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Bebop Spoken There

Ben Williams: "Jaco [Pastorius] is almost like the Charlie Parker of the bass." - (DownBeat November 2018).

Dana Hall: "My philosophy is that everyone in the band is a drummer." - (DownBeat November 2018.)

Today Saturday October 20

Afternoon

NYJO + Tees Valley Youth Big Band - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 3:00pm. £12.00. Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender.

Evening

Big Chris Barber Band - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 7:30pm. £15.00. Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender.

Dinosaur - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 10:00pm. £12.00. Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender.

Smokin’ Spitfires - Scarth Hall, 5 South Green, Staindrop DL2 3LD. 7:30pm.

The Hookahs - 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.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

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...
I Keep Going Back to Joe's, a longtime fave of mine - Nat King Cole and, later, Curtis Stigers both put their brand on it - didn't quite gell. Maybe it needs a little more work. Whatever, I do hope they keep it in the pad as Niffi has the voice for it.
The set finished with a belter that brought the house down - The Darktown Strutter's Ball. You couldn't make it up. A song over 100 years old being wildly applauded by a (mainly) youthful audience. I think the scat chorus did it for them (and me!)
During the break, we discussed the show as it stood and concluded that, whilst Niffi's still raw around the edges, it's something that time will partially erode. Let's hope that time knows when to stop as that rawness is part of her appeal. The other verdict 'the jury' came to was that Law and Grainger were playing a blinder. The northeast is currently well-served for pianists and bassists and these two are way up high among the contenders.

Set two began with the crowd handclapping in time [mostly], Law and Grainger 'vamping 'til ready' before Niffi hit for home with that ever-popular, triple-rhymer, I'm Beginning to See the Light.
Undecided, a surprisingly restrained Black Coffee, They Can't Take That Away From me, Honeysuckle Rose and a song even older than Darktown Strutters Ball - Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey?.
Bill left home in 1902 and, despite Ella's offer to do the cooking and pay the rent he still hadn't returned by 1963. Now, in 2018, It was Niffi's turn to apologise for that rainy evening when she turned him out with nothing but a fine tooth comb. Using Ella's version as a launchpad, she once again had the room in raptures. Maybe the younger element was hearing this, and indeed all of the songs, for the first time! I think the late First Lady would have approved.
I Love Being Here With You (the feeling was mutual) was supposed to be the last number but, of course, it wasn't, and nor was I Wish I Knew How it Felt to be Free. It wasn't until the last strains of Hallelujah I Just Love Him so had faded and the last handclap had ceased that we knew the show was over.
A memorable evening - thank you Niffi, Alan and Paul.
Photos.
Lance.
PS: The Niffi Osiyemi Trio can be heard at DJazz, the Durham City Jazz Festival held on June 1, 2 and 3 at various Durham City venues. Check it out.

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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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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.
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