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Bebop Spoken There

Piers Paul Read: "Bruce Reynolds and Biggs shared an interest in Sex, Jazz and Hemingway." - (The Train Robbers by Piers Paul Read, Coronet Books 1979.)

George Shearing: "Speaking about Johann Sebastian Bach I think he'd be a real jazzer if he were alive today. I mean any man who has two wives, twenty kids, gets kicked out of the church for being too harmonically radical and drinks beer can't be all wrong can he?" - (Crescendo March 1984.)

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 all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance

Posting a comment

If you experience any problems posting a comment, as I understand some readers are, then email it to me direct, stating which post your comment relates to - lanceliddle@gmail.com. Alternatively, try the Anonymous button but please sign your name!
Apologies for any inconvenience, this is due to circumstances beyond my control.

Today Tuesday July 17

Afternoon

Classic Swing - The Ship, Front St., Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 1pm. Free.

Evening

Northern Monkey Brass Band - Glenholme Park, New Road, Crook DL15 8LN. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Big BRASS Bash (Durham Brass Festival).

Jam session - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. Free. House trio: Steve Glendinning, Paul Grainger, Rob Walker.

Francis Tulip Quartet - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB. Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

Reel Brass + Shake ‘Em Up Brass Band - Lanchester, Co. Durham DH7. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Town centre street performance. Durham Brass Festival (Street Ceilidh).

Hokum Hotshots - Royal Northumberland Yacht Club, South Harbour, Blyth NE24 3PB. 7:00pm. £10.00.

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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hand to Mouth @ The Dun Cow - May 30

 Lindsay Hannon (vocal); Bradley Johnston (guitar).
(Review by Lance).
Delightful!
I could end the review now for that one word sums up a session that had indeed been – delightful!
However, my readers, hopefully, want more i.e. what made it so delightful?
It all began about 40 years ago when Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass recorded the first of a series of duo albums that became genre classics. Until recently, they were hallowed ground where angels feared to tread but, with the (Joe) passage of time, the realisation that this was relatively unploughed pastures encouraged newer faces to explore the source material.
To my ears, none have done it better than Hannon and Johnston or, to give them their official title, Hand to Mouth.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

CD Review: Alina Bzhezhinska - Inspiration.

Alina Bzhezhinska (harp); Tony Kofi (tenor/soprano); Larry Bartley (bass); Joel Prime (drums).
(Review by Lance)
There haven't been too many jazz harpists, in fact, I can only think of five: Caspar Reardon who recorded with Jack Teagarden and died in 1941; Bobby Maxwell, who composed Ebbtide, and died in 2012; Corky Hale, whom I heard at the North Sea Jazz Festival 35 years ago and is still active. Alice Coltrane, who died in 2007 and was perhaps better known as a pianist, and, now, Alina Bzhezhinska. Alina, originally from Ukraine/Poland and currently based in London, may have passed under my radar but this hasn't stopped her becoming internationally renowned and being nominated for Best Live Experience of the Year at this year's Jazz FM Awards where she lost out to the Ezra Collective.

Historic jazz TV programme recreated for the modern era

***DOWNLOAD VIDEO CLIP AND ADDITIONAL IMAGES HERE***
(Press release)
A golden era of music television has been faithfully recreated at Birmingham City University, as part of a major new research project looking at jazz broadcasting in the 1960s.

As well as encompassing archival research and interviews with former production staff, the study involved transforming the University’s main TV studio to simulate how a jazz programme was made. This included scrutinising the technical decisions faced by television crews and improvising musicians at each stage of producing such a broadcast.

Following months of planning, on Tuesday 22 May, Birmingham City University’s TV Studio A was transformed to evoke the aesthetics of a 1960s BBC jazz programme. Led by director Mark Kershaw, and featuring a crew of former BBC employees and current Birmingham City University students, the team utilised cutting-edge facilities in the University’s £62 million Parkside Building to precisely record the role of improvisation in the relationship between a television crew, their equipment and a contemporary working jazz group.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Pete Gilligan Trio @ the Prohibition Bar / Left Hand Lewis @ Wardley Hotel - May 28

Pete Gilligan (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Russ Morgan (drums).
(Review by Lance/photos by Russell)
There's a scene in the movie adaptation of Hemingway's Snows of Kilimanjaro where Benny Carter plays Blue Mountain in a dimly-lit bar*. Set in the 1930s I'm always reminded of that scene when I enter the Prohibition Bar, particularly on a jazz evening. Last night was no exception and although Benny Carter was missing, along with Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck, the presence of the Pete Gilligan Trio retained the Hemingway-like ambiance.
Since his departure to foreign climes (see the previous post) pianist Gilligan's playing seems to have reached an even higher level going by his recent performances here and at other venues around town. It must be the Thai cuisine or the fact that the country once had a king who played the saxophone. Whatever, he played his ass off, to coin a phrase. 

BSH Interviews Pete Gilligan

Prior to his gig at the Prohibition Bar, Gateshead, last night BSH Editor Lance caught up with pianist Pete Gilligan for a chat and an update:

Pete, until recently, you were pretty much a regular on the northeast jazz scene. How did you get to come up here in the first place?

