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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.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Giles Strong Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall - May 24.


Giles Strong, Roly Veitch (guitars); Ian Paterson (bass).
(Review by Jerry/ Photos courtesy of Chris Whittle)

As a nod to the Laurel and Hardy connection (we were in the Laurel café), I had wanted to use the headline, “Another Fine Gig”, but for fear that it might be misconstrued as anything other than a compliment, I decided against it. But it was a fine gig, anyway – a mixture of (mostly) standards and a couple of originals, beautifully performed.

The standards were mostly arranged by Giles Strong, for which he received well-deserved applause at the first name-check and the originals held their own amidst familiar names like Kern and Porter as well as less familiar names (to me) such as Dietz and Schwartz, whose gentle, soothing, Alone Together, closed the gig. I had been looking forward to the performance as, although I have seen all three musicians before, I have never seen Ian Paterson on double bass and had never seen the two guitarists other than with vocalists or playing “gypsy-jazz”, Suffice to say, I was not disappointed!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Vote Maine Street Jazzmen! @ Sunniside Social club - May 23


Ray Harley (trumpet); Jim McBriarty (clarinet, soprano sax, vocals); Herbie Hudson (trombone, harmonica, vocals); Colin Haikney (piano); Tom Darbyshire (double bass); Ian Hetherington (drums)
(Review by Russell)

Bandleader Herbie Hudson continues to fly the Dixieland flag across the Borough of Gateshead. Moving from one venue to another, the Maine Street Jazzmen finally settled on Sunniside Social Club where a loyal audience turns up week in week out. The fact that polling station staff commandeered the band's usual performance space for some election or other didn't act as a deterrent. 

The MSJ set up on the floor of the concert room (next week they'll be back in the lounge) and shortly after half-past eight Hudson set about making the case for casting our vote in favour of JAZZ. The MSJ's manifesto included a promise to play some well-known numbers, share vocals between Hudson and Jim McBriarty and guarantee a good time for all! Rotting tomatoes, eggs and a milkshake or two were at hand...just in case.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Blue Note turns 80!

The 'hard bop' tag stuck for some two decades or so, the heyday of the Blue Note record label. Either side of this golden period Alfred Lion's company promoted hot jazz from its inception in 1939 into the forties later embracing seventies soul jazz artists. Iconic designs adorned LP covers, often with Francis Wolff's evocative photography. Now, eight decades on, with a coincidental resurgent market in vinyl, Blue Note 80 is a reissue series of some of those albums you once owned or perhaps wished you had. Visit your local specialist dealer - they are out there - and place your order! 

Russell 

CD Review: Fred Hersch & The WDR Big Band (Arranged & Conducted by Vince Mendoza) Begin Again

(Review by Dave Brownlow).

Respected piano master and composer Fred Hersch, together with the brilliant WDR Big Band conducted by six-time Grammy winner Vince Mendoza re-visit nine of Fred’s original compositions in an expertly-played showcase for this “team-of-all-the talents” - this “Manchester City” of contemporary jazz.

The Cologne-based WDR Band, universally acknowledged as a remarkable outfit and described by DownBeat as “one of Europe’s finest large jazz ensembles” are packed with brilliantly expressive players several of whom shine here.

CD Review: Count Basie - Swinging the Blues

(Review by Lance)

Reviewing this gem is like Friday afternoon at the office -  'dress down day' - wear what you like, late back from lunch, finish early, snog the new girl... Ah, the memories!

Yes, the memories, several of the tracks on this release/reissue from Dreyfus Jazz were also on the first ever Basie LP I bought (and which I still proudly possess) - Jive At Five; Blue and Sentimental; One O'Clock Jump; Swinging the Blues and, as if that weren't enough, several of the other tracks were on the second Basie album I bought which, inexplicably, I either sold or exchanged - Jumping at the Woodside; Louisiana; Fiesta in Blue; Tickle Toe - welcome home!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Julija Jacenaite & Alan Law @ Jazz Cafe Mezzanine - May 22


Julija Jacenaite (vocals); Alan Law (piano) 
(Review by Russell)

Julija Jacenaite thanked the audience for choosing to spend a couple of hours on the mezzanine floor in Newcastle Arts Centre rather than be out and about on a glorious late spring/early summer afternoon. Our Tyneside resident Lithuanian composer/singer/vocal tutor sang a selection of songs in, variously, English, Lithuanian and Portuguese in the company of the ever-affable pianist Alan Law. 

