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Bebop Spoken There

Faye McCalman: "For a while I would hear other artists and feel that I need to be like that person, have what they have; but then I realised that everyone has their own thing and what I connect with most is when I can tell an artist is just being themselves." - (Jazzwise July 2021)

Archive quotes.

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

'606' Club: "A toast to Lance Liddle of the terrific jazz blog 'Bebop Spoken Here'"

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.

Postage

13,367 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 785 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (June 16).

From This Moment On

JUNE

Thu 17: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead (8:30pm).

Fri 18: Jazz Jamaica @ Sage Gateshead (8:00pm).

Sat 19: Jude Murphy @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle (8:00pm).

Sun 20 Knats @ The Globe, Newcastle (8:00pm). Advance booking essential: www.jazz.coop. SOLD OUT. Livestream available from £7.50.

Mon 21: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club (1:00pm). POSTPONED!

Wed 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club (1:00pm). POSTPONED!

Thu 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside 1:00pm).

Thu 24: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead (8:30pm).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Connie Haines R.I.P.

Former band singer Connie Haines passed away on 22 Sept. aged 87; outlived by her 109 year old mother. I remember Connie as the singer who duetted with Sinatra on a Tommy Dorsey side that had a memorable title - "Snootie Little Cutie". I'm sure we've all known or met someone who fitted that description!
Once again I'm indebted to RC, our man on the graveyard shift, for the sad news. Click here for Guardian obituary.

Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams - Roly Veitch Trio

Just a quick mention of the above CD. Laid back, beautifully played, standards - both vocal and instrumental - it could be subtitled "Music to Make Love to".
Add a girl (or a guy), prime with a bottle of wine and you have the recipe for the perfect night in.
Click here to download a sample of the music; you have to provide the other two essentials yourself.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Zoe Gilby Band at the Side Café

Zoe has a happy knack of picking tunes I like and sometimes even making me like tunes I don't like! In the latter category "Caravan", in the former, "Too Late now".
I've mentioned in a previous post, that "Caravan" has always been one of my blind spots but tonight I have to say that our girl Z moved it up a notch. Helped by Sue Ferris on flute and Mark Williams on guitar and Brown Ale, it swung along merrily.
"Too Late Now" - a tune I've enjoyed since I heard Jane Powell sing it to Peter Lawford in the film "Royal Wedding" - never fails to move me and Zoe's version did the business.
A couple of personnel changes tonight; Sue Ferris, as well as playing nice flute, blew some booting tenor on what looked like a vintage Mark VI, and Richard Brown replaced David Carnegie on drums. Andy Champion, of course, was on bass as usual.
Rounded off my weekend of jazz perfectly.

Scarborough Jazz Festival

A cracking weekend with a lot of good jazz and very little of the not so good; or perhaps I should say 'not to my taste' In the latter group were Courteney Pine's 'Tribute to Sidney Bechet' - can you think of a more bizarre coupling? Even Ronnie Scott's famous joke - "Jim Dale Sings Thelonius Monk" - pales by comparision! Then there was 'Tango Siempre', which translates into "Tango Forever". I imagine they are in great demand for marathon dance contests. They describe their music as a fusion of Jazz and Tango and hail from Bristol.
On the plus side were some knockout punches from the Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra doing the "Amadeus Project", Empirical, Alan Barnes' Ellingtonians and The BBC Big Band featuring Clare Teal (right) who swung her ass off (not literally) on "Cheek To Cheek" and "Teach Me Tonight". "A Tribute to Atlantic Jazz" gave the festival a booting start with their Ray Charles' alumni, Fathead Newman, Hank Crawford, inspired charts. Trumpet player Steve Parry hit some high ones as did Bruce Adams who hit some even higher ones with the Ellingtonians. It was a good weekend for trumpet players with Guy Barker and Martin Shaw also on form.
Alan Barnes compered with his inimitable humour as well as playing alto and clarinet; he even sat in with a youth band; "The EASY Jazz Orchestra".
A star.
The weekend closed with that other Claire - Claire Martin (left) who put in her usual 100%. Claire also gave "Cheek to Cheek" a workout and a half.
The resulting cheek to cheek battle of the Cla(i)res? A score draw.
For photos click here.

Composer of the Week

Charles Mingus is BBC Radio 3's Composer of the Week this week, week commencing 29 Sept, (Mon-Fri,12 noon, repeated at 10.00.p.m.). Russell.

