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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 Tuesday July 25

Evening
Misha Mullov-Abbado Sextet - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane NE25 5DW. 8pm. £10 & £8. JNE gig.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
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Maine Street Jazzmen - Royal British Legion Club, West Jesmond Ave., Newcastle NE2 3EX. 8:30pm. £5.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Alice Grace Quartet @ Ushaw College, Durham - September 29

Alice Grace (voice), Peter Gilligan (piano), Paul Grainger (bass), Russ Morgan (drums). 
(Review by Steve T).
A cold, dark night at Ushaw, no students around in Durham ‘til next weekend and the numbers were down on what we've come to expect for this most sumptuous of venues, with quite a few regulars missing and attendance hovering just under thirty.
No reflection on the band, Alice Grace is exactly the sort of thing the regulars soak up, a great singer with a swinging band, and a well thought out mix of classic, cult and contemporary.
Contemporary to open and an original, Lullaby on/of Broadway - is there really not a standard with this title? The lady seemed uncharacteristically nervous but settled in during the first of much scatting through the night, and little wonder, she's masterful (or is it mistressful?) at it.
This was followed by Windows by Corea/Grace, the Rodgers and Hammerstein of Transatlantic Jazz, and look out for a forthcoming recording of it, presumably part of an EP or an album. After a piano/ vocal intro there was some fabulous interaction between the two before she closed the number with some lovely adlibbing. In fact Gilly - does he mind if I call him Gilly? - proved an excellent foil for the singer on every piece and the show has almost become a double act, with bass and drums happy to stay back but never putting a finger or thumb, sticks, hands or feet wrong throughout.
Something called Invitation followed by Love Dance as interpreted by Streisand and surprisingly only a couple of takers when she asked if the audience were into Babs. Even I think she's a fantastic singer.
I'm beginning to see the Light closed the first set, featuring fours between scat and drums, and by now applause had risen to raucous, with cheering, yelps and whoops.
Set two opened with the first of two Kenny Wheeler originals, this one with lyrics by Norma Winstone and a duet between Alice and Gilly called Winter Sweet.
Alone Together found Russ playing toms with his hands and hi-hat and I've gushed about this in these pages before, switching it up with sticks for Gillys' solo and a first bass solo of the night, which was characteristically tasteful and welcome.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea next and a wager between me and my far better half whether she'd go Kylie or Steps. Stalemate as she went Ella, in hindsight unsurprisingly given her obvious scatting skills, and the piece ended with her exchanging scat with piano, then bass, then drums.
Before the next song she confessed to loving a bit of scatting cos we were all thinking she wasn't very good at remembering lyrics. The Gentle Rain to end before the compere asked for an encore and she gave us The Sky is There by Lars Johnson with lyrics by the lady herself. Hi-hat and walking bass-line behind the voice and Gilly’s entrance after a couple of verses propelled her into the greatest joyfulness I've ever heard from her voice.
I hope she makes a return to Ushaw when all the regulars are around and a few students and university types take it back to capacity; she deserves it and they deserve it.
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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