River City Jazzmen @ Ashington Jazz Club (Block & Tackle pub) - May 21


Gordon Solomon (trombone); Bob Wade (trumpet, flugel, clarinet); Tommy Graham (drums); Keith Stephen (banjo, guitar); Phil Rutherford (sousaphone) + Maureen Hall (vocals).
(Review by John T).

A full house at the Block and Tackle, a few new faces as well as one or two from years ago who remembered the River City Jazzmen when they were regulars at the Elephant.

The band kicked off with Girl of my Dreams followed by Blue Moon with trumpet player Bob blowing clarinet!

When Your Smiling and Dr Jazz featured guest vocalist Maureen Hall. Limehouse Blues, an up-tempo classic, showcased Tommy Graham on drums, Keith Stephen on banjo and Phil Rutherford on sousaphone.

Oscar Jerome @ Sage Gateshead – May 21


The stage was all shafts of purple and red lights and dry ice, with the instruments for the main act set up towards the back. Sage 1 was about two thirds full and Oscar Jerome (guitar) and the band (bass guitar, drums, keys doubling tenor sax) stood out front stage. I didn't catch the names of the rest of the band, nor most of the titles of the tunes, not sure if this was because of indistinct speech or cloth ears on my part.

The first song had Misty in the title*, with skilled guitar but I couldn't quite detect a direction to the music, maybe contemporary song, with solos from keys, a steady beat, and a feeling almost of outer space during the sax solo.

Then came an instrumental with a bit of wordless singing from our guitarist, ending with a drum solo. The next piece was from a forthcoming CD, called Gravitate I think, with song-like guitars. The final piece was rounded off by a jazz-like sax solo with a wild free-jazz feel on the final notes.

Any support act which precedes a band such as Kamasi Washington has a difficult task to do. I'd suggest a more distinct direction would have helped, simpler tunes with stronger variations.
Ann Alex

* Misty Head.

Kamasi Washington @ Sage Gateshead - May 21

Kamasi Washington (tenor sax); Rickey Washington (soprano sax/flute); Ryan Porter (trombone); Brandon Coleman (keys/vocals); Miles Mosley (bass); Robert Miller, Tony Austin (drums); Patrice Quinn (vocals).
(Review by Lance).

Not many jazz-related bands go close to filling Sage One but, not many jazz-related bands are fronted by the current kingpin of the jazz/funk/soul scene, the man rapidly approaching legendary status - Kamasi Washington.

The hype was in, the fashion followers took heed and they weren't disappointed judging by the standing ov. at the end. Kamasi is a prodigious tenor player with an awesome technique who takes no prisoners. My initial reaction was of an F1 steamroller in a demolition derby but, as the evening progressed there were tender moments too. If jazz is to capture a younger audience without losing the older generation along the way then KW is the man to do it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

CD Review: Jordon Dixon - On!

Jordon Dixon (tenor sax); Allyn Johnson (piano); Herman Burney (bass); Carroll V. Dashiell III (drums) + J.S. Williams (trumpet on 2 tracks)
(Review by Lance).

The CDs arrive daily via the mailman. They turn up in such abundance that I feel sorry for the postie whose back must surely be near breaking point. The sad thing is that such is the volume that, even after farming out a large percentage, so many of them don't get heard so - maybe I'm missing the next Kind of Blue - maybe not.

The moment that makes it all worthwhile is when you play a CD and, from the first note of the first bar you say, "This is for me!" Which is what happened here.

Monday, May 20, 2019

CD Review: Carol Sudhalter Quartet - Live at Saint Peter's Church

Carol Sudhalter (baritone sax/flute/vocal - 5); Patrick Poladian (piano); Kevin Hailey (bass); Mike Campenni (drums).
(Review by Lance)

This one had slipped off my radar until I read a DownBeat review where it was allotted a paltry 2½ stars. I decided to dig it out of the pile and check if the live recording in St. Peter's Church, NY, was really that bad. I decided it wasn't.

Sudhalter, niece* of trumpeter and Beiderbecke biographer Richard,  is somewhat leaden at times on baritone yet still manages to tame the beast and the ideas are there if not always the fluidity. As the man from DB pointed out, Sudhalter is heard at her best on flute. The acoustics do her no favours on the vocal Colin Blues although, paradoxically, her flute solo on this number is one of the high spots of the album.

