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Bebop Spoken There

Randy Brecker: "It's still a thrill for me today to stand out front of a big band as the soloist and hear all that sound going on behind you. It brings the best out of me" - (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 Tuesday May 21

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Evening

Kamasi Washington - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4461. 7:30pm. £30.00.

River City Jazzmen w. Maureen Hall - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NN. Tel: 01670 813983. 8:00pm. £5 (raffle inc.) Bob Wade, Gordon Solomon, Keith Stephen, Phil Rutherford, Tommy Graham.

Lindsay Hannon Band - 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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