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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

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Today Tuesday September 26

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Black Bull, 98 Front St., East Boldon NE36 0SG. 1pm. Free. 0191 5365127. 2nd of 6 consecutive gigs. 2 mins from East Boldon metro.
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Evening
Maine Street Jazzmen - Royal British Legion, West Jesmond Ave., Newcastle NE2 3EX. 8:30pm. £5.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Reflections on London 2016

(By Steve T)
In terms of artists featured, it's hard to imagine there's a better festival anywhere in the world. The first time there's been something I'd really like to see every night over the ten: Gil Evans tribute feat Andy Sheppard, Kandace Springs, James Blood Ulmer, Robert Glasper, Dave Holland etc., Christian Scott, Marcus Strickland, William Bell, Murray/Carrington/Allen and Wayne Shorter. And that means missing Garbarek/Gurtu and the Cookers and not including afternoons (including Zoe/Andy) and late night sessions. And some will no doubt be screaming at their computer over someone I've excluded. 
However, for someone who grew up in a small city and lives in a large hamlet 250 miles north, it can all be a bit daunting and there's always a sense of relief at the end of it all: no tickets lost, all trains caught, connections made, venues found.

The problem with the London Jazz Festival, and this may be true of other large cities across the world, is that it isn't what most people think of as a festival, where everything is in a specific locality. Indeed, most of the people you come into contact with aren't part of it and many will be oblivious it's going on.
It's really just hundreds of Jazz and related artists performing in the capital during a particular ten days each November. Moreover there's likely to be a Jazz gig the night before and the night after so it could be argued the dates are arbitrary. Londoners may take it in their stride but to the occasional visitor, and I'm fortunate with a best mate in Camden, it's a bit scary.
Another problem is that each of the venues seem to act independently of each other, with no synchronisation and events announced gradually over the preceding months. Consequently, it's possible to book tickets for one concert only to find something you would prefer to go to announced later for the same date. I'm sure this will have happened last year when Keith Jarrett was parachuted in late in the day.
Perhaps no single venue exists which could cope with the bulk of it, or a large chunk of it to act as a base of operations, or which would be prepared to set ten days aside. The Barbican would be an obvious contender and Rich Mix had a fantastic first weekend, but it's a small venue in Bethnal Green and I don't even know if that's anywhere near the Barbican.
Ronnie Scott’s and Pizza Express are established Jazz venues and quite near to each other, but they're both relatively small and in the centre and busiest area of London.
This was my fifth consecutive year and all of the six main gigs were fantastic. I'll be amazed if next year, there isn't one artist who will convince me to go, or two or three over more or less consecutive nights. However, I confess that if not, there will be an element of relief.

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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