Sue Ferris Quintet @ Blaydon Jazz Club - May 19

Sue Ferris (tenor sax, flute); Graham Hardy (trumpet, flugelhorn); Paul Edis (piano); Andy Champion (double bass); Rob Walker (drums) 

(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Jerry)

The Sue Ferris Quintet plays too few gigs so this Blaydon Jazz Club date was an opportunity to catch up with the fine County Durham based saxophonist. The quintet comprised longstanding collaborators with one enforced change. Frontline partner Graham Hardy made it to the Black Bull, as did pianist Paul Edis and drummer Rob Walker with the one absentee, bassist Neil Harland, somewhere south of the Watford Gap. Ferris gave Andy Champion a call, he was available and, following an afternoon engagement on Newcastle's Quayside, arrived in good time for the seven-thirty start.

Philip Clouts Quartet @ The Globe Jazz Bar - May 19.

Philip Clouts (keys); Sammy Eagles (alto/soprano sax); Tim Fairhall (bass); Kiran Bhatt (drums).
(Review by Lance).

One minute they were standing shoulder to shoulder at the downstairs bar of the Jazz Coop's operational base, The Globe, and next minute they weren't. The vast majority had supped up and offed to the nearby Arena where Mark Knopfler appeared to have pulled a cup final sized crowd.

Back at The Globe,  the tango dancers filed in upstairs and, thankfully, the downstairs bar filled up - perhaps they'd been to the Arena for a pre-gig pint!

On stage, Cape Town-born Clouts and his cohorts set-up before taking us on an ethnic journey round the Townships. It began lowkey and ended in a similar vein but, in between, we had some scintillating music - indeed, one of Clouts' compositions was titled Scintillate!

A Closer Walk to Charts - May 19

James Harrison (piano); Andy Champion (bass); Abbie Finn (drums) + Zoë Gilby (vocals), Alice Grace (vocals); Ben Helm (guitar).
(Review by Russell)

Charts has recently acquired itself a baby grand piano - hallelujah! Playing it this Sunday afternoon was none other than Teessider James Harrison working in the esteemed company of Andy Champion and Abbie Finn. 

Blue SkiesSunny, the trio in fine form. Few in, as usual, then up stepped Zoë Gilby to sing, by way of tribute to the late, great Doris Day - Secret Love - fantastic! 

Something Latin then Body and Soul and, to close the first of three sets, Harrison called Just a Closer Walk With Thee - hallelujah! 

An interval chat with all and sundry, an Anarchy refill then onto the second set. Their monthly Bonbar residency done and dusted Alice Grace and Ben Helm wandered down to the Quayside to sit-in here at Charts. Route 66 (all the evocative place names - Flagstaff, Arizona, Gallop, New Mexico etc in the right order!). Then, a fabulous rendition of As Time Goes By. At this juncture, your correspondent made his excuses and left (reminiscent of the News of the Screws!) in order to get to Sue Ferris' gig on time at the Black Bull in Blaydon. 
Russell.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sweet & Hot @ Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club - May 18

Sweet & Hot: Jeff Barnhart (piano, vocals); Anne Barnhart (flute, vocals); Spats Langham (guitar, banjo, vocals); Graham Smith (drums, washboard)
(Review by Russell)

The Barnharts have been up and down the motorways on the first of their two extensive annual tours, Spats Langham has been busy crisscrossing Europe and Graham Smith has been putting the finishing touches to this year's Pershore Jazz Festival. Busy though they are the four friends made time to play a few Sweet and Hot gigs with Darlington's St Augustine's Parish Centre a favourite on the itinerary.     

What I Did At the Late Shows - May 18

(Ann Alex)

I love the annual Late Shows, when museums and art galleries etc are open after hours, to show us aspects of their work which we don't usually see, and to provide live music, food and other goodies.
I stepped off the Metro at Newcastle Central Station, only to be utterly frightened by an event called Flux. This was a large screen on the station concourse, showing pink, yellow and black shapes, representing the air pollution in Newcastle in places such as Jesmond, the Redheugh Bridge, and the Coast Road. There was sound as well, moaning low sounds, and lots of black shaped nitrogen dioxide.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

CD Review: Billy Brandt - City Noir

(Review by Lance)

Billy Brandt takes us down these mean streets. The blurb describes his voice as being like dark roasted coffee with a  hint of cream - I'll drink to that. It's a Bogie movie, a Jim Thompson novel, a painting by Edward Hopper, a stranger you meet on a train, Route 66 in a minor key, maybe Lana Turner or Barbara Stanwyck helping you to murder their surplus to requirement husbands.

