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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.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Greg Abate & Paul Edis @ Gala Theatre, Durham - November 11

Greg Abate (alto); Paul Edis (piano)
(Review by Brian Ebbatson/Photo courtesy of Jerry Edis/Collage courtesy of Brian Ebbatson)
Friday lunchtime at the Gala in Durham and an audience of 100 await expectantly the return of New England reedman/flautist Greg Abate and Northeast keyboardist Paul Edis. They launched straight into their programme of seven extended numbers and it was clear from the start that the prevailing spirit behind the music was Greg’s mentor and recording partner Phil Woods who passed away in September last year. Five of the pieces played were either from collaborations with Woods, from tributes to him, or tributes by Woods to fellow musicians.
They began with a favourite Abate opener, Jerome Kern’s All the Things You Are*, Greg stating the opening phrases on alto before launching into the melody and into an extended alto solo, Paul picking out chords and harmonies behind him, urging him on, before Greg hands over to Paul to plot his own path through the possibilities of the song. Greg came back with further elaborations on the theme culminating on a soaring and dipping finish.
The pace is slower for the next piece, The End of a Love Affair, which Greg features as a duet with Phil Woods on Kindred Spirits. Greg opens again but quickly Paul and he are taking lines in turn. As the solos develop a bluesy feel emerges, each player quoting parts of the theme as they develop their solos. They close with more exchanges before Greg finishes in a swirl from the bottom to the top of the register.
Between numbers Greg explained (if I heard him properly) that after visiting the North East last year he had left his flute on the tube in Glasgow. He had recovered it but because of the exigencies of his touring arrangements this year (he had left Cheltenham at 5.00am this morning and had to leave for Maidenhead early on Saturday) he had left it and his tenor at his Leicester base, a pity as his flute playing last year was exquisite.
On his 2015 CD Motif the flute features on the next number, his own composition Morning of the Leaves, a beautiful jazz waltz, Greg summoning up the mood of spring (or was it this autumn?) on his alto, quoting as we went along from Softly as the Morning Sunrise, Paul matching his lyricism on keys.
Greg now returned to Phil Woods and their recent joint CD (Woods’ last recording) Kindred Spirits, with Harold Arlen’s A Sleeping Bee, another beautiful melody. Greg begins with a delicate intro, a short bridge, then picks up the pace to introduce the full song line. Paul supports on piano as Greg stretches out once again with an intense but controlled solo, then Paul takes to over with his own explorations. Greg returns ranging to the lower registers before finishing on another bluesy, boppy flourish around the theme.
Greg reflected on the challenges of playing as a duet without bass and drums support, and how this helps reveal more from the material. Harder work for both, but perhaps a promise for even more exciting music at the Jazz Café in the evening with the full quartet.
Now the concert was in full swing and the final three numbers brought the audience to repeated rapturous applause. Greg jogged Paul’s memory with the chords and riffs of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird Suite before they set off through Bird’s masterpiece. Brilliant solos from both, phrases traded, quotes from amongst other numbers prompted by their improvisations, The Lady is a Tramp. It felt as if this is what they had been building up to in all the previous numbers.
A ballad, Moonlight in Vermont followed. Paul opened improvising on the chords, Greg took the theme, Paul picks up on his suggestions and takes the melody forward, before both take long solos, again quoting from other songs prompted by their improvisations. It’s as if they are picking up ideas from deep in their imagination and knowledge of the music, a sort of collage that had me musing of George Braque pictures or Kurt Schwitters assemblages.
The final number was Cedar’s Blues, another piece from Kindred Spirits, a tribute by Phil Woods to Cedar Walton. It’s a good paced blues, space for striding piano and almost funky alto, perhaps derived from Greg’s time with Ray Charles. Both players are clearly enjoying themselves, throwing phrases back and forth to each other as they develop the piece. Paul’s solo reminds me again of Horace Silver or was it Wyn Kelly? They come back to what we think is the final phrase, then suddenly Greg morphs the piece into Blue Monk, both stretch the theme out with lengthy solos building up to as real climax as Greg returns to Cedar’s Blues for a long drawn out swirling finish.
Brian E
*(Greg can be heard playing All the Things You Are here.


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