Dick Sudhalter R.I.P

Dick Sudhalter; cornetist and author of an excellent, if somewhat long winded, tome on Bix passed away recently. I recollect seeing him in concert at the People's Theatre sometime in the dim and distant past. Not surprisingly, he based his cornet style on Bix; his musical phrases, more succinct than his literary ones, fell easily on the ear and mainstreamers and dixielanders will mourn his passing.
Once again I'm indebted to Russell, my contact from beyond the grave.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Michael Feinstein at The Sage by Val and Jim

A beaming Michael Feinstein strode onto the stage to guide his audience through his 'Sinatra Project'. Two hours of beautifully performed songs from the Sinatra canon, backed by a 17 pce. band led by M.D. Billy Elliot ( no, not the dancer). Highlight of the night, apart from gems like 'Small Hotel' and 'My Romance', had to be 'Begin the Beguine' set in a Nelson Riddle style arrangement. ( think of 'under my skin'.) We were fortunate indeed to have such talent at the Sage. Lets hope a return visit is on the cards. 
Val & Jim

Sonny Simmons Quartet by John Moles and Russell Corbett

(I thought these two comments worthy of being featured - Lance)
I heard Sonny Simmons at the Bridge and was lucky enough to have a few words with him. His backing band, which actually played far more than he did and which he described as preferring to play outside, whereas he (presumably, now) preferred to play inside, was highly proficient. The general mode was high-intensity 'free', with some beatier stuff. For my taste, it is difficult nowadays to be distinctively good in this mode and the highly energetic trumpeter/trombonist seemed to me several notches below Simmons in general creativity (not sure, however, if this was the general audience reaction).
Simmons didn't just fragment phrases into fairly predictable shapes but employed a far wider melodic, harmonic and tonal range. In the time that I was there (had to leave early) he played one unaccompanied ballad associated with Coltrane (can't recall which), a brilliant performance in which one heard many of the great voices of the tradition (Coltrane, Hawkins,Rollins, Dolphy, Erwin, etc.) enhanced by his own beautiful intensity and melodic inventiveness.
I have always thought Simmons one of the great saxophonists. He is not now coasting but is clearly - and conscientiously - pacing himself. He is clearly a heroic human being. I think he is also still a very great musician.
I would recommend anyone to make an effort and go and hear him. I don't think, however, that this context is the best show-case for him
John Moles.
Sonny Simmons was superb.The Sheffield improvisers were up to the job,no question.A paint-stripping performance was punctuated with a couple of solo ballads from the great man.The upstairs room at the Bridge was packed-standing room only.A good number of students turned up.A great gig at a great venue with top-notch beers!
Russell.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gerry Richardson Trio + Jim Birkett/Rod Sinclair Duo. Newcastle College.

Tonight was a tough call. did I go to the Chilli for the regular Wednesday night with Dave and the guys? Did I go to The Cluny for guitar hero Allan Holdsworth? Or did I go to Newcastle College for the Gerry Richardson Trio?
In the end I opted for the latter and it was a wise choice; TWO guitar heroes in the form of the Rod Sinclair/Jim Birkett Duo. Rod and Jim played a fine acoustic opening set that included material from Eddie Lang to Pat Metheny via Django Reinhardt. In particular, Albert Harris' "Dedications" hit the spot.
Rod stayed on for the next set thus making the trio a quartet - Gary Linsley (alto), Gerry Richardson (Hammond/vocals) and Paul Smith (dms) completing the line up.
This was a rocking blues set with Gerry playing out of his skull on the Billy Preston composition "Mission Statement" that had the B3 smokin'! His vocal on Gil Scott-Heren's "Lady Day and John Coltrane" didn't take any prisoners either.
The final set brought Jim Birkett off the bench for some kickass funk/soul that was greeted enthusiastically by the predominantly student audience.
"Ornithology" began with a rather unusual rhythm but once into the normal groove moved along a bit.
Rod and Jim both had a good blast on a Freddy King rocker whilst, through it all, Gary Linsley kept his cool and soloed effectively and tastefully.
Paul Smith, always an impressive drummer, ensured things swang.
A good night and it was free!
NOTE: The gig at the college by Gerry Richardson's Big Idea, scheduled for Thursday 30 Oct is now on Monday 10 Nov and entrance is £7 (£3.50 conc.).

Blast From The Past

Received an Email from Geoff Schofield (pictured left.) Geoff, originally from Bolton, Lancs, lived on Tyneside for a number of years and took over from me when I left the Newcastle Big Band. He subsequently moved to the States and I hadn't heard from him in maybe 25 years.
Nice to hear from you Geoff and keep in touch.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photos Wanted

At present there are over 1000 photos in the various galleries mainly taken by myself. In an effort to widen the scope of the site I'm looking for jazz related photos from the 1950s and 1960s; I'm particularly interested in north-east based modern groups - Emcee Five, Joe Young etc the idea being to add an album from that period to the site.
Can you help? Send anything of interest to me: lanceliddle@gmail.com

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Night of Free Improvisation at the Side Café

