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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.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Cheltenham Jazz Festival: Dave Sanborn Acoustic Band @ Town Hall - May 5

Dave Sanborn (alto sax); Michael Dease (trombone); Geoff Keezer (piano, keyboards); Ben Williams (double bass), Billy Kilson (drums).
(Review by Steve T)

Along with the loud shirts, my mid-life crisis was marked with the revival of band tee shirts, on this occasion, Kamasi Washington. A volunteer told me she had the exact same tee shirt (though much much smaller) and I told her that Sanborn was the Kamasi of his (my) day. Not strictly true, as various friends would describe him as second only to Grover, while others would throw Ronnie Laws into the mix. Occasionally I would raise the spectres of Bird and Trane, but I was generally better at biting my tongue in those days.

I never really cared much for Sanborn, thinking he tortured the damn thing until it sounded like a squawking baby, but I saw him in London a few years back in a quartet with Bob James and Steve Gadd and, although my reason for going was because my friend and landlord IS David Bowie, I really enjoyed it.

Here he came out followed by a sort of minder and sat down, where he remained for the set. At first I thought his formidable band would need to carry him but it soon became apparent he hadn't lost any of his chops. They opened with two by Michael Brecker - whom he described as one of the greatest sax players of his or any other generation. Next up an Africanised version of Maputo, written by Marcus Miller, and I'm sure I heard a reference to James Brown's Funky Good Time, with lots of Fred Wesley in the ‘bone solo, gaining a lift when he removed the mute.

Trombone player and drummer left the stage for a stunningly beautiful rendition of a pop song he remembered from high school seventy-five years ago, which turned out to be It's All In The Game, best known to me by the Four Tops. 

The pianist switched to a Fender Rhodes sound for Spanish Joint by Roy Hargrove and D' Angelo, which must have made him feel right at home with his old partner Bob James such an important purveyor of the sound.

The next piece started with a bass solo, followed by a big piano trio feature getting the audience going, before alternating ‘bone and alto solos, when it morphed into Night in Tunisia, or perhaps it always was.

On the Spot was the final piece and was funky in the old-fashioned sense, sax and ‘bone playing the head before a drum solo juxtaposing light-hearted tinkering - backed by light touch piano and bass - and thunderous technique. Head. Fine.

In London, Bob James had played acoustic piano exclusively and the quartet featured double bass, and this band was advertised as an acoustic band. Perhaps he doesn't want to acknowledge his jazz-funk legacy, despite this being the reason many come to see him and a new generation are less scornful of the genre. Perhaps it's because he's one of the artists who slipped into smooth jazz before reinventing himself as a straight jazzman, without distinction.
It takes two big attractions to get me to this festival and this was number two this year and didn't disappoint. 
Steve T

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