I originally came to the northeast to go and study on the jazz, popular and commercial music course with James Birkett at what was then the John Marley Centre in Benwell. So that's why I came up here. Also, my sister lived in Sunderland for some time.

You were also very much involved with the Jazz Caff (Café) both ancient and modern for quite a long time.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Back in the day...

Whilst re-arranging my collection of 78s (mainly the Sinatra section), the diversity of shops selling records and musical instruments as depicted on the packets (I don't think the term 'sleeve' was in usage in the pre-vinyl era) served as a reminder of how vibrant were the High Streets of our towns and cities when it came to music. Of all the stores, I think only Fenwicks and J.G. Windows remain and only the latter still involved with music.
Rather sad.
Lance.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

BSH Interviews Zoë Gilby

(Interview by Russell/ Photo from GIJF 2018 courtesy of Ken Drew)
On Friday (June 1) you have the honour, alongside Andy Champion (pictured), of opening this year’s DJazz: Durham City Jazz Festival. Your voice and double bass duo set is well suited to a smaller, intimate space, and Friday’s concert in the atmospheric setting of Durham Castle’s Norman Chapel has all the makings of a memorable evening. The building dates from about 1080. Can you recall playing in such an ancient venue?

We are super excited to be opening the festival and performing our voice and double bass duo in the Norman Chapel. I understand it is the first time it has been used as a venue for the festival, so it’ll be a pretty special occasion. We haven’t performed in anywhere so ancient with such a rich history. As part of the Ellington Sacred Concerts in 2017, I performed with Jambone in the astonishing St Cuthbert’s Chapel at Ushaw College (dating back only to 1808 I believe). The acoustics and ambiance were unbelievable. My quartet often performs around the country as part of the rural touring scheme. Some of those venues have been beautiful village churches, tucked away in the countryside. I think it’s fantastic that these amazing spaces are being transformed into venues and that we have the opportunity to perform there too. Durham’s Norman Chapel on Friday 1st June is going to be epic!!

Radio 3 Hitting the High Notes…again

In the best tradition of the BBC’s oft-quoted ‘another chance to hear’ this evening’s repeat airing of Hitting the High Notes in Radio 3’s Sunday Feature strand really is well worth listening to again. Dr Sally Marlow looks at the bop era’s infamous association with heroin. Addiction researcher Marlow puts the subject in perspective with archive interviews and some terrific jazz. Tune in at 6:45pm. Russell

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Don't forget your bucket and spade!

One of our more southerly northern scribes, Ron Hampton, drew my attention to a couple of Sunday sessions at the seaside tomorrow:

Sunday 27th. May:  Brian Dales is playing at Saltburn House, Marine Parade, Saltburn between 4pm and 7pm free event.

Sunday 27th. May: Seaview Playboys (Gus Smith Keith Wilson and Paul Dickerson) play a mix of western swing, jazz, blues, etc. along with guest acts at The Cleveland, Coatham High St., Redcar start about 8pm. free.
Ron points out that the jazz content may be limited but the entertainment content won't!
Lance.

CD Review: Richard Shulman Group - Turned Into Lemonade.

Richard Shulman (piano); Jacob Rodriguez (tenor/soprano); Zack Page (bass); Rick Dilling (drums); Wendy Jones (vocal - 3 tracks).
(Review by Lance).
What a delightful album! Not pushing any boundaries but so easy to listen to and I don't mean that condescending genre - Easy Listening - under which label some of those record stores still standing hide their jazz content. Call it Chamber Jazz if you will, whatever, it serves as an example that jazz in 2018 doesn't have to be all guts and gore.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Stu Collingwood Trio @ The Fire Station, Sunderland - May 24

Stu Collingwood (piano); Andy Champion (bass); Russ Morgan (drums).
(Review by Lance/Photos courtesy of Russell).
A good acquaintance of mine remarked that he thought I was too fulsome with my praise when writing reviews. As this was from a person whose opinion I respect, I gave the matter some thought and came to the conclusion that he was right!
However, by way of explanation, I'll admit that when I like something or somebody I'm not afraid to show it. On the other hand, if I don't like something or somebody, I just keep my big mouth shut. After all, this isn't God speaking and all criticism is 99% subjective anyway. My friend mentioned jam session reviews which is a different kettle of fish altogether. Often some of the participants are relatively new to the game and speaking as one who knows the 1000 deaths a person can go through before plucking up the courage to play or sing (or even draw the raffle!) the last thing I want to do is quench their enthusiasm (the legend of Charlie Parker and the cymbal incident with Jo Jones springs to mind*). 
Constructive criticism? Well-meaning words but, in practice, not always seen that way by the recipient. Also, I think most musicians know whether they've played well or not without being told.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

CD Review: Matt Anderson Quartet - Rambling

Matt Anderson (tenor & alto saxophones); Peter Lee (piano, keyboards); Will Harris (double bass); Jay Davis (drums) + Nick Malcolm (trumpet) tracks 1,2,6,9,10; Owen Dawson (trombone) tracks 1,2,6,9,10; Aubin Vanns (guitar) tracks 1,2,9,10
(Review by Russell). 
Rambling is Matt Anderson’s follow up to his 2015 debut recording Wild Flower. The saxophonist’s quartet – Peter Lee, piano and keyboards, Will Harris, double bass and drummer Jay Davis – with the addition of contributions from trumpeter Nick Malcolm, trombonist Owen Dawson, and guitarist Aubin Banns, further enhances the Yorkshireman’s reputation as an accomplished composer. The ten tracks on this Jellymould release were written by Anderson and the band leader has the grace and humility to state that track number four – Count Up/Tune Down – is based on John Coltrane’s Countdown.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Jam Session @ Dun Cow, Jesmond - May 23.

