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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 Tuesday June 19

Afternoon

Classic Swing - The Ship, Front St., Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.

Evening

Jam session - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. Free. Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Matt MacKellar.

Mark Williams Trio - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB. Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

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

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Ayanna Witter-Johnson @ The Black Swan December 7

Ayanna Witter-Johnson (cello/keys/voice).
(Review by Steve H/photo courtesy of Mike Tilley from archives)
Ayanna Witter-Johnson made a more than welcome return to Newcastle at The Black Swan, virtually a year after appearing the Jazz Café. Everything I said in the review of that gig still applies The audience ….. were rewarded with a performance of charm, elegance, and sheer quality’. Her performance on Thursday night seemed to be more relaxed and confident than previously and there were some new songs to appreciate and enjoy. A measure of just how comfortable Witter-Johnson felt on stage was that she invited questions from the audience in between numbers. 
Two questions were asked about the history of Reuben her beloved cello which we found out was originally loaned and then subsequently purchased from her headmaster at secondary school. A lot of the self-penned songs are autobiographical referring to relationships past and present. One composition Romeo was a commission from the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company which featured many of the bard's most famous works. 
A traditional Jamaican call and response song  Hill an Gully gave the gave the audience the opportunity to participate in proceedings. As a tribute to the 100th anniversary of Ella’s birth, a moving version of Misty was performed. One of the advantages of performing in the larger venue of the Black Swan as opposed to the Jazz Café was that it allowed Witter-Johnson to use the large stage to great effect. Her main stance was standing upright at a microphone whilst accompanying herself on Reuben but this was only one of the performance positions adopted. Reuben was played lying on the floor, guitar like on the lap and at one point Witter-Johnson curled herself downwards and sung into the cello mike. The only method not employed seemed to be the classical one of cello being rested on chest whilst being sat down on a chair. However, she did adopt a more conventional style when playing the keyboard on a selection of numbers. 
The final scheduled piece of the evening was a non-reggae cover of Bob Marley’s One Love but luckily for the select and highly appreciative audience, they managed to coax one more tune. Unconditionally dedicated to her mother which seemed only fair since her father had previously had a song Chariot honouring him. A really entertaining evening and I look forward to not only seeing Witter-Johnson back in Newcastle again but also to see her becoming a major star on the British music scene which her talent and personality surely deserve.
Steve H.

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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.
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

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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