I'm not sure what to say about tonight so I'll say nothing. The musicians involved - Andy Champion (bs), Graeme Wilson (saxes), Paul Edis (pno/flute) and Richard Brown (dms) are, without doubt, players of the highest calibre and I've enjoyed listening to them on many occasions but, apart from isolated moments, tonight it all went over my head. I'm sure the fault is mine and perhaps one day I'll catch up - I can recall when I never cared much for the "music" of John Cage but now? I loathe it.
Normal service was resumed at the end of the set when Roly Veitch sat in on guitar along with David Carnegie (he's still here folks) on drums for a boppy chart that was more to my taste. Graeme, who'd earlier played baritone as well as a Conn underslung alto, blew gutsy tenor and Paul surprised with some delicate flute work.

Byker Bop

Once upon a time, back in the year 10BCD when records were vinyl and CDs had yet to be invented, I uncovered a privately recorded Mortonsound LP by the Jeff Hedley Group. It was languishing in a Byker second hand shop; the passers by blissfully unaware that they had history within their grasp.
The personnel, Fred MacBeth (alto), Jeff Hedley (ten), George Chisholm jnr. (pno), Dave Murphy (bs) and Jackie Denton (dms), was in effect the Mighty Joe Young Band without Joe Young. Mighty Joe's band were regulars at Newcastle's New Orleans Club at the time and this disc is proof that the Emcee Five weren't the only hard bop band around in the early sixties. It is an excellent, albeit somewhat time ravaged, disc although, talking to George Chisholm jnr. many years later - he'd emigrated to New Zealand in the meantime - he wasn't happy that the record had surfaced! George, better known as a trumpet player, had no need to feel ashamed; he solos and comps well behind MacBeth and Hedley, both fine modern soloists who have disappeared from the scene completely; where are they now I wonder? Jackie Denton, of course, is still around and arguably as good as, if not better than, he was then. I don't know if Dave Murphy is still active, can anyone tell me?
Nevertheless, if nothing else, it serves as a timely reminder of those heady days at the Down Beat or the New Orleans or upstairs at the Rex Whitley Bay.
Perhaps someone, somewhere, has a photo of the band?

Dutch Treat

If your tastes run to something more modern (or vice versa) than 1920s dance music then, on the same day at the same time as the tea dancers are turkey trotting on the Terrace at Fenwicks, you may (and I did say may) prefer to Charleston on down the Metro to South Shields for ...
THE OLD FASHIONERS Sunday 28th September at 12 noon AT THE CUSTOMS HOUSE, SOUTH SHIELDS The Old Fashioners were formed in 1974, and today’s line up (a good mix of youth and experience) makes them one of Holland’s hottest bands. They play a mixture of jazz standards, ragtime, New Orleans classics, gospel numbers, pop tunes and of course the blues, in a style they very correctly describe as “energetic trad jazz”, because these chaps certainly give their all at each performance. Reminiscent at times of the great days of the Acker Bilk and Chris Barber bands - listen for The Martinique and Let The Light From The Lighthouse Shine On Me - but with a sound all of their own, the Old Fashioners will give you a Sunday lunchtime to remember (and the Customs House’s Green Room Bar & Bistro is open until 3.00pm for a delicious post-concert lunch – but you will need to make a reservation on 0191 427 3737). TICKETS £5 THE CUSTOMS HOUSE, MILL DAM SOUTH SHIELDS, NE 33 1ES BOX OFFICE (0191) 454 1234

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Spaced Out Miles

Miles Davis is quoted as saying: "It's not the notes but the spaces that are important." Well he would, wouldn't he? I wonder what Dizzy thought!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Jazz Is Where You Find It

John Taylor sent me this photo of the Segetta Stompers from, he thinks, Carlisle. They were struttin' their stuff in Alnwick Market Place today where a food and drink fair was taking place.
Can't say I recognise anyone although the banjo player reminds me of Brendon Healey.
If they're busking for their petrol money home then they will need a bit more in the banjo case
Bebop it wasn't.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Some Like It Hot (Cream and two sugars please)

