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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Gelly: “From 1 January 1920, when prohibition was imposed in the US, people didn’t stop drinking, they just stopped drinking legally.” – (Jazz Journal October 2017).

Regina Carter: “When I was a teenager, I would daydream about going out on a date and dancing to Ella’s music.” (Down Beat October 2017).

Today Thursday November 23

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Rd., nr. Newcastle NE27 0DA. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening.
Maine Street Jazzmen - Potter’s Wheel, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5EE.

Group Theory - The Globe. 7:30pm. £5.00. Superb Durham University quartet. Dan Garel (alto), Tom Burgess (guitar), Dylan Purches (double bass) & Tristan Bacon (drums).

BABMUS - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. £3.00. (£2.00. concs.).

TBA – Railway, Wellington St., Gateshead. 8pm.

Tees Hot Club w. Kevin Eland (trumpet); Josh Bentham (sax); Ted Pearce (keys) - Dorman’s, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. 9:00pm. Free.

Skidoo 52: The Joint Is Jumpin’ - Boldron Village Hall, County Durham DL12 9RN. 01833 638210. 7:30pm. £9.00. adult, £20.00. family.

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton TS18 4AW. 8:30pm.01642 678129.

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Bad Plus + Binker & Moses @ Sage Gateshead - November 8

The Bad Plus: Ethan Iverson (piano); Reid Anderson (bass); David King (drums).
(Review by Steve T).
Five superb musicians in two bands, each band inciting a fascinating discussion about the current state and possible future direction of Jazz. 
The Bad Plus have hit upon the idea that they can use multiple modern pop music and rock music in the way that Jazz musicians have always used the Great American Songbook. This itself was nothing new in that many of the 'great' classical composers stole melodies from European folk music, much of which is long since forgotten.
In my view, the Great American Songbook are amongst the greatest songs ever written and, at least prior to Sinatra, were not automatically associated with specific artists. In my view, neither of these statements are necessarily true of modern pop music. However, they feature melodies: verses and choruses which people of a certain age know, which gives them a head start playing Bad Plus music. In other words, I believe the song to be less important than what the artist does with it.
The Bad Plus covers repertoire is varied, ranging from Stravinsky to Johnny Cash, and no two people will agree on which originals are good and which are naff, but this doesn't seem to be a reliable guide anyway; I never imagined I could enjoy versions of records by Blondie and Nirvana.
Furthermore, reading notes on their albums the band don't make qualitative statements about the songs they cover but talk about lovingly or ruthlessly deconstructing them.
Tonight we got deconstructed versions of songs by Cindy Lauper, Crowded House, Kraftwerk and Johnny Cash, the latter stretching my theory to the limit. There was another piece which sounded like a famous classical piece I couldn't name but turned out to be an original, possibly influenced by it. Furthermore, as so often happens, the band originals worked equally as well as the more familiar covers. 
When they announced the last number, it seemed as if they'd only just arrived but, on checking, they'd been on for over an hour. In a frail voice, which could have been Paul Simon, bass player Reid Anderson sang about how cold Gateshead is but where they come from is even colder and, if Trump wins the election (and writing this at 5am it's almost certain he has), they'll be coming to live here.
An encore and a few left but they were all back for a second encore, a rarity for a band these days which earned them rapturous applause.

Economic conditions have factored prominently in the history of Jazz, in the evolution of the standard quintet when so few bandleaders could maintain big bands, and the Hammond trio where (mostly but not exclusively) guitarists could have one person playing Hammond in place of bass and piano.
In the current climate, particularly in this country, it is far more financially viable to play as part of a duo. If one is a piano, clearly that will make a huge difference, and there are things you can do with two guitars, but how does it work with sax and drums? 
Binker and Moses: Binker Golding (tenor sax) and Moses Boyd (drums).
Binker and Moses did three pieces over about thirty minutes. The first and last were particularly free-form, though a few minutes into the first, it settled into some good old 4/4, though clearly with lots of embellishment. The middle piece was far more melody driven, and one of those things that sounds like you've always known it, complete with Latin style rhythms, but I felt would have benefited from a bass. The final piece had them both going full pelt and could have so easily been a mess, but the extraordinary musicianship and telepathy between them ensured it never faltered. 
The template for sax and drums must be Interstellar Space by Coltrane but I confess I could never get away with it, though I've been promising myself for years I'd revisit it. I think every Joe Lovano album I've ever heard has a sax/drums duo and it works really well so I think a track on an album and a support spot is fine, but I'm not sure if it's sustainable over an album or for a major headline act.
A good night - Irene and James Birkett agreed - and plenty to talk about.   
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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