CD Review: Marton Juhasz - Discovery


Marton Juhasz (composition, drums); Yumi Ito (vocals, text (track 8); Sergio Wagner (trumpet, flugelhorn); Paco Andreo (valve trombone); Enrique Oliver (tenor sax); Syzmon Mika (guitar); Olga Konkova (piano, Fender Rhodes); Danny Ziemann (bass)
(Review by Ann Alex)

This review marks my promotion on BSH, to reviewing a mainly instrumental CD, rather than a singer's CD. Then I read the written information, which tells me that a certain Lance Liddle heard this drummer at a gig, and stated that he had a 'prodigious technique'. I'm not sure if that helps or hinders, but I'll judge for myself anyway, thank you! 

Judge I did, and I loved what I heard. There are 11 tracks of original music, composed by the drummer, played adventurously and well by all, with the drummer fitting in seamlessly with the others, which to my mind shows us a musician who knows that the actual music comes first.

Preview: Kamasi Washington @ Sage Gateshead, Tuesday 21 May


(Preview by Russell)

The Epic said it all - ambitious, sprawling, three discs (yes, it was made available on vinyl), Los Angeles born bandleader, saxophonist, collaborator, producer, Kamasi Washington's high-profile recording secured media attention beyond that of the regular jazz press. 

On Tuesday the 38-year-old American rocks up at Sage Gateshead. Touring the UK, Europe then back to the States, this is the long-awaited opportunity for Tynesiders to check-out the man who has acquired a cult following - not least among the Millennial generation - thanks to his association with Flying Lotus, Thundercat and Kendrick Lamar. 

Preview: Philip Clouts Quartet @ The Globe Sunday, May 19


Philip Clouts, piano; Samuel Eagles, saxes; Tim Fairhall, bass; Kiran Bhatt, drums
(Press release)

Cape Town-born pianist/composer Clouts’ South African roots have inspired a voyage of discovery that has led to him soaking up the joyful passion of Caribbean calypso, the bluesy melodies of middle eastern praise songs, the exuberant sway of Cuban dance music and the tuneful essence of Gospel while honouring jazz heroes including Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Charles Lloyd. 

Preview: Sue Ferris Quintet @ Blaydon Jazz Club Sunday May 19


(Preview by Russell/archive photo))

On Sunday evening at the Black Bull, there is an all too rare appearance by one of the region's finest saxophonists and flautists. County Durham resident Sue Ferris is well known to jazz fans across the north of England and beyond as a versatile musician equally proficient in a small group setting or full-scale orchestral project. 

BSH readers familiar with the much missed Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra will recall Sue's blistering baritone sax solos in a band of stellar soloists, similarly the diminutive saxophonist invariably blows the proverbial roof off blowing baritone in Gerry Richardson's roaring Big Idea.

Friday, May 17, 2019

CD Review: Alex Hitchcock Quintet - All Good things

Alex Hitchcock (tenor sax); James Copus (trumpet/flugelhorn); Will Barry (piano/Fender Rhodes); Joe Downard (bass); Jay Davis (drums).
Review by Lance)

Hitchcock is no stranger to these pages, he has turned up in various guises at Hoochie Coochie (w. Resolution 88), Jazz Café, various CDs and an excellent EP with this band.

In fact, Hitchcock's latest album is a logistical step forward taking the band and the idiom into an area that punches the frontiers blazed by Blue Note, Miles and Coltrane whilst still retaining sanity and, dare I say it? that much-maligned word in avant-gardist circles - musicality.

Classic Swing @ Jesmond British Legion - May 17


Olive Rudd (vocals); Tommy Moran (tenor sax); Jim McBriarty (alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet, vocals); Neville Hartley (trombone, vocals); Colin Haikney (keyboards); Alan Rudd (double bass); Tommy Graham (drums) 
(Review by Russell)

Oh Lady be Good! for starters - casual swing with Jim McBriarty's vocals mirroring those of Fred Astaire and that's how the session continued, softly swinging, Basie-style. J M opened on alto sax and played more of it on Blue and Sentimental with 'bone man Neville Hartley and pianist Colin Haikney chipping-in.  