AN AFTERNOON WITH THE FENWICK TERRACE TEA-ROOM ORCHESTRA Thanks to a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Foundation, and the help of Fenwick Newcastle, we are very happy to announce a lunchtime concert by the Terrace Tea-Room Orchestra, under the direction of Professor Keith Nichols. The concert will take place on Sunday, September 28th in the department store’s third-floor Terrace Restaurant from 12 noon until approximately 2.30pm. The Terrace Tea-Room was a famous musical institution from the end of the First World War until the early 1960’s; as early as 1924, Billy Ternent and the Orchestra were broadcasting from the Terrace on BBC Radio North-East, bringing peppy jazz and hot dance rhythms to those early listeners crouched over their crystal sets. In the thirties, local bandleader Jos Q Atkinson successfully led the Terrace Tea-Rooms Orchestra, though he did say that “Swing” would never catch on with local audiences, making the point that dancing to swing was “more of a wrestling match than proper dancing”! With an eight-piece, all-star band made up of local musicians plus trumpet virtuoso Andy Woon from the south coast, Professor Nichols will magically recreate the sounds of the 1920’s and 1930’s in two-hour concert commencing at 12 noon and concluding at approximately 2.30pm. It is hoped that professional dancers will be on hand to demonstrate the latest transatlantic dance crazes, such as The Charleston, the Tango and the Fox-Trot. All this, plus a sumptuous afternoon tea including dainty sandwiches, fancy cakes and a hot drink, is available for only £10 per person. To reserve a table, telephone Lindsey McKenna on (0191) 232 5100. Once reserved, tickets may be paid for and picked up at the Bureau on the second floor, or you may post a cheque made payable to Fenwick Limited, for the attention of Lindsey McKenna, Marketing & Creative, Fenwick, Northumberland Street, Newcastle NE99 1AR. Do come along and help us celebrate this memory of the Dancing Decades on Tyneside! Mike Durham Director, Jazz @ The Exchange & Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Alan Glen Trio at the Chilli

Another good one from the Alan Glen Trio and this time with a respectable sized audience for what may be the trio's last gig in its present format. Drummer David Carnegie, shortly returning to his native Barbados, will be sadly missed on the local scene and tonight he demonstrated just why. Sympathetic on ballads, forceful on uptempo numbers, he swung the trio from the opening "All Of You" to the closing "Green Dolphin Street" with a blistering "Yardbird Suite" somewhere inbetween. Laurence Blackadder on bass combined solid timekeeping with inventive solos to provide the perfect setting for Alan Glen's keyboard work. I swear the man gets better and better every time I hear him; his version of "Stella By Starlight" was simply the best.
As this week's resident bass player didn't show, Laurence stayed on for the jam wih the usual cast of 1000's queuing up to blow on "Beautiful Love", "Chiquito Loco", "Secret Love" and a version of "Night In Tunisia" that is unlikely to be adopted by the tourist board.
The opening set by the TITTB regulars suffered from the lack of a keyboard player; Barry choosing to play bass guitar instead.
Still, all in all it was a good night and the star guests were simply magnificent.
PS: Can anyone give me the title of the tune that had an extended David Carnegie drum solo and a theme that seemed to have a Northumbrian/Scottish tinge to it?

Bheki Mseleku - R.I.P.

I have to be honest, until his death, I'd never heard of pianist Bheki Mseleku although, reading his obit. I most certainly should have done. A celebration of his life can be found in this link to the Independent. Thanks once again to Russell for keeping me up to date on departures.

Carla Bruni Chanteuse

They showed a clip of France's first lady Carla Bruni on Breakfast TV this morning and I have to say it made my toast and marmalade taste even better. Chantez une chanson in a delightfully jazz-tinged voice she reminded me of Madelaine Peyroux or possibly Rebecca Kilgore singing in French.
I've since heard/seen it again on BBC's "Jools Holland - Live Later" program. You can catch it here. Although it's about 20 minutes into the program it is well worth waiting for.
Chapeau mam'selle and over to you Mrs Brown.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jamie McCredie News Item

Tonight's Evening Chronicle (page 29) has a feature on well known local guitarist Jamie McCredie (Picante Quartet, Extreme Measures, Splinter etc). Jamie, as most of us know, is off to study at the Guildhall School of music and we wish him well.
In a bid to offset expenses Jamie's dad is doing a sponsored swim.
For more details see Chronicle article.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bird Lives! Audience Dies! Mark Toomey Quartet - Side Café

Don't let the low turn out fool you; this was a gig to remember. I'd even go so far as to say that it was comparable with anything that had gone before at The Side.
Mark Toomey is unashamedly a Charlie Parker disciple; the tone, the phrases, all can be traced back to, arguably, jazz's greatest innovator. However, along the way, there has been more than a touch of Mark Toomey added and, unlike so many who adhere to the theory that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Mark does it from a songbook of his own original compositions; compositions that would indeed be worthy of the great man himself.
As Mark's alto playing soared overhead, on the ground, inspired by the challenge of new material, Paul Edis also excelled - even by his high standards he excelled. Mick Shoulder too was on form as was drummer Kevin O'Neill, who drove the band along with the same sense of purpose as the pilot of a Lancaster Bomber.
Shame about the missing audience; I'd like to refer them to Shakespeare's Henry V, the part in which, on the eve of Agincourt, the guy Ellington referred to as 'Hank Cinq,' gives out with a rousing speech, on St Crispin's Day:
"Shall think themselves accursed they were not here."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Big Jim Sullivan Trio Plays Jazz From...Jazz Café

