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Jeremy Pelt: "In my experience, the hottest player on the scene is almost always the most annoying motherfucker on the scene because they know that they're hot." - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Sunday May 19

Afternoon

Jazz

Anth Purdy: Swing Jazz Guitar - Blyth Battery, The Links, Blyth NE24 3PQ. 10:00am-4:00pm. Free. 'Blyth Battery Goes to War Weekend'.

Vieux Carré Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. Free.

Musicians Unlimited - Park Inn, Park Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Tel: 01429 233126. 1:00pm (doors 12 noon). Free.

Alice Grace & Ben Helm - Bonbar, Fenkle St., Newcastle NE1 5XU. Tel: 0191 232 8695. 1:30pm.

Jazz Social - Charts, Quayside, Newcastle NE1 3DX. Tel: 0191 338 7989. 4:00pm. Free. Jam session with house trio (James Harrison, piano).

Blues

Memphis Cruisers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 3:00pm. Free.

Archie Brown & the Young Bucks - The Schooner, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3AF. 5:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazz

Sue Ferris Quintet - Black Bull, Bridge St., Blaydon NE21 4JJ. Tel: 0191 414 2846. 7:30pm. £7.00. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Philip Clouts Quartet - The Globe, Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £10.00 (£7.00 student).

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

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Graeme Wilson Quartet @ The Jazz Café - Jan 19


Graeme Wilson (tenor & baritone saxophones, bass clarinet, flute & whistling), Paul Edis (keyboards, flute & whistling), Andy Champion (bass, double bass, flute & whistling) & Adam Sinclair (drums & whistling)  
(Review and flute trio photo by Russell/quartet photo courtesy of Mike Tilley).
We know the Graeme Wilson Quartet, we know what to expect, or rather we did. This Newcastle Jazz Café date produced surprise upon surprise. The atmospheric first-floor performance space works best when there is a good crowd in and as the first set was about to get underway the few remaining seats were being snapped up.
Composer, multi-instrumentalist, Honourary Geordie, Graeme Wilson arrived from his Edinburgh home to link up once again with pals Paul Edis, Andy Champion and Adam Sinclair. Wilson said there would be lots of new material (premiere pieces, no less!), and there was, together with two tracks from the quartet’s excellent CD Sure Will Hold a Boat. Wilson opened on tenor saxophone playing a new number titled Hyvot Mill. It bore all the hallmarks of a Graeme Wilson composition with its intricate harmonic structure (the lads were concentrating hard, real hard!) and ‘slow burn’ tenor solo culminating in near volcanic eruption only for our tenor man to take it down then out.
Five Floors Up from Sure Will Hold a Boat heard yet more wonderful tenor playing by Wilson and, as the bandleader took a breather, the trio – Edis, keyboards, Champion, double bass and Adam Sinclair, drums – stretched out in classic piano trio style before Wilson returned to lead the quartet in a most entertaining whistled coda. A new tune without a title prompted Wilson to announce that   Profane Drawings of Trees would suffice. An urgent, swift opening (this had the makings of a new favourite number), the composition’s title inspired by the nineteenth-century novelist James Hogg, pianist Edis crafting a fine solo, inviting the brilliant Sinclair to engage in musical conversation.

Spinning Slowly from Sure Will Hold a Boat featured Sinclair’s imperious, ever-so-slow percussion work (a master at work). A good idea would be to acquire the album – let’s call it a ‘recommended purchase’. Oh, a new album is in the pipeline, watch this space.                 

Earlier your eagle-eyed BSH correspondent spied Wilson’s baritone saxophone lying to one side of the stage…difficult to miss given that it isn’t something easily concealed in a jacket pocket. Golden Gate is a composition that Wilson took along to a rehearsal session by the sadly now defunct John Warren Splinter Group. That rehearsal session would be the last time the orchestra met, as shortly after, the pride of the north east of England would disband due to early-onset austerity cuts. Wilson put the charts away in his study drawer, to be dusted off one day. That day was January 19, 2018. The Jazz Café audience heard the premiere public performance of the tune, a tune Wilson was at pains to point out was named after the Golden Gate Quartet, a magnificent gospel vocal quartet at its peak in the thirties (second-hand vinyl recordings of the Golden Gate Quartet are scarce, one of which resides on the shelves of your reviewer). Amazingly, Wilson’s facility on baritone is equal to his tenor playing, and he’s more than adept on other instruments…

Second set, likely to settle down, fewer surprises. No chance! Flautists Wilson, Edis and Champion – yes, three flutes on stage! – began the set playing an intro to a new chart, Wilson’s After School. Is there no end to their talents? Apparently not! Adam Sinclair wasn’t to be left out, once again the amiable drummer par excellence showing what he could do ahead of our three Pied Pipers taking it out. Why Are You Staring at Me? saw Andy Champion switching to electric bass (echoes of Shiver and other outfits) bookended by Edis’ wonky harpsichord contribution. At its conclusion bandleader Wilson led the applause for ‘Paul Edis on harpsichord’. Moments earlier review notes read: wonky harpsichord. It’s good to be in accord, wonky or not.

Wilson like crosswords (each to their own) and took great delight in discovering ‘brainless act’ is an anagram of bass clarinet! At which point, our man picked up his bass clarinet. The reed didn’t quite behave itself, necessitating a change as Andy Champion, on double bass once more, played a fine solo; considered, restrained, chops in check. The tune? A Dwindling (another new one). The Bold Sammy (referencing firebrand and scourge of the establishment, novelist James Kelman) featured Wilson (tenor) and drummer Sinclair on what would be the penultimate number of the evening. The final tune, yet another new one – Friction Motor – did what a closing number should do, knock ’em dead. That doesn’t tell half the story. This was masterful stuff with its stop time device, the counting in the head (band and audience!), the elision of rip-roaring, full-on sections into swing time feel and back again. Brilliant, quite simply, brilliant.  
Russell. 

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