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Bebop Spoken There

Bob Dawbarn (review of Joe Harriott's LP 'Free Form'): "Both horns scream and roar away, Keane at times doing a pretty fair imitation of an elephant angry with its keeper." - (Melody Maker, December 16, 1961).

Steve Race: "The non-musician critic knows how music ought to sound. But he cannot possibly know how it feels to create it. He is in the position of the marriage guidance counsellor who has never been married." – (Jazz News, June 6th 1962).

Archives.

Today Thursday July 27

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Rd., nr. Newcastle NE27 0DA. 1:oopm. Free.
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Tyne Valley Jazzmen - No 1 Champagne Bar, 1 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL4 7 NJ 12:30pm. Free.
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Evening.
Strictly Smokin' Big Band - The Millstone, Haddricks Mill Rd., South Gosforth NE3 3DB. 7pm. Cancelled for pub refurbishment. Back August 31.
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Alter Ego - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. £5.
Jo Harrop & Paul Edis - The Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm
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Maine Street Jazzmen - Potter's Wheel, Sunniside NE16 5EE, 8:30pm. Free.
Ray Johnson & Richard Herdman - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling St., Gateshead NE2 2BA. 8pm. Free.
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Paul Skerritt Band - The Pennyweight, Bakehouse Hill, Darlington DL1 5QA. 9pm. Free.
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Tees Hot Club w. Kevin Eland (tpt); Donna Hewitt (alto); Graham Thompson (keys); Mark Hawkins (drums) - Dormans, Oxford Rd., Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Free. 9pm.
Pocket Jazz Orchestra "Jazz & Tapas" - No 60, Arc, Dovecote St., Stockton TS18 1LL 7pm. £10.
New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton TS18 4AW. 8:30pm.01642 678129.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival @ Park View Community Centre, Chester le Street. March 4

 (Review by Russell)
Eleven o’clock Saturday morning. Coaches arriving from all points bringing an array of big band talent to Chester le Street. Volunteer stewards ensured drivers parked where they were should, rather than where they would prefer. Catering staff were already hard at work, the hot food and licensed bar were about to do good business – little wonder with six hundred and fifty musicians due to perform to hundreds of big band fans converging on Church Chare.
Saturday’s day-long programme is devoted to the Open Section. Senior bands – several of them university student big bands – converged on Chester le Street ready to engage in fierce, friendly competition hoping to be crowned champions. As has become the custom Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra led the way. The band’s conductor Charles (Charlie) Philp is an occasional jam session participant at the Jazz Café up the road in Newcastle. On this occasion he left his guitar behind to concentrate on directing his fellow students at this early hour (11:00am) in a four-song set of twenty minutes’ duration. A Don Sebesky arrangement of Take the A Train for openers (an alumnus of Durham County Youth Big Band Tom McDonald, trombone, a featured soloist) more Ellington (It Don’t Mean a Thing), then Manteca and to close, the first Gordon Goodwin chart, the all-sirens-blazing Jazz Police.
Durham University Big Band (one of several award winning bands) arrived in the nick of time. A tickled Bill Watson (Festival Director) ribbed several members of the orchestra, congratulating them on negotiating the journey from Durham to Chester le Street (approx distance five miles). To think some of these bright young things will be future captains of industry! Matthew (Matt) Jacobs is the band’s current MD. Pianist Jacobs has sat in at the Jazz Café, played small group gigs around the region and is a key figure in Durham’s thriving student-led Empty Shop jam sessions. The band’s big hitters were in the ranks including Matt McKernan (tenor) and the impressive Tristan Bacon (drums). Ellington and Jerome Kern standards formed the core of the performance. A Callum Au arrangement of Caravan followed by Bill Holman’s breezy arrangement of Ol Man River made an impression on a note-taking audience. J Dilla’s Fall in Love has been in the pad for a while with an exceptionally good version by the band’s former vocalist Laura Paul a lasting memory. It was good to see that Katie Moberly has taken on the challenge. Alto saxophonist Zach Fox almost blew the roof off the building – most impressive.
Gateshead Schools’ music education stalwart David Blakey arrived with something of a scratch band in tow. Keen to participate, several of his young charges would gain invaluable performance experience, this, the essence of the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. Work Song and Out of the Doghouse scored well with a number of strong solo contributions including Nathan Lawson doing the business playing his new black f-hole guitar, Thomas Wilkinson and Chris Watson, trumpets, and rising star saxophonist Alex Thompson.
The Infinity Jazz Orchestra began with a late change to the programme. Strike Up the Band for starters, then a trumpet feature for Mike Turner on Lil’ Darlin’ and the Wigan-based band led by Chris Langford concluded with Katherine Browning, tenor, on Hip to be Square.
Motorway delays necessitated a shuffling of the pack. Big Band Theory would be late arriving, so, stepping into the breach, Leeds College of Music Student Union Big Band conducted by the engaging Eloise Oates-Lidar, took to the stage mid-afternoon, a little ahead of schedule. A Frank Mantooth arrangement of Moonlight in Vermont with a funk feel to it, Tom Richards, tenor, made a big impression on Bill Holman’s arrangement of Stairway to the Stars and Ola Lauvås, trumpet, on Bob Mintzer’s Incredible Journey elicited the comment from one sage judge: It doesn’t get much better than that!

