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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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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.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music 2017

What I Heard For Free
(By Ann Alex/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).
I arrived at the Jazz Cafe on Saturday afternoon to catch the end of the performance by Lindsay Hannon and Bradley Johnston, (guitar), part of the Take Five, featuring 5 pairs of musicians. I couldn’t believe I was listening to Lindsay, as she was singing a tender love song in a sweetly changed voice, showing great versatility, as with the next song also. Yet another jazz singer showing further development of her art. Then a complete contrast – Graham Hardy and Neil Harland, began with an ambient piece on trumpet and bass guitar, slow, serene, cinematic, with a drone, entitled Improvisation In B Flat .I had the strange experience of not being able to see these 2 musicians as I was in an alcove, which concentrates the mind wonderfully.
Next came a contrast, a lively piece, then a boppy number. The next tune involved bubbly, sucking sounds from the bass (I think) with brief trumpet comments, but it may have involved electronics, I couldn’t see. Mish Mash had an improvised feel, with additions of some banging from the bar which happened to be in rhythm. The instruments blended, then became wild, with bass chords cutting across the trumpet. The whole performance was imaginative and enjoyable.

Up stepped Faye MacCalman (tenor sax, clarinet) and John Pope (bass), to play standards, but I didn’t catch many of the titles. They began with a smooth, easygoing tune with a long bass solo, then a slow strong tune with a Central European feel, a bowed bass and repeated riffs from the tenor. Monk’s Dream brought an amusing misunderstanding between the musicians, when Faye continued playing when she should have stopped for the bass. Then a tune with clarinet, before There’ll Never Be Another You, back to the sax. The music must have been too relaxing for me, or maybe it was the drink I’d had, as I felt sleepy and had to leave, so missing the last 2 pairs; Noel Dennis/Dean Stockdale and Raymond Macdonald/Graeme Wilson. My loss.

Sunday
Music students must sleep on Sunday afternoons, as there were none of them there for The Tuesday Jam On Sunday, unless they’d been before I arrived at 1.30pm. Plenty of other good musicians were present: the house band of Alan Law (piano); Paul Gowland (alto sax); Paul Grainger (bass); Russ Morgan (drums); plus Stu Finden (sax); Fiona Finden (sax, vocals); Dave Weisser (cornet) Jude Murphy (sax, flute) Keith Barrett (guitar). Fiona treated us to a lovely version of Secret Love, sung to a fast repeated 4-note riff from Stu’s sax; then came Never Leave and Keith joining in for No Moon At All. It was interesting to see Alan on what I’d call the naked piano, no front at all, listeners can see all the hammers in action, which I found a bit unnerving for reasons I don’t understand.
Over to the Bridge Hotel, to catch the last of The Improvisers Workshop, where they were discussing the nature of such an event which raised all the usual relevant points, such as how abstract is music compared with art, how many musicians should be involved, what is composition and improvisation, is it best to have a guiding format, what influence does politeness have on the music. Then a piece was played with mixed success, a bit messy, involving voices, saxes, drums, guitar, bass, keys, something metallic, bird sounds, shakers, clapping, Morse code bleeps, bells. There followed a frank discussion which assessed the piece well. The discussions were led by Dr Graeme Wilson and Professor Raymond MacDonald. A final piece was played, a much more successful work, many musical elements, fewer instruments playing at once. Someone from the audience joined in with a spoon striking a glass, before the saxes wound down and a calm guitar ended the piece. I’d advise everyone to try free improvisation as an interesting challenge to add to your musical experiences.
I enjoyed what I heard of this festival and I’d like to see it repeated next year. Thank you especially to Wes Stephenson, the Festival Producer.
Ann Alex.

1 comment :

Ken Drew said...

Well, things had warmed up nicely when Anne left. So, just to quickly fill the gap (from memory) - Noel Dennis/Dean Stockdale played many standards with a lovely sound as a duo and with fine individual solo spots along the way.
I often think it's a shame the pianist has to face away from the audience *and* the other players on stage. But this makes their sense of listening to 'the other player' more sensitive, and I think this was borne out when they played as a duo - perfect timing and wonderful interplay. And more than a touch of composing/arranging on-the-fly too.

Finally Raymond MacDonald/Graeme Wilson filled the last slot. Already the audience had diminished a little (it was close to 5pm anyway)but those who stayed *stayed the whole duration* to witness a fine display of improvisational musicianship. What made this slot even more interesting (for me anyway) were the brief interludes between the pieces when each performer said something about their background.
Their shared background in fact, as they had played and busked in Glasgow together many years ago (too many to mention here) - but this gave an interesting insight into their development and how they are able to think and play in such synchronism and read each others next steps, emphasising my previous comment when Dennis and Stockdale were playing together with superb interplay.

So, five distinctly different duos over five hours. Such high quality music for free, and providing a wonderfully warm atmosphere in the Jazz Cafe on a grey and sometimes wet Saturday afternoon. Ken D

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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.
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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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