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Bebop Spoken There

Randy Brecker: "It's still a thrill for me today to stand out front of a big band as the soloist and hear all that sound going on behind you. It brings the best out of me" - (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 Wednesday May 22

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Julija Jacenaite & Alan Law - Jazz Café, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 261 5618. 2:00pm. Free. Café Mezzanine (first floor, access via crafts shop).

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Blues

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Monday, April 09, 2018

GIJF Day 1: Sun Ra Arkestra - Sage, Gateshead, April 6

(Review by Steve T/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).
It's probably fair to say the Arkestra is an acquired taste, which is probably best acquired live. It'll certainly catch your attention.
I first came across the Sun Ra Arkestra when a film about them and their erstwhile leader was shown at the Tyneside Cinema as part of a Newcastle Jazz Festival in, as the Goldbergs would say, nineteen eighty something. It was only a few years later, as I acquired more of a taste for the bizarre, that I ventured back for another listen.
Now I always have some Sun Ra albums around, some for sale, some in the basket. They're always good but I couldn't identify one you have to have, and if anybody asked me who my top Jazz Artists are, I'd likely forget Saturn’s favourite Sun Ra. There's no doubting that people like the idea of it, and the idea works brilliantly live.  
Last time I saw them was part of a week-long residency they did at Cafe Oto, in one of the trendy suburbs in the smoke about five years ago. There, they entered from the street, which must have been a mind-boggling eye-full for any passers-by, and real heavy $h!t for anyone who'd taken something they shouldn't have.
Here, with the Sage lighting, they looked even more splendid and even crazier, in their inter-planetary space regalia of reds and purples, capes and headgear; like George Clintons' bunch of loonies in Parliament mode, though it's more likely P Funk were like them. Bad and Beautiful; Angels and Demons at Play.
Juxtaposition is a large part of what they do and why it works so well. A sleazy, old-style cocktail jazz homage, some straight big band, some free-jazz just about hanging together as you think it's set to fall apart. A high priestess (looking like George Clinton circa 76) doing most of the vocals, though it's more repeated chants about inter-planetary affairs we mere earthlings no nothing of.  
It's an old trick but I've never seen it done better: baritone, trombone and trumpet taking a walk around Sage One. Part of the back-stage crew put two fingers up at Marshall Allen, a sprightly ninety three-year-old who's captained the ship with a Destination Unknown since it's former captain did whatever people from Saturn do when their time on earth is up. Allen returned with his own two fingers by doing another four, ending with the title track from their most famous album and the one you can get at your local HMV for £5.99, Space is the Place.
As the band left the stage, one of the youngsters, probably in his sixties or something, which makes the whole spectacle even more bizarre, told us of their tour schedule so far (getting some of it wrong) and that they were in Florida the next night, like we all have access to modes of transport that can traverse great distances in short time. Then the usual merchandise plug, confirming that even in the outer reaches of the galaxy, capitalism rules.
Preposterous.
Steve T.
Ken Drew Festival Photos (ongoing).   

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