Olive Rudd got to her feet to sing It's a Sin to Tell a Lie accompanied by Tommy Moran's assured tenor saxophone playing. The band's singer would return.  

Thursday, May 16, 2019

CD Review: Yoko Miwa Trio - Keep Talkin'

Yoko Miwa (piano); Will Slater (bass); Scott Goulding (drums); Brad Barrett (bass on 1 track).
(Review by Lance)
You know the feeling, you've got no money coming in and the bills are arriving on a conveyer belt and you wonder HTF am I going to pay them? The solution is, of course, to rob Peter to pay Paul and, ultimately, vice versa.

Recitals @ Newcastle University: Alex Utting (trombone); Ben Fitzgerald (drums) - May 15,16

(Reviewed by Russell)

It's the time of year when some music students are obliged to get out of bed before Emmerdale starts...yes, those long-awaited recitals are taking place throughout the month of May and here at Newcastle University students are preparing for the ordeal of their lives. BSH attended two recitals - one yesterday (Wednesday) and one this morning. 

At 5:20pm yesterday with the sun streaming through the windows of King's Hall trombonist Alex Utting walked the long walk from an adjacent corridor to the floor of King's Hall. The audience greeted the examinee with encouraging applause as the examiners took their seats in front of fired-up laptops. Utting is known to BSH as the bass trombone man in the dynamic student Bold Big Band. Utting's recital - Minor Specialist Study in Performance Final Recital - didn't include any jazz, this was to be a heavyweight classical examination.

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Reflections...

(Review by Russell)

The 2019 Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival drew large numbers with several events standing-room-only affairs at venues across the market town. The weather began in typically Lakeland fashion (overcast with the threat of rain) and ended in atypical fashion - two blue sky days with wall-to-wall sunshine. 

Concerts from noon 'til late, venues (club, function room, church) all within easy walking distance, food, drink, Main Street jazz sessions, the annual brolly parade and, of course, all of this to a glorious Lakeland backdrop. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: George Melly - The Certainty of Hazard - May 12

The Certainty of Hazard was premiered more than a decade after George Melly's death in July 2007. Here at the 2019 Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival a Sunday afternoon screening in Rawnsley Hall attracted a good number of Melly fans. Director Chris Wade's 2018 documentary film focuses on two principal talking heads - Melly's widow Diana Melly and former girlfriend Louisa Buck - offering personal insights to the jazz singer, critic, writer and lifetime surrealist. 

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Keith Nichols & the Festival Orchestra - May 12

(Review by Russell)

On a beautiful, warm Sunday evening the closing event of this year's Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival at Theatre by the Lake featured the all-star Festival Orchestra. This third and final concert masterminded by Keith Nichols attracted yet another full house and, little wonder, given the talent on show.

Chris Hodgkin's International Quartet to play Zeffirellis

Last year I listened to a recording by New York-based Korean pianist - Jinjoo Yoo and I was knocked out. When I heard that she was touring the UK as part of the Chris Hodgkin's International Quartet (Chris Hodgkins, trumpet/flugel; Jinjoo Yoo, piano; Wayne Wilkinson, guitar and Alison Raynor, bass) I was excited. My euphoria was shortlived, Newcastle wasn't on the menu.
Tonight they are at Scarborough Jazz Club whilst on Saturday, May 25, they play Zeffirellis in Ambleside - so near and yet so far.

If you can make it to Zeff's - then make it!
Lance

Rest In Peace Gene Jarred


Ray Harley has just given me the sad news that Gene Jarred has left us. Trumpet player and big band leader Gene was, by all accounts, one of Teesside's jazz legends. I never met him, although we were Facebook friends and his occasional emails and F/b comments somehow made me feel that I knew him - can't say that about all of my F/b 'friends'!

I wish I could write more but I'm going to appeal to those 'down there' who knew Gene personally to help me out with details of Gene's life and, sadly, funeral arrangements.
RIP.
Lance

Jam Session @ The Black Swan - May 14.

(Review by/Photos by Lance).

