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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 Monday May 20

Afternoon

Jazz

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

?????

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Daniel Herskedal, Paul Taylor @ Sage Gateshead - March 23.

Daniel Herskedal (tuba/bass trumpet); Bergmund Waal Skaslien (viola); Eyolf Dale (piano); Helge Andreas Norbakken (percussion). 
(Review by Lance/PHOTOS courtesy of Ken Drew).

I'd missed Herskedal's previous appearances at Sage Gateshead although the near capacity, Sage Two, Level One, audience obviously hadn't. Across the great divide in Sage One, The Rumours of Fleetwood Mac 50th Anniversary Tour was also packing them in - in even greater numbers!

As a once owner of the original Rumours LP I'd have probably gone myself for nostalgic reasons but, duty called...

The prime reason for the Norwegian quartet's tour is the launching of their latest CD - Voyage from which most of the music played was drawn. Herskedal has a mellifluous tone on bass trumpet and manages the cumbersome beast that is the tuba without sounding lugubrious. The use of viola makes for an interesting alternative to that of violin. The array of percussion was put to good use - tinkling cymbals, jingling bells and other odd items adorned the traditional kit. Pianist Dale, was perhaps the most exciting member of the band. However, the overall effect leaned towards the soporific and I left before the end in case I embarrassed myself by snoring...
----- 
Paul Taylor (piano) + Faye MacCalman (tenor sax/clarinet).

Earlier, local hero Taylor dazzled in his inimitable style. Floating like a butterfly with rippling runs that left few notes untouched albeit with not very many of the chordal passages so beloved of the more traditional jazz pianists. Director of Performance, Tamsin Austin, in her introduction, expressed some doubt as to whether or not Faye MacCalman would be joining Taylor. No reason was given. The reed player did appear towards the end of the set for some input that suited the mood of the evening which could be perhaps best described as "The Night of the Long Notes."
Lance.
PHOTOS

5 comments :

Chris Kilsby said...

I don’t normally respond to reviews, as music is in the ear of the behearer etc, and especially not on the (normally) authoritative regional phenomenon which is BSH…… However, I feel I must in this instance, as my experience of the Herskedal gig was so much at odds with Lance’s verdict of “soporific”. My verdict is that this was the gig of the (great!) year so far, and is shared with the party of 6 I took along, ranging in age across five decades, and familiarity with jazz from neophyte to aficionado. If Lance had stayed until the end perhaps he would have seen the rest of the audience were wide awake as well, judging by their ovation!

Herskedal’s band were truly outstanding, playing original and groundbreaking music of epic and majestic proportion, which remained accessible, listenable and in many places downright tuneful, drawing seamlessly on classical, folk and jazz (whatever that is ...). Maybe Lance was looking for a giant of the tenor to take the stage and blow us apart, but this had variety, dynamics to spare, and a regularly achieved climactic energy which had the audience bouncing. Herskedal has re-defined the tuba as lead and accompanying instrument, but this virtuousity was borne lightly, with no ego or pretentiousness – all subsumed within a delightful collective humility and humour, framed in his acclaimed, third, through-composed album. The level of musicality and ambition from all four players was remarkable, with heart-rending emotion, along with extraordinary tastefulness, delicacy and interplay. These are leading international musicians, defining their own take on contemporary music, riding a tidal wave of Scandinavian jazz sweeping Europe (if not BSH!).

Herskedal is the latest in the Sage’s Spring jazz season, standing in this year for the Festival. I am finding it a better means of bringing top bands to the North East - frankly we are punching above our weight this year, with international stars like Herskedal, Tigran and Phronesis, with Kamasi Washington to come - I bet he will succeed in keeping Lance awake! In Tigran’s case, I was almost moved to respond to Ann Alex’s also underwhelming review. My take (and that of a contingent of students from Leeds College of Music I facilitated) on that concert was that I felt privileged to attend, in my own back yard or anywhere: as Herbie Hancock says “Now, Tigran, you are my teacher”.

So, in conclusion, I love and appreciate the work Lance and his tireless reviewers carry out on BSH, informing, reporting and supporting the remarkable wealth of jazz throughout the great North East – this is vital work to encourage and facilitate regional artists and audiences. But underwhelming and unrepresentative reviews such as those recently for Herskedal and Tigran do not only the artists a disservice, but also the audiences. Such reviews do nothing to encourage new listeners to try something different to the (rightly) venerated GASbook, or for promoters like the Sage to continue their ambitious and risky policy of bringing major jazz stars here to our little corner of the country.

Anyway, keep up the good work, but please let’s hear some more enthusiastic voices cheering on these new masters!

Chris Kilsby

Lance said...

Thank you Chris for your comment and let me hasten to say that I totally respect your views. It's always difficult trying to weigh up the objective against the subjective. However, any honest reviewer can only record his/her reactions to what they hear. I fully appreciated the musicality of the musicians concerned but, for me, it lacked that vital spark. I realised that I was in the minority and, yes, I would have loved a tenor giant to take to the stage. However, isn't that what music/art is all about - to say what you feel and not what you ought to feel?

Over the years, I have been totally supportive of Sage Gateshead and will continue to do so, although I'm sure they know that I don't just 'follow the party line' they do know that most of the time I do.

Possibly I'm in the wrong job which I obviously was last Saturday. Problem is, finding horses for courses. Jazz and its spinoffs are such a varied field that the 'one man's meat...' adage is ever present.

Unfortunately, at the moment, our review team seems to be somewhat decimated and whilst Russell and I try to cover as much as we can we are always open to new contributors. The recent review by Iain Kitt on the Maja Bugge gig in the Victoria Tunnel was most welcome and if you, yourself, Chris, fancy contributing reviews of future gigs or CDs (which I will happily send to you) then I'd be pleased to welcome you, or any other more enthusiastic voices aboard.
PS: Thank you also for the kind words re BSH.I've now added some terrific photos of the gig from Ken Drew who, incidentally, sides with you.

Andy Hills said...

Having differing opinions is why we have such diversity of music out there - if we all liked the same stuff there would be a much more narrow spectrum of musical styles. For what it's worth I found Paul Taylor to be soporific what with his endless runs up and down the piano with odd bit of delay here and there; whereas Daniel Herskedal’s performance for me was deeply original, pastoral and evocative. I'm glad though that there's something for everyone and that we can have differing emotional responses to the music.

Paul Taylor said...

I like the cognitive dissonance between the disingenuous condescension towards the "diversity of music out there" and the gratuitously banal critique of "endless runs up and down the piano". "Soporific"? Keeps me awake, at least.

Lance said...

Apologies Paul, your comment was inadvertently deleted. Now, hopefully, restored. Certainly, when I used the term "Soporific" it wasn't directed at you but at the headline act. I've also discovered the reason for Faye's delayed appearance - the girls a star and a tribute to the motto - The show must go on. Hope everything works out ok for her.

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