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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
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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.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

CD Review: The Mark Williams Trio - Last Bus to Bensham

Mark Williams (guitar), Paul Susans (bass) & Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell)
From Belfast to Gateshead, Mark Williams has made his home on Tyneside. A Newcastle College graduate, the Irishman has made a considerable contribution to the north of England’s jazz scene over the best part of two decades. A ‘first call’ sideman, Williams isn’t the type to shout the odds – more a self-deprecating, dry wit. Last Bus to Bensham is Williams’ second album as leader which comprises eight compositions written by the master guitarist.

Mike had a sense of humour!

The passing of Mike Carr (seen here with guitarist Willie Payne) reminded me of some emails we exchanged a few years ago. His friend Adrian had collated a lot of quotes which Mike hoped would make me laugh as much as they did him.
Well Mike, they certainly did - and still do. Thank You.
Lance.

"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them." Richard Strauss.
"One of the perks of being an unemployed musician is that you get to play much less bad music." Jack Daney.
"After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." Aldous Huxley.
"Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all. Music expresses itself. “Igor Stravinsky.

RIP Mike Carr

It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of organist Mike Carr. Mike, born in South Shields, was considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest jazz organists although, when I first encountered him he was playing piano and vibes with northeast band the Emcee Five. I spent quite a few heady evenings listening to the band at the old Down Beat Club in Newcastle. It was a stellar line-up with Mike’s brother Ian on trumpet and flugel, Gary Cox on tenor, Malcolm Cecil on bass and Ronnie Stephenson on drums.
Playing mainly originals in a style based on the Jazz Messengers there have been few better bands to have emerged from the northeast than the Emcee Five – as, according to legend, some members of the Basie Band found out when they dropped by after a City Hall concert.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition - Agrima

Rudresh Mahanthappa (alto/comp/electronics); Rez Abbasi (guitar); Dan Weiss (kit/tabla).
(Review by Lance)
I don't claim to know a lot about Asian music - jazz or otherwise - however, I know good sax playing when I hear it and Mahanthappa blows good sax [alto]. Even when spiced up with a variety of devices that were once the exclusive property of guitarists he still delivers. At times it sounds almost like bebop bagpipes and I can detect an occasional suggestion of a highland fling. Mainly though, it's east Asian folk/jazz and none the worse for that. 

Courtney Pine: Black Notes from the Deep @ Sage Gateshead - September 21

Courtney Pine (tenor saxophone, bass flute & EWI), Robert Mitchell (piano & organ), Vidal Montgomery (double bass), Robert Fordjour (drums) & Omar (vocals)
(Review by Russell)
Courtney Pine made the journey north ahead of the release of his new album. Sage Gateshead’s jazz and soul fans turned out to hear what he and Omar have been getting up to in the studio.The former Jazz Warrior is currently playing tenor saxophone for the first time in ten years. Would this re-engage some of his long-time fans who were, perhaps, growing tired of his preoccupation with bass clarinet? A half hour delay to the advertised start time encouraged ticket holders to hang in the bar and have another one.

Digital Review: Ella Fitzgerald - Ella with the London Symphony Orchestra

Gregory Porter duetting with Ella Fitzgerald? It's true! Well, it's virtual truth thanks to modern technological sorcery. This being her centennial year, someone had the brilliant idea of taking some of Ella's late Decca/early Verve recordings and adding skilfully charted orchestral scores* played by the London Symphony Orchestra. 
It's all done seamlessly and inoffensively and whilst the originals sound jazzier (even though the vocal is the same!) I can live with both.
Porter teams up with Ella on People Will Say We're in Love and it is a match made in heaven (in Ella's case, literally). A duo album in real time would have been something! Originally it was just Ella with Ellis Larkins on piano.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

RIP Jake LaMotta

Former world middleweight champion Jake LaMotta passed away on Tuesday (Sept. 19) age 95. LaMotta, who was champ from 1949-51, fought in an era when the 160lb division contained some of the toughest fighters ever. LaMotta, Sugar Ray Robinson, Tony Zale, Marcel Cerdan, Rocky Graziano just some of the names that held the title. LaMotta achieved even greater recognition after he'd retired due to the award-winning film of his colourful life - Raging. Bull - with Robert De Niro as LaMotta.
"What's this got to do with jazz?" I hear you ask.
Well, er, actually, nothing...
...apart from this quote:
He and Robinson became the perfect foils for each other,” boxing historian Larry Merchant said. “The fact they fought six times says something about their styles as well as their abilities. One guy was a jazz pianist and the other was a drummer.”
Lance.

