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Bebop Spoken There

Oscar Peterson: "I find most pianists use too many notes in a chord. They double up an awful lot" - (Crescendo May 1963).

Benny Green (British): "...there was a whole race of men who used to stand in front of their bands, waving their arms, pretending to conduct ... Many of the bandleaders we had worked for had been either crooks or imposters ... " - (Crescendo March 1963).

Today Monday September 24

Afternoon.

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

?????

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Yes @ Sage Gateshead - March 18

(Review by Steve T)
What a powerful weapon the finale to Stravinsky's Firebird Suite has been for this band. As Steve Howe led them out, a not quite packed three floors of Sage One stood to attention for one of the classic rock bands who refuse to go away. In fact, as happened in the eighties, there are two bands once more and the other is due at the City Hall in the summer.  
Yours is no Disgrace opened things up, the track that stunned the world in 1971, introducing their new guitarist - Steve Howe - and he's now entirely dominant in the band.
A Portuguese mandolin could mean either Your Move/I've Seen All Good People or Wondrous Stories and turned out to be the former, though we got the latter soon after. By the end we'd had said mandolin, two Gibson semi-acoustics, a Les Paul, a Strat, a slide guitar, an acoustic solo piece (Mood for a Day) and another on a stand, enabling a quick switch. Last time I saw him he was immense; and although tonight's performance wasn't quite up there, he’s still the one all eyes are drawn to, including those of Jon Anderson when he's there.
South Side of the Sky from Fragile followed by Sweet Dreams from their second album, the one before their 'giant step' which brought in Howe, and none of this band go back that far.
A song by way of tribute to bass player Chris Squire, founding member with Jon Anderson and the only constant throughout their existence before his death. This is the third time I've seen a band calling themselves Yes without Chris Squire and the first time I've noticed what a strong second vocalist he was. When Steve Howe gets the duty you know they're in trouble. 
And You and I closed the first set of 'greatest hits' with Howe promising excerpts from their most controversial album and an appearance by long-term drummer and Ferryhill lad Allan White. 
In 1973 they released a double album with four tracks each lasting about twenty minutes. This has divided opinion ever since with some, including Rick Wakeman (who left afterwards), thinking it an over-stretch and others thinking it's the pinnacle of Yes and maybe even prog-rock. I think it's a good album but some way short of their best, with three tracks about five minutes too long and the other about fifteen minutes too long. However, Steve Howe has rightly pointed out that this was precisely what people expected and wanted at that time.
Prior to its release, they played it in its entirety during a tour and their City Hall show is legendary as the one, during which, Rick Wakeman ate a curry. I was there but was too far back to smell the culinary distraction.
On Sunday we got two full tracks and excerpts from a third. Ritual is generally thought as the best, with an extended percussion break accompanied by some impressive lighting as Allan White took over the drum chair, the chap he replaced probably getting more from a tambourine.
They all came back for the inevitable encores of Roundabout and Starship Trooper which earned a standing ovation. 
Ricko Waco used to think there'll be a group called Yes years into the future when they're all part of the history books, but has since said any group without Jon Anderson is a tribute group, even one with his son on keys.
Steve Howe may have a credibility issue, with a keyboardist who played on one album in 1980 and has never played with Anderson, a super-fan who briefly played rhythm (like Howe needed it) handling bass, a singer who sounds like Anderson and a drummer. Bruford out of retirement? Unlikely. A certain Dylan? I'd certainly like to see that sometime in the future and it's high time he stopped being a Blockhead.
Meanwhile, Anderson has Wakeman as well as Trevor Raben, who reinvented the band in the eighties, though most think for the worse. Another Union perhaps, leading to another classic(ish) line-up? Watch this space!   
Steve T.

1 comment :

Steve T said...

Apparently there's a comment on facebook questioning whether this is Jazz. The short answer is no but the long answer is far more complex. Certainly the musicians in this band were all well versed in Jazz and they are one of the few rock bands who could stand with Jazz musicians. There was enormous cross-fertilisation between progressive rock and Jazz-rock, with Stanley Clark expressing his admiration for Chris Squire. Many of todays Jazz musicians take influences from prog rock. Some people think Soft Machine are Jazz but most think they're prog-rock. I saw Henry Cow at the London Jazz Festival a couple of years back. In his book, Listening to the Future, Martin put both these bands, as well as Jazz-rock mainstays Mahavishnu Orchestra (MO) in his 'front-line' of prog bands. Red era King Crimson may never have happened without MO. Experimental rock bands (progressive in all but name) like Zappa, Beefheart and Santana are all enormously influenced by Jazz.
Peel has been dead a while now and prog has been entirely re-evaluated and gained enormous credibility with hundreds of new bands and a highly successful mag. All despite over four decades of anti-prog in the media. It's worth noting that Yes, Genesis, Tull and Henry Cow were amongst Peels favourite bands in the early seventies until, spotting that rock was in decline, he swapped to punk-rock to extend his own career. In doing so he caused incalculable harm to music in this country and it's only now people are becoming interested in music again, instead of naughty popstars who are just so anti-establishment.
My own view is that Jazz will become the catch-all term for C20th music which isn't just the nice verses and choruses, haircuts and novelties of media music, and will include the best soul, funk and rock, including the best of the prog bands.

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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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