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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, October 31, 2017

CD Reviews: Latest ECM Releases

Pelagos:  Stefano Battaglia (piano, prepared piano).
Provenance: Bjorn Meyer (6 string electric and acoustic bass guitars).
Blue Maqams: Anouar Brahem (oud) with Dave Holland (double bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums) and Django Bates (piano).
(Review by Steve T)
When our leader told me he was going to send the latest ECM releases, I told him there was no need and I'd just send the reviews. I was joking but not entirely. Occasionally an ECM comes through and I can't believe how amazing it is, but generally, it's like listening to paint dry, and it's normally black and white between the two positions, with very little shade or nuance.
Unfortunately, there's very little here for the Jazz enthusiast, and I suspect two of them, and maybe all three will appeal only to ECM completists. In fact, I wish they would do them on a special price vinyl record only to reduce the vinyl mountain.
I generally try to play albums three times before I review them, but when I realised that Pelagos is a double album, I didn't even play the second CD (though I will). It's solo piano and I certainly couldn't describe it as Jazz, so I'm putting it under classical by default. There's 'tunes' in there and I've no doubt a listener would get to know them if they played them sufficient times, but I'm not sure who might want to do this and think it's just an exercise in self-indulgence.
Provenance is a single album so I managed to get all the way through it. In fact, I played it twice, but the second time was because I couldn't quite believe it the first time.
It's difficult to go into detail about either album (or much of the third) since it's so easy to lose any semblance of concentration and forget that you're even listening to music. 
Blue Maqams held out more promise with four musicians, two of whom are amongst the finest Jazz musicians on the planet.
The first five tracks all sound like they're about to burst into something, but never do. Couple of minutes into track six and it all seems to happen and is maintained for the rest of the set. It isn't brilliant, but it's fine and worth checking out for anyone who tends to like ECM releases, guitar type instruments, Holland and/or DeJohnette.
Quite by accident, I noticed the first two tracks total seventeen minutes, three, four and five make twenty-one minutes, six and seven total seventeen minutes and eight and nine, twenty minutes. It also turned out that Pelagos makes a tidy triple album, and Zappa he ain't. Provenance is actually too long for a single vinyl/ cassette album but not long enough to be a double, but it seems ECM are tailoring albums for the revitalised vinyl record market, so a compelling argument for my suggestion.
There's a popular idea in pop music that most double vinyl albums should have been single albums and, while I think they should have been singles ie 45s, there's some truth to it.
Blue Maqams would make a perfectly good single album, not essential but the last four tracks are fine, while the first four are pointless. The other two albums are just pointless.
Steve T

1 comment :

Steve T said...

Half way through second CD of Pelagos and it seems better than the first, but it's likely more to do with anticipation and expectation rather than anything else.

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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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