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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)

Archives

Today Sunday September 24

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Day three of three.
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Afternoon.
More Jam - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 3pm. Free.
Ian Harrington (solo piano) - Cherry Tree Restaurant, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle. 12:30pm. Free.
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Mick Shoulder's Swing Manouche - Claypath Delicatessen, Durham DH1 1QS. 0191 3407209. 4pm. £5.
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Blues @ The Bay - Tanner Smith's, 17-19 South Parade, Whitley Bay NE26 2RE, 0191 2525941. 4pm. Blues Jam w. Scott Wall & Charlie Philp.
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Musicians Unlimited - Park Hotel, Park Rd., Hartlepool TS26 9HU. 01249 233126.1pm. Free.
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Jazz Tones - Quakerhouse, Mechanics' Yard, Darlington DL3 7QF. 6pm. £4.
Somethin' Blue - Vesuvio, 3a Houndgate, Darlington DL1 5RL. 01325 788564. 5pm. Weekly.
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Evening
The Blueswater - Cluny, Lime St., Newcastle NE1 2PQ 0191 2304474. Doors 7pm. £7.
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Chris Martin - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 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.

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.

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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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