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Bebop Spoken There

Branford Marsalis: "You talk to the old guys about it [52nd St.], and they say the music part was great. Every other aspect of it [pay, hours, conditions] sucked" - (DownBeat, May 2019).

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Today Sunday April 21

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. Free.

Blues

Beefy La Slap - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 3:00pm. Free.

Alex Fawcett Band - Tyne Bar, Maling St., Newcastle NE6 1LP. Tel: 0191 265 2550. 4:00pm. Free

Evening

Jazz

East Coast Jazz - Exchange, Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1SE. Tel: 0191 258 4111. 6:00pm. Free. Monthly jam session.

Swing Manouche - Black Bull, Bridge St., Blaydon NE21 4JJ. Tel: 0191 414 2846. 7:30pm. £7.00. Blaydon Jazz Club. Note new, regular start time.

Blues

Sour Mash Trio - 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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Minnie Fraser Quartet @ The Globe Jazz Bar - Feb. 24

Minnie Fraser (vocals); Mike Bowman (keys, arrangements); Paul Grainger (bass); Abbie Finn (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex)

This was the first time I’d heard Minnie doing a full gig and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Mostly GASbook with fine singing and interesting arrangements, accompanied by stellar musicians well-known to the audience, and the Globe full downstairs, what better way to spend a Sunday evening?

The trio opened the show with two tunes seamlessly integrated; I Wish I Could Know How It Feels To be Free and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, including an early drum solo from Abbie. Minnie stepped on to the stage with a friendly smile, band introductions, and Ain’t Misbehavin, which segued neatly into All Of Me, and a skilled bass solo backed by firm chords from the keys, and off we went. Misty, one of Minnie’s favourite songs; The Very Thought Of You; then, with great versatility, a change to a Latin number, which was Dindi.

I liked the fact that Minnie included the verse for many of the songs, had a welcoming smiling manner, and did some songs that you don’t hear often, such as Get Happy, which is all about death as she pointed out, to some amusement. Lullaby Of Birdland; a deeper-voiced Black Coffee; Song For My Father: then a difficult song tackled well, a pleasant surprise which was Twisted, a song about being a bit mad. The tune is based on a tenor sax solo, hence its difficulty, and readers will have heard the version sung by Annie Ross. A good way to round off the first half.

The second half continued with magic, That Old Black Magic, then Stardust and Fascinating Rhythm, again, both with verses I’m glad to say, and I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Next came another surprise, introduced as the song Keith Crombie wouldn’t let anyone sing, you’ve guessed, Summertime, just voice and piano – Lance left the room, coincidence ...maybe.

Night And Day (with verse, good); then a slow Midnight Sun, with its brilliant rhyming of ‘alabaster palace and aurora borealis’ (beat that, classical poets!)  Cheek To Cheek was the final song, so we thought, but an encore was demanded, and disarmingly encouraged by Minnie, so we went out to the sounds of the A Train, singing, ‘you must get the Metro’.
 
I haven’t mentioned the instrumentalists much because it goes without saying that they did their stuff really well, as we’ve come to expect. I have only one minor quibble,  that the piano was sometimes a bit overpowering, and the ‘effects’ were occasionally overdone whereas straight piano would have been enough. Although, as Lance pointed out, the addition of the vibraphone sound gave an effective Shearing feel to some of the numbers.

Well done, Minnie and the band!
Ann Alex

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