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Bebop Spoken There

Joey Calderazzo: "Playing the standard repertoire is a pretty good barometer of where one is as a jazz musician" - (DownBeat January 2019).

Today Wednesday December 19

Afternoon

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Jools Holland’s R&B Orchestra - Newcastle City Hall, Northumberland Road, Newcastle NE1 8SF. Tel: 0844 811 2121. 7:30pm. £45.50. & £34.00. First night of two.

Community Hall New Orleans Band - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm £3.00.

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson Street, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

George Shovlin & The Radars - Charts, Quayside, Newcastle NE1 3DX. Tel: 0191 338 7989. 8:00pm. Free.

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

Monday, October 08, 2018

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music @ The Black Swan Bar & Venue: Something Smashing - an Evening of Improvised Music and Dance. Oct. 4

Graeme Wilson (reeds); Mike Parr-Burman (guitar); Ana Almeida (voice, shoes); Christian Alderson (drums, percussion); Russell Wimbush (double bass); Alma Lindenhovius, Holly Irving, Tess Letham, Emma Snellgrove, Skye Reynolds, Adam Russell (dancers).  
(Review by Steve T/photos to follow)   
Dance is not really my thing (as anybody who has seen me will attest) but I'm always interested in anything cultural, particularly in seeing how people respond. 
A rough headcount at the start revealed almost thirty willing souls, but I think it may have grown during the course of three separate performances. Our preference was to split it up with a bite in the middle, so we only got the first and last; often a good idea I've found at things you're not entirely sure about. Once over I would stringently sit through long, boring drum solos and solo piano pieces before realising a short sojourn to the bar could make the whole evening far more enjoyable.

With an accordion player sat on the stage, an unmanned drum kit just off it and reeds maestro Graeme Wilson in the audience, we weren't sure what to expect. A lady with a mic and shoes, on stage ad-libbing, some heavy breathing. Another, barefoot, walking around the stage, spinning around, walking backwards. Another, more animated, also barefoot with a fourth off stage, as the first left. Then a fifth, all barefoot.   
The cast were in among the seats interacting with the audience; one like a zombie in a modern day zombie film; another like Truly Scrumptious on a music box that's wound by a key, sometimes like the expressionless, graceless cast of Humans and some that could have been inspired by the drunken, stoned antics in Ab Fab.
Turned out the first lady, the one with shoes, was a really good singer, including some pretty impressive conical style Indian singing Graeme may have got from Zakir Hussain, who he saw in the summer. Some French singing, with sea-faring accordion. 

Some humour, others in the audience were getting more than me, and others taking it a little more seriously than I felt it warranted; but what do I know?!
For the first part we were sat at the front but by part two we found ourselves at the back with a more panoramic view of the entire performance including audience interaction - very important in modern theatre.
By now we had a drummer/percussionist; a guitarist, though not doing anything so straightforward as strumming or picking the strings; and Graeme - Roland Kirk-like - walking around with a pair of horns at his mouth, before settling on bass clarinet.

Most significantly, there was now at least one male dancer as well, which slightly altered any underlying sexual connotations in what was generally mildly erotic, though sexual tension was only hinted at and remained fluid throughout the two performances we caught. At one point, during a tenor/violin duet, bodies were writhing and contorting between the two flirting instruments.
The finale inevitably had all musicians and dancers in action centre stage, Graeme (now on tenor I believe) suitably honking away interminably. Earlier he'd claim that all the music and dance was entirely improvised, reopening the eternal discussion in jazz about whether it's pure improvisation when players inevitably draw from their stock of traits, riffs, motifs and catchphrases, and it must be the same for dancers.
All in all, we had a really nice evening; a nice change, even if we wouldn't choose to do it regularly.  
Steve T.

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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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