Quite a night! A tenor saxist born in L.A., a drummer studying in Boston Mass, a Nigerian (?) vocalist, an invasion of Hartlepuddlians and some of Newcastle's finest, what could go wrong?
Answer - nothing!

The evening began in a sombre mood. The normally ebullient James Harrison taking us on an unaccompanied trip to St. James' Infirmary. Abbie Finn joined the mourners with some suitable funereal drumming before upping the tempo for the Battle Hymn of the Republic (John Brown's Body). John Brown interred, more staple jam session fare followed in the form of Yardbird Suite and St. Thomas with Abbie well-featured on the latter.

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Basin Street Brawlers - May 12

Pete Horsfall (trumpet, vocals); Ewan Bleach (reeds, vocals); Malcolm Earle Smith (trombone, vocals); Dave Archer (guitar); Colin Good (piano)
(Review by Russell)

Sunday, noon, Southey St Church, spirituals, hymns and jazz courtesy of the Basin Street Brawlers. Congregation, please be seated, let the jazz begin! Sweet By-and-By sang Pete Horsfall, the first of several spirituals, hallelujah! The Old Rugged Cross (Dave Archer, guitar), Just a Little While to Stay Here - trumpeter Horsfall and reedsman Ewan Bleach possessors of the voice to carry it off, hallelujah!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Tommy Harkenrider Quartet - May 11

Tommy Harkenrider (guitar); Richard Exall (tenor sax); Sandy Suchodolski (double bass); Morgan Childs (drums)
(Review by Russell)

A couple (friends of BSH) from the Tyne-Tees Delta recommended catching Tommy Harkenrider's second concert performance at this year's Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival. The word was the jazz 'n' blues guitarist was the 'real deal'. On Thursday the man from Orange County, California had played a trio engagement with BSH favourite Bruce Rollo and Canadian drummer Morgan Childs. This Saturday evening performance would be in quartet format to include bootin' tenor sax. 

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Keith Nichols' Ragamuffins - May 11

Keith Nichols (piano); Michael McQuaid (reeds, vocals); Alistair Allan (trombone, vocals); Spats Langham (banjo, guitar, vocals); Malcolm Sked (double bass, sousaphone); Nick Ward (drums)
(Review by Russell)
On a warm, blue sky Cumbrian day it would have been understandable if some festival-goers joined the many walkers on the fells high above the bustling Lakeland town. Jazz the priority, the Theatre by the Lake once more accommodated a large crowd to hear Keith Nichols present the second of three concerts at Keswick 2019. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Basin Street Brawlers - May 11

Pete Horsfall (trumpet, vocals); Ewan Bleach (reeds, vocals); Malcolm Earle Smith (trombone, vocals); Dave Archer (guitar); Colin Good (piano)
(Review by Russell)

Festival regulars know a good thing when they see one and Saturday's midday performance by the Basin Street Brawlers found some forming an orderly queue at eleven o'clock. By half past the hour those who had yet to join the queue were unlikely to be admitted to the Skiddaw Hotel's Greta Suite with all seats and standing room spaces snapped up and still they queued in the corridor hoping one or two would, for some inexplicable reason, choose to leave.

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Keith Nichols Orchestra + Harlem Meer Cats - May 10

The Theatre by the Lake's idyllic setting by Derwentwater is home to Keith Nichols' many concert presentations. At this year's festival, Nichols applied his 'classic jazz' era expertise to a three-concert series - Ellington in Harlem (Friday), his Ragamuffins' outfit (Saturday) and the Festival Orchestra's grand finale (Sunday).

One Night in Harlem transported a near full house to Duke Ellington's late 20s/early 30s stomping ground as Nichols painted a picture of the Cotton Club days with Cotton Club Stomp (no.2) an appropriate opener. The veteran band leader commands the respect of (and works with) the very best musicians and with the likes of Tom 'Spats' Langham and Enrico Tomasso in the line-up, the evening couldn't be anything other than a resounding success. 

Black and Tan Fantasy, Langham's vocal on In My Solitude and, unsurprisingly, It Don't Mean a Thing with the orchestra in top form, made this an evening to remember. 

Earlier Ned Bennett's six-piece Harlem Meer Cats (including trumpeter Ben Cummings, pianist Colin Good and drummer Nick Ball) set the ball rolling with a similarly fine selection of Ellingtonia.   
Russell

RIP Doris Day

Saddest of news - just heard that Doris Day died earlier today aged 97. 