The Peter Fielding Story (continued)

The interest in former bandleader Peter Fielding continues via his grandson Miki Volpe. Miki, ex-Guildhall violin student and later a detective with The Met, sent us these two photos.
One is of his father, Mike Fielding, drummer and bandleader in his own right whilst the other is of Peter Fielding himself. Miki, from his home in Spain where he and his wife now live after they both retired from The Met, tells me he inherited and still has, the Gibson mandolin that his grandfather is pictured with.
If instruments could only talk, what fascinating tales they would tell...
Lance.

World Peace Day - Today!

Petroc Trelauney announced on Radio3's Breakfast programme this morning that today is World Peace Day (while not having any great hopes of this being acknowledged where it needs to be), and played Bill Evans Peace Piece. 6.45 minutes of brilliant, uplifting musicianship! For those (few?) who don't know the piece, here it is: Bill Evans "Peace Piece"
Brian Ebbatson.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

CD Review: Brian Landrus Orchestra - Generations

Where does one begin? How does one classify such an ambitious undertaking? Generations crosses the genres in an unprecedented manner to the extent that it's undefinable.
Undefinable, and compelling. Where will it go next? As ambitious a work as I've heard from any of the composers who go in for this form of cross-fertilisation.
Landrus, needless to say, is at the core of things. The Jeru Concerto displays his undouubted virtuosity on baritone sax. A four movement composition dedicated to his son who, when Landrus first began writing the piece, had yet to be born. It was also inspired by another giant of the baritone - Gerry Jeru Mulligan. In between the first and second movements, there is an interlude where the composer really cuts loose with an unaccompanied solo that is, for want of a better word, breathtaking!

The Jazz Café All Stars - September 19

(Review/photos by Russell)
An acquaintance suggested it would be difficult, if not impossible, to convey just how good this one was. Newcastle’s Jazz Café has long since established itself as host to the premier jam session on Tyneside. A good session is all but guaranteed, attracting some of the finest musicians on the local scene and from further afield. The place was busy well before the eight o’clock start with more than a few big hitters among the early arrivals – this one had all the makings of a particularly good night.
Paul Edis led the session working with Paul Grainger and Russ Morgan. My Romance opened the set, followed by Michel Legrand’s Watch What Happens. What happened next prompted your front row reviewer to scribble GO HOME!!! Nothing could follow Edis’ show-stopping version of  Bye Bye Blackbird featuring blinding piano playing with bassist Grainger and drummer Morgan right up there in the stratosphere. It was early, the place was full, the cheering had to be heard to be believed.

Preview: Classic Swing @ Ashington Jazz Club - October 4

Ashington Jazz Club is back with another new band called Classic Swing featuring an entertaining program of classic swing, jazz, blues & vocals.
The quintet features international trumpet star Bob Wade with Jim McBriarty on reeds, pianist Malcolm Armstrong, Alan Rudd on bass and vocalist Olive Rudd.
The event is upstairs at the Elephant pub in Ashington on October 4th. Showtime is 8pm to 10pm. Admission is £6 on the door
The concert is part of Ashington Jazz Clubs 35th anniversary as well as Ashington Town’s 150th-anniversary celebrations
For further information and poster see the clubs updated website:-
John Taylor

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

2017 BJA Nominations announced - vote now

The British Jazz Awards are with us once more and the nominations, for this the 31st consecutive year, have been announced. To place your vote, follow the link below. There is, as you will see,  an excellent list of quality musicians in many different fields of jazz. There is also, should you disagree with the nominations, space for your own nomination. You can vote by following the link below (voting closes October 30).
Lance.

Emily Bacon’s Good Time Gang @ The Globe - September 17

Emily Bacon (piano, vocals); Liz Bacon (clarinet); Peter Wright (trumpet); Jeff Milner (trombone, vocals); Sarah Thatcher (banjo, tenor guitar); Spike Kennedy (bass); Paul Bacon (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex)
‘B flat’ said Paul Bacon as I entered the Globe for some lunchtime entertainment. The Old Spinning Wheel In The Parlour was played, good time, danceable, New Orleans music, vintage jazz straight from the jazz history books, but well worth listening to today for its irrepressible tunes and sheer sense of fun. Essay question for music students: ‘Discuss the differences between today’s performance and the bebop style jazz played by the Safe Sextet at the Globe on Thursday.’  Jazz indeed covers a wide spectrum. 

