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Bebop Spoken There

John Medeski: "Like Mingus or Ellington, he [John Zorn] pulls people out of their zones and encourages them to do more than they would do on their own." - (DownBeat, December 2018).

Today Tuesday November 20

Afternoon

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

Evening

?????

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

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Bitches Brew @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle – Nov. 4

Emma Smith & Signy Jakobsdottir: 
Emma Smith (double bass); Signy Jakobsdottir (percussion).
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Clíona Cassidy & George Burt:
Cliona Cassidy (voice); George Burt (guitar).
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J Frisco: 
Lara Jones (soprano sax); Jemma Freese (keyboards, vocals)
(Review by Steve H.) 

Bitches Brew was set up by bass player Emma Smith to showcase female instrumentalists - a much unsung group of musicians. For several years now, Jazz North East has been delivering a very successful ‘Woman Make Music’  series of gigs (in conjunction with the PRS foundation) so it was a natural fit that these two positive forces should finally come together at The Bridge on Sunday night.

The opening set featured Cassidy on voice and Burt on guitar so this appears to immediately contradict both of the statements I made in my introduction about the ethos of Bitches Brew. Firstly, what was a man doing in the lineup and secondly what was a vocalist doing partnering said male? Fortunately, Smith explained all in her introductions. Firstly, it is not a gender-exclusive project and secondly, since Cassidy uses her voice in such an extraordinary manner it should be classed as a musical instrument rather than a deliverer of lyrics.  I couldn’t but endorse those sentiments as a marvellous innovative and creative set of music was delivered.

Burt is a superb improvising guitarist constantly changing mood and accent and this, coupled with Cassidy’s remarkable operatic voice, produced both auditory fireworks and fascinating tranquil passages. A brilliant combination enthusiastically appreciated by the audience.

The middle part of the evening was provided by J Frisco who are a trio although on both occasions that I have seen them they have been a duo - saxophonist Lara Jones being the only constant. Their music is based on life experiences and they aim to incorporate all of the incidental sounds in the room (eg. glasses clinking, doors squeaking etc.). I think their aim is to take one on a journey and, being in The Bridge, one is certainly reminded of travelling as the trains going to and fro the Central Station can frequently be seen passing the window (a feature of this venue that I always enjoy). Anyway, I’m not sure of how much of a spiritual journey I went on but Jemma Freese and Lara Jones provided a very enjoyable electronically influenced ambient set.

The final set of the evening saw Bitches Brew curator Smith team up with percussionist  Jakobsdottir and what a wonderful treat it turned out to be. Jakobsdittor played a Kalimba on a loop whilst producing amazing sounds on a wide range of instruments. Meanwhile, Smith, on bass, dovetailed with her perfectly.

Sometimes you can go to an art gallery that has fantastic art but the walls are so overcrowded it is hard to appreciate what’s on offer. The same can often happen with musicians who feel obliged to fill any gap. Smith and Jakobsdottir left enough room for the audience to be able to fill the spaces for themselves and let them embrace the entire performance without having to sift through any clutter – simply mesmerising.
At the conclusion of the evening, the first two persons I spoke to summed it up with a single word -'beautiful’. I couldn’t have put better myself.
Steve H.

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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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