Film star and singer, she touched on the jazz scene with Les Brown and his band of Renown in the 1940s and, years later, in 1961, recorded an excellent duo album with Andre Previn. 

My first schoolboy crush she remained in my heart forever. Favourite film? Love me or Leave me. Favourite record? All of them but My One and Only Love from the Previn album is exceptional.
Sadly missed.
Love always
Lance.
Obituary.

Andrea Vicari Trio w. Zoë Gilby @ The Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - May 12

Andrea Vicari (piano/voice); Andy Champion (bass); Russ Morgan (drums) + Zoë  Gilby (vocals).
(Review by Lance).

Having read Jerry's review of Andrea Vicari's sold out gig at the Lit and Phil on Friday I fully expected the upper room of the Prohibition Bar to be equally well-attended for not only was it the same trio but there was also the added attraction of the much-admired songstress Zoë  Gilby. For whatever reason, the hordes failed to turn out which was their loss. If I'd realised it was going to be this good I'd have been at the other 3 gigs in the region (apart from the Lit and Phil the trio were down south in Darlo and across the border in Eyemouth).

My last self-delegated assignment had been to review a CD by the KinoTrio (see previous post) and Vicari and her recently acquired cohorts lost nothing by comparision in fact although the two pianists (Vicari and Bruno Heinen) had certain similarities Vicari swung harder without losing today's presence. It was a sheer delight to witness the co-ordination between the three during the beginnings and endings.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

CD Review: Kino Trio - Il Ciela Sopra Berlina

Bruno Heinen (piano); Michele Tacchi (fretless bass); Riccardo Chiaberta (drums).
(Review by Lance).

The Kino Trio - two Italian musicians now London based and a Brit with a foreign sounding name (Brexit's making us all very nationality conscious - bring a contemporary feel to the traditional piano, bass and drums setup. At times it could be mistaken for a modern classical ensemble with all three instruments interweaving their chosen lines on eight original compositions. Surprisingly, pianist Heinen only puts one piece into the pot whereas Tacchi supplies four and Chiaberta three.

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: The Vitality Five - May 10


Michael McQuaid (tenor sax, clarinet, cornet, vocals); David Horniblow (bass sax, clarinet); Andrew Oliver (piano); Tom 'Spats' Langham (banjo); Nick Ball (drums)
(Review by Russell)

The Vitality Five, one of the big draws at Keswick, attracted a full house to Southey St Church for the mid-afternoon set. One change to the line-up - no Martin Wheatley, replaced by the more than capable 'Spats' Langham. The Vitality Five are self-confessed obsessives searching out rare 78s, transcribing the music (the more obscure the better!), trying to outdo one another in the obscurity stakes: Hey! Look what I found the other day!    

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Soul'd Out @ Hoochie Coochie - May 10.

(Review (amended) by Nathan)
Soul'd Out is an event that happens at Hoochie Coochie four times a year. An amazing high-energy 6 piece band, plus singers, delivers a superb night of pure enjoyment
It's always a good sign when they're at least as many musicians in the audience as there are on stage - clearly there is real musical content worth paying attention to. These are great performers who deliver high-quality music.

This wasn't a Jazz event but it's one Jazz musicians should take note of: - 

Cheltenham Jazz Festival: Swing Out Sister @ Town Hall – May 5.

(Review by Steve T)

When I first met the future Mrs T, Corrine Drewery had the second best bob in the world. Both bobs would disappear in time but the Swing Out Sister's would return and she'd get the best bob in the world, at the age of Alan Barnes. They're one of the groups we both liked, though unlike Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Earth Wind and Fire, Roxy Music and Level 42, we actually like much the same lineup and records.

Doing lots of live jazz in recent years, I realised I missed the big popstar entrance: the fifteen-minute delay, the background music and lights on the stage, the band arrive, then the number one sister. Number two sister on vocals and percussion, a drummer, bass, guitar, trumpet and reeds and the other permanent member, with whom she writes the bulk of the songs, Andy Connell on keyboards.