CD Review: Claudia Morris - Here's to Life

Claudia Morris (vocals); Liam Dunachie (piano/keys); Conor Chaplin (bass); David Ingamells (drums); Al Cherry (guitar); Alex Garnett (sax); George Hogg (trumpet/flugel); Laura Stanford, Penny Ainscow, David Lopez (violins 1,2,3); Daisy Spires (viola); Jessica Cox (cello); Claire Finley (backing vocals).
(Review by Lance)
I first encountered Claudia Morris back in 2011 on her album  Twelve O'Clock Tales. I was hooked.
Two years later, Ann Alex was equally impressed with Secret Love - Claudia's Doris Day celebration.
Now, the ball's back in my court with her latest - Here's to Life.
The standard hasn't dipped - far from it! The voice has mellowed, the theatrical approach has lessened without any loss of emotion and there is warmth exuding by the thermload.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Black Notes from The Deep

(Preview by Russell)
Last year Courtney Pine appeared with Zoe Rahman at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival. Sage One’s audience heard Pine playing exclusively bass clarinet. Of late, Jazz Warriors’ alumnus Pine has returned to playing tenor saxophone for the first time in something like ten years. Music to the ears of some jazz fans!
A young Courtney Pine blew some great tenor in a small group format and his forthcoming concert with British soul singer Omar at Sage Gateshead promises, once again, a touch of tenor madness!

Hand to Mouth @ Blaydon Jazz Club - September 17

Lindsay Hannon (vocals) & Bradley Johnston (guitar)
(Review by Russell)
Hand to Mouth – it could be a commentary on the precarious existence of many a jazz club. This Hand to Mouth is Lindsay Hannon and Bradley Johnston. Less than one year ago at Newcastle’s Jazz Café the duo produced a stunning debut performance. They followed up at the Lit and Phil, and now, a Blaydon Jazz Club engagement at the Black Bull.
Ella Fitzgerald recorded a series of late career duet albums with guitarist Joe Pass. Essentially a definitive take on the Great American Songbook (Ella garnered a Grammy award), the material is timeless, and here we are in the early years of the new century with Lindsay and Bradley looking afresh at the cannon. A couple from Take Love Easy (1973) for starters – the title track and Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You? Lindsay’s phrasing and recall of a lyric is nothing short of remarkable; not a lyric sheet in sight and a high stakes playfulness with the words. Bradley has studied online archive footage of the great Joe Pass. To hear the Wearside based guitarist recreate the master guitarist’s signature sound proved to be spellbinding.

You Don’t Know What Drink Is

You don’t know what drink is
Until you’ve learned the meaning of the booze
Until you’ve bought a round you didn’t choose
You don’t know what drink is

You don’t know how lips hurt
Until you’ve drunk and had to pay the cost
Until you’ve flipped your glass and your drink’s lost
You don’t know what drink is

Do you know of a lost weekend?
Friends tell you if you’ll listen
And how lips that taste real ale
Lose their taste for Guinness

You don’t know how eyes burn
For nights spent in the pub and on the street
Until you’ve had a hangover complete
You don’t know what drink is
 Ann Alex

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pocket-sized jazz at a capacity Dun Cow

Bebop Spoken Here’s roving County Durham correspondent Tony Eales reports a full house on Friday (Sept. 15) for a first ever jazz gig at the Dun Cow. The pub on Old Elvet in Durham City offered the Pocket Jazz Orchestra* a gig and it paid off all round. After a slow start the pub filled up with jazz and non-jazz (converts?) fans making it a standing room only affair. The publican could be on to something and the band could well be back. Watch this space! 
Russell. 
*Mark Toomey, alto, Paul Donnelly, guitar, Jeremy McMurray, piano, Peter Ayton, bass.

