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Bebop Spoken There

Ben Williams: "Jaco [Pastorius] is almost like the Charlie Parker of the bass." - (DownBeat November 2018).

Dana Hall: "My philosophy is that everyone in the band is a drummer." - (DownBeat November 2018.)

Today Saturday October 20

Afternoon

NYJO + Tees Valley Youth Big Band - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 3:00pm. £12.00. Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender.

Evening

Big Chris Barber Band - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 7:30pm. £15.00. Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender.

Dinosaur - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 10:00pm. £12.00. Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender.

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Smokin’ Spitfires - Scarth Hall, 5 South Green, Staindrop DL2 3LD. 7:30pm. CANCELLED!

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The Hookahs - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Saturday, September 16, 2017

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.’ 
Lance had earmarked the album for my attention, as it concerns the life and doings of Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Cochran), an American feminist, civil rights activist, and journalist, who lived from 1864 to 1922. A fascinating woman who wrote a book about the abuse suffered by mental health patients which led to reforms in the USA; she also travelled the world in order to challenge the fictional accounts of Jules Verne. Ms. Bly is also casually mentioned in the song Frankie And Johnnie but I don’t think that that has any bearing on her actual life.

The CD consists of 4 tracks, each one illustrating an aspect of her work. Expositions opens with a strong bass clarinet and concerns Bly’s statement that a true woman is ‘innocent, unaffected and frank’, which is sung chant-like over a rhythmic bass. The voice is joined by another, singing that ‘energy, rightly applied, can accomplish anything.’ The ensemble illustrates all this with energetic driving rhythms and repeated riffs.
Track 2, which I liked best, After One Is In Trouble, is all about Bly’s undercover assignment for the New York World newspaper, in which she feigned insanity so that she could investigate alleged brutality at a women’s lunatic asylum. This was illustrated by pounding persistent drumming, a crying, wailing trumpet, and a final mash up of madness by the whole band. This was not always easy to listen to, but I admired it as the music was true to the subject being explored.
Track 3 was on the happier theme of 72 Days, telling us about Bly’s attempt at going round the world in less time than it took Jules Verne in his fictional account. Bly had to fight hard to even be allowed to take this journey, which was by railroad and steamship, as shown by the rhythms and sounds of drums, bass clarinet and cymbals. Bly’s words are constantly repeated: ‘It’s only a matter of twenty-eight thousand miles... I shall be back again’ and ‘I would rather go in dead and successful than alive and behind time.’
The final track is Legacy, summing up Bly’s hope that things can be changed, with effective ensemble playing, then a final lone trumpet, which I reckon was Nellie Bly’s final plea for more justice in the world.
The CD was released on August 18, 2017, on the label Artists Recording Collective
 UPC-A 8-93682-00277-2
Ann Alex

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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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Lance