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Bebop Spoken There

Sonny Rollins: "I work very hard. I wear out suits playing." - (Downbeat May 29, 1969.)

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Bob Brookmeyer: "The group's philosophy? We're saving to buy new uniforms - the ties wore out." - (Crescendo March 1965).

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Archives.

Today Friday March 24

Afternoon
Rendezvous Jazz - The Black Horse, Front St., Monkseaton, Whitley Bay NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.
Mick Shoulder's Swing Manouche - Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1pm. £5. 0300 0269520
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Evening
James Harrison & Caroline Bagley- Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 9pm. Free.
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Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7:00pm.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: The Jazz Files (Poppy Denby Investigates) by Fiona Veitch Smith

(Review by Ann Alex)
Hurrah! I’ve been promoted by BSH to do a book review. I would actually claim to know more about books than I do about jazz, so here goes.
This book is a really good read, a romping page turner, but with an unmistakable dark side. Recommended for BSH readers, but don’t expect to read much about jazz, despite the title. The action takes place in the Summer of 1920, when the term ‘jazz’ was used to indicate aspects of the bright, new, modern life, as in Jazz Age, Roaring Twenties, the decade of the Bright Young People. The jazz tunes which we think of as belonging to this age didn’t reach London clubs until a few years after 1920, and the Charleston didn’t appear until 1924. The main direct reference to jazz is early in the novel, when Poppy, our heroine, and her friends, visit an imaginary London jazz club called ‘Oscars’ . They dance to a band with piano, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, banjo, drums and double bass (Dixieland?) playing Tiger Rag.

Poppy later gets a job as an editorial assistant on a newspaper, The Daily Globe, where there is a collection of files known as the ‘Jazz Files’ of the title, which are files outlining high society scandals where the stories are incomplete, so the files are kept in the hope that more information and scandal will be later revealed and proved, so that much can be made of them in the newspaper.

Mysterious deaths occur and Poppy takes a full part in sorting out solutions in this novel which I suppose could be classified as a crime novel with some differences. If I explained more of the plot I’d have to issue a spoiler alert, so you’ll all have to read the book for yourselves.

The characters are well presented.  Poppy is enterprising and risk taking, her actress friend Delilah is madly scatty, and there is an assortment of people working at the ‘Globe’. The writer used to work as a journalist and the office of the Globe has the ring of authenticity. (I used to know many journalists, and these characters are only slightly exaggerated, I can vouch for that). The novel doesn’t shy away from presenting people who are disabled, and there are hints of a lesbian relationship as well. And there’s plenty of period ‘feel’ such as descriptions of the clothes worn, and details of the cars driven, and no mention of anyone taking a driving test.

The dark side of the novel includes the information given about the Suffragette movement, The WSPU, their work and what they had to endure. And we are constantly reminded of the events which must have been in people’s minds in the 1920’s, the losses of the First World War and the Spanish flu epidemic. Poppy herself has lost her brother in the War.

Add various romances to the mix, and you have a really enjoyable read!
Ann Alex.
The Jazz Files (Poppy Denby Investigates) by Fiona Veitch Smith.
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Fiction (17 Sept. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782641750
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782641759
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.6 cm
  • £7.99.

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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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