Berlin Jazz Quartet @ St James’ & St Basil’s Church, Newcastle - September 16*

Ulrich Hübner (tenor saxophone), Max Arsava (piano), Leo Helgert (double bass) & Jonas Sorgenfrei (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Four young music degree students drove from Germany to Tyneside (autobahn, a cross-Channel ferry, motorway) to undertake a tour playing five gigs in five days – two churches, a church hall, a sixth form college, and a recently revived community music venue. Studying at prestigious music conservatoires, members of the quartet had worked together in numerous combinations but it was this short tour that afforded them a first opportunity to perform together as the Berlin Jazz Quartet.
St James’ and St Basil’s Church in the Fenham area of Newcastle is one of many venues utilised by Master Musicians International to facilitate performance opportunities for classical musicians – emerging and established – and this Saturday lunchtime concert featuring the Berlin Jazz Quartet was a new venture. Happily, the event was well supported. Those thinking they were about to hear something like Acker Bilk were in for a surprise!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

CD Review: The Brass Funkeys - Rabble Rouser.

Rob Smith, Matt Letts (trumpets); Tom Green, Vij Prakash (trombones); Dave Robinson (tenor); Rob Slater/John Caddick (sousaphones); Scott Jowett (drums); Chris Brice (percussion) + Jack Banjo Courtney (trumpet on 1 track); Chris Saunders (trombone on 2 tracks).
(Review by Lance).
The jazz brass band marching tradition may have begun in New Orleans at the turn of the last century but it has long since spread far beyond its Louisiana roots. In the northeast of England, the Northern Monkey Brass Band, nee Horndogs, have long been firm favourites. Moving further south, the New York Brass Band are familiar figures in and about Old York whilst, even further south again, London has the Brass Funkeys heard here on this, their second album.

CD Review: Sam Boshnack Quintet - The Nellie Bly Project

Samantha Boshnack (composer, trumpet, vocals); Beth Fleenor (clarinet, bass clarinet); Alex Chadsey (piano, keyboards); Isaac Castillo (upright/electric bass); Max Wood (drums); Valerie Holt, Anne Mathews (vocals tracks 1 and 3); Anne Whitfield (spoken vocals tracks 2 and 4)
(Review by Ann Alex).
Sam Boshnack, a bandleader based in Seattle, works with various ensembles and has been influenced by free jazz, Cuban rhythms and modern jazz. She has at least 4 previous albums to her credit, such as Go To Orange (2013) and Exploding Syndrome (2014). I enjoyed The Nellie Bly Project, which was as I expected from the notes supplied, full of a free jazz feel, lots of repeated riffs and unusual sounds.  In fact I must quote from the blurb in Downbeat ‘...’open voicings, jaunty tempos and buoyant timbral mixes have a friendly monster feel that achieves a bittersweet and elegiac mood of orchestral grandeur.’ 

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Safe Sextet with Debra Milne @ The Globe September 14

Debra Milne (vocals); Don Forbes (trumpet); John Rowland (tenor sax); Steve Summers (various saxes); Joel Brown (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Mark Robertson (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex)
A stonkingly good night of jazz, which could even be an ‘I was there’ occasion for at least 2 reasons:-
Joel Brown, depping for Alan Law, gave a stunning performance on the keys, which made me wonder if he’s lying about his age. His lively, inventive, performance matched that of the other musicians, who must surely be 30 years (ahem!) or so his senior. And we witnessed the first performance of a new tune in the making, as Don gave out scores which were the basis of a tune which played out initially as a slow steady trumpet, with each instrument gradually picking it up and culminating with a slow bass solo. I think Don said it was called Silence and it was somehow connected with John Cage, but Don was giving lots of entertaining chat anyway.

Perpetual Motion Machine + A.S.B.O @ The Bridge Hotel – September 10.


 PMM: Riley Stone-Lonergan & Ben Lowman (saxes); Sam Dunn & Jamie Taylor (guitars); Garry Jackson (bass); Steve Hanley (drums)
A.S.B.O: Adam Sinclair (drums); Ian ‘Dodge’ Paterson (bass); Paul Edis (Moog Bass Synth) + Graham Hardy (trumpet)
 (Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).
After the heady experience of Spirit Farm the previous week it was no surprise that there was standing room only for Jazz North East’s latest offering - last Sunday night’s eclectic double bill at The Bridge.
Perpetual Motion Machine hail from Manchester and have an interesting line up which includes 2 saxes and 2 guitars. Their set comprised of a number of styles: - jazz funk, jazz rock, cinematic jazz and, for the final piece, spoken word. There was some interesting interplay between the dual guitars and saxes which kept one’s attention throughout. I imagine that would they be better heard in a livelier, stand up, venue since the music certainly had a dancy feel to it.

