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Bebop Spoken There

Buddy Guy: "My mother said, 'You got flowers for me, give 'em to me now, because I'm not going to smell them when you put 'em on the casket'." - (DownBeat September 2018).

Marty Ashby: "I asked him what his gig was and he said 'I put the scores on the music stands'. I said, 'That's a gig?' And I realised there were four floors of guys like him, who supported some of the finest musicians in the world. But I was a jazz musician, and I was used to playing with some of the finest musicians in the world in front of the New York Public Library for tips. That's when I realised that jazz didn't have the same support system as classical music. - (DownBeat September 2018).

Today Friday August 17

Afternoon

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

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

Evening

Bullfrog Blues Band - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Bop 3 - St John’s Hall, Snod’s Edge, Shotley Bridge DH8 9TJ. 7:30pm. £15.00. Tickets from 07766 037893. Second night of two – SOLD OUT. Trio - Snake Davis, Helen Watson & Dave Bowie.

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

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

James Birkett & Bradley Johnston @ St George’s URC, Morpeth - Dec 6

James Birkett (guitar) & Bradley Johnston (guitar)
(Review/Photos by Russell)
St George’s autumn concert series concluded with a lunchtime ‘recital’ by guitarists James Birkett and Bradley Johnston. Billed as a ‘recital’ rather than a gig, the lunchtime audience wasn’t about to break into fervent applause anytime soon. A jazz gig audience wouldn’t have hesitated, but, here in Morpeth, St George’s Wednesday regulars no doubt remain quiet during a classical recital or folk performance. A sizeable audience greeted Birkett and Johnston as they took to the stage with rather nice Ibanez guitars in hand.

On a cold but dry afternoon, Dr Birkett suggested we should imagine a Brazilian beach scene as the duo began their programme with Luis Bonfá’s Black Orpheus. Solo parts seamlessly handed from one to another, rhythmic accompaniment impeccable, there is a genuine empathy between Birkett and Johnston. An occasional glance, only occasional, between the two, their infallible jazz ear their sole means of communication, Pat Metheny’s Farmer’s Trust a mutual favourite, hearing the duo playing it in a church setting afforded the American’s composition an extra reverence.

Two tunes in succession epitomised the brilliance of the guitar duo; Sonny Rollins’ Doxy with much space, the timing telepathic, then All the Things You Are. At a recent gig your BSH correspondent, listening to Jerome Kern’s classic number, turned to an acquaintance to suggest this could be the greatest tune ever written. Here in Morpeth Dr Birkett alluded to the tune’s five key changes, saying he could manage three of them, Johnston indicating he could, perhaps, cope with three and a half of them. Further, Birkett pointed to a particularly fine enharmonic modulation at, or near, the tune’s end. Clearly, this required closer listening! Absolutely magical!

Django’s Nuages, Bradley Johnston’s James’ Waltz, written some seventy or more years apart, the latter lost little by comparison. You know it’s nearly time to go when Cherokee is on the set list. The non-jazz fan couldn’t fail to be impressed by the breakneck virtuosity, and this jazz fan, as always, was more than impressed. The audience response, sadly heard only in your correspondent’s head as the pair swopped solos, was ecstatic!

Birkett’s Suite 4 concluded the ‘recital’ and following a few words from the concert promoter, James Birkett and Bradley Johnston went out on a chorus of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
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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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.
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