Charity shop. British Heart Foundation. Good cause. Good price. The good price (£2.99) was for a 3 CD set entitled "The Big Jim Sullivan Trio Plays Jazz From Jazz Café..." This I had to hear. The 47 titles were a nicely balanced mix of jazz standards (Move, Work Song, St Thomas, Four Brothers, Solar ...) gasbook (Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Sophisticated Lady, Here's That Rainy Day ...) and Bossas (Ipanema, Wave, How Insensitive ...). So it looked good.
However, I knew Big Jim was primarily a Bert Weedon type session musician who had played on, according to his website, 1000 hit records. He was also a rock and roller. I had met him a good few years back when he was doing promotions for one of the guitar companies - maybe Ibanez or Fender and he never gave off any jazz vibes so I didn't know what to expect.
Still, at £2.99 for 3 CD's it didn't seem likely to upset the bank manager. The list price is £19.
At this stage I'd like to say that it blew my mind but it didn't. Nevertheless, it was very listenable and Big Jim is a good guitar player but the sound was just a little bit too Bert Weedonish and I don't think he poses any threat to the current crop of local guys.
But for £2.99 I'm not complaining!

From Little Acorns ...

"The first group I was in was called 'Spectacles' because we all wore glasses. I left to join Chico Hamilton." Jim Hall.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Century Ragtime Orchestra

Heavy rain deterred me from making the journey back in time to North Shields for the concert at the Saville Exchange by the New Century Ragtime Orchestra so, by way of an apology to Dave, Steve and co., I have attached the YouTube link below. I'm grateful to John Taylor for bringing it to my attention. New Century Ragtime Orchestra The delightful vocal on "Never Say Never Again Again" is by Caroline Irwin and the humourous announcements are by Steve Andrews. I think the videos are from the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gary Linsley with the Roly Veitch/Jeremy McMurray Quartet - Blaydon Jazz Club

Nice is a word I try to avoid; conjuring up twee images of Marshmallow and Turkish Delight as it does.
Well it does for me anyway.
Yet there is no other word to describe tonight's session at Blaydon. It was nice - and there wasn't a marshmallow in sight. What there was in abundance, was tasteful and melodic renditions of some fine standards by an alto player very much in the Benny Carter mould. I've known Gary Linsley for many years but, surprisingly, hadn't heard him play more than a few bars until tonight. It was my loss.
The rhythm section of Jeremy McMurray (pno), Paul Armstrong (bs), Billy Shields (dms) and of course Roly Veitch on guitar and vocals were the perfect cushion for Gary as well as soloing effectively in their own right.
Not very easy to pick a favourite although "I Saw Stars" would be difficult to bet against. Roly's 'Chet meets Rebecca Kilgore' vocal launching Gary into perhaps his best solo of the night. "I Wished On The Moon" and "I Fall In Love Too Easily" were also front runners in an evening of non Turkish delights.
The feelgood factor was high.
More photos

Good Queen Bess

Brian Bennett sent me the item below ...
(See also sidebar)

Sven Klang's Kvintett

Last night, talking about plays written about bands, brought this 1976 gem to mind.
"Sven Klang's Kvintett" is a low budget, sub-titled, 1976 Swedish film centred around the highs and lows of the small function band that gave the film its title. Critics have said it is based very loosely around the life of a Swedish jazzman, the late Lars Gullin, although personally I can't see it. Nevertheless, the situations in the film are familiar to anyone who has played in any type of band anywhere in the world. There is also some brilliant alto playing by a Swedish actor whose name I can't remember. Yes I can, it's Christer Boustead. (thank you Google). A good actor and an even better alto player.
I don't think it is on vid or DVD but it sometimes appears on tv (maybe every ten years, so perhaps it is due.)
I'm lucky inasmuch as I taped it the last time around.
Synopsis Sweden 1958. In a small provincial town there is a band who plays dance music twice every week. All decisions are made by Sven Klang, the undisputed leader of the band. A new member joins them, saxophone player Lasse. He starts to criticize Sven's decisions, questions the way they divide the money and he also wants them to be more of a jazz band.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Take It To The Bridge