Theatre Review: The Suitcase @ Northern Stage - September 14

(Review by Russell)
Timi and Namhla gather up their few possessions and step off a train. Wide-eyed, a new chapter in their lives is about to begin, village life behind them, life in the big city is their future. Centre stage a simple raised platform functions as a train, later as the Ngobese’s home. Looking for work day after day, Timi strides the stage, knocking on countless doors, to no avail. Pregnant Namla occupies the platform – the couple’s humble abode. Pitso, our storyteller, steps forward, developing the narrative as the on-stage musicians frame the unfolding drama.
The Suitcase is James Ngcobo’s adaptation of a short story written by Es’kia Mphahele. Apartheid South Africa in the fifties, unjust laws, pass books, daily discrimination, yet the story is one of great humour and, initially, hope. Timi, played by Siyabonga Caswell Thwala, is the butt of jokes and the victim of apartheid's ugly ideology. A character wholly good, the audience knows of Timi’s one and only lapse in judgement, yet few would consider criticising his actions. All the characters in the play are likeable sorts, who, to all intents and purposes, are Timi.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Preview: Hand to Mouth - Lindsay Hannon & Bradley Johnston @ Blaydon Jazz Club.


(Photo courtesy of Mike Tilley).
In the centenary year of the birth of the one and only Ella Fitzgerald, Lindsay and Bradley pay tribute to Ella's unsurpassed duets with legendary guitarist Joe Pass. 
Black Bull, Bridge St., Blaydon NE21 4JJ.
Sunday, September 17 - 8pm - £5.00.
Roly

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2017 All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards Nominations Announced

(Press release)


The nominations have today been announced for the 2017 ParliamentaryJazz Awards, Britain’s premier awards for the jazz loving public and fans of the music from both Houses of Parliament.

The nominees include a broad array of jazz talent from the UK jazz scene.
Supported by PizzaExpress Live and sponsored by Peroni the award categories reflect the ever-increasing scope of talent from within the UK’s jazz scene: Jazz Vocalist of the Year; Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year; Jazz Album of the Year; Jazz Ensemble of the Year; Jazz Newcomer of the Year; Jazz Venue of the Year; Jazz Media Award; Jazz Education Award; and the Services to Jazz Award.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September at The Jazz Cafe - from the 1920s to Infinity

(Press release/Fisk/Birkett photo by Lance - Noonan photo courtesy of Ken Drew))
The Jazz Café will be hosting two major events during September: Emma Fisk’s Hot Club Du Nord plus Birkett and Fisk on Friday 15 and Sean Noonan’s Memorable Sticks on Friday 22.
Both Hot Club Du Nord and the duo of Birkett and Fisk are led by the virtuoso jazz violin of Emma Fisk and feature the walking compendium of early jazz guitar styles, James Birkett. The duo recreates the music of Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang, the Italian - American pioneers of hot violin and guitar jazz in the 1920s and 30s. The quartet takes a fresh look at the classic 1930s and 40s Hot Club repertoire of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli who, influenced by Venuti and Lang and, in Django’s case, under the noses of the Nazis, became the first European jazz stars. A welcome return by both bands to The Jazz Café and a treat for connoisseurs of swinging string jazz and lovers of all things vintage. www.hotclubdunord.co.uk

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Suitcase arrives at Northern Stage

Timi and his pregnant wife Namhla leave their rural home for the bright lights of the big city. The
newly married couple hope to make their fortune but the reality of unemployment hits them hard.  One day a desperate Timi makes a life-changing decision when he steals a suitcase left on a bus.  
Written and set in 1950s South Africa, Es’kia Mphahele’s short story The Suitcase is based on a true story and this stage adaptation by directorJames Ngcobo explores the dramatic twists and turns and frightening consequences of Timi’s impulsive action.

The Ushaw Ensemble: St Cuthbert’s Suite and The Sound of Achill @ The Gala Studio, Durham - August 25


(Review by Brian Ebbatson)
The Ushaw Ensemble was put together by Musical Director Paul Edis to perform Paul’s St Cuthbert Suite on the occasion of St Cuthbert’s Day 2016 at Ushaw College and in the Chapel in Durham Cathedral. This was - to my knowledge - only its third public performance.
Paul was somewhat nervous as to how the Durham Gala Lunchtime concert audience would respond to longer compositions, requiring more engagement. However, his two pieces were received with the warmth and appreciation now customary at these concerts. Many in particularly commented on the depth and inventive narrative of the music, as well as its interpretation by the band.