Mark Williams (guitar); Paul Grainger (bass); Russ Morgan (drums) + Kay Usher (violin); Paul Ruddick (alto); Matt MacKellar (drums); Kevin Green (soprano); Pete Gilligan (piano); Dan Garel (alto).
(Review by Lance).
There comes a time in a person's life when he or she realises something special is happening. In music, and jazz in particular, that moment sometimes happens and sometimes it doesn't.
Tonight it happened!
The jam was progressing nicely. Mark Williams, at his most sensitive, got the set underway with I Should Care and all three slugged it out on Solar culminating with a knockout solo from Russ - Solar power indeed!
Kay Usher swung On the Sunny Side of the Street following up with a faster than usual Willow Weep For Me- it worked.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Remembering Kay Rouselle

Drummer/Bandleader Ian Lawrence (Stocks) sent me this photo of the late Kay Rouselle singing with his big band and remarking that he rarely hears mention of her these days which is a pity as, at one time, not only was she winning beauty contests but also went on to become possibly the best vocalist to sing with the Don Smith Band at Newcastle’s famous ballroom, the Oxford Galleries.*
Ian believes Kay’s last big band gig was with his band. She sang with the band for a number of years playing gigs in both England and Scotland.
Although the band included many top local musicians such as Ray Harley and Arthur Mowatt, it didn’t, says Ian, stop Kay speaking her mind if she thought something wasn’t being played right.

Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club - May 21

Herbie Hudson (trombone, harmonica, vocals); Brian Chester (keyboards, trombone); John Carstairs Hallam (double bass); Fred Thompson (drums) + Roy Gibson (keyboards); Teresa Armstrong (vocals); John Broddle (vocals)
(Review by Russell). 
Blue skies at the coast! Folk paddling in Cullercoats Bay, some exploring Smuggler’s Cave others out at Crab Hill, a rare warm afternoon down at the coast. Meanwhile at Cullercoats Crescent Club if it’s a Monday it has to be Jazz in the Afternoon. JITA isn’t exactly JATP but its longevity has put the once thriving fishing village of Cullercoats on the jazz map. One o’clock in the bar, a choice of toasties, chips, a pint courtesy of one of the many local micro-breweries – on this occasion Queen of the Nile from the High Spen-based Olde Potting Shed Brewery.

CD Review: Jamie Shew - Eyes Wide Open

Jamie Shew (vocals, arrangements); Larry Koonse (guitars); Joe Bagg (piano and Hammond B3); Darek Oles (bass); Jason Harnell (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex).
‘This one’s a cracker’ said Lance as he handed over the CD, and it certainly is. Yet I reckon that it’s a miracle that it was ever made, as it’s literally a labour of love. Jamie Shew uses song to tell the story of her 20 year relationship with her husband, bass player Roger Shew, who sadly died of cancer. She traces their lives together in music, with good taste and a lack of sentimentality, and even manages to look to the future.

Monday, May 21, 2018

RIP Tony Pringle

John Carstairs Hallam has informed me (via Russell) of the death of Liverpool born/Massachusetts based cornet player Tony Pringle of the New Black Eagle Jazz Band. 
I must confess to being unfamiliar with him. Did he ever play at any of the Whitley Bay Jazz Festivals/Jazz Parties I wonder?
Reading his obituary in the Syncopated Times, which also included his own memories of those early days where he recalls how he got into jazz, I found myself in agreement with him when he wrote that being a jazz fan was like catching an obstinate bug that stays with you forever. 
It didn't matter that his obstinate bug was of the vintage New Orleans variety and mine was hatched on 52nd St. the end result was the same - incurable!
Tony Pringle passed away on May 4, aged 81. and will, I'm sure, be sadly missed by all who knew him.
May he Rest In Peace.
Lance.

Alter Ego @ The Black Bull, Blaydon - May 20

Keith Robinson (alto saxophone), Niall Armstrong (tenor saxophone, flute), Dave Hignett (trumpet, flugelhorn), Andy Hawking (keyboards), Tony Abell (bass) & David Francis (drums)
(Review and top right photo by Russell/other photos courtesy of  Roly). 
Following an absence, Tony Abell returned to the fold, reuniting with his Alter Ego bandmates at the Black Bull in Blaydon. It was as though he’d never been away. The sun shone over Blaydon, just as it had done all week. The pub’s beer garden, perched high above the Tyne Valley railway,   came into its own on an evening such as this. Singer-guitarist Gareth Beddard was just wrapping up his set to an appreciative beer garden audience as the Alter Ego boys went about their sound check in the adjacent lounge.