It has to be said that there is never a dull moment in the upper room of the Chilli on a Wednesday night when Take It To The Bridge give their weekly recital. Whether it be the inter-round summaries between band members as they discuss the finer points of an arrangement, or the JATP type blast by the jammers on good old good ones such as "The Preacher" it is always interesting. In the latter category, Daniel Johnson was once again heard to advantage with some well constructed solos spurred on by either Ian Forbes who, incidentally raved over a version in seven by the Don Ellis Orchestra, or Eric Stutt on drums. Tenor players John Rowland and Darren Grainger also had gutsy solos with John being particularly impressive on Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays". I don't think the composer turned in his grave although he may have thought about it.
Three trumpet players this week; Dave, blowing and scatting in equal proportions, Mike Lamb and a guy whose name I didn't catch although I can safely say it wasn't "Shorty". He scored on "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy."
Barry Ashcroft, piano, and Jim Crinson, bass, completed the lineup. Jim, like Eric, also plays with popular function band Budvivar as does vocalist Debra Milne who was on hand to give us her version of "Fever". Nice one Debra.
Next week is, I think, an Alan Glen Trio week.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

They CAN Take That Away From Me

In this day and age of technology I've long since given up buying and playing audio cassette tapes; there are too many variables associated with them. As I was reminded yesterday.
Local charity shop. "Sinatra and the Swingin' Brass" on tape. 1962 Reprise recording. Arrangements by Neal Hefti and 12 tunes that couldn't have been bettered had I picked them myself. "Goody Goody", "I'm Beginning To See The Light", "Love Is Just Around The Corner", "They Can't Take That Away From Me" etc. All for 39 pence.
Needless to say, after only the minimum of hesitation, I parted with my 39p and hurried home with my acquisition.
Brilliant. This was 'Middle Aged Blue Eyes' at his best. However, it was a tape and I vowed that next time I would copy it onto something more substantial.
There was to be no next time.
Would you believe but that when I came to play it again (Sam) the tape had snapped?
Maybe only 39p in money but beyond the dreams of avarice artistically. I know I could go out and buy the CD but it wouldn't be the same. That would be like paying the going rate for the Mona Lisa. I'll just have to hit the charity shops again.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Mark Williams Trio at the Side Café

Another adrenalin pumping session from the Mark Williams Trio; Mark (gtr), Paul Sousands (bs) and David Carnegie (dms). If it seems as though David Carnegie is on just about every gig it is because he usually is! However, that is soon to change as he is, so I'm told, about to move back to the Caribbean. Savour him whilst he's still here folks.
Hopefully Mark is not returning to the Emerald Isle in the immediate future as that too would be a big loss to the local scene. Tonight, he effortlessly moved from explorative balladry to Pink Floydlike thrashes with an occasional, almost imperceptible, nod towards Nashville.
David, of course, was his usual powerhouse self and my one big regret at his imminent departure is that of never having heard him with a big band. I rather feel that might have been something special.
Although bassist Paul Sousands, possibly because of the nature of his instrument, is the least flamboyant member of the trio, his contribution is no less important. His solo work was imaginative; his ensemble playing more than mere timekeeping.
As if that wasn't enough, in the ensuing jam, Roly Veitch played his own composition "Calypso Jim" dedicated originally to Jim Hall but tonight as a thank you to David Carnegie.
It was a delightful vignette and gave a timely reminder that Roly is a master of his chosen style.

Bird? Diz? Joe Oliver Invented Bebop! By "Richard M. Jones"

It's not there now but, back in 1915, in the Storyville district of New Orleans, on the corner of Marais and Bienville, there was this joint called the Abadie Cabaret. I played piano and led the resident band; a quartet. We played for dancing and backed the show - man those gals had the longest legs I ever had the pleasure of getting to know. The legs were long but when you reached your journey's end it sure was worth it. Them gals could show Sister Kate how to shimmy, and a few other things too... Alongside yours truly pounding the upright, there was Louis Nelson De Lisle on clarinet; Jimmy Noone learned all his licks from him, Dee Dee Chandler played the drums and on cornet was our ace in the hole, Joe Oliver. Now this particular night, we're blowin' a few of them good old dirty blues, just playing for ourselves. It was quiet, so quiet Mr Abadie was counting the band and wondering if maybe he could get by with a trio. Joe looked nervous. A bunch of high rollers came in; you know the type, gold on their fingers, in their teeth, lighting their cigars with dollar bills; real introverts - I don't think. One of the ladies, looked like maybe she'd blew in from St Louis going by the store bought hair piled up high in the manner of that French chippie Madame Pompadour. After giving us and the room the onceover, she sniffed like you do when some funky butt drops one then turned to the high yaller she was with and said, "This place is deader than Abe Lincoln's dog. Let's go 'cross the street to Pete Lala's. Freddy Keppard's band sure know how to play them blues." She blew smoke from a long cigarette holder aimed it directly at Joe. Joe said, "You're not going nowhere, I'm bringing Pete Lala's place to you." He got off the stand and walked to the door. "Hey Joe," I said, "where you going? don't let her bug you." Joe turned to me and said, "She don't bug me none, just get it into Bb." Unfortunately, or perhaps posterity will say fortunately, I didn't hear Joe say Bb as the high yaller had put his hand where no man's hand had been before - at least not for the past ten minutes - and Madame Pompadour shrieked with delight. I said, "What did Joe say?" "Eeeeeeee...!" she gasped. I modulated, Jelly Roll taught me that word, into the key of E and pounded it out the way Joe likes it. He stood in the doorway blowing the blues in Bb. Well, as you cats know Bb is the flatted fifth to E and bebop was built upon flatted fifths. Across the street in Pete Lala's place the strange new music from Joe's horn drew the punters out like the flutist in Hamlin hypnotising the rats. They rushed out to worship at the feet of the new king - King Joe Oliver. Freddy Keppard abdicated there and then. Now you're gonna ask me why Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie get the credit for Bebop and not King Joe - Right? Well I'm gonna tell you why. At one of the other cabarets Buddy Bolden was playing. Now Buddy Bolden had a lotta influence like Leonard Feather or that Frenchie Panassié and, cos he couldn't play them flatted fifths, he denounced it in the broadsheet he published. In fact I thought I heard him say "It's nasty, it's dirty, take it away," that's what I heard him say. Anyhow whatever, when Buddy spoke people listened even though all he could do was play loud. So that's how we had to wait another 30 years before Bebop was invented again. In the meantime, I got married to Madame Pompadour and no longer need to play piano for my daily bread.

