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Bebop Spoken There

Russell Malone: "I remember coming home from school every day and heading straight for the record player to listen to Wes [Montgomery]. I tried to lift what I could from his playing. My homework always came later." (DownBeat July 1999).

Archive

Today Friday February 15

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Nik Svarc Steve Hanley Martin Longhawn - Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. Tel: 03000 269 524. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Hot Club du Nord - Lit & Phil, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SE. Tel: 0191 232 0192. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Classic Swing Fri 15 Feb, Mar 1, Mar 15 - Royal British Legion, West Jesmond Avenue, West Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 3EX. Tel: 0191 281 0736. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening.

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

Anna Reay & Deon Krishnan - The Rabbit Hole, 17 Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. Tel. 0191 3865556. 7pm. Book in advance.

Blues

Groove-a-matics - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

Boys of Brass - Carter & Fitch, George Washington Hotel, Stone Cellar Road, High Usworth, Washington NE37 1PH. Tel: 0191 402 9988. 8:00pm.

Cedric Burnside + Michael Littlefield & Scott Taylor - Cluny 2, Lime St., Newcastle NE1 2PQ. Tel: 0191 230 4474. 8:00pm. £12.50. + £1.25 bf.

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

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Bradley Johnston Trio w. Keith Robinson @ King's Hall, Newcastle University - Nov 29

Bradley Johnston (guitar); Paul Grainger (double bass); Russ Morgan (drums); Keith Robinson (tenor sax, clarinet)
(Review by Russell)

In My Life began this afternoon's King's Hall concert. Bradley Johnston's arrangement for solo guitar of the Lennon and McCartney song took as its inspiration Pat Metheny's recordings for solo guitar. The Wearside based guitarist, forging a career as a gigging musician and tutor, switched between one of three guitars during a set of fifty minutes and more. Assisting BJ were regular collaborators Paul Grainger, bass, and drummer Russ Morgan, alongside the welcome figure of Keith Robinson playing tenor sax and, on one number, clarinet.

The remainder of the programme comprised no fewer than seven of Johnston's compositions. For Joe unsurprisingly paid homage to the great Joe Pass (many years ago the American memorably gave a solo recital at the Gosforth Park Hotel). BJ knows his Joe Pass...Ella, Oscar et al and this blues in G surely had the great man applauding from up there in the jazz club in the sky. 


The Awakening introduced Keith Robinson, on tenor sax, and the affable Strictly Smokin' sideman stayed on for a couple more - Django's Footsteps and For Frisell. On the former, Robinson played clarinet, on the latter tenor. In his programme notes Johnston wrote of Django Reinhardt 'Django's Footsteps is a tribute to a guitarist that continues to inspire musicians worldwide with his explosive and creative improvisations.'

Johnston, playing his recently acquired Maccaferri-like guitar, did justice to the legendary Hot Club icon in creating an evocative slow drag feel to the piece. One negative note, Robinson's clarinet was way too low in the mix and it's a shame the King's Hall's technicians were unable to resolve the issue. Robinson exchanged his clarinet for tenor sax on For Frisell and BJ certainly captured the essence of Bill Frisell's sound with hints of Nashville in amongst Downtown New York.    

In introducing James' Waltz Johnston paid tribute to mentor Dr James Birkett. The guitarists recorded the composition on their debut duo CD Together with Johnston quick to point out that a copy of the CD would make an ideal Christmas present. Copies were available at the door...

Johnston's informative notes said of Presence 'I have wanted to write a very spacey/rubato theme for a while, and Presence came to me whilst I was experimenting using extensions and chord inversions to create counterpoints between the bass-note and melody.' And so he played it, a short piece, for guitar and tenor sax (Robinson). 

As two o'clock approached Johnston thanked Robinson, Grainger and Morgan for their invaluable contributions to the afternoon's proceedings. Blues for John tipped the hat at John McLaughlin, in particular, the guitarist's Live at the Royal Festival Hall recording. At this juncture, your correspondent is obliged to mention that he attended the concert (November 27, 1989), subsequently bought the LP (vinyl) and knows it well! So, imagine Paul Grainger as Kai Eckhardt and Russ Morgan as Trilok Gurtu and you're there on the South Bank. Oh, and Bradley as McLaughlin. To quote once more from BJ's notes 'This piece throws its challenges to the trio, navigating through changing time signatures and grooves.' The Bradley Johnston Trio rose to the challenge.
Russell

1 comment :

David Spraggon Williams said...

Supercool and highly entertaining stuff. Young Bradley goes from strength to strength.

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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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