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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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

William Bell @ Barbican London EFG Jazz Festival November 18.

All them Stax songs ya'll.
(Review by Steve T).
When Simon Mayo asked him (nicely) on Radio 2 last Wednesday how it fit into a Jazz Festival, he replied that Sonny Stitt once did one of his songs.
Jazz, soul, funk, blueshe went on, on the night. It's all Black Music and, at its best, it's all soulful music, and any listeners who don't get that miss so much. 
He's more youthful than you'd think from the artist who scored the first hit on Stax at the start of the sixties, but his career was interrupted by two years in the military, indicating how young he was at the time.
I'm not altogether sure when quality soul music became defined by the hits since the vast majority never went anywhere near a chart - pop or R’n’B - and Bell inevitably came under the shadow of Otis Redding, who came to dominance while Bell was in the military.
However, in my inverted world, while O was the big deal, our man was the real deal; avoiding croaky clichés, his voice clear and effortlessly full of joy and jouissance, though still exuding the grain and the pain of the very best soul voices.
Drums, bass, guitar, keys, trumpet, alto and tenor, a lone British female backing singer, all dipped in whatever river runs through Memphis. How do Memphis musicians: black or white, Stax or Hi, Goldwax or Koko, get that unique sound? Often copied, never equalled.
The set was culled from his sparse, intermittent recording career: on Stax til the early eventies, Coming Back for More on his comeback album of the same name on Mercury later in the decade, and his fine latest album This is Where I Live, back on Stax. When Simon Mayo said everybody should hear it, for once he sounded genuine.
Sods law and I'm back from the loo watching Trying to Love Two on the screens, from the seventies comeback album and my favourite of his ever, though the version by southern soul songstress Barbara Lynn is even better.
When he segued into a medley, with the potential to go on, I pleaded with the attendant to let me in, descending into an infantile soul fans don't do this cr^p as she disappeared inside.
I was back in for Stand by Me into CupidThe perennial pitfall of going to see great soul singers is that they all think we want the same 'hits' we've heard a zillion times before, and so it will continue as long as soul fans refuse to turn out and 'real' soul fails to get a voice in the media.
This is where I Liveand in another world this would be number one, on the radio, the TV, on the cover of a magazine; odd groups of girls dancing at their seats. 
Some of these dusty old records (mostly the hits) now seem passé while others seem timeless, and You'll Lose a Good Thing is of the latter.
Private Number, his most famous record in this country, and the London singer stepped up to the late Judy Clay plate wonderfully. Of the massed North East soul fraternity - myself, my Bowie, Iggy, Elvis, Beatles (in that order) loving best man and my 'everything that isn't Jazz (or Zappa) is just pop music' firstborn, all imbibed - we could only identify her as Suzie.
Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday served up his best opportunity for some serious testifyin - early in the mornin, late in the midnight hour, followed by that first hit, You Don't Miss Your Waterrevived on his Mercury comeback album.
The set ended with I Forgot to be Your Lovertaking a short diversion into Sam Cooks You Send Me.
The lights remained though some of the audience didn't - big mistake. I've now heard Born Under a Bad Sign by the two people who wrote it: William Bell and Booker T, and the man they wrote it for, Albert King. A run through each of the musicians, though names were all but inconspicuous, the keyboardist playing a real live Hammond, the singer shaking hands along the front row, and he was gone.
Time is running out to catch these giants who walked the earth while cartoon characters ruled the waves; we'll not hear their like again.
Support came from Incognito frontman Tony Momrelle, a Brit and a different generation of soul singer, in the Luther Vandross strain but without the irritating excesses. He's a fair songwriter too and is due at Hoochie in Newcastle next summer.
Steve T.  

1 comment :

  1. Just stumbled across his 74 Stax album Phases of Reality feat track Man in the Streets which topples Trying to love 2 as my favourite track of his.
    Anybody who was getting tapes from me in the 80s will know it and I believe it has had a few spins on the soul scene since.

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

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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