CD Review: Enrico Pieranunzi Trio - Yesterdays.

Enrico Pieranunzi (piano);  Mads Vinding (bass); Alex Riel (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Recorded live in 1997, at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse, and released 20 years later, Yesterdays may seem an appropriate title. However, listening to the Jerome Kern tune of the same name that occupies the first 11:30 of the album, I'd have plumped for Today. The album notes make comparision with Keith Jarrett and maybe there are similarities but, to me, Pieranunzi is much more accessible and he swings. Swings, not in a historical way but in the present time. It may have been recorded 20 years ago but it could have been recorded 20 minutes ago and no one would have known!

Preview: Emily Bacon's Good Time Gang @ The Globe Sunday September 17, 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM. New Orleans style traditional jazz

Emily Bacon (vocal); Peter Wright (trumpet); Liz Bacon (clarinet); Jeff Milner (trombone); Sarah Thatcher (banjo/tenor guitar); Spike Kennedy (bass); Paul Bacon (drums).
(Press release)
A special Sunday lunch time trad jazz session (bar food - bacon? - will be available).
Paul and Liz Bacon were formerly known as "The Mississippi Dreamboats". However, time has seen the band evolve and their daughter Emily is now heading up "The Good Time Gang". They are still rooted in the New Orleans style of jazz, surrounding themselves with musicians who are inspired by the Good Time Bands of the 40s, 50s and 60s.
Jeff Milner on trombone is a true exponent of the Jim Robinson style from the George Lewis Band and Liz continues to be inspired by George Lewis. Sarah Thatcher on banjo and tenor guitar works in a great partnership with Spike Kennedy on bass and Paul on the drums, playing the solid beat of the dance halls of New Orleans. Emily's vocal repertoire includes well-known jazz standards, blues and spirituals.
Admission £5 on the door.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Blue in Green

I got in the car yesterday afternoon, put the radio on and what should be playing but JRR and the unmistakeable sound of Grant Green. What a great player with a joyous solo style. The track was Jean De Fleur
Next track was pianist Barry Green (pictured with Emillia Martensson back in 2012 - ed.) in duo with bassist Dave Green! A lovely rendition of I'll be Around. He stayed fairly close to the melody but what a great pianist with an intimate style that really draws you in. I found it quite compelling. I already knew his name but not much about him. Had a look at his website. Some really beautiful playing. Anyone who doesn't already know of this fine UK player might like to check him out. 
Roly

Jazz Café October, 2017, Press Release.

Andersson / Pringle / Banner /Pereira 7th October and Michael Messer’s Mitra at The Jazz Cafe 27th October 2017
The 7th October visit to The Jazz Cafe of Andersson / Pringle / Banner / Pereira marks the third appearance at the venue by the group’s pianist Mark Pringle. He first appeared in September 2015 with his critically acclaimed Moveable Feast Trio (The Independent described Mark at this time as “stupendously talented”) and returned in 2017 in a stunningly good duo with trumpeter Tom Syson.

Virtuoso Jazz Trio @ St George’s URC, Morpeth - September 9


George MacDonald (clarinet), James Birkett (guitar) & Bruce Rollo (double bass)
(Review by Russell)
Heritage Open Days’ weekend happened to coincide with a concert appearance by the Virtuoso Jazz Trio. St George’s Church, standing on the River Wansbeck, participating in the open doors event, temporarily closed its doors to ensure the virtuosi could perform without distraction. A one hour set presented a selection of George MacDonald’s favourite numbers, and his fellow virtuosi,   James Birkett and Bruce Rollo, no doubt share the enthusiasm of the Northern Sinfonia’s former principal clarinetist for a good tune.

Fergus McCreadie Trio @ The Jazz Coop September 9

Fergus McCreadie (piano); Mark Hendry (bass); Graham Costello (drums)
(Review by Steve H). 
What a great night was had by all at the Globe Jazz Bar on Saturday night. This young trio hailing from North of the Border gave a thoroughly uplifting and entertaining performance, delighting the Jazz Coop audience. McCreadie, despite his youth, is a phenomenal piano player - the speed and drive of his playing was at times breathtaking but he was also able to display a soft gentle side when playing a ballad. 