Cleethorpes Jazz Weekend - Report from John Taylor

Just back from Cleethorpes. Did Sat/Sun only with stopover Sat night
Its three or more years since Alan and I were last there and audience numbers were well down. Saturday afternoon was particularly not for me - three free form bands in a row. Alan Barnes was just a three piece. - not a big enough sound. No real "star" attraction - altogether the festival had only one redeeming feature and that was the Alex Welsh reunion band.
To sum it up: Too far to travel (got home 1:30 am this morning). No atmosphere from an older audience who did not understand free form. Jazzed out - too much pushed into a short time - Scarborough looks a better bet - but it has some of the same free form bands

Saturday, September 06, 2008

NEWS FLASH: BUDVIVAR HEXHAM GIG CANCELLED

The eagerly awaited open air gig by new band BUDVIVAR due to take place at Hexham Market this afternoon has been cancelled due to bad weather. It is hoped to be rescheduled for a later date.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Throw In Your Two-bits

Although I get to a lot of gigs I can't manage them all which is why I'd like to hear from you. Tell me about a recent gig that has blown you away either as a fan or as a player. I can't promise to print them all but I will publish some of them.

Duncan Eagles Quartet at the National Portrait Gallery

Good buddy Jim, on a recent visit to the Capital, wandered into the National Portrait Gallery and was surprised to hear "Au Privave" wafting towards him. Dismissing the possibility that Jorge Lewinski's photographic portrait of Ronnie Scott had come alive, Jim followed the sound and discovered the Duncan Eagles Quartet giving the Parker classic an estimable work out.
The young band, Duncan Eagles (sax), Dan Redding (gtr), Max Luthert (bs) and Jasper, son of Dick, Morrisey (dms), played a set comprising gems from the gasbook such as "I'll Remember April", "It Could Happen To You" and "Wave" as well as jazz classics "I Remember Clifford" and "Anthropology".
The audience, whose ages crossed the decades, were appreciative towards the softish centred hard bop program, tailored no doubt to the setting, with the only discordant note coming from those folks who were more interested in the portraits than the music.
If the band ever venture north of Watford, Jim recommends giving them a listen.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Roy Sainsbury by Ron Chapman.

I want to tell you about Roy Sainsbury who is a very accomplished English jazz guitarist and teacher.
Roy has made many radio broadcasts with his trio and with the Midland Orchestra, been featured on Humphrey Lyttleton’s Jazz Notes and on Britain’s highly regarded “Michael Parkinson’s Sunday Supplement” yet remains relatively unknown outside of Great Britain.
I met Roy four years ago at the North Wales annual Jazz Guitar week at Wrexham. There was a tribute night arranged to pay homage to the guest of honour, Johnny Smith.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Take It To The Bridge at the Chilli

Tonight's Take It to The Bridge session began with Dave The Rave, trumpet/vocal, Barry Ashcroft, piano, Eric Stutt, drums, and Mick Danby, bass. No saxes, no guitars. This situation didn't last long. Paul Edis, hero of Monday night's session at the Side Cafe, arrived bearing alto saxophone to join Dave on the front line. It was a baptism of fire for Paul confronted by a tune he didn't know and a tenor sax (Bb) part to be played on alto sax (Eb). Nevertheless, Paul is nothing if not adaptable and I can honestly say that he is the best piano playing alto saxman I have heard for many a 32 bars. Paul's "My Foolish Heart" with Dave doing the vocal came over okay.
The stakes were raised for "Yardbird Suite" with Michael Lamb, trumpet, Mark ? on tenor and Daniel Johnson, guitar, augmenting the quintet.
It jumped.
Later, Ian Forbes spelled Eric on drums and that cat Felix had a blast on guitar; "All The Things You Are", no less. He done good.

