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Bebop Spoken There

Howlin' Wolf: “He [Charlie Patton] was a nice guy, but he just loved the bottle--like all the rest of the musicians. He was a great drinker.” – (DownBeat December 16, 1967).

Frank Zappa: “Those kids [US students] wouldn't know music if it came up and bit 'em on the ass.” – (DownBeat October 3, 1969).

Today Thursday April 26

Afternoon

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Tees Valley Jazzmen - No.1 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL12 7NJ. Tel: 01388 665533. 12:30pm. Free admission.

Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society - Gateshead Central Library, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead NE8 4LN. 5:00pm. Fortnightly meetings, all welcome.

Evening

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Millstone, Haddrick’s Mill Road, South Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 1QL. 0191 2853229. 7pm.

Maine St. Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Holywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NJ. 8:30pm. Free.

Bearpark Trio - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. £3 (£2 student/MU.).

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

Tees Hot Club w. Kevin Eland (tpt); Donna Hewitt (sax); Graham Thompson (keys) - Dorman’s Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 9pm. Free.

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

Monday, March 19, 2018

Book review: Peter Jones: This Is Hip - The Life of Mark Murphy.

"This book needed to be written for a number of reasons, the first being that Mark Murphy deserves greater recognition than he achieved in his lifetime. He mastered the art of jazz singing to an extraordinary degree, taking it to levels appreciated only by those few who knew about him and understood what he was doing."
So reads the opening paragraph by his biographer Peter Jones.
Jones is an established singer himself with several highly rated albums to his name and, no slouch with the pen either making him the ideal person to write this study of the enigmatic Murphy.
Murphy is credited with around 40 albums. Each one looked at with varying degrees of scrutiny by Jones.

Despite his admiration for the singer, Jones eschews the use of rose-coloured glasses giving his opinions as he sees and hears them. Which is how it should be.
In between, or rather intermingled with, the music we learn much about Murphy's early days, his attempts to 'make it as a singer (those attempts often foiled by his own uncompromising mission to do it 'his way'). His big love affair and the grief that followed the early death of his partner. After this tragedy, he found, in Sheila Jordan*, a tower of strength whose friendship helped him through the darkest days. 
I wasn't expecting it to be but this was a totally unputdownable book. In fact, the few times when I did put it down, apart from eating and sleeping, was to seek out and listen to a particular track singled out by the author. This led me to listen again to Rah, released by Riverside in 1961, which is according to Jones, a favourite with his fans which makes me a fan too. It's a great album.
It was actually 1985 when I became an out and out fan which was when I heard him  for the one and only time live. This was at one of the popular Newcastle jazz venues of the time - the Corner House in Heaton.
It was also where I met Whitley Bay resident Norbert Warner who published a fanzine, Mark's Time, which ran for almost 20 years and only ceased publication when Murphy and Warner fell out. This too is covered in This is Hip.
The sadness of his last years are painful to read and yet, in November 2012, he was able to record a vinyl EP for Gearbox: A Beautiful Friendship - Remembering Shirley Horn. Debra M reviewed the album in 2013 and waxed eloquent: 
This is an outstanding tribute, capturing the essence of Shirley Horn, and an absolute masterclass of vocal and piano trio.
Mark Murphy died on October 21, 2015, aged 83. It is wonderful that his memory lives on, not just with his music but with this, written from the heart, biography which also has a comprehensive, session by session, discography.
Lance
Peter Jones: This Is Hip - The Life of Mark Murphy. Equinox Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-78179-473-9. © Peter Jones.
* Sheila Jordan appears at this year's Gateshead International Jazz Festival April 6-8.

1 comment :

Derek Lambert said...

Mark was playing Greys Club, Newcastle in the mid 70’s, he came to stay with me over a weekend. A quite strange person till you got to know him. My young children were unsure about him at first but then decided he must be an American gangster.....
I watched him on stage for a week solid and enjoyed every minute.

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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 them all other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
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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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