The Bud Plus: Budtet @ The Globe Jazz Bar - May 20

Stu Finden (tenor); Fiona Finden (sop/vocal); Jude Murphy (alto/flute/vocal); Dave Weisser (cornet/vocal); Lin Lee Wong (piano); Andrew 'Drew' Porritt (bass); Eric Stutt (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Budtet's guitarist didn't make the gig. Understandable as Budtet were a last-minute replacement after the all-girl Break Out Brass Band pulled out. So the octet became a septet albeit, like the band they were depping for, still with a strong - if not total - female presence.
The plus factor did remain with the addition of the legendary Dave Weisser playing muted cornet and singing in his inimitable way.
However, the star of the evening was the departing keyboard player, Lin Lee Wong. Ms Wong will be missed by both band and audience. Her final chorus on A Train a timely reminder of what we're losing.
The additional voice that Weisser's cornet brought filled out the front line giving Boplicity an ensemble sound that rivalled the original Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool recording.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

CD Review: Mark Kavuma - Kavuma

Mark Kavuma (trumpet); Mussinghi Brian Edwards, Ruben Fox (saxes); Artie Zaitz (guitar on 3 tks); Reuben James (piano); Conor Chaplin (bass); Kyle Poole (drums) + Michela Martin Lerman (tap dance on 1 track).
(Review by Lance)
"They resemble the finest amalgam of 50's Blue Note and Prestige line-ups" so said guitarist and sound engineer, Zaitz. It was enough for me, I was halfway there before I'd heard a note! I've spent the past couple of months playing Blue Note CDs on the car stereo so I've got plenty to compare with.
In a blindfold test, I'd have been fooled completely, convinced it had been recorded by the late Rudy Van Gelder in his Hackensack, NJ, studio as opposed to on board a ship moored on the Thames in East London!*
Maybe Lee Morgan, Freddy Hubbard or Donald Byrd blowing alongside Benny Golson, Jackie McLean or Stanley Turrentine. I can almost see the Blue Note honchos Wolfe and Lyon nodding their heads approvingly - just as I'm doing as I listen.

Alex Hitchcock Quintet @ the Jazz Café – May 17

Alex Hitchcock (tenor sax); James Copus (trumpet & flugelhorn); Will Barry (piano); Jay Davis (drums); Conor Chaplin (bass)
(Review by Steve H/Photo courtesy of Ken Drew) 
This was the third time in a week that  I had attended a Jazz North East gig. The first two, Deep Cabaret and Malby, Bonnet & Darrifourcq, although completely different in content, were both absolutely superb. Could the last in the triumvirate match the variety and quality of its predecessors? I am very happy to report that it did so and in spades. Although possibly the most conventional of the three, the jazz being of the ‘straight ahead’ type,  the enthusiasm and the calibre of both the music and the performers made it another night to remember.
All five were marvellous, from Hawkins’ very first tenor solo, Gift Horse, onwards.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pianos and how to break ‘em! - Paul Edis Trio @ Ushaw - May 18

Paul Edis (piano); Andy Champion (double bass); Russ Morgan (drums)

(Review by Jerry)
We were lucky to find a parking spot in front of this imposing old building and even luckier to find a seat inside. The Francis Thompson Room was packed and more chairs were being carried in right up to the gig’s start time. It is truly heartening to see so many people on a Friday, forsaking the bars, eateries (barbecues, even, on such a glorious evening!) or comforts of home to listen to live jazz. They arrived expectant, they left buzzing after a piano-themed feast served up by musical master chefs, Edis, Morgan and Champion! The trio, then with Adam Sinclair on drums, had given a similar master-class in Fenham last month (see review by Russell).

Niffi Osiyemi Trio @ Jazz Café - May 18.

Niffi Osiyemi (vocals); Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (bass).
(Review by Lance/Photos courtesy of Minnie F & Lance)
Niffi, a final year medical student and a first year (first rate!) jazz singer wowed a packed Jazz Café downstairs bar who roared their approval demanding, and getting, two encores! Not bad going at a venue that, on a Friday night, is sometimes noted for its indifference - not tonight though!
A choice selection of GASbook classics that varied from the tender to the not so tender to the frenetic - sometimes on the same number.
It's still a work in progress, there were a few hiccups but none to mar the overall kicks the listeners were getting and we were nowhere near Route 66.
Don't Get Around Much Anymore and Our Love is Here to Stay, were smooth, swingy songs that little prepared us for the Cry me a River to end all Cry me a Rivers. This wasn't a river, it was the North Sea at its most turbulent. The flood barriers well and truly breached!
By contrast, that well-known warning to philanderers - Makin' Whoopee - returned the room to sanity. It may have been around this point that Niffi dispensed with her stilettos, possibly prompting the tall, angular singer's next song, This Can't be Love which contains the appropriate line My head is not in the skies...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ada Francis: Final Year Undergraduate Recital @ The Boiler House, Newcastle University - May 17

Ada Francis (voice, Celtic harp) accompanied by Ben Richardson (keyboards); Luke Gaul (bass); Harry Still (drums); Alex de Alfaro (guitar); Megan Savage (vocals); Frankie Hay (vocals)
(Review by Russell) 
Her big day had finally arrived. Ada Francis sound checked right up to the last minute. After years of study, the softly spoken Scot surrounded herself with fellow student musicians. A large audience of family and friends materialised minutes before the scheduled five-thirty start. Examiners seated at the back of the room, her time had come…

Newcastle University’s final year undergraduate music recitals were in full swing at several campus locations; King’s Hall, the Recital Room and here at the recently opened Boiler House performance space. Some students drew the short straw – 9:30am can’t be the best time of day to perform, Ada hit lucky with her five-thirty time slot. On a sunny late afternoon, the recently converted boiler house (‘industrial chic’ the look) would forever be a fond memory for the soon-to-graduate Ada Francis.

