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Bebop Spoken There

Michael Dease: "Slide [Hampton] is also one of the people to expand the range of the horn, so he's popping out high Fs like they're breakfast cereals." - (JazzTimes Oct. 2019).


Daily: July 6 - October 27

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden - Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA. Tel: 0191 478 1810. Screenings at intervals during the day. Part of Akomfrah's exhibition Ballasts of Memory. Exhibition (daily) July 6 - October 27. 10:00am-6:00pm. Free.

Today Friday October 18



Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden (see above).

Classic Swing - Jesmond Royal British Legion Club, West Jesmond Avenue, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 3EX. Tel: 0191 281 0736. 1:00pm. Free.

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.


Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things - Forum Cinema, Market Place, Hexham NE46 1XF. Tel: 01434 601144. 7:00pm. £8.30. - £5.80. Film (2019, 89 mins) directed by Leslie Woodhead. Swing Bridge Trio in Café Bar following screening.

Dave O’Higgins & Colin Oxley - Great Broughton Village Hall, Ingleby Road, Great Broughton TS9 7ER. 7:30pm. £20.00. ‘O’Higgins & Oxley Play Monk & ‘Trane’. Oxley replaces Rob Luft.

Paul Taylor - Ushaw College, Durham DH7 7DW. Tel: 0191 334 5119. 7:30pm. Free (donations). An Ushaw Piano Festival event.

Jazz Lads - Saltburn Cricket Club, Marske Mill Lane, Saltburn TS12 1HJ. Tel: 01287 622761. 8:00pm. £5.00.

Guisborough Big Band - Saltburn Golf Club, Guisborough Road, Saltburn TS12 1NJ. Tel: 01287 622812. Time TBC.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool - Tyneside Cinema, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6QG. Tel: 0191 227 5500. Time 8:30pm. Screening of Stanley Nelson's documentary film (2019, cert. 15, 1hr 55mins).

Blues/Soul etc.

Ray Stubbs R & B All Stars - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

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

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Remembering Nigel Stanger

"Nigel Stanger is one of the finest musicians I ever worked with. He was one of my teachers. When he played, he played with joy and great passion. I shan't forget the lessons he taught me and I shan't forget him" - Sting's eulogy to Nigel Stanger.
Today, March 15, 2009, marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of Nigel Stanger--arguably the finest jazz altoman from these parts. He also blew good tenor and, on occasion, both saxes together à la Roland Kirk.
His pedigree was impressive - a host of name blues bands; John Mayall, Alexis Korner, Georgie Fame, The Animals and in later years, backing Jimmy Witherspoon, The East Side Torpedoes and The Crosbys.
However, it was the Sunday lunchtime sessions back in the 1970's with the Newcastle Big Band - a sometimes unwieldy organisation that, nevertheless, drew crowds to the the University Theatre of a magnitude never seen before or since - that I remember him best.
As well as blowing lead alto, Nigel was Bird personified in his solos as he built upon Charlie Parker's historic base to forge a voice of his own. I felt very privileged to sit in the same sax section.
Where Nigel really came into his own and I think Germaine Stanger would probably agree was in San Sebastion. Transported away from the familiarity of Tyneside to the well known Spanish Jazz Festival, his playing seemed to lose whatever imaginary inhibitions it may have had and he really flew in the balmy Spanish night air. Nothing was incapable of being expressed as he created with fiery, white-hot, unbridled passion through the medium of his Selmer and, later, Yamaha horns.
He played good jazz piano too. A very talented guy who will always be sadly missed.
In passing, I ought to mention that Nigel also had some considerable architectural skills but that is another story ...


Roly said...

Yes - fond memories of those marvellous Sunday lunch big band sessions at the Ncle Uni Playhouse foyer. It used to be heaving - packed out. Sting on bass, Nigel, another fine alto player (Cormack Loame was it?), animated Andy Hudson at piano and conducting things. John Hedley playing bursts of Nola. Plus a plethora of local players.
Heady days. Am I getting nostalgic in my old age? I fear so.

AndyHud said...

It's hard to believe that the Big Band last roared regularly in Yes! the 70's.

Nigel was not just the powerful and innovative player that Lance describes and honours, but was much more of a renaissance man.
A good deal of the arrangements and a not insignificant part of the humour which was the hallmark of those Sundays emanated from Nigel's stage whispered asides.
I remember him as a wit with a rather edgy and sometimes wicked humour... Or on other occasions a source of wordy and byzantine tales always punctures by his huge giggle at the end.

He is much missed and may he rest in peace..though I expect it will be quite noisy and a good deal funnier than we all perceive peace to be.

Gordon Solomon said...

So many emotions from one saxophone! Nigel could conjure up all of them in one solo. He could effortlessly change from phrases which left you feeling really sad to red hot exciting passages that had your hair standing up. I've never heard anyone else do that.

russell said...

Hi Lance

I remember on a Sunday lunchtime in the bar of the University Theatre hearing Nigel Stanger play Hammond organ every bit as well as he played alto.It must have been a Last Exit session with Nigel sitting in.

A great talent.

Roly mentions another alto player.Was it Cormac Loane ? I think he went to London.What ever happened to him ?


