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Bebop Spoken There

Grant Green Jr.: "One thing that most people--especially jazz cats--don't realise is that all of your jazz standards were once pop standards" - DownBeat July 2018).

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Bobby Sanabria: "Tito Puente was not a very tall man, but when he played the timbales he was a giant among men." - DownBeat July 2018).

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Voting is now taking place for Nominations in the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Please take this opportunity to vote in the various categories including MEDIA where a vote for Bebop Spoken Here would be much appreciated.

Today Tuesday June 19

Afternoon

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

Evening

Jam session - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. Free. Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Matt MacKellar.

Mark Williams Trio - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB. Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

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

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!!


Earlier this year Gateshead and Darlington, Durham this week, later in the year Ushaw, Newcastle and Whitley Bay (and an as yet unannounced Teesside event), jazz festivals appear to be thriving! 
You’re well acquainted with the jazz scene in the north east of England. The demise of Jazzaction (the regional jazz development agency), never-ending ‘austerity’ cuts, many promoters existing on shoestring budgets, are you surprised that new festivals and venues (seemingly against all odds!)  continue to emerge?

No, I’m not surprised but I am beyond impressed. The dedication and hard work it requires to successfully organise any live music event especially on the level of DJazz is astounding. The quality and diversity of DJazz festival programming is exceptional and thankfully there are many other festivals and venues like it across the UK. As long as there are musicians to perform, promoters willing to organise and the audiences who are thirsty to experience live music, then it doesn’t matter what budget cuts are made. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

You maintain a number of projects – Family Jazz All-Stars, Pannonica, Watching Sideways, Rural Touring, Newcastle University Group, not to mention duo, trio and quartet gigs – ranging from solo to large ensemble performances. Does any particular one take priority or are you happy to mix and match?

All of the projects are very special to me. They each give me a unique creative outlet to express myself. Having a strong band of musicians to work with on these projects is so important too. Not to mention all of the wonderful different performance settings I have had the pleasure to showcase these projects. Churches, schools, art centres, libraries, you name it, the list goes on. It’s never a dull life.

Beatles Bossa and Beyond is your duo gig with pianist Alan Law (next one National Glass Centre, Sunderland on July 20) must be fun. How did it come about?

I’ve known and worked with Alan for a few years now, performing the Great American Songbook. We were asked by Jazz Cafe to perform as a duo a couple of years back and we decided to make it “a thing” Often Alan and I would talk about how excellent The Beatles catalogue is and how brilliant it would be to give them our own treatment and perform them. It’s seemed like a no-brainer. We compiled a list of some of our favourite Beatles tunes, arranged them and thanks to the quality of the original compositions (thanks to Lennon/McCartney) we were able to generate our own sound. Very much like the Great American Songbook, a huge collection of songs that act as a blank canvas for our musical expression. We’re really excited to be performing at National Glass Centre in July. It’s another fabulous space.

Speaking of the duo format…the great Sheila Jordan had something to do with the development of your voice and bass duo with Andy Champion. You have been fortunate to spend time with Sheila. On stage she comes across as a warm, encouraging individual. Is she much the same off stage?

She is brilliant! An inspiring educator as well as being a legendary jazz artist. So encouraging, she really knows how to light the fire within the vocalist and the musicians. Her wealth of experience, her personality, her humour just warms your heart and makes you want to push yourself and be fearless. With Sheila’s guidance, anything is possible.
As a globetrotting musician you must be looking forward to the Jazz in July Festival on Crete, then the little matter of a tour of Ukraine! How does it work…fly in, hire a car and hit the road?

It’s really quite bonkers. Planes, trains and automobiles. I am so blessed to get these opportunities to travel and share our music abroad. A little nerve-wracking too, flight schedules, lost luggage, a lot can go not exactly to plan but it’s always 100% worth it. Seize the chances and live for the moment on and off stage. The adventure is what life is all about.

A favourite of Bebop Spoken Here is the too-little-heard trumpeter Noel Dennis. It is good to see a Tom Harrell project is in the offing. Tell us about your involvement?

Noel Dennis is an incredible musician and a joy to work with. He has suggested putting together a Tom Harrell project for ages. Tom Harrell is Noel’s trumpet/flugelhorn/composer hero. His body of work is so lyrical and melodic, Noel has always felt that it is crying out for a vocal interpretation. I love to compose lyrics and this venture is no exception. Debuting at the 2nd Newcastle Jazz Festival on Saturday 6th October with a spectacular band. Mark Williams on guitar, Andy Champion on double bass and of course Noel Dennis on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Three albums in - Now That I Am Real, Looking Glass and Twelve Stories - is there another one in the pipeline? What can you tell us about Living in Shadows or are you keeping it under wraps?

Andy and I indeed have a new project in the pipeline. We’re buzzing about it. A new direction, a new sound. All original compositions and it is mind blowing how it is coming together. It’s our next musical chapter.... watch this space.


Thanks Zoë, we’ll see you at DJazz (Friday June 1) in Durham Castle!  

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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 them all other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
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Lance

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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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