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Bebop Spoken There

Randy Brecker: "It's still a thrill for me today to stand out front of a big band as the soloist and hear all that sound going on behind you. It brings the best out of me" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Wednesday May 22

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Julija Jacenaite & Alan Law - Jazz Café, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 261 5618. 2:00pm. Free. Café Mezzanine (first floor, access via crafts shop).

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Blues

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

CD Reviews: Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus - The Distance. Jakob Bro Trio - Streams.

Michael Formanek (bass), Thomas Fujiwara (drums), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Kris Davis (piano), Patricia Brennan (marimba), Mark Helias (conductor).
Brass - David Ballou, Ralph Alessi, Shane Endsley, Kirk Knuffka, Alan Ferber, Jacob Garchik, Ben Gerstein, Jeff Nelson.
Reeds - Loren Stillman, Oscar Noriega, Chris Speed, Brian Settles, Tim Berne.
(Review by Steve T).
Reviewing ECM CDs is a bit like the American election - even this one; or for that matter a British election, though that may be changing. 40% of readers will have both of them already and another 40% wouldn't have either in the house.
I'm one of the undecideds - the Lib Dems, the independents - with a love-hate relationship with the label.

The Distance works as an entire album so singling out specific tracks is irrelevant. It starts slowly and sounds very much classical, but with light drums and compelling bass playing which runs throughout the album, and it was only after the first play I found out the band takes the bass players name.
Gradually it transforms into something more akin to the Miles/Gil Evans collaborations from the late fifties, with which it shares its holistic qualities.
The 'boring' bits are there to make the great bits even greater and you lose so much if you pull out Summertime or It Ain't Necessarily So out of Porgy and Bess.
In fact this album may well have been made for me as the Zappa influence comes through louder and clearer as it progresses, though solely in Strictly Genteel mode.
Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Alan Ferber on trombone and Mary Halvorson on guitar deserve mention for particularly striking solos.

Jakob Bro (guitar), Thomas Morgan (double bass), Joey Baron (drums).
This is the type of stuff critics of the label point at, myself included. A famous musician visiting the North East compared ECM to walking in the mountains above the fjords in Norway and this album is certainly from the very low key end of things. I know many people like this and indeed, this is the very quality that they look for from the label, pointing out that it's always done terribly tastefully.
Track four, Full Moon Europais the only track which produces any real fireworks but, like John Abercrombie’s bass trio stuff on the label, this is in no small part due to some inventive swirling drumming, though the guitar also has a rockier edge.
For the undecided needing a nudge, my vote goes The Distance.
Steve T.

2 comments :

Hugh said...

So, Formanek trumps Bro!

(I'll get my coat)

Steve T said...

BumBum.

Turns out I saw Bro in Cheltenham with Lee Konitz and Dave Douglas a couple of years back. Having seen Konitz eighteen months earlier, he'd really lost the plot and the gig was a mess.
I t was billed as a super-group and the Asian lady on the bass was terrific though she looked terrified (they were about to take it on tour), but Dave Douglas, in mischievous Bob Downey Junior mode, spotted a free run and dazzled.
I remember the guitarist played a telecaster, apparently the preferred solid body guitar for Jazz.

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