Dom Pipkin @ The Forum, Darlington - May 17

Dom Pipkin (piano/vocal)
(Review by Lance)
The choices were multiple: Alan Barnes with the Paul Edis Trio in Fenham; the Alex Hitchcock Quintet at the Jazz Café; Dom Pipkin playing solo piano in Darlo and a few others. Tough calls all around. Alan Barnes is my favourite alto player and the Edis Trio are guaranteed to provide the perfect backdrop and much more, whilst the recent release by the Alex Hitchcock Quintet indicated that they are a band on the up and up and one to get in on the ground floor (albeit, the first floor at JC) saying "I was there!"
In the end, I opted for a drive down the A1(M)/A167 to Darlington.
Why? Well, as an indication of how frequent a visitor Alan Barnes is to the area - one of BSH's worthy constituents refers to him as "Barnsey!" (How familiar can you get?!) and I knew there would be plenty more opportunities.
I also knew that BSH would have representation at The Caff so, as I'd been mega impressed by Pipkin and his Ikos when they played Hoochie, I drove my Chevy to the Darlo Levee or, to be more precise, The Forum.
It was a wise decision.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Take the B Train

U.S. jazz legend celebrated at Birmingham conference
(Press release) 
The work of American composer, pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington will be placed under the spotlight at a three-day conference taking place in Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire this month.
Held between Friday 25 and Sunday 27 May, the 25th International Duke Ellington Study Group Conference will celebrate the life, music and legacy of the pivotal figure – often credited as the artist who brought jazz into the mainstream around the world.
Alongside themed panels of speakers, including Dr Harvey G Cohen (King's College London) and Dr Katherine Williams (Plymouth University), the event will showcase four concerts by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s Ellington Orchestra, present numerous small group jam sessions and host the AGM of The Duke Ellington Society UK.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Gypsy Jazz concerts and masterclass with Daniel John Martin in June

Parisien-based gypsy jazz violin ace Daniel John Martin will be in the UK to do a few gigs with Mick Shoulder's Swing Manouche in June. DJM's playing a special gig at Preston Jazz Festival on June 8. to coincide with the UK premiere of Etienne Comar's new film biopic 'Django' Then he's coming over to the northeast. 
DJM and Swing Manouche are doing two dates in the area: 
The Vault in Hexham on Saturday, June 9 @ 8pm, £12. 
Claypath Delicatessen in Durham on Sunday, June 10 @ 4pm, £10

In addition to the concert, beforehand, Daniel is holding a jazz violin masterclass - "Keys to Jazz & Improvisation" at Claypath from 11am until 2.30pm.
Price is £40 per person which includes entry to the gig at 4pm.
All standards are welcome.

Malaby, Bonnet & Darrifourcq @ The Bridge Hotel – May 13

Tony Malaby (saxophones); Richard Bonnet (guitar); Sylvain Darrifourcq (drums)
(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew) 
With a lot of improvised music, it can sometimes take a while to settle into the groove yet once locked in then the audience can be taken on a unique journey which in my opinion no other genre can surpass.
Sunday night at The Bridge was a case in point. As the trio started their set the sun was streaming in through the upstairs bay window. At first, I was not only blinded by the light but also by the improvisation taking place on the stage. However, once the sun had begun to set, I was able to tune in and thoroughly enjoy the rest of the splendid evening.

Jazz Café Jam Session - May 15

(Review by Lance).
Once again, the Jazz Café jam session lived up to expectations - when does it not? The signs were good from the start. In Edis and Walker, we had two-thirds of Triptych on stage although there was little of that band's contemporary leanings present. Instead, with Grainger as the lynchpin, it was straight down the middle swing even if Falling in Love With Love did start off in waltz-time. You'd be so Nice to Come Home to had set the ball rolling but it was the filling in the sandwich that brought the house down. Take the A Train left the platform slower than is the norm and it looked like we were taking the scenic route until Edis refueled with an amazing left-hand tremolo that seemed to last from Penn Station to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem. His right hand wasn't idle either! Showboating, I know, but nonetheless impressive!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Eddie Henderson & his Quartet @ Pizza Express, Soho – April 26-28

(Comments by Tomasz Furmanek - photos courtesy/copyright, Mochles Simawi).
Picture One:
Soundcheck. Eddie Henderson is very clear about what he wants in music and he always gives it his full attention. He is listening in silence, fully focused yet deeply in thoughts at the same time, somehow. He will not comment on anything until musicians finish playing. And then, he will make his comment, precise and clear, on how they should play the particular tune and in which moment exactly.

Preview: DJAZZ: The Durham City Jazz Festival

(By Russell)
It’s back, June 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, Durham City’s new jazz festival returns for a second year! Last year’s inaugural DJazz long-weekend festival made an instant impact and the good news is the event will once again take place in many of Durham’s finest, and quirkiest, venues beginning on Friday 1st running through until late Sunday 3rd. A flaming June feast of jazz whets the appetite with the cold weather well and truly behind us.    

