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Bebop Spoken There

Curtis Stigers: “I’m a jazz singer. I’m not a saxophonist. When I stand in front of a band like the Danish Radio Big Band or Ronnie Scott’s, I usually tend to leave the instrument on the stand.” – (The Northern Echo 20 July 2017)

Tamsin Austin, Director of Performance Programme, Sage Gateshead: “SummerTyne is our largest festival and we absolutely love it!” – (The Northern Echo 20 July 2017)

Today Saturday July 22

Afternoon
SummerTyne Americana Festival 2017 - Sage Gateshead. Day two of three. Details. From 12 noon all day.
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Evening
Steve Glendinning (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 7:30pm. No cover charge.
The Hookahs - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
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Big Chris Barber Band - Alnwick Playhouse. 7:30pm. £21.50/£20.50.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

CD Review: Alex Levine Quartet - Towards the Center

Alex Levine (guitar); Marcus Elliot (tenor); Ben Rolston (bass); Stephen Boeegehold (drums).
(Review by Lance).
This one hit the street in October last year (yes 2016 is now in the past!) but, just as it was nearing the top of the pile, a blockbuster would drop onto the player pushing the Alex Levine Quartet back down the queue.
Towards the Center isn't a blockbuster - it's too subtle for that - and certainly doesn't deserve to be overlooked so, belatedly, here it is.
It's dedicated to the visionary musician, poet, and artist, Henry Grimes who provided Levine with immeasurable creative wisdom and guidance during many hours of private lessons both playing and in conversation. 
One of Levine's all-original compositions on the album, Adama, is inspired by Grimes' poem Adama and Porquory. The poem and the composition is a spiritual history of human beings beginning with total harmony, unity of purpose and understanding, to disorder and conflict, and disparate human mythologies created to define the inexplicable forces that have shaped our universe.
Phew!
This takes 2:43. which sure puts the Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works (90:00) into perspective. Having said that, beautiful as the piece is I don't think there is enough mood change to convey the poem's intention. Nevertheless, outstanding bass playing from Rolston both as a soloist and intertwining with Levine, combine to make for an introspective and compelling track.
Putting the spiritual history to one side and listening to all  13 tracks without the distraction of human mythologies and inexplicable forces it is an excellent session by four superb musicians. Elliot can mix it with the best. Like Levine, he plays with a knowledge of the past and an eye to the future. Levine's compositions are a credit, not just to his mentor Grimes, but to his own creativity. The interplay between guitar and tenor is mutually complemental and I'm sure there will be more from them.
Boeegehold's drums fit the mood and hold it all together.
But perhaps Michael Malis, in his notes, made the moist relevant comment re the album's title.
"When we seek recognition we look outward. But when we seek wisdom we look Toward the Center."
Lance.

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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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