Conductor Danny Miller made the trip over the Pennines once again with the LIPA Big Band. An attractive looking programme on paper turned out to be an attractive programme in practice. Four numbers – Wayne Shorter’s Footprints, Greg Abate’s Kerry’s Bossa, a Miller original and Johnny’s Theme (Johnny Carson’s Tonite Show) – illustrated the orchestra’s collective talents, the sections handling with ease changes in tempi and style.

The Hexham-based Tyne Valley Big Band travels in numbers. Last year’s raiding party comprised something in the region of thirty musicians. MD Dave Hignett doesn’t do things in halves (nor does he drink halves!), boundless enthusiasm is key, and this year’s away day jaunt delivered the band’s usual power-packed performance. Trombonist Simon Hirst impressed on Sammy Nestico’s Switch in Time, the ebullient Barbara Hignett was born to sing Minnie the Moocher and a set-concluding Cajun Cookin’ served up several helpings of hot playing from, amongst others Kevin Wright, piano and a chilli peppered blast from Andrea de Vere, tenor, and the man sailing the high Cs, Alastair Lord, trumpet.

A band’s competition programme often plays it safe. Leeds Jazz Orchestra cocked a snook at any such notion. Township jazz and Charles Mingus made for an intriguing set. Kondo by Assagai (arr. Colin Byrne and Alison Sheldon) fused pared-down percussive rhythms. Two Mingus compositions (arranged by band MD Colin Byrne) challenged musicians and audience alike. Don’t be Afraid the Clown’s Afraid Too featured trombonist Richard Warrington. A well-received set from LJO, review notes read: VG programme.

Local heroes the Durham Alumni Big Band returned to participate once again at the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. MD Shaune Eland reassembled the A-team including the Robinsons (Ian and Matthew, father and son trumpeters), Alex Baker playing alto (Daniel Johnson occupying the tenor chair), and the presence of a secret weapon lurking in the trombone section…the cimbasso. Matt Roberts’ Barnard’s Loop exemplified the inherent quality of the band – the composer present in spirit only, the sections firing, doing justice to our absent local hero’s conception, solos from the excellent Dan Johnson (tenor) and Johnny Dunn (trumpet).
Leeds University Union Big Band, conductor Fergus Quill, presented a familiar, well executed programme. Rich Hodgson, trumpet, reached for the stars on Big Swing Face, Michael Ahomka Lindsay sang It Had Better Be Tonight with Eric Burger’s arrangement of Love for Sale concluding matters.

The late arriving Big Band Theory took to the stage with one further competition entry to follow. A vocal-led programme of four numbers featuring Adrian Lee-Stokes took the form of a classic Rat Pack revue. Beyond the Sea the conventional material, Jeremy Sheppard’s arrangement of Jump the not so conventional. It remained to be seen what the adjudicators made of MD Edd Maughan and his band.
  
Seven hours and more of competition would shortly draw to a close, but not before the appearance of Bolton’s The Managers Band. Saturday morning early bird arrivals had analysed and dissected the prospects of the twelve competing bands. The consensus view was that the Bolton band had to be in with a shout. Previous appearances in Sunderland had been nothing short of incendiary. The change in venue could, perhaps, bring a change in fortunes. Pianist and MD Ben Shepherd knows how to work a crowd. Ray Brown’s The Opener unleashed the tenacious tenor of Kyran Matthews taking no prisoners with a coruscating performance making the Buddy Rich Band sound positively timid by comparison! Ellington’s Sunset and the Mocking Bird scored top marks with a superb solo by clarinetist Emily Burkhardt. Bandleader Shepherd went all Basie on The Kid from Red Bank. A classic tune given the treatment – killer stuff…a winning performance? A West Side Story Medley (arr. Bill Reddie) concluded the Bolton outfit’s impressive presentation.

The Great North Big Band Jazz Festival’s adjudicators compared notes. Messrs Mick Donnelly and Adrian Tilbrook rightly took their time, a National Glass Centre trophy at stake. The stage crew set about transforming the stage for the awards presentation. An indication of the status of the event is the ongoing support offered by the University of Sunderland and the welcome presence of Pro-Vice Chancellor Graeme Thompson to present prizes to the lucky winners. Festival Director Bill Watson announced the results as follows:

Adjudicators’ Award: Eloise Oates-Lidar conductor Leeds College of Music Student Union Big Band

Adjudicators’ Award: Emily Burkhardt clarinet solo Sunset and the Mocking Bird (The Managers Big Band)                 
  
Adjudicators’ Award: Alan Taylor drums (The Managers Big Band)

Best Programme: Leeds Jazz Orchestra

Best Section: Saxophones (Durham Alumni Big Band)

Best Solo: Tom Richards alto saxophone Stairway to the Stars (Leeds College of Music Student Union Big Band)

Best Band: The Managers Band

Each award met with a roar of approval. The announcement of Best Band – The Managers Band – precipitated a standing ovation.  
Russell
       

          
      

   
                    

    

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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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