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Bebop Spoken There

Jeff Lindberg: "You can have innovative new music and you can play music of the masters. They're not going to cancel each other out" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Saturday May 25

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - St. Cuthbert's Church Hall, Dovecote St., Amble NE65 0DX. 12:00pm - 3:00pm (music from 1:00pm). £10.00. See poster for more details.

Sax on the Tyne, St George's Church Hall, St George's Close, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2TF. 5:00-7:00pm. Free (donations). A Jesmond Community Festival event.

Evening

Baghdaddies - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 6:00pm. £10.00. Whitley Bay Carnival.

Lady & the Jazz Tramps - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £6.00. (£3.00. student).

Radio Pensacola Band - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations).

Blues/Funk/Soul

Teresa Watson Band - 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.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

CD Review: Fred Hersch Trio ’97 @ The Village Vanguard

Fred Hersch (piano), Drew Gress (bass) Tom Rainey (drums)
(Review by Dave Brownlow.)

In July 1997 jazz piano master Fred Hersch took his trio with Drew Gress and Tom Rainey into the iconic Village Vanguard nightclub in New York for the first time as a band leader rather than as just a sideman. The three Friday night sets of the week-long engagement were recorded but never released. 

Now, twenty-one years later, Fred has chosen to do just that and provide us with his favourite moments from this occasion in the form of the eight tracks on this CD – a mixture of Gasbook standards and original pieces. This is, in fact, the only “live” recording of this particular group and at this time, they were determined to make a name for themselves on the world stage. 

There was a freshness plus vitality and confidence about their playing and a ‘togetherness’ only forged by regular, consistent work and the performances are razor-sharp with the arrangements played to perfection. It has to be said that some of this music is on a par with moments from the Evans and Jarrett trios with strong interplay, creative virtuosity, intensity, tension and release.

Cole Porter’s Easy to Love is an engaging opener where Fred dissects and disassembles the famous old song before reassembling it in a lively, exciting fashion, building his solo in attacking style. An imaginative bass solo leads to a tense ending.

A ten-minute-long My Funny Valentine leads with a dynamic bass solo from Gress which brings his admirable technique and musicianship to the fore then the trio builds up before concluding with a “locked hands” piano solo.

A “cheeky” Three Little Words rattles along optimistically, cheerfully incorporating a ‘call and response’ section from piano and drums.

Fred’s own Evanessence provides a tribute to the late Bill Evans and his legendary appearances at the Vanguard with LaFaro and Motian. Here, Gress takes on the intricate melody high up in the register of the bass – not an easy thing to do ‘in-tune’ and at swift tempo. Bravo!

Dress’ original Andrew John begins with a ruminative, at times atonal, piano section leading to a meditative exploration of the theme and chords where each player contributes sensitively and thoughtfully.

Harry Warren and Mack Gordon’s I Wish I Knew is played in similar fashion to the great Jarrett “Standards Trio” version with lots of dynamic and rhythmic shifts. Here, tension builds through the bassist playing in ‘two/four’ rather than the conventional ‘four/four’ and the drummer’s compulsive drive.

The Hersch original Swamp Thang has a deep bluesy groove. Amazingly, we’re still finding ways to present ‘the most-loved jazz chord sequence of all time’ in different ways – a fundamental core of this great music from Leadbelly to the New Orleans of George Lewis to Lewis Watson, or from Coleman Hawkins to Ornette Coleman and beyond with everything in-between!

Finally, You Don’t Know What Love Is is at a frantic pace where the three ‘virtuosos’ thrill with this show of ability, creativity, flamboyance and intensity.

This CD further cements Fred Hersch’s place in the ‘pantheon’ of jazz pianists in a career lasting so far over thirty years, in which time he’s received a staggering number of  awards, lavish praise and where he continues to take the history of jazz music further and further forward.
Dave B.
The Fred Hersch Trio’97 @ The Village Vanguard will be available from Palmetto Records or from fredhersch.com on December 7.


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