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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).

Archive

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.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

EP/CD Review: Animal Society - Rise.

Joe Williamson (guitar); Alan Benzie, Craig McMahon (keyboards); Gus Stirrat (bass); Graham Costello (drums).
(Review by Steve T)

Animal Society is a new group led by Darlington born guitarist Joe Williamson. He has an impressive CV: a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, two critically acclaimed albums (including by me) with the band Square One, a Peter Whittington Jazz Award and was named Scotland's Young Jazz Musician of the Year in 2018.

The raison d'etre of this group is unleashed right off with a thundery drum roll and some heavy metal riffing. Prog rock, jazz rock, prog metal are all in there. Guitar influences would seem to include Steve Howe and John McLaughlin but nowadays it's often people who were influenced by these people or people who were influenced by people who were influenced by them.

There's plenty of light and shade with some fine keyboard work, including some good old-fashioned seventies synth sounds, and, I believe, a touch of acoustic guitar. Opener and single Rise does exactly that and the tracks generally build to a crescendo with Williamson taking the home-run. The EP features four cuts, two just short of the ten-minute mark and two a little over, making it roughly the length of an old-fashioned album. 

I'm a bit of a fan and I always like to hear jazz guitarists embracing their rock roots. If rock music was your route into jazz, this should be essential. If rock is your thing but not too heavy, it settles down after the initial burst, but if you really don't care for rock or don't like it fused with jazz, you should probably leave it alone.           

Steve T.
Try/buy (digital).
Physical copies are available but only at gigs.

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