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Bebop Spoken There

Piers Paul Read: "Bruce Reynolds and Biggs shared an interest in Sex, Jazz and Hemingway." - (The Train Robbers by Piers Paul Read, Coronet Books 1979.)

George Shearing: "Speaking about Johann Sebastian Bach I think he'd be a real jazzer if he were alive today. I mean any man who has two wives, twenty kids, gets kicked out of the church for being too harmonically radical and drinks beer can't be all wrong can he?" - (Crescendo March 1984.)

Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance

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If you experience any problems posting a comment, as I understand some readers are, then email it to me direct, stating which post your comment relates to - lanceliddle@gmail.com. Alternatively, try the Anonymous button but please sign your name!
Apologies for any inconvenience, this is due to circumstances beyond my control.

Today Thursday July 19

Afternoon

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

Evening

Maine St. Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Holywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NJ. 8:30pm. Free.

Alexys de Alfaro: Guitar Dreams with Coco Vega - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling Street, Gateshead NE8 2BA. Doors 7:00pm. A ‘jar on the bar’ gig. Guitar & percussion.

Alter Ego - St James’ & St Basil’s Church, Fenham Hall Drive, Newcastle NE4 9EJ. 7:30pm. £10.00.

Jesse Bannister Quartet - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. £10.00. (£8.00. concs.). JNE.

Northern Monkey Brass Band - Jubilee Park, Spennymoor DL16. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Big BRASS Bash (Durham Brass Festival).

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

Tees Hot Club w. Donna Hewitt (alto); Josh Bentham (tenor); Dave Archbaid (keys) - Dormans Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 9pm. Free.

Jazz Jam - Fire Station, High Street West, Sunderland SR1 3DT. Tel: 0191 594 7241. 8pm. Free.

Billy's Buskers: Plug in and Play - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 7:00pm. Free.

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

CD Review: Tommy Smith Quartet - Embodying the Light

Tommy Smith (tenor); Pete Johnstone (piano); Calum Gourlay (bass); Sebastiaan de Krom (drums).
(Review by Lance).
I'd become so used to thinking of Tommy Smith and the SNJO as being joined at the hip, and I use the word advisedly, that I'd almost forgotten what a formidable player he was in a small group setting. This tribute to John Coltrane puts the record straight.
He is to Scottish Jazz what Robbie Burns was to Scottish Poetry. With Smith, the best laid schemes of mice and jazzmen don't gang aft agley. In fact, on this disc, they don't gang agley at all. Over the 50 years since 'Trane ascended he's had many disciples but few, if any, have absorbed the complete canon as well as Scotland's own Trane. From the barnstorming Prestige/Blue Note period to the spiritual searching of the Atlantic/Impulse years Smith has it nailed. Not in a cloning manner but in a very personal way.

The opener, Transformation, a Smith original, sets the stall out with a Giant Steps-like blast that lasts forever and yet still didn't seem long enough!
Coltrane's Dear Lord is shorter. A hymn that, in the eye of an unbeliever, would be classed as a ballad. Believer or infidel, it's still 3 minutes of beauty.
Embodying the Light, another Smith original, has a familiar sequence that features Gourlay and Johnstone before Smith's grand entrance. He's like a bull in a china shop with the difference being that the porcelain remains unbroken, maybe enhanced!
Naima, one of Trane's 'signature dishes' is given 'signature' treatment by Smith. Amazingly Tommy was born on the day that 'Trane died and this was recorded 50 years later on the very same day. Who says there aren't mystical forces that guide our destiny?
Resolution's full of eastern promise. Johnstone resists the call to board the next flight to Mumbai and instead, heads off to JFK where, upon landing, takes a cab down to the Village Vanguard. Smith joins him - they take the scenic route.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost from the 1966 Meditations album wasn't intended to be a disco hit and it wasn't. Not even at the church social. However, in Jazz Heaven, I'm sure both JC's have given TS their blessing - it's quite incredible.
Summertime - when in doubt, play Summertime; just don't sing it. Tommy doesn't sing it but he does swing it as do his clansmen.
Embodying the Darkness, Smith's sequel to the title track touches on 'Trane's Sheets of Sound or, as one unbeliever used to say to me, Sounds of Sheet. de Krom shines a light on the darkness that avoids you stepping in the...
Transition another tour de force from Smith, more power piano from Johnstone (also a member of award winning band Square One who impressed listeners at both the Ushaw Festival and at a JNE gig at the Bridge Hotel last year) rounds off a truly great album.
I deliberately didn't listen to the Coltrane versions, Naima was the only one I knew, I didn't want any preconceived ideas and, whatever, this album stands on its own 8 feet.
Highly recommended.
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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