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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 Friday April 19

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Classic Swing - Jesmond Royal British Legion Club, West Jesmond Avenue, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 3EX. Tel: 0191 281 0736. 1:00pm. Free.

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

Evening.

Jazz Lads - Saltburn Cricket Club, Marske Mill Lane, Saltburn TS12 1HJ. Tel: 01287 622761. 8:00pm. £5.00.

Blues/Soul/Funk

Groove-a-matics - 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.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Issie Barratt’s Interchange @ The Parabola Theatre, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, May 6

(Review by Alison Bentley)
A year ago, baritone player, composer and jazz educator Issie Barratt brought together a band of ten women she had always wanted to work with, to play ten pieces composed by women. Although she travels a lot working with European big bands and orchestras, she told us, ‘I’ve never conducted another woman; I’ve never been programmed with another woman, and I’ve never actually played in an ensemble with a woman before… I decided I needed to be a bit more proactive.’
The styles were up to the composers, and accordionist Karen Street’s piece Still Here had a Piazzolla feel with touches of folk (some Balkan rhythms) and brass bands. The ensemble textures were at first soft, like the sun on the grass outside, then more urgent, with a plaintive solo from trumpeter Yazz Ahmed.
Tori Freestone’s Spontaneous Symmetry was inspired by ‘patterns in nature.’ It brought to mind Alexander Calder mobiles, where shapes move to create simple or complex, clashing formations: from township-like triads to dark swirling moods. Arpeggios spilled out into Brigitte Beraha’s pure-toned vocal solo. Freestone’s gorgeous tenor sound smoothed her unusual, almost spiky phrases.
Beraha’s composition Donna’s Secret (the title of their forthcoming album), was dedicated to the novels of Donna Tartt. Beraha’s French phrases were echoed in English by bassist Charlie Pyne. 
Later Pyne sang precipitous intervals in harmony with Beraha - while playing double bass; then she scatted in unison with her bass over Katie Patterson’s skipping rimshots.  Helena Kay’s thoughtful clarinet solo rode the waves of repeated chordal phrases.
Their repertoire includes music by non-members too. Nikki Iles’ Negomi was Kenny Wheeler’s back-to-front name for her daughter Imogen, and the music clearly carried Wheeler’s stamp. 
The arching melodies swept over each other, bari and trombone (Emma Bassett) earthing everything. Freestone’s tenor phrases were like stepping stones across the complex chords.
Issie Barratt’s Kulning ended the all-too-short set with humour and skill. ‘Eventually, you will hear a herd of cows heading our way, so I suggest you run for cover at that point!’ she warned us, as the piece was based on a song used by Swedish women to summon cows. Barratt likes music that ‘tells stories’ and Kulning was almost visual: Beraha’s call over recorded cowbells and birdsong drifted into harmonised horns in 7/8 riffs, and Shirley Smart’s sonorous cello solo. As bari and trombone pushed against flute and clarinet, the cows came home in an atonal rush.
This was a quietly confident band, full of sophisticated music and improvisational skill. There was only time for half their repertoire, and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest.
Alison.

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