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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.

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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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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