Saturday, September 09, 2017

CD Review: Gareth Lockrane Big Band - Fistfight at the Barndance

(Review by Lance).
I first heard the Gareth Lockrane Big Band at the Spice of Life one heady afternoon at the 2013 London Jazz Festival. I was knocked out then and I'm knocked out now - with an album of this name, how could I not be!?
Fistfight at the Barndance: What a great title for both the album and the opening track!  Inspired by a riff his dad used to blow on harmonica Lockrane has expanded it into a number that does give image to a barn dance brawl with Dickinson, Lockrane and Stanley the ones slugging it out.

Vintage Chart Toppers Returns


Our Man in Hong Kong, trumpet player, bandleader and nostalgic disc jockey, Colin Aitchison returns to the Asian airwaves tomorrow (Sept. 10) with the third series of his popular radio show Vintage Chart Toppers which goes out on RTHK Radio 3 at 8:30am local time which, I think, equates with 00:30am in the UK.
To find out more. follow this link.
Lance.

Friday, September 08, 2017

The London Jazz Players - The News Where You Are (download).

Steve Lodder (piano); Davide Mantovani (bass); Marc Parnell (drums).
(Review by Lance.)
I rarely review singles and downloads and this would have been no exception had it not landed on the doormat in CD form even though it is only available as a download via the usual suspects.
As it only runs to a mere 3.21 mins., and the players are of high standing in the UK jazz scene, I decided to lend an ear. With just over 3 minutes to go, I was lending both ears! This was due to Mantovani's sonorous double bass introduction which struck a chord with me immediately and I sensed that this was going to be 3 minutes and 99p well spent.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Change of policy at Hoochie.

Warren Thomson: Pushing water up hill in Newcastle for live music these days. 2018 re-think for us I'm afraid. 6yrs ago I could sell tickets for up & coming artists. now there is absolutely no chance. Sorry for real musicians it must be a nightmare, unless of course you only play festivals. Our country will deeply regret losing so many smaller live venues.
I was saddened to read the above post from Warren on Facebook re Hoochie Coochie. Saddened but respectful of the decision by a guy who has given his support to many genres, jazz included, in trying to present quality live music in comfortable surroundings in Newcastle town centre. Gregory Porter; Chaka Khan; Courtney Pine; Soweto Kinch; Mica Paris a few of the bigger names. At a local level Strictly Smokin' Big Band; Jason Isaacs; King Bee; Gerry Richardson plus the many up and coming bands given vital exposure at Hoochie.
Warren, I'll raise a glass of London Pride to you and say: May the good times roll (again soon).
Lance.
PS: Tomorrow, Friday, September 8, Vanessa Hayes, lead singer of Incognito who recently appeared at the Royal Albert Hall in the amazing Swing No End Prom concert is at Hoochie - for £8! Clip from 606 Club.

Big Muddy @ Ashington Jazz Club - September 6

Dave Weisser (cornet & vocals), Gordon Brown (alto saxophone & clarinet), John Haylock (baritone saxophone), Nigel Robson (trombone), Lionel Hehir (guitar), Jude Murphy (bass & vocals) & Stu Halliday (drums) + Bob Wade (trumpet)
(Review by Russell)
Ashington Jazz Club has endured tough times, not least declining audiences, yet the spirit remains to continue come what may. The Elephant on Newbiggin Road is a big barn of a place, the upstairs jazz room recently redecorated, just in time to welcome Big Muddy. A potent mix of jazz and blues, funk and rock, the seven piece, fronted by multi instrumentalist Jude Murphy, were to make friends with many here in Ashington thanks to a committed, good time performance.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club - September 6

Bob Wade (trumpet), Jim McBriarty (clarinet & vocals), Lawrence McBriarty (trombone), Brian Bennett (banjo & vocals), Dave Percy (bass) & Fred Thompson (drums & vocals) + Don Armstrong (clarinet & alto saxophone) & Miles Watson (trumpet & vocals)
(Review by Russell)
Who’s Sorry Now? asked Fred Thompson as the Vieux Carré Jazzmen’s regular Wednesday gig at the coast got under way. The audience a few short on numbers, some, perhaps, still on holiday. The Crescent Club on Cullercoats Bay has been hosting jazz sessions for many a year and for some this lunchtime gig is a fixture – same seat, same beer, same cheese toastie. And now’t wrong with that.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Jam Session @ Jazz Café: September 5

