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Bebop Spoken There

Michelle Coltrane: "It was Geri Allen who told me, 'Why don't you work with a guitar player? It's a lot easier. They're mobile, all the pianos are out of tune'" - DownBeat March 2018.

Verneri Pohjola: “I've been trying to get away from being 'a young and promising trumpet player' for over twenty years” DownBeat March 2018.

Today Wednesday February 21

Afternoon

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. £1.00.

Chris Sharkey - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. £5.00. (students free). Duo with James Mainwaring.

The Village Hall New Orleans Band - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm £3.00.

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson Street, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Late Night Jazz – Hexham Abbey Festival of Music and Arts, September 23: The Nikki Iles/Stan Sulzmann Quartet.

Nikki Iles – piano; Stan Sulzmann  - Tenor Saxophone; Pete Turner – Bass; Luke Flowers - Drums
(Review by Hugh C/Photo courtesy of Stu Taylor of Credere Media).
It was with strains of Gabriel Fauré's  In Paradisum from the evening's performance of his Requiem by the Festival Chorus and Orchestra that I ascended from the Abbey itself via the Late Night Stairs to the Great Hall in an adjoining building.  Comfortable chairs were set out in neat rows with a few early bird punters already seated prior to the official opening time of 10pm.  Members of the festival chorus and orchestra, bow ties loosened or removed headed, justifiably, to the well-stocked bar.  The gig was scheduled for a 10.30 start.  In the absence of a convenient green room Nikki Iles and Stan Sulzmann were seated patiently to one side, adjacent to the piano, talking; Pete Turner was checking his bass and amplification system and Luke Flowers using the drum stool as a silent practise pad.
The Late Night Jazz session was something of a coup for Festival co-director Martin Hughes who had managed to persuade Nikki Iles that Hexham was only slightly further North than Scarborough where the Quartet had played a lunchtime gig that afternoon at the Jazz Festival.  The move was repaid with a near capacity crowd of approximately one hundred souls.  As is often the case in these circumstances the front row of seats on each side was empty and I was able to pick the best seat in the house.  This also meant I was in a position to have a brief word with Nikki and Stan before the gig.
At 10.30, as scheduled, the band took their places in the performance space (no stage) at the end of the hall.  A quality Kawai piano, lid raised, awaited Iles fingertips.  A microphone placed over the piano strings did not appear to be working – all the better, perhaps.  Apart from the bass mic, the band played completely unplugged and were richly rewarded by the resonant acoustic of the room.

The Quartet opened with Kenny Werner's Compensation.  Sulzmann's full tenor sound dominated initially followed by solos from Iles' piano and Turner's bass.  This sequence more or less set the pattern for the evening.  Come Rain or Come Shine followed, beautifully delivered by Sulzmann's mellow tenor.  Drummer Luke Flowers (depping for the advertised Dave Walsh, who was unable to make the gig due to ill health) was allowed off the leash during this number in short bursts, interspersed by melodic ensemble playing, a very effective form of drum solo, I find.  The announcements between tracks were shared between Stan Sulzmann and Nikki Iles.  It was now Nikki's turn to announce that the next number was from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess:  “My Man's Gone Now” drew an audible “ahhhh” from the audience – to which Sulzmann immediately quipped “Good riddance!”  Solo piano commenced the number with progressive addition of selected bass notes and a rhythmic tapping on the cymbal using the base of the brush handle and finally we were away with the quartet in full swing.

After a short interval allowing replenishment of glasses we were treated to Too Young to Go Steady - equally applicable to all members of the band, as Stan Sulzmann wryly observed.  During this piece we were treated to an exposition of New Orleans style, second line drumming.  This was followed by Nobody Else but Me, allegedly the last tune written by Jerome Kern.  A fine extended bass solo from Pete Turner during this piece.  We were now nearing the witching hour when the licence declared NO MUSIC!  There ensued some discussion as to what the quartet would finish with.  Body and Soul was suggested; a few valedictory words from Festival co-director, Martin Hughes thanked the band and the audience and then we were off into a rip-roaring Ladies in Mercedes (Steve Swallow)  - short solos all round, Sulzmann pointing at drummer, Luke Flowers to remind Nikki Iles to leave him a bit of space.  And then it was all over, a fantastic evening:  short, but very sweet – fine musicians, and such nice people too!
Hugh C.

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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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