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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.

Friday, November 23, 2018

EFG London Jazz Festival: Stanley Clarke + The Headhunters @ Southbank Centre - Nov. 20

Stanley Clarke (basses); Evan Garr (violin); Beka Gochiashvili (piano); Cameron Graves (keys); Salar Nader (tabla); Shariq Tucker (drums).
(Review by Steve T/Photos courtesy of Mochles Sa.)

Had somebody asked me which living jazz artist I'd most like to see, Stanley Clarke would have been high on the list, or maybe even top of the list.

The announcer outlined his plaudits and achievements, including transforming the bass into a lead instrument laying down melody and harmony, and while nothing is ever quite so simple and straightforward, he was certainly the defining moment for the electric bass in Jazz.

He adopted the slap bass technique pioneered by Stone Family member Larry Graham, more than Carter, Holland, Vitous, Henderson or even Johnson and Pastorius, displaying levels of virtuosity never seen or heard before, and I would argue, since. The announcer went on to say that working with young musicians is his proudest achievement, giving fore-warning of the band he would lead out.
Nice symmetry: two on percussion (kit and tabla), two on keyboards (predominantly acoustic piano and post-synth sounds) and two playing strings (violin and bass).

George Duke was a major co-conspirator of Clarke and his Brazilian Love Affair kicked things off, led by violin, with the leader playing acoustic, demonstrating that, unlike his major rival Jaco Pastorius, he was also a giant on upright. Violin took a mind-boggling solo followed by a staggering display by the young Georgian pianist Beka Gochiashvili. 

A bit of a thing between bass and tabla before the latter gave yet another dazzling solo. Tablas are amongst my favourite instruments but can be overwhelming. Here they were dominant at times, sometimes slipping through and sometimes absent. Clarke described Nader as a tabla master - and then some.

By now it was no surprise that the drummer, Shariq Tucker, turned out to be a master too. Which left the other keyboardist; none other than Cameron Graves, mainstay of the West Coast Down, alongside Kamasi Washington and Miles Mosley. In such young company, Clarke introduced himself as Louis Armstrong. 

By the end of the piece, Clarke was wearing his bass guitar for Quiet Afternoon from the School Days album, followed by Joe Henderson’s Black Narcissus featuring some weird and wonderful sounds from Cameron Graves.

No Mystery he claimed as being his favourite Return to Forever (RTF) piece from the 1800s! and mine too, though firstly for Al Di Meola’s perfectly executed acoustic guitar. Another round of breath-taking exchanges, this time from a highly electrified and highly charged violin and the two keyboardists.

He didn't mess about leaving the stage for the encore, but invited us to get on up, which most of us didn't, and invited support act, The Headhunters, back on stage for an impressive solo from each of them.

I thought I spotted a hint of P Funk which turned into Mothership Connection which was welcome but didn't really make any sense to me.

More or less five pieces may seem short and unsatisfactory but it was about ninety minutes and absolutely riveting throughout.
----- 
Donald Harrison (sax); Jerry Z (keys); Mike Clark (drums); Bill Summers (perc).

The gig could have been a doubleheader but was definitely a headline act plus support. The announcer claimed The Headhunters had not rested on their laurels, but maybe at that point we wanted seasoned musicians laid about on their own laurels, and as far as I could make out, that is what we got.

Sax, mostly Hammond (laying down the bass too), a drummer and a percussionist (both original Headhunters), all terrific as you'd expect. Herbie Hancock's Actual Proof from the album Thrust; Sly from The Headhunters’ album, his tribute to Sly Stone who was a huge influence on Miles and various alumni at that time. Some African style chanting brought in Watermelon Man, also from Headhunters, before another vocal piece along the lines of Down at the Bayou.
This could have been brilliant in a smaller venue and the whole thing would have benefited by a move to the smaller room in the same venue, but I pick nits; another tick on the bucket list and an incredible night.
Steve T.
PHOTOS.

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