No fewer than thirty-three concerts will feature familiar regional names, familiar national names, and, perhaps, a few not so familiar. Zoë Gilby and Andy Champion have the honour of opening DJazz 2018 in the historic surroundings of Durham Castle. The Norman Chapel dates from 1080 or thereabouts making it Durham’s oldest intact surviving building. The Tyneside-based duo will kick-start the weekend at 7:00pm on Friday 1st. As this is the first performance of the three-day festival it could be advisable to make your way up to Palace Green in good time to be sure of a seat.

CD Review: Beverley Beirne - JJWTHF*

Beverley Beirne (vocals); Sam Watts (piano); Flo Moore (bass); Ben Brown (drums/perc.); Rob Hughes (sax/flute) + Jason Miles (B3 - 2 tks); Romero Lumbambo (guitar - 1 tk); Dean Brown (guitar - 1 tk).
(Review by Lance).
Jazz and pop music have always been unlikely bedfellows and rarely compatible. Even such greats as Sinatra and Ella never sounded comfortable when dipping their toes into the more contemporary chart-infested waters. Likewise, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart and, more recently, Bob Dylan were only moderately successful at interpreting GASbook material.
Never the twain shall meet, has always been my reaction despite an increasing tendency amongst the current crop of jazz singers to tackle post-Beatle material. With the possible exception of Postmodern Jukebox, I don't think it ever quite works.
Until now that is!

Monday, May 14, 2018

A Change is Gonna Come

It’s all change tonight on Radio 2. After thirty years presenting his weekly blues programme Paul Jones has called it a day. From tonight (Monday 14), starting at eight o’clock, one hour later than Jones’ old slot, it’s The Cerys Matthews Blues Show. Cerys’ studio guest is Tom Jones who’ll be talking about his love of the blues.

Jools Holland moves from ten o’clock to nine o’clock and the boogie-woogie piano playing host is joined by Elkie Brooks. From Vinegar Joe to her solo career, Elkie will be chatting about her life in the music business. And what’s more, Elkie will be singing a number with Holland’s band.


Meanwhile over on Radio 3 at 11:00pm Jazz Now presents highlights of the Christian McBride Big Band’s exclusive British concert appearance at the recent Cheltenham Jazz Festival – read Steve T’s concert review right here on BSH.  
Russell

Deep Cabaret @ Jazz Café - May 11

Steve Lewis (guitar, voice); Matt Robinson (clarinets); Maja Bugge (cello); Paul Sherwood (hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes); Ben McCabe (percussion, vocals); Jayson Stilwell (overtone vocals)
(Review by Steve H/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew.)
So a band comprising of a bass clarinet, drums, hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, guitar, cello and assorted vocal techniques, playing a fusion of world, folk and jazz styles, in front of a sparse audience sounds like it could have been a recipe for disaster but as it turned out this musical kaleidoscope turned out to be a triumphant and highly enjoyable artistic extravaganza. Although the tunes are nearly all original the lyrics are taken from journals, poems, novels and quotes. Most of them, it has to be said, were of a fairly melancholy nature. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

CD Review: Glenn Crytzer Orchestra - Ain't it Grand?

(Review by Lance).
We're back in 'The Swing Era', that gorgeous period twixt Dixieland and bebop when big bands ruled the roost. To draw another parallel, and one closer to home, none of the tracks would sound out of place if performed at Mike Durham's Classic Jazz Party held annually just outside of Whitley Bay. In fact, at least one of the musicians has indeed played there - trombonist Jim Fryer.
Jazz historian Will Friedwald, who wrote the accompanying blurb, prefers to think of them as, "not so much recreations but rather reimaginings".  A pretty fair description, although A String of Pearls doesn't sound that much different from the original Miller version even down to the solos. But then again, who's going to improve on the original Bobby Hackett chorus?

Cheltenham Jazz Festival. The Good, Rick Astley and the Ugly.

(By  Steve T)
Rick Astley was the main reason I was able to persuade long-suffering, real music widow Mrs T to spend four nights at a Jazz Festival in Cheltenham. In the end, we decided two tickets with restricted viewing just wasn't worth sticking around for.
It seems to me the Festival has taken a giant step this year. Ever since I read Bill Bruford's autobiography, in which he described it as one of the leading festivals in the country, I've made the trip when they've had two class acts close together, which they've generally managed, though it was much easier when my in-laws lived just a little further up the M6. This was the first year I've needed to stay longer.
The good was especially good: Nigel Kennedy originally doing Hendrix, but hey, Nigel Kennedy; rising guitar wizard Rob Luft (or risen trumpet star Laura Jurd); Christian McBride (nuff said); man of the moment Kamasi Washington and classic funk from Tower of Power.

Tower of Power @ Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Town Hall - May 6.

(Review by Steve T)
I've said it before and hopefully, I'll say it a few more times, there's nothing quite like a classic funk band live. I've been lucky and I've seen many of them, including many of the greats, but there's a couple from the frontline I'm probably never going to see.
If I'm honest, Tower of Power are third-rate, which puts them round about the Average White Band and the Blackbyrds, which is still pretty awesome, and puts them ahead of most everything else, at least live.
They're best known for having one of the most awesome horn sections in funk; most of the bands had three or four players, they've always had five.

