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Bebop Spoken There

Branford Marsalis: "You talk to the old guys about it [52nd St.], and they say the music part was great. Every other aspect of it [pay, hours, conditions] sucked" - (DownBeat, May 2019).

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Today Sunday April 21

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Blues

Beefy La Slap - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 3:00pm. Free.

Alex Fawcett Band - Tyne Bar, Maling St., Newcastle NE6 1LP. Tel: 0191 265 2550. 4:00pm. Free

Evening

Jazz

East Coast Jazz - Exchange, Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1SE. Tel: 0191 258 4111. 6:00pm. Free. Monthly jam session.

Swing Manouche - Black Bull, Bridge St., Blaydon NE21 4JJ. Tel: 0191 414 2846. 7:30pm. £7.00. Blaydon Jazz Club. Note new, regular start time.

Blues

Sour Mash Trio - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

GIJF Day 3: Jambone with special guests Issie Barratt & James Brady – Sage Gateshead, April 8.

(Review/photo by Jerry).
Two contrasting Edis originals opened the set: It Takes Time (Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day) and Hymn Tune. The former could be a motto for aspiring young musicians (or even thirty-something musicians too!) and is cheery and up-tempo while the latter – a thought-provoking “secular hymn” – is beautifully quiet. In total contrast again, James Brady’s first composition of the afternoon, Manhattan, was all loud, brash, honking energy. The horns had a field-day! “I’ve never been to New York, “said Brady, “but this is what I imagine it sounds like.” Me neither, James, but I get what you mean.
Tonight’s musicians overcame any early nerves long before the end of the first number and were in full flow by the second. Issie Barratt later complimented them as being the most “mature” group of their age that she had worked with - an accolade to treasure, coming from this award-winning music educationalist! Both she and James Brady singled out the solidity of the rhythm section. I would add that the ensemble playing was more confident and powerful than I have heard so far from Jambone and there were exceptional solos too. Dylan Thompson’s drums on Barratt’s Largo Days really conveyed the distant thunder she told us to expect and, on the same tune I think, Alex Thompson gave a blistering solo. 

There was some fine work from Megan Robinson on flute and Ryan de Silva on baritone sax while Alex Shipsey brought variety to the rhythm section by switching effortlessly from double bass to electric when required. Ben Lawrence, too, was the best I’ve heard him, so far – really growing in confidence and certainty. Apologies to other band members I’ve not acknowledged here (I should have made notes!) – there were some great trumpet sounds too, for example, from behind the tower of amps which obscured my view of who was doing what!

Before Largo Days we had Issie Barratt’s Upptäckt, a complex Scandinavian- influenced piece which challenged the musicians and the vocalist in particular as the lyrics were in Norwegian! Emily McDermott was unflustered and threw in some scat for good measure – or it might have been more Norwegian, who knows? It all sounded fine as she has a good vocal range, power, clarity of voice and real jazz-style delivery evidenced here and throughout this gig.

The final piece of the evening was Brady’s PRS Foundation commission for the festival, Jambone Set. – a compilation of five North-Eastern folk tunes transmuted into different jazz forms. We had Rothbury Hills, Remember Me, The Waters of Tyne (beautifully sung by Emily McDermott), Byker Hill and finally, topping everything which preceded it, Bobby Shafto(e). Here the golden-haired lad went to sea not in the freezing North-Sea but somewhere in the Caribbean in a glorious, high-energy calypso which had everyone in the audience tapping and swaying and wishing for more. There wasn’t room to dance, or I’m sure we would have! A great finale which underscored the keynote of the whole gig – variety: variety of influences, genres, styles and tempos all carried off with aplomb by these outstanding young musicians.
According to the programme notes: “The musical mission of the band is anything but conventional, aiming to provide a range of fresh repertoire and performance challenges for its members.”  Mission accomplished!
Jerry
Ryan de Silva, Ben Knivett, Haaruun Miller, Christopher Muir, Ella Talbot,  Alex Thompson (saxophones); Jason Holcomb (trombone); Imogen Davies-Pugh,  Megan Robinson (flutes); Lucien Guest, Edward Hogben, James Metcalf (trumpets); Dylan Thompson (drums); Alex Shipsey (bass); Matthew Downey (guitar); Ben Lawrence (piano); Emily McDermott (vocal).

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