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Bebop Spoken There

Piers Paul Read: "Bruce Reynolds and Biggs shared an interest in Sex, Jazz and Hemingway." - (The Train Robbers by Piers Paul Read, Coronet Books 1979.)

George Shearing: "Speaking about Johann Sebastian Bach I think he'd be a real jazzer if he were alive today. I mean any man who has two wives, twenty kids, gets kicked out of the church for being too harmonically radical and drinks beer can't be all wrong can he?" - (Crescendo March 1984.)

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 all of them 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

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Today Thursday July 19

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.

Alexys de Alfaro: Guitar Dreams with Coco Vega - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling Street, Gateshead NE8 2BA. Doors 7:00pm. A ‘jar on the bar’ gig. Guitar & percussion.

Alter Ego - St James’ & St Basil’s Church, Fenham Hall Drive, Newcastle NE4 9EJ. 7:30pm. £10.00.

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

Northern Monkey Brass Band - Jubilee Park, Spennymoor DL16. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Big BRASS Bash (Durham Brass Festival).

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

Tees Hot Club w. Donna Hewitt (alto); Josh Bentham (tenor); Dave Archbaid (keys) - Dormans 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.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Beats & Pieces Big Band @ RNCM, Manchester – Jan 27

(Review by Russell).
Manchester was cold but dry, the city centre pavements wet, recent rain moving east to, and over, the Pennines. The RNCM was a hive of activity, musicians young and old rushing to, or returning from, a Saturday morning/afternoon class. Rehearsal studios were fully occupied, one room, no.1, was occupied, but, intriguingly, events in the room were a closely guarded secret, so much so the staff on reception knew nothing about the matter…     
Ten years to the day, the same location, the exact same studio space, they assembled to play the music of Ben Cottrell. Beats & Pieces first met a decade ago in Studio 1, a basement space at the Royal Northern College of Music. On that occasion it was a first-ever rehearsal session, ten years on it was to be a two-gigs-in-a-day celebration of the band’s music during the intervening years.  

An ‘invitation only’ audience found its way to Studio 1 where the few available seats would quickly be occupied. Beats & Pieces were to play two gigs (one in the afternoon, one in the evening) and would document the occasion with the intention of releasing an audio/visual ‘package’ (download/physical product) sometime later in the year. Camera operators would move around the room, the performance slightly different than usual as Cottrell paused between numbers to help facilitate the editing process. Typical of the band, the opening number was a new one. Noise bore the hallmarks of a Beats & Pieces chart; the band – all fourteen of them – decidedly shies away from the tag ‘big band’, there just happens to be quite a few of them, as first they twisted, then turned, bandleader Cottrell dancing to the beat, Nick Walters, trumpet, taking a first solo.

A strange – or was it an understandably inhibited? – lack of applause greeted solo contributions by members of the band…perhaps the audience didn’t want to make a noise during the performance, perhaps it should have done, after all this was a ‘live’ recording! Two numbers from the ‘old days’ – none in the band could remotely be described as ‘old’ – Jazzwalk and Three turned up the wick as Ollie Dover on alto ripped it up with guitarist Anton Hunter creating an electronic framework via the effective deployment of an array of pedals. Pianist Richard Jones played piano and Fender Rhodes making several solo contributions as another new one in the pad – Wait – heard killing tenor from Anthony Brown (later to be heard blowing equally killing soprano), and Time (which will be released as a single) featured lynchpin drummer Finlay Panter and the trumpet playing of Graham South.

MD Cottrell rarely faces his audience, perhaps born of shyness, preferring to engage with the band as he dances, cajoling and gesticulating. From time to time he straps on a guitar contributing colour and rhythm to the piece in hand, leaving the clever stuff to Hunter. Cottrell revealed that at that first rehearsal session ten years ago the very first tune they played was Toan. Ten years on they had to play it; Panter’s shuffle to swing time, Brown’s hard blowing soprano, and a stunning feature for the three-strong trombones – Richard Foote, Simon Lodge and bass ’bone man Richard McVeigh. The forthcoming new album is bound to include this one! Ben Cottrell thanked the band for keeping the show on the road for the first ten years and they went out on Fairytale with its superb work from the brass boys and Hendo featuring once again the soprano saxophone of Ollie Dover.

Ben Cottrell’s Beats & Pieces Big Band is in the vanguard of today’s big band scene. It would be a pleasure to attend the twentieth-anniversary celebrations. The date’s in the diary: January 27, 2028.
Russell.                           

Beats & Pieces Big Band: Ben Cottrell (MD & guitar); Anthony Brown (tenor & soprano saxophones); Ollie Dover (alto & soprano saxophones); Tom Ward (baritone saxophone); Nick Walters (trumpet); Owen Bryce (trumpet); Graham South (trumpet); Richard Foote (trombone); Simon Lodge (trombone); Richard McVeigh (bass trombone); Anton Hunter (guitar); Richard Jones (piano & Fender Rhodes); Stewart Wilson (bass & double bass); Finlay Panter (drums)

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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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