Joy Ellis Quartet @ The Globe Jazz Bar, Newcastle - May 12.

Joy Ellis (piano/vocals); Chris Montague (guitar); Henrik Jensen (bass); Adam Osmianski (drums).
(Review by Lance).
Q: When is a trio not a trio?
A: When it's a quartet!
The gig was advertised as The Joy Ellis Trio but, after counting twice and double-checking with the lady sharing my table, we both agreed that there were definitely 4 bods making it a quartet. Our curiosity turned to joy (as opposed to Joy) when we realised the ringer was none other than local boy made good, guitarist, Chris Montague.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Kamasi Washington and the Next Step @ Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Big Top - May 6.

Kamasi Washington (tenor), Ricky Washington (flute, soprano), Ryan Porter (trombone), Patrice Quinn (vocal), Brandon Coleman (keyboards), Miles Mosley (bass), Tony Austin, Robert Miller (drums). 
(Review by Steve T pictured with 'the biggest thing in jazz at the moment'.)
He was introduced as 'the biggest thing in Jazz at the moment' and I for one wouldn't disagree.
Opening piece, his father switched from flute with the other horns to soloing on soprano for a frenzied free-jazz workout, gaining in intensity under keyboardist Brandon Coleman, with both drummers giving it that. Things initially cooled down for the leader's solo, and amongst the innovative nature of his music, it's easy to forget what a fine musician he is, but he gradually brought it back up with some frantic sax playing.

Paul Taylor (solo piano) @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - May 10

(Review by Jerry)
BSH readers are aware that I know nothing about jazz: let me state from the outset that I know less about improvised music. And this was improvised music – “without further ado I’m just going to start playing”. Deprived of my usual reviewer’s navigational aids (pick up on something in the title, latch on to something in the performer’s intro, compare with other pieces in the same genre, mug up something on Google) I approach this journey into uncharted waters with trepidation.  Sticking with the metaphor, advance publicity for The Manchester Jazz Festival where Paul Taylor is appearing in July, refers to his performances as “rhapsodic journeys that lead listeners through twists and turns…,”  and I’d agree with that.

Three Piece Suites? Triptych @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - May 10

Paul Susans (bass); Rob Walker (drums); Paul Edis (piano/clarinet).
(Review by Jerry)
A very agreeable venue: easy to find, free parking, tables set out in jazz-lounge style and a good bar featuring Pennine Pale on draught. That made me feel at home!
We were promised a splendid set of “genre-busting tunes” and Triptych served up just that. Montage – an Edis original, from his solo CD, Just Like Me, – was first up, and very different in trio format. Louder and more dramatic here: it would still work well in a film but a different kind of film! Sketch 69A was penned by bassist, Paul Susans, resident of Hexham and familiar with the A69 after which the piece is named. A sonorous bass intro then a driving, rhythmic tune helped along, at first, by Walker’s brushes then intensified later when he switched to sticks and cut loose.

Omar @ Hoochie Coochie - May 11

Omar (vocal/keys); Lennex Cameron (vocal/keys); Hawi Gondwe (guitar); Darren Abraham (drums); ? (bass guitar); Samia (vocals).
(Review by Lance)
Back in the day, they were Stomping at the Savoy, Jumping at the Woodside or Rockin' thru the Rye. Last night, at Hoochie. they were doing all of those things and more within the square metre of space those fans on the dancefloor had managed to claim territorial rights to.
Hoochie's heavin', nobody's leavin'
Hot-legs and Hot-shots
Hindus and  Heathens
Highfliers and Hoi Polloi 
Here to hear the Real McCoy -
Omar!

Friday, May 11, 2018

CD Review: John Proulx - Say It

John Proulx (piano, vocals, arrangements); Larry Koonse (guitar); Chuck Berghofer (bass); Joe LaBarbera (drums); Bob Sheppard (ten/sop sax); Billy Hulting (perc): Melissa Manchester (guest vocals); Alan Broadbent (string arrangements); Gina Kronstadt (1st violin, leader); Susan Chatman (2nd violin); Rodney Wurtz (viola); Stefanie Fife (cello)
(Review by Ann Alex)
This is a real swinger, a happy, entertaining disc of skilled modern jazz, consisting of lesser-known jazz standards and jazz versions of pop songs, sung in a warm light-toned tenor. Proulx, who hails from Michigan and is a Grammy-winning composer, trained as a pianist and played for 15 years on the West Coast USA. He comes from a musical family and it wasn’t long before he started singing. This is his fourth CD, which he has produced independently. The tracks are:-

CD Review: Jean Toussaint Allstar 6tet - Brother Raymond.