BUDVIVAR COMING TO HEXHAM

If you happen to be in Hexham this coming Saturday afternoon, and its not raining, head for the Market Place for an al fresco performance by one of the north-east's newer bands.
Budvivar, don't ask me where the name comes from, it sounds vagually alcoholic, are a swing/jazz combo comprising, Fiona Littlewood (alto), Stuart Finden (ten), Joe Fowler (kbds), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms) and Debra Milne (vcl).
If Swing is your Thing, the gig runs from 2-3 pm.

Jazz Café Re-opens

Newcastle's late night jazz venue, the Jazz Café, re-opens on Friday with resident band, The Don Forbes Sextet on the stand.

Brian Carrick and the Vieux Carre Jazzmen at Cullercoats. Report by John Taylor

Full house for Brian Carrick with the Vieux Carre, lunchtime yesterday at the Crescent Club Cullercoats - perhaps it should be re-named as the Crescent City Club. Two deps - the other was Brian Chester on trombone. Four Brians and two Freds in the band so Brian Bennett was calling everyone Brian to stop confusion (They could rename the band "The Life of Brian" or something ...) My friend Alan agreed with me that Brian Carrick must be the worlds top George Lewis style player (He also has the "crack" about Lewis / New Orleans etc) He did a few numbers on tenor sax and all I could think of was scantily clad models being chased around by Benny Hill. His approach to the tenor should be quite different to the metal clarinet or it becomes "Yakety".
Never mind, it did not spoil a good session!
John T.

Connie Haines R.I.P

Band singer from the 1940s Connie Haines death is reported in today's Guardian. I remember her as the vocalist with Tommy Dorsey who duetted with Sinatra on one of those songs with an unforgetable title - "Snootie Little Cutie". I'm sure everyone either knows or has met someone who fitted that description. Thanks again to RC; our man on the graveyard shift. Click here for Guardian obit.

Monday, September 01, 2008

R.I.P. Jack Hutton, Gerry Wiggins, Nat Temple

That Earthly representative of the grim reaper, Russell, has once again kept me au fait with the latest additions to the Celestial Choir.
Jack Hutton, former member of staff of The Dandy, The Beano, and The Hotspur and later editor of that other 'comic,' The Melody Maker, popped his clogs on 24 August aged 80. None of his publications went unnoticed by me and I was an avid reader of The Dandy and The Hotspur during my formative years. My interest in The Melody Maker, by coincidence, waned when Hutton became editor around the time of Beatlemania. Wasn't his fault, all he did was report the scene as it was and he did retain some jazz in its pages. Chris Welch's obituary can be read in The Independent.
Gerry Wiggins, who died 13 July age 86, brings two names to mind - Zoot Sims and Teddy Edwards. I first heard Gerry Wiggins on a Zoot Sims EP where he accompanies the tenor player masterfully on, among others, a swinging "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" as well as putting in a big fat chorded solo. On the Teddy Edwards LP "Heart and Soul" Gerry moves over to organ and is featured on "Wiggin'" not surprisingly his own composition. Steve Voce provides Gerry's last rites in The Independent.
Steve also did the Independent bis on Nat Temple, that fine British clarinet player from the 1930s and 40s perhaps best known for his work on the 1950s radio program "Bedtime With Braden" although I know him best for his clarinet work on old 78s of the First British Public Jam Session.
Russell missed this one!

Paul Edis Sextet at The Side Café

First day of the new term. Admission may have gone up a pound but with a cash point opposite it's no excuse for missing out on an appetising opening session by the Paul Edis Sextet (see previous post for personnel). As well as some innovative takes on standards, there were original compositions by Paul and Graeme. All were well received by an appreciative, near capacity, audience.. Clifford Brown's "Joyspring" with Noel Dennis on Flugel had a warm sound and Graeme Wilson's chart of "Autumn In New York", whilst it may not have been quite what Vernon Duke intended, sounded PDG. Chris Hibbard, on trombone, did the business on "Carnival". Trombone can be the most luscious sounding of instruments when played ballad style. Mick, Adam and Paul were of course as cool a rhythm section as ever as well as soloing to advantage. Paul, in particular, was on form. At times the ideas just seemed to explode into a kaleidoscope of sound. If there was a low point and it is a very big 'if' then it has to be "Caravan". The Juan Tizol tune is one of my blind spots and tonight didn't change things. Nevertheless, Adam Sinclair did have some imaginative breaks that eased the pain a little. A corker. Next week Mark Williams Trio.

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