumpet; Kieron McLeod Trombone; Chris Beagles - French Horn; Michael Dawson - Tuba.

Sam Rapley - Bass Clarinet, Tenor; Chelsea Carmichael – Tenor; Amy Roberts – Flute; Diane Hammond – Clarinet; Aisling Palmer - Oboe.

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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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