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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 Tuesday May 21

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Kamasi Washington - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4461. 7:30pm. £30.00.

River City Jazzmen w. Maureen Hall - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NN. Tel: 01670 813983. 8:00pm. £5 (raffle inc.) Bob Wade, Gordon Solomon, Keith Stephen, Phil Rutherford, Tommy Graham.

Lindsay Hannon Band - 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.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Book Review: Frank R. Hayde - Stan Levey Jazz Heavyweight

One of my first port of calls, when I make my infrequent trips to our capital city, is Judd Books where it has to be said, I've never failed to make a purchase.

This time around, clutched in my sweaty palm was a biography of drummer Stan Levey - Stan Levey Jazz Heavyweight by Frank R. Hayde.*

It's an appropriate title as the future Kenton percussionist did, in his early years, don the gloves in the squared circle - even at Madison Square Gardens fighting on the undercard. This was the 1950s when the fight game was very much mob controlled. If Blinky Palermo or Frankie Carbo told you to go into the tank you dived.
Fortunately, Levey found he could use his fists better holding a pair of drumsticks and, despite being a right-hander, because he'd had no formal training, he set up his drums southpaw style and yet went on to become one of the greatest of modern jazz drummers. 

Levey hung out with Parker in the early days of bebop and, surprise, surprise, he found himself hooked. Like so many of his famous contemporaries, he served time but, unlike most, he found the strength to clean up his act.

In retrospect, I now realise how fortunate I was in hearing Levey with the Paul Smith Trio and Ella at a 1962 JATP gig at Newcastle City Hall. The extrovert Smith tended to hog the limelight so I didn't fully appreciate the drummer at the time.

It was around this time I first heard Richie Kamuka and, later - after Roly Veitch reminded me of how good a tenor player Kamuka was - I started collecting his albums. I now find that Levey plays drums on most of them and, at the time of typing, I'm listening to Grand Stan, from the album of the same name which has Levey going for gold. If he'd fought like he played drums, and had the chance, Marciano would have known he was in a fight!

With a foreword by Charlie Watts, this authorized 2016 biography is a worthy addition to your jazz library.
Lance.
* £4.95 @ Judd Books!

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