Steve Glendinning (guitar); Katy Trigger (bass guitar); Tim Johnston (drums) Plus Paul Gowland (alto sax); Keith Barrett, Francis Tulip (guitar); ? (piano); Matthew Fairhurst, ? (drums); David Gray (trombone) Kath Gowland, Julija Jacenaite (vocals).
(Review by Ann Alex)
My usual folk music Tuesday workshops haven’t yet started, so I was pleased to be able to go to the first Jazz Café Jam of the season. I wasn’t disappointed, although it was a slow start, not many people there before 8. But the house band soon got things swinging with Stella By Starlight, a sweet romantic guitar, then Katy straight in with a bass solo. All Blues followed, with Steve adventurous on the guitar as always, then came another touch of romance with ‘S Wonderful, a tune I haven’t heard in ages, a nice change. The guitar was beautifully crisp for Four, with busy drums and a bass solo, then 4’s.  All The Things You Are and Night And Day (chock, chock went the drums, a sound I love).

CD Review: Nat Steele - Portrait of the Modern Jazz Quartet

Nat Steele (vibes); Gabriel Latchin (piano); Dario Di Lecce (bass); Steve Brown (drums)
(Review by Lance)
Mention MJQ and two contrasting images spring to mind. The early quartet which, I believe begun life as the rhythm section of the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band who, when they left to form what was initially the Milt Jackson Quartet (same initials get it?), breathed a breath of fresh air into 1950's small group modern jazz. Driven originally by bop drummer Kenny Clarke the momentum continued, at least for a while when Connie Kay took over from Clarke.
Fast forward a few years and the music became somewhat more pretentious in keeping with the band's funereal apparel and matching sombre expressions.

Alan Glen Trio @ The Fox Inn - September 5

Alan Glen (piano), John Pope (double bass) & Paul Wight (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Hexham Jazz Club at the Fox Inn. The kind of jazz gig that shouldn’t work but it does. A one room hostelry frequented by locals there to enjoy a quiet pint, a small (old school dimensions) television, sound muted, perched above the bar (Moldova v Wales), the food offer of the traditional variety…a packet of crisps or a bag of salted peanuts. A proper pub.

An easy going publican with a sympathetic ear for jazz, a determined hard core of jazz enthusiasts booking musicians on a monthly basis and that essential element, the belief that someone will turn up. Tonight’s bass player, Mr John Pope, almost didn’t. Turn up, that is. On social media JP posted a comment to the effect that he fancied going to a jam session in Newcastle. The jazz network let it be known that he had an engagement elsewhere…the Fox Inn, Hexham, 8:00pm. JP needs a diary secretary! Hang on a minute! Eight o’clock? Several phone calls later, eight o’clock was confirmed. Jazz gigs at the Fox always start at 9:00pm. The new time, news to some, almost caught out some including the bass player, John Pope. At about ten past eight, the evening’s star attraction, pianist Alan Glen, wondered out loud where JP could be. As if by magic, JP’s green mop top appeared as his bull fiddle led him through the front door. Master pianist Glen sat unperturbed enjoying a pint as drummer Paul Wight greeted JP offering to buy him a drink. JP: I’ll have a pint of beer. Oh, well.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

CD Review: Rudy Smith Quartet - Glass World

Rudy Smith (alto steel pan); Ole Matthiessen (piano); Henrik Dhyrbye (bass); Ole Streenberg (drums); Jesper Løvdal (tenor on 2 tracks); Bjarne Roupe (guitar on 1 track).
(Review by Lance).
A few years back I was part of the horn section of the Chilli Road Band, a band that was predominately a steel band with a few horns. The panners were mainly of school age and, naively, I thought that it was a great way of introducing them to music and, hopefully, eventually, a proper instrument!
Pass the sackcloth and the ashes - steel pans are proper instruments and, in the hands of Rudy Smith who is credited as being the man who transformed them into a jazz instrument, this CD proves it.

Berlin Jazz Quartet on tour!

(Preview by Russell)
The Master Musicians International network has a long history of promoting concerts in numerous venues throughout the north east of England. Concert series primarily focus upon established and emerging classical artists. Autumn 2017 marks something of a departure with a four date tour by a German jazz quartet. Ulrich Hubner, tenor saxophone, Max Arsava, piano, Leo Helgert, bass, and Jonas Sorgenfrei, drums, call themselves the Berlin Jazz Quartet.
Four concerts in four days – one in Durham, one in Newcastle, and two in North Shields – give the gig-goer every opportunity to hear a modern jazz quartet playing standards and, we’re promised, a few original compositions. Details of the performances during September are as follows:


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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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