Jean Toussaint (tenor); Byron Wallen (trumpet); Dennis Rollins (trombone); (Jason Rebello/Andrew McCormack/ Ashley Henry (piano); Daniel Casimir (bass); Troy Miller/Shane Forbes (drums); Williams Cumberbatch Perez (congas/perc.) + Alec Dankworth (bass x1); Mark Mondesir (drums x 2); Tom Dunnett (trombone x2); Mark Kavuma (trumpet x1); Tom Harrison (alto x1).
(Review by Lance).
Updated hardbop and what a joy! Toussaint blows great tenor as he did, of course, in his younger days with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He still blows in that Messengers' tradition but with a more cutting edge to his playing. He's never slavishly followed Coltrane or Shorter but he hasn't ignored them either!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Darlington Jazz Festival: A Sunday Summary - May 6

With your regular Darlington reviewer indisposed Bebop Spoken Here is indebted to Tony Eales for providing a round-up of Sunday’s events at this year’s Darlington Jazz Festival. TE’s prediction that Hash Bar would be busy proved to be accurate. The mid-morning brunch session began with Giles Strong and Mick Shoulder playing as a guitar duo to a jam-packed room. Later, Shaun Henderson, fresh from occupying the Durham Alumni’s guitar chair in Central Hall the previous evening, linked-up once again with violinist Gordon Dyke.

TE wandered round to Joseph Pease statue to check out Graham Hardy’s Northern Monkey Brass Band and, to his delight, found Sue Ferris depping on tenor for the absent Jamie Toms. This being a Sunday, BSH’s County Durham correspondent made his way to church. The Paul Edis Trio (with sixteen-year-old Dylan Thompson depping on drums – yes, he’s more than good enough!) worked alongside Vocal Collective and festival guest star Alan Barnes.

A man with stamina is TE. The Keys on Skinnergate hosted the festival finale featuring trombonist Dennis Rollins’ Funky Funk Band, and, no surprise, TE was there! Well attended and loud, so said our County Durham man. A weekend of good attendances and fantastic jazz, roll on next year!     
Russell.   

Darlington Jazz Festival: Alan Barnes with Durham Alumni Big Band @ Central Hall - May 5

(Review by Russell)
Darlington Jazz Festival’s annual Saturday evening set-piece occasion in the Victorian splendour of Central Hall always draws a capacity audience and so it was this year with Alan Barnes performing alongside the magnificent Durham Alumni Big Band. The orchestra is worth travelling a distance to hear, add the name A Barnes to the programme and a sellout is assured. This year’s gala occasion came at the end of a clear blue sky day, a scorching sun raising temperatures beyond the seasonal norm pressing Central Hall’s air conditioning unit into action.

CD Review: Fred Farell - Distant Song

Fred Farell (vocals, lyrics); Dave Liebman (sop and ten sax, wooden recorder); Richie Beirach (piano).
(Review by Ann Alex).
In 1971 Fred Farell had his first singing engagement in a jazz club in Lakewood, New Jersey, and he later studied with pianist Richie Beirach in New York, singing in various NYC clubs and also writing lyrics. After experiencing a dramatic conversion to Christianity in 1978, by June 1980 he had decided to leave the jazz community. However in 2013 he looked again at the lyrics that he had written for the musical compositions by Liebman and Beirach, and decided to record the music and lyrics, and this CD is the result of that project.

Jam Session @ The Dun Cow, Jesmond - May 9.

Pete Gilligan (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Russ Morgan (drums) + Jenny Kanellea, Debra Milne, Lindsay Hannon (vocals); George Sykes (tenor); Lin Lee Wong (piano).
(Review by Lance).
It had been a fair while since I'd heard Pete Gilligan - I don't get to Thailand too often these days - but I'm pleased to say that a diet of Thai cuisine hasn't done his playing any harm. He let it all hang out on the opening Witchcraft casting a spell on the audience with his bravura solo. the spell was only broken by the prolonged applause that said, "Glad to have you back Pete, even if it is only for a month or so." Grainger and Morgan picked it up as if it was only yesterday that they were setting fire to the Jazz Café's jam sessions and, even if no jammers turned up, it looked as though we were in for a good night.
Of course, some jammers did turn up with the first one being Jenny Kanellea who made her debut at the Dun Cow a couple of weeks back.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Kansas Smitty's House Band @ Ronnie Scott's - May 7

Giacomo Smith (alto); Pete Horsfall (trumpet/vocal); Alec Harper (tenor); Adrian Cox (clarinet/vocal); Joe Webb (piano); Dave Archer (guitar); Ferg Ireland (bass); Will Cleasby (drums).
(Review by Sebastian Scotney of LondonJazzNewsKansas Smitty's House Band at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival Photo credit and © John Watson / jazzcamera.co.uk)
The Kansas Smittys are on a roll. Their Ronnie Scott’s date on Monday came after no fewer than four shows at Cheltenham. “We played a lot, we didn’t sleep a lot,” explained leader Giacomo Smith - and before long they’ll be off to play at a festival in Nantes in France.
Into my mind came a distant memory. I once reviewed a date of a small band led by Giacomo Smith at Boisdale Canary Wharf in April 2013, LINK

There I was five years ago in the role of “the-only-audience-member-who-sort-of-knows-when-to-applaud-because-this-music-needs-some-kind-of--response-dammit”, dutifully checking out the end just about every solo and every number. That was then, this is now. That was before the “Kansas Smitty’s” name had even been dreamt up, before their well-deserved success started to take wing. The formula, the bar which is their home and all that has worked just brilliantly. Audiences love this band. Everybody loves this band.

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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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