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Bebop Spoken There

Grant Green Jr.: "One thing that most people--especially jazz cats--don't realise is that all of your jazz standards were once pop standards" - DownBeat July 2018).

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Bobby Sanabria: "Tito Puente was not a very tall man, but when he played the timbales he was a giant among men." - DownBeat July 2018).

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Youre Vote is Important

Voting is now taking place for Nominations in the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Please take this opportunity to vote in the various categories including MEDIA where a vote for Bebop Spoken Here would be much appreciated.

Today Friday June 22

Afternoon

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Alice Grace Trio - Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. Tel: 03000 269 524. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Ushaw Ensemble - Lit & Phil, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SE. Tel: 0191 232 0192. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Evening

Emma Fisk & Paul Edis - Ushaw College, Durham DH7 7DW. 7:30pm. £7.00

Julija Jacenaite Trio - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. Free.

Q&A: Eric Burdon & Hilton Valentine - Castle Gate, Melbourne Street, Newcastle NE1 2JQ. Tel: 0191 233 2288. 7:00pm. £30.00. (£50.00. VIP ‘Meet & Greet’ inc glass of fizz & photo with Burdon & Valentine). Tex Leon & Friends will perform at the event.

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

Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7pm.

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Maja Bugge + Lilli Unwin Band @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle - October 8

Maja Bugge  (cello)
(Review/photos courtesy of Ken Drew)
Maja Bugge is a Norwegian cellist and composer based in Lancaster. She is currently a Northern Line artist for Jazz North where she performs music inspired by the simultaneously beautiful and brutal landscapes of the north of Norway, where she was born and brought up. Maja’s unique sound explores stillness and repetition, harmony and dissonance. Her music balances melody and rhythm with external ambiance, acoustics and atmosphere.  So says the info preceding this concert, and it is spot on!  Tonight we heard beautiful, meditative soundscapes blending everyday sounds, melody and improvisation, coupled with the expressive sounds of a lone 'cello sounding out the natural ambiance and acoustics of the performance space which for tonight was the Bridge Hotel (where many musicians enjoy and comment on the acoustics of the room). But her background is more wide-ranging than this…..
First tune - an image of the Lofoten Islands featuring the sounds of gulls diving into the sea. Having been there, and seen gulls (terns) in action, diving for food, it was quite an evocative piece nicely depicting that atmosphere.   Then an excerpt from a piece played the day before in the Standedge Tunnel (as part of the Marsden Jazz Festival) - recreating the various sounds heard from a travelling barge. These included slapping the cello and scraping/sliding hands over it to simulate the sounds of a barge being ‘walked’ through a canal tunnel, plus the sounds of dripping water.   Next, Meditation depicting peace and chaos. We were invited to close our eyes and enjoy, if not fall asleep, to these gentle sounds.  Quite slow, soulful, almost poignant sounds, sometimes wailing too, but overall, meditative and calming.  This was followed by a ‘local piece’ where the audience were invited to suggest themes for Bugge to depict. So ‘trains’, ‘river’ and ’hen parties’ were suggested.  A rather brief piece not quite capturing the ambiance of Newcastle we were expecting, but a brave attempt.  I think an immersive experience is called for!

Then Echoes, a piece Bugge performed in a huge oil container where I guess the ambient reverberation made quite an impact to the piece. It was not so easy to imagine the sound within a huge cavernous oil drum, but an echo effects machine would certainly have killed the moment.  Finally, Shelter (I think).  Back to the sea again, producing the sounds of waves lapping up against the sandy beaches around the Lofoten Islands.   The sounds of rippling waves were very distinct and effective.  Included bowing the strings very close to the bridge to alter the tonality, just as you hear as you walk along a beach with overlapping waves racing to greet the shore.

One personal observation I made was that whilst the cello has an easily recognised soft-toned sound, it seemed to me that Bugge produced sounds not only as expected – soft and soothing, but also with a strong hint of viola, if not  Hardanger Fiddle, but more ‘raspy’ and raw, with very little bass resonance.  Along with the impromptu percussion effects, this made for an interesting range of sonorities on which to construct these soundscapes.

More info:    As a Northern Line artist, Bugge is currently touring and there is a short descriptive video on their website (including photos of the oil tank performance)

Also, for those intrigued by (or, in my case simply couldn’t get to) the Maja Bugge performance in Standedge Tunnel as part of this year’s Marsden Jazz Festival, there is a photo gallery in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner here:

Lilli Unwin
Lilli Unwin (vocals)   Corrie Dick  (drums)   Loz Garratt  (Bass)   Matt Robinson (Keys)
Twenty-four-year old Lilli Unwin is an enchanting and soulful young singer, composer and arranger with an authentic sound and a penchant for intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics, blending subtle grooves and story-telling into an engaging jazz performance.

Starting with a lively bossa/samba based song which included quite a bit of scat vocalese.  Overall, a typical jazz café feel to it, and a good opener. Followed by Lucky to be Me then Stay Close - a first outing for this new tune by Unwin, and likely to appear on the next album. Quite lively and full of personal meaning, with a pleasant and varied melody.  Icarus then preceded a Rodgers & Hart tune Falling in Love with Love. Initially, with vocals and bass only, keys and drums then joining in to swell the sound and pick up the pace. Some interesting discordant ‘close notes’ were carefully placed for good effect, plus a little bit more scat which worked well to provide a distinctive take on this standard.  Worked well.
Then finally, City of Love – self-penned by Unwin  - a lively, bouncy tune with a skipping feeling, playful & joyful,  bringing a much appreciated final song to the evening …..  until cries of “MORE!!”
For an encore, Unwin chose Bess You Is My Woman – her very own take on this wonderful tune, and certainly made it her own, with nice dynamics and lots of feeling.  Good ending!! 

Overall, two distinctly different performances, but as Wes said in his introduction, this was programmed to provide a wind-down following the fireworks of the varied performances we saw at last week’s Festival.  It certainly did that, with quality and style.
https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif
Photos.
Ken

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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 them all 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.
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Lance

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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