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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 Monday March 27

Afternoon.
Jazz in the Afternoon - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
Evening.
?????
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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 23, 2016

Tim Garland Quartet @ Sage Gateshead – October 21

Tim Garland (tenor, alto saxophones, bass clarinet), Ant Law (guitars), Jason Rebello (keyboards), Asaf Sirkis (drums, percussion).
(Review by Steve Tolstoy/photo courtesy of Pam Young).
It was clear from the off this was something of a homecoming for Tim Garland. Turns out he used to teach music in Newcastle, lived in Whitley Bay for a time and recorded at Sage Gateshead while they were still finishing off the roof. This was home turf and it showed in his relaxed demeanour and infectious enthusiasm.
It was also obvious that this wasn’t a headliner and his band, but a real live super-group. His excitement at them ‘kicking your (his) ass each night’ was palpable, overflowing regularly through the night, whooping and clearly into their solos, leading the applause as he provided genuine backing with his various percussion objects. When you consider he played with Chick Corea for seventeen years, that these musicians plainly still blow him away ought to tell you something.

He set the scene for opener Best Day of your Life, maybe a slight exaggeration but a good day and a glorious band who put on a great show. It began with soprano and acoustic guitar before bursting into a fusiony, Latiny groove which flowed through the whole set, some beautiful real piano from Rebello.
Following the solos he took it back to the melody in the first of regular moments of jouissance, generally as he took it back to the head, reflecting what a great writer of melody he is.
Part of the dynamics of this group is the absence of bass which they address in various ways between them. Being something of a philistine in this regard, and with nothing emulating a Hammond, I wasn’t sure how it would all hold together, but they had it covered, and then some, Ant Law, possibly due to the absence of Hammond, taking on the bulk with his not quite so secret weapon, the eight string.
Some guitarists play bass like a guitarist but not Ant Law, and in a band with such loud echoes of Return to Forever and Weather Report, he’s mixing it with the best there’s ever been.
A duo followed with an extended sax intro before some chord textures on Fender Rhodes, but had he not told us in advance, I don’t think I’d have recognised it as Good Morning Heartache, which is maybe how it should be.
Most of the gig was taken from their excellent current album One, referring to ‘the unifying power of music’ and the next piece was Foretold from the album, sans Egyptian percussion but with some tampering to his tenor.
It featured the remarkable Asaf Sirkis on drums and percussion, effortlessly keeping the whole thing together, seemingly able to hold down multiple complex rhythms in tandem, gradually escalating to a percussion bombardment, Laws’ eight string laying down the bass incessantly throughout.
Next up Tyne Song dedicated to a working river (with equally famous fog) as he gloated he’d been talking about it on his nationwide tour but now it was right outside. It’s a great piece featuring a lovely subtle side to Laws’ playing, slowly turning up the heat before Tim came back in, utilising the full range of the sax.
Set one concluded with Sama’I for Peace, soprano evocative of exotic cultures but loads of plain old fusion, another Fender Rhodes solo, and all his solos throughout, on acoustic and electric were brilliant and thoughtful, before another drum outburst sent us to the break satisfied but with the relish of more to follow.
More of the same doesn’t remotely do justice to a night of great musical variety but works as a qualitative statement.
Eternal Greeting he told us referred to the infinite potential for improvisation, particularly with musicians of this calibre, though he explained it far more eloquently than I can, betraying an inquisitive intelligence. He’s also really hip, more so as he moves into the coolest decade, your fifties (obviously).
Putting his whole body into it he was like Sonny Rollins, Ant Law bringing a Spanish influence on acoustic, no doubt reflecting the reverence its composer has for Chick Corea.
Following Colours of Night, he asked Rebello to demonstrate the Fender Rhodes sound (actually on a Roland) and he played the theme from Taxi by Bob James, informing us the instrument was developed for traumatised veterans returning from Vietnam, and how ironic that it became a mainstay of Jazz-rock,. Although I suspect most people now think of Bob James as one of the architects of smooth Jazz, I was reminded how widespread it was in Jazz-funk.
We got some conical singing/ scatting from Sirkis which I’ve heard Trilok Gurtu do and somebody in Shakti (though presumably not John McLaughlin) but he seemed particularly skilled at it. He also does a little on the album.
Blues for Little Joe for his son who was in the audience though he’s no longer little, was a great group performance, and they all finished together.
A bass clarinet solo version of Black is the Colour of Her Hair, with some effects making it sound quite exotic though he forewarned us that classical musicians refer to the instrument as the ‘random note generator’.
Prototype for Bill Bruford who, he told us, played with Yes, Genesis and Earthworks though, since he was in King Crimson on and off for over twenty years, my guess is Robert Fripps’ probably now looking for Mr Garland. ‘We want to hear some more guitar’ he spoke for all of us, though he wasn’t expecting Happy Birthday for his fiftieth two days earlier as his wife brought out a cake. Then we got some more guitar and this man knows his progressive rock guitarists, his perfect clean sound justifying his position as one of the finest Jazz guitarists in the land, and one with a keen ear for exploration.
One for the son meant the encore needed to be one for the daughter; Bella Rosa renamed Rosa Ballerina to avoid confusion with a Newcastle restaurant of the same name, and in F sharp to reflect the pitch of her screaming at birth.

A handful of empty seats so next time, which probably won’t be too long, we must make sure it’s a sell-out.

1 comment :

  1. Excellent review, Steve, for a superb gig. Could well be lining up for my choice for gig of the year...

    ReplyDelete

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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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