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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 Thursday June 21

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.

Indigo Jazz Voices - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £5.00.

Lambton Little Band - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling Street, Gateshead NE8 2BA. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session.

Lindsay Hannon Plus - St James’ & St Basil’s Church, Fenham, Newcastle NE4 9EJ. 7:30pm. £10.00.

Charlotte Glasson Group - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. £10.00. (£8.00. concs.). JNE.

Get in the Band rehearsal - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4666. 6:00-10:00pm. Second of two rehearsals under the direction of Chris Sharkey culminating in three performances in a day on Sat 23 June - 1) Great North Museum (Hancock Museum), 2) Central Station, 3) Sage Gateshead. Times TBC. Free but ticketed.

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm.

Tees Hot Club w. Ray Dales (alto); Dave Stansfield (tenor); Bruce Taylor (keys) - Dorman’s 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.

Monday, December 18, 2017

George MacDonald & James Birkett with the Roly Veitch Trio @ Blaydon Jazz Club - Dec 17

George MacDonald (clarinet), James Birkett (guitar), Roly Veitch (guitar), Paul Grainger (double bass) & David Francis (drums)
(Review by Russell/photos courtesy of Ken Rodham). 
As Humph would have said, Blaydon Jazz Club has been promoting ‘the very best in jazz’ for well over thirty years and the Christmas party’s legendary DIY buffet has long since assumed mythical status. This year’s festive feast more than lived up to expectations and the interval raffle assumed gigantic proportions with numerous prizes on offer. The icing on the Christmas cake was the jazz. It’s the reason fans turn up from one month to the next and the evening’s invited guests – George MacDonald and James Birkett – were making a welcome return visit.

The Black Bull on Bridge Street is a steadfast supporter of the jazz club and the room was set out in advance ready to accommodate the arrival of not only the ‘regulars’ but also a food mountain of sweet and hot seasonal goodies. If there is a more amiable group of musicians than those playing this Christmas party engagement then they are yet to visit Blaydon. Clarinetist George MacDonald is a life-long fan of Benny Goodman and can tell a story or two of the King of Swing’s days touring coast to coast in America. Master guitarist James Birkett is the ideal musical foil for Mr MacDonald, readily adapting to any given situation as the ex-pat Canadian suggests they play such and such. The house rhythm section for the evening, led by Blaydon Jazz Club’s long-serving promoter Roly Veitch, was well acquainted with the numbers in the set list and handled matters with ease; bassist Paul Grainger and drummer David Francis both knowing their way around the GASbook.

The affable MacDonald suggested Summertime and, sure enough, the quintet went for a leisurely stroll and on into autumn playing Joseph Kosma’s Autumn Leaves. Our clarinetist likes a bossa, a Jobim tune was a cert, so we heard Meditation. Gershwin was on the cards, the choice vast, what to play? On this occasion But Not for Me. Time for a blues, MacDonald suggesting ‘in F’. Blues, in a mellow tone, with Roly Veitch laying down a fine solo, followed by his friend and fellow guitarist, James Birkett crafting another exquisite solo. Mr MacDonald always listens to his fellow musicians, appreciative of their contribution, and at Dr Birkett’s suggestion, closed the first set with their ‘wild’ version (when the mood takes them they do a less wild version) of Lady Be Good. Fleet-fingered, the quintet worked up a collective appetite…the buffet beckoned.

Earlier, a party of four arrived, looked around the room with its few unoccupied seats, and enquired if they could sit behind (and within arm’s length of) the buffet table. On the understanding that they showed restraint (leaving the festive nibbles undisturbed until the interval!) the party duly took their seats. They were well placed to tuck in as an orderly queue formed and it can be reported that this year’s offering met with wide approval. No names, but more than one person went back for not only seconds, but thirds! ’Tis the season.

The second set began with some Benny Goodman but not before Veitch and Birkett played a duet. As glasses were recharged, our virtuoso guitar duo played All the Things You Are. From Goodman to Eubie Blake's Memories of You (lyrics Andy Razaf) to Edgar Sampson’s Stompin’ at the Savoy, Mr MacDonald was having a ball, after all, to him it’s all about his ‘main man’ – Benny Goodman.


Mr MacDonald can certainly evoke the mood. Either side of a stompin’ I Got Rhythm our clarinetist expertly conjured the flight of the Skylark and gazed into the middle distance somewhere Over the Rainbow. It was almost time to go but not before a swift take on One Note Samba featuring a solo from David Francis, the orchestra finally taking its bow on A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square

Russell

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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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