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Barnes plays Hodges - May 10


Alan Barnes (alto sax); Richard Exall (tenor sax); Jamie Brownfield (trumpet); Ian Bateman (trombone); Brian Kellock (piano); Bruce Rollo (double bass); Tom Gordon (drums)
(Review by Russell)

Johnny Hodges, small group, early fifties, full house...not quite. The word was that some of Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival's patrons thought it dangerously modern and went off looking for a banjo. So, Southey St Church was busy but not bursting at the seams. The ubiquitous Alan Barnes led an all-star line-up in what would prove to be a wonderful celebration of Ellington's alto saxophonist affectionately known as 'Jeep' or 'Rabbit'. 

Metered Magic: Andrea Vicari Trio @ The Lit & Phil – May 10


Andrea Vicari (piano); Andy Champion (bass); Russ Morgan (drums).  
(Review/photos by Jerry)

Andrea Vicari had worked with Andy Champion and Russ Morgan about 18 months ago on a musical project in the North-East so she sought them out when embarking on a “mini-tour” in the region starting here at that Geordie institution, the Lit & Phil. The reunion was a treat of a mini-gig (the usual one hour format) for the close-to-capacity room which ended with Andrea Vicari struggling to name-check our local heroes above the noise of enthusiastic and sustained applause!

Kenny Burrell Appeal


My name is Katherine Burrell. I am raising funds for my husband, Kenny Burrell. He is a legendary jazz guitarist who has contributed much to the world of music. Following his 85th birthday concert at Royce Hall, he suffered an accident that led to a two-year medical leave.

He is still in recovery, on sabbatical, and writing his autobiography, as well as two other books. I am taking care of Kenny at home as his sole caregiver.  His medical expenses—that is, the supplies required for his care—exceed our monthly income. Additionally, we were both victims of identity theft and bank fraud, and the bank has refused to return a majority of the stolen funds, which totaled more than $60,000. (Some of the funds they returned were actually payments I made to creditors, which they returned in error, and which I had to repay). In the process of mismanaging our claim, the bank returned payments I made to creditors as far back as 9 months, seriously impacting our credit scores.

Blue Light - the Duke Ellington Society UK magazine


The Duke Ellington Society UK printed Cormac's article in the Spring 2019 edition of their house organ - Blue Light - acknowledging BSH as the source of the material.

The DESUK's then editor, Ian Bradley, who has since stepped down, kindly acceded to my request to view the magazine - I was delighted when Vice Chairman/Editorial Consultant Roger Boyes kindly sent me the current one plus the previous issue - Winter  2018.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Norbert & Enrico - May 9

Norbert Susemihl (trumpet); Enrico Tomasso (trumpet); Tom Kincaid (piano); Roy Percy (double bass); Jack Cotterill (drums)
(Review by Russell)

One very familiar name, one not so familiar. Multi award-winning trumpeter Enrico Tomasso crops up at most of the major festivals and as the 'big draw,' his presence delivered a full house. The other trumpet player on the bill, German Norbert Susemihl was, to all but a few, the unknown quantity. The two of them met for the first time about an hour before the start of their gig in Rawnsley Hall, scribbled down a set list and took it from there.

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Michael McQuaid Trio - May 9


Michael McQuaid Trio: Michael McQuaid (clarinet, alto sax); Andrew Oliver (piano); Nick Ball (drums)
(Review by Russell)

Horniblow's Hot Three it said in the programme however David Horniblow was unavoidably detained in London (he'll arrive in Keswick Friday) and, by chance, Michael McQuaid was on hand to step into the breach. The London-based Aussie fronted the 'Michael McQuaid Trio' but this wasn't a last minute, thrown together outfit. Not only has McQuaid worked on gigs with pianist Andrew Oliver and drummer Nick Ball (two-thirds of Horniblow's Hot Three) as a trio they've released a CD and, conveniently, he brought along copies with him. 

Keswick Jazz & Blues Festival: Salute to Fats – May 9


Jeff Barnhart (piano), John Hallam (reeds); Jamie Brownfield (trumpet); Bruce Rollo (double bass); Jack Amblin (drums) 
(Review by Russell)

The Lakeland Fells hove into view with rain clouds poised overhead - a typical Cumbrian scene. You know you've arrived when one village pub after the other boasts Jenning's Brewery beers. Tourists from all four corners, walkers striding out and, at this time of year, that very peculiar creature, the jazz fan, converge on the picturesque town of Keswick. Welcome to the 2019 edition of the Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival.

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