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Bebop Spoken There

Aubrey Logan: "I chose trombone because trombone just kicks my ass, and I needed to do something that was hard" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Thursday May 23

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Rd., Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazz

Elina Duni + Trio FCT - Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. £10.00. & £8.00.

Tees Hot Club w. Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Dave Archbold (keys) - Dormans Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 8:30pm. Free.

Maine Street Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Hollywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:30pm. Free.

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm. £2.50.

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

Sunday, April 09, 2017

GIJF Day 3: Tomasz Stańko Quartet - Sage Gateshead, April 2.

Tomasz Stańko (trumpet); Alexi Tuomarila (piano); Reuben Rogers (bass); Gerald Cleaver (drums)
(Review by Hugh C).
It is always nice to be thanked in public for something you have done, but even better, perhaps, for something you have not yet done.  This does, however, put the pressure on to deliver!
By midnight, on the evening of the gig, I was already in an anonymous Travelodge, way, way  South of the Tees Delta, en route to Devon's Jurassic coast to spend a week visiting elderly relatives (not in any way dinosaurs though!).
I have now returned to my laptop, and with Lance's agreement, deliver my somewhat tardy report.
The faithful few were gathered outside the East level 1 entrance to Sage 2 just before 7 pm.  By 7.10 there was still no sign of door staff or the doors opening.  On questioning an unsuspecting Sage staff member we were told the doors opened at 7.30.  “What pre-concert talk?” was the response to our question.  Your reporter was hoping to obtain some nuggets of inside information on the main man from the billed question and answer session with jazz journalist and critic Kevin Le Gendre.  Eventually it was established that due to flight delays, the session had been cancelled.  Oh, well – back to the bar!
At the appointed hour we returned to take our seats for the gig at 8pm.  The hall was packed to the rafters, well at least from my seat in the full hall on level 1, I could see heads peeping over the parapet on levels 2 and 3.  As is customary, the gig was introduced by Serious' John Cummings.  Gerald Cleaver (drums), Reuben Rogers (bass) and Alexi Tuomarila (piano) entered and took their place on stage.  We were then asked to welcome the man with “the nattiest headgear in jazz” - Tomasz Stańko.  After a short interval whilst he sorted out the connection of his bell microphone, Stańko, replete with a fine cloth cap, took his place on a high wooden chair, from which he did not depart during the entire set.  My companion, unfamiliar with the artist, remarked that he resembled a cross between Andy Capp and David Hockney

The format for the evening was a series of extended solos interspersed by ensemble work.  Slow, thoughtful, passages followed by the merest increase in tempo.  When not playing, Stańko sat on the chair, his eyes shielded from the lights by his cap, swaying gently to the groove.  The lightening pianism of Tuomarila during one of the faster passages drew the first solo applause of the evening, the second was in response to Stańko's stratospheric glissandi.  During a bass solo by Reuben Rogers, Stańko took the opportunity to methodically dissemble his trumpet and allow the “moisture” out. 

Twenty five minutes in, there was a short pause, charts were changed on stands and with the merest nod from the leader to the pianist, the second number commenced.  This set the form for the evening.  I cannot name the pieces played, as there were no announcements, other than occasional name-checks for the band members.   I thought I recognised some of the pieces played, which from the Sage listing are from the double album, Wisłlawa – dedicated to the celebrated poet, essayist and Nobel Laureate Wislława Symborska.  I am not familiar with this work, but listening through to the latest offering (December Avenue – review to follow...) it may also contain familiar phrases. 

The first set lasted 50 minutes.  After interval refreshment we reconvened for the second half.  The format was familiar.  The second set featured exquisite bowed bass from Rogers.  Of all the band members he was most obviously enjoying himself - to the extent that he would let out the occasional whoop.  Gerald Cleaver on drums would also smile occasionally.  During one extended drum solo, Rogers put down his bass and retired to the shadows behind the piano, perhaps to protect his eardrums.  Cool Finn, Alexi Tuomarila on piano remained impassive throughout and barely acknowledged applause for his solos.  Tomasz Stańko likewise, apart from the gentlest of chair dancing, and the occasional draft from his Badoit bottled water.

The second set ended after 45 minutes.  The enthusiastic audience would not let the band go without an encore, after which there was a respectful moment of silence to allow the last chord to die away, before the final applause.  I certainly enjoyed this gig and, so apparently did other audience members.  From overheard conversations on the way out it would seem some had travelled quite a way to be present.  This was, after all, the Quartet's only UK gig in their current tour.  The Tomasz Stańko quartet played the following evening in Ruesselsheim, Germany, pictured and reviewed here.
Hugh C.

1 comment :

Russell said...

The best review of this year's GIJF.

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