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Bebop Spoken There

Lionel Loueke: "A mistake is just for the moment - make it the best mistake it can be, and that's it" - (JazzTimes, April 2019).

Archive

Today Friday April 26

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - The Black Bull, Frosterley DL3 2SL. Tel: 01388 527784. Coach trip dep Tyneside 10:30am. Tickets: £15.00. Info: 0191 252 9429.

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

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

The City Trio - Stack, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6QE. Tel: 0191 216 1415. 5:00-7:00pm. Free. Alice Grace, Jennifer Davies, Ben Helm.

Evening.

Swing Bridge - Scott's, Forum Cinema, Market Place, Hexham NE46 1XF. Tel: 01434 601144. 6:20-7:15pm. Free. Gig in the cafe.

James Birkett & Emma Fisk - The Old Low Light, Clifford's Fort, North Shields Fish Quay NE30 1JA. Tel: 0191 257 4506. 7:00pm. £10.00. Advance booking required.

Baghdaddies - Ponteland Beer Festival, Ponteland Leisure Centre, Callerton Lane, Ponteland NE20 9EG. Baghdaddies 7:15pm (doors 6:00pm). £12.00.

Pepperland - Theatre Royal, Grey Street, Newcastle NE1 6BR. Tel: 08448 112121. 7:30pm. £19.00. Mark Morris Dance Group's 50th anniversary celebration of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. MD Ethan Iverson leads seven-piece NYC band. First night of two.

The Ronnie Scott’s Story: 60th Anniversary Concert - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. 8:00pm. £27.70. & £18.50. Support set by Jambone on concourse (7:00pm).

Sue Ferris Quintet - Traveller’s Rest, West Auckland Road, Cockerton, Darlington DL3 9ER. Tel: 01325 468177. 8:00pm (doors 7:30pm). £8.00. Note new, earlier start time.

Blues/Soul/Funk

45 Spread - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bass-less fears! The Gala Big Band @ The Gala Theatre, Durham – April 17

(Personnel to follow - maybe)
(Review by Jerry)
The annual big-bash for this estimable community band was late getting started – the bass guitar “had imploded” (?) just before curtain-up so the stressed guitarist rushed off home (?) to repair/replace the offending instrument. Problems for the MD who likened the bass in a band to the goalie in football – you hardly notice them when things are going well but when things go wrong you realise how important they are!
After a delay, and still bass-less, they launched into Strike Up the Band and Bye Bye Blackbird featuring a piano solo by Ben Lawrence. There were no own-goals conceded before the bassist appeared, stage left and panting, and order was almost restored in the rhythm section in time for Alex Kennedy to step up from the drums and give us the vocals on Almost Like Being in Love.
I say “almost restored” because the empty drum-seat had now to be filled by the MD himself, who freely admits this is not his forte but, once again, no own goals were conceded. The opening lyrics: “What a day this has been…” must have struck a chord with both bassist and MD! Alex Kennedy followed up with I’ve Got You Under My Skin and, in the second set gave us Come Fly with Me, so Paul Edis got in plenty of drumming practice! He must have been happy with it as he volunteered for more in the finale (see below)!

We had a solo piano “world premiere” of a recently composed Edis’ original, Of Mice and Men, which had nothing to do with the Steinbeck novel but did have some echoes of Three Blind Mice and “influences from American folk-music”. I thought I heard more gospel than folk in the opening and closing sections which were both quiet and gentle compared to the left-hand, bass-heavy mid section. Another good tune, anyway, hopefully earmarked for a third solo CD.

Aside from the above it was all a big-band instrumental mix of great standards and Edis originals. In the Mood was a blast as always and saw the return of the hats in the trumpet section – as welcome as the first swallows of summer! Satin Doll was smooth and polished and April in Paris featured “Pop-goes-the-weasel” trumpet and a series of “fake-endings” catching out all those eager to applaud!
Prelude and Funk typified the challenging music the MD puts before both Jambone, for whom this was originally written, and the Gala Big Band. It opens with the horns (Prelude?) before drum, bass and guitar inject the funk. There was jazz flute from the MD, too. A great closer to the first set.  Diminishing Returns, a blues, featured solos from Matthew Downey on guitar and Bob Howe on alto sax as well as more flute from its composer.

Earlier, Mikey Samba , a happy, driving tune (Nissan Micra inspired, bizarrely!) featured trumpet and guitar solos and was a complete contrast with the tune which followed, Too Sad for Words. This last is a quiet ballad full of long, low notes for the brass which produced a beautiful, haunting effect (my wife’s words, not mine). Technically, I assume, very challenging for the players and brilliantly done.
The penultimate number was Neal Hefti’s beautiful L’il Darlin, featuring a fine muted trumpet solo from Dave Skipsey. An excellent arrangement of Watermelon Man (apologies, I can’t remember by whom it was arranged) closed proceedings with a “four-handed” percussion intro as the band leader grabbed 2 sticks and briefly joined Alex Kennedy on the drums. There were solos including tenor sax and guitar and oodles of high-energy ensemble playing contributing to a rousing finale.
Overall, despite a worrisome start for all concerned, a really enjoyable gig.
Jerry

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