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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Newton: "Having got my Grade 8 pretty early, it was only then that the piano was taking over. But this was happening outside of school really, as the music teacher at this particular school didn't like me or the kind of music I liked." (Jazzwise February 2019).

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Today Tuesday January 22

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jam session - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. House trio: Mark Williams, Paul Grainger, Russ Morgan.

Alter Ego - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB. Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

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

Sunday, November 18, 2018

CD Review: Square One featuring Andy Middleton - Double Bind.

Joe Williamson (guitar); Peter Johnstone (piano); David Bowden (double bass); Stephen Henderson (drums/percussion); Andy Middleton (tenor/soprano saxophones).
(Review by Steve T)
I remember interviewing this band at the Ushaw Festival, enjoying their set, and their debut album. However, this album marks an exponential growth and development from a promising band you'll turn out to see when they come round, buy the album and play it a couple of times, to a maturity many comparable bands never attain.

Nor do I put this down to the presence of the special guest, who wrote five of the nine originals, with the individual band members contributing one each. I only checked this after two listens and was surprised since you really can't hear a join, so complete is his assimilation into the band.


Darlington born Joe Williamson has turned out to be a bit of a beast, wearing the Mike Walker influence on his sleeve, and whenever he cranks it up, which he does quite often throughout the set, the music never fails to go up another level. He also throws in some of these fancy modern chords to confound the expectations of the listener. 

Pianist Peter Johnstone is the revelation here, generally understated but with huge technical facility to draw on when required. I love his dark, brooding, almost menacing chords behind the sax on the final track. Bowden on double bass and Henderson on drums make up an exemplary all-round performance; low on token solos, big on subtlety and sizzling on faster pieces.  

Middleton is a world-class saxophonist (Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland) and slots into the band seamlessly, switching between tenor and soprano like the best of the classic jazz-funk players.
And the overall feel of this album is like a quality modern day fusion album but without the clichés and excess. Not jazz-funk, not jazz-rock and definitely not smooth jazz, it reminds me of the more understated, tasteful stuff, with its exclusively acoustic piano, like the great Jazz/Crusader Joe Sample.

It's also chock full of memorable melodies: sometimes heavy, sometimes more light-hearted, but never light, slight or trite.

A quite excellent album and definitely a band to keep both eyes on, they're playing a one-off gig at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Nov. 24.

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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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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