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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 Saturday September 23

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Day two of three.
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Evening
Bradley Johnston (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 7:30pm. No cover charge.
Rockafellas - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
Tobie Carpenter Organ Trio - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. £10.
Thin Man + Jon Gordon - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. Free.
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Nikki Iles & Stan Sulzmann - Great Hall, Hexham Abbey, Hexham NE46 3NB. 10pm. £10/£8.
Pat McMahon Trio - Tannery, Gilesgate, Hexham NE46 3QD. 01434 605537. 9pm. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Emma Fisk and James Birkett @ St Cuthberts Church, Shadforth, Durham - December 8.

Emma Fisk (violin), James Birkett (guitar).
(Review by Steve T)
This is the second Jazz concert I've been to here, courtesy of the Lawrence mother, Allison Fenton, also vicar of the parish. It coincided with a spectacular Christmas Tree Festival, the church lined with nineteen full-size trees decorated in various themes by an assortment of local organisations.
Emma and James are two-quarters of Gypsy Jazz outfit Hot Club du Nord and this duo is something of a spin-off, stepping back a generation presenting the music of  Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti which was so influential on Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, highlighted by the ever charismatic Ms Fisk, who has taken on the role of Jazz historian and educator, setting the scene for each 'tune', observing that Sunshine was recorded the day before Django’s seventeenth [birthday].
This part of Jazz history is largely a mystery to me and I guess many others and I think this is the point and the purpose of the duo, so I'm probably the target audience. 
We also got a snippet of violin tuition introducing It's Only a Paper Moon, a piece which featured some scorching interplay between the two, as did Pardon me Pretty Baby with Emmas only plucking [pizzicato] of the evening bringing the first set spectacularly to a close.  
It being a church, and a Jazz gig (though I doubt if many are regulars at Jazz events), the sell-out audience was largely at the senior end so were more likely to recognise things like I Can't Give You Anything But Love and Lady be Good in amongst originals by a composer with a penchant for strange titles like Kicking the Cat and Black and Blue Bottom.
We were spoilt by a world premiere of Dr Birkett’s Eddie’s Lament, a beautiful tribute to an artist who, we learned. died in his early thirties.
Perhaps because we are less accustomed to hearing a single violin, you can see people falling in love with Emma’s playing, no more so than on the beautiful Someone to Watch Over Me, followed by a stroke of genius with Oh Christmas Tree, which we were told they rehearsed in the vestry. Surrounded by Christmas Trees it should have been a moment in It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on Sherburn Roada reminder of how both music and Christmas can be magical.
Anybody who is familiar with them will know what I'm writing about and anybody who isn't should familiarise themselves at the earliest opportunity.
You can see James at Blaydon on the eighteenth, then both (with a pile of other stuff) at a charity bash at Caedmon Hall in Gateshead on the twentieth, and Hot Club du Nord at the Gala lunchtime session in Durham on the thirteenth of Jan and in March at the Caff.
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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