Hil said...

Very many happy memories of the Sunday lunch time big band sessions.
I can remember my oldest son aged then about 3 rendered speechless at the volume of sound. His Dad contributing to the volume..;o)

RIP Nigel.

Hilary Gilby.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lance,

Apart from Nigel playing with the Newcastle Big Band, and blowing up a storm, I do remember hearing recordings of a session at the Gosforth Hotel (Pub) On Gosforth High Street, that had my father, Nigel, Grahame Shephard (Clarinet & Tenor) & Don Eddy on drums, can not remember who the bass or piano was, but these live recordings sounded great, what a shame they have disappeared, another bit of local jazz history gone...maybe someone can remember these sessions...I was only 17 when I was a member of the Newcastle Big Band, and remember fondly those sessions at the University Playhouse, wonderful musicians, wonderful days, so lucky to have been a part of it.

Colin Aitchison (Hong Kong).

Roly said...

Mentioning The Gosforth Hotel - I remember some sessions there - a quintet with Cormack Loane alto, a fine trumpeter plus R/Secn. It was a quintet playing all the bebop heads - Anthropology, Confirmation, Donna Lee etc.
Anyone remember these and who the others were?

Lance said...

Trumpet player was Peter Volpe now resident in France. He's on the big band reunion photo next to Cormac - in those days he had more hair - didn't we all?
Pete has promised to add to these comments but his 'MySpace' doesn't seem to like us!
He's playing really well these days going by some tracks on 'MySpace' - I'll try adding them again.

James Caird said...

I first met Nigel when he joined my year in the School of Architecture. He was soon an augmentation of the Dave Brown Quartet, in which I played the bass, to Quintet (or even sextet when he blew alto and tenor at the same time). He gave the band a completely new dimension. We drove all the way to San Sebastian in 1969 with Andy Hudson as roadie. Six of us plus luggage, drums, bass and saxes in 2 cars... and the rest is history.

Lance said...

Thanks James also for bringing to mind Dave Brown who was with us in San Sebastian with the Newcastle Big Band.
I remember him saying "Anyone got the latest Test Score?"
Nigel replied, "We're in Spain, they don't play cricket."
Dave replied with, "Ok - anyone got the Bull Results"!

Steve Andrews said...

I first met Nigel around 1974 - I was about 21 and full of myself, and was astonished when I heard Nigel show HOW the alto could be played. A defining moment in a way for me - since then I've tended to stick to tenor and only use the alto for big band and dance work, or "pretty" playing! He was always kind and supportive, as was Germaine who I was lucky enough to play alongside several times (I remember her singing "But Not For Me" wonderfully).
In 1978 my then band, The Savannah Syncopators, somehow managed to blag a £200 grant from Northern Arts to transcribe Duke Ellington's first extended work, Creole Rhapsody. My good friend Kevin Elliott did the hard work writing it out from the record, and we presented it at a concert in Newcastle Students union (I think). The piece has a section featuring Johnny Hodges, playing some superfast stuff (Yes, at that time he could!!!), and none of our three saxes, including me, could play it. So I thought of the most agile alto player I knew and rang Nigel, more in hope than expectation, because it was hardly his sort of thing. To my delight, he happily agreed to play. The band rehearsed it for weeks, but I could never get Nigel to rehearsal because he was so much in demand, until just before the gig. He obviously hadn't looked at the music and made a right "BBC Dance Orchestra" (Henry Halls) of the solo part, so I was worried to say the least. I needn't have concerned myself, on the night he blew it effortlessly as though he'd played it for years. A nice man, and a great musician. Somewhere I've got a very rough tape of that concert, by the way.

Nico M said...

I met Nigel at Oxford University in 1963, just after he had made the decision to leave a struggling unknown band "The Animals" and take up his Oxford place. Within a year the band was at No 1 & Nigel & I watched The Animals front for Chuck Berry at the Hammersmith Odeon. It must have been bitter-sweet for him.

I looked for him on-line this morning because yesterday I met with a lady who I had not seen since 1964 & she reminded me of a gig we went to together.

It was at the Whisky A Go Go in London, John Mayalls' Blues Breakers in terrific form, Long John Baldry guesting, Nigel on saxes & a very young Eric Clapton on guitars. Nigel blew a terrific two saxes at once (alto/tenor) solo a la Rahaasan Roland Kirk. At 3am seventy uniformed Mr Plod piled in and the floor suddenly was awash with small packets (in those days 99% weed & hash). Most exciting and a splendid end to a memorable gig. I am very sad to hear Nigel has died RIP.

Paul said...

Wow, all these comments on Sunday sessions at N/c Uni Theater really take me back, though the great music has lived on in my head ever since. I was the one on the door collecting the cash (and hiding it from any passing coppers). What a line up Andy had in that band, Sting, John Hedley, Gerry Richardson, Ronnie Pearson (also sadly now lost to us) and of course Nigel who always gave a stunning performance. Who was that American sounding guy who used to guest on vocals ? Oh happy days and very fond memories.

Lance said...

The 'American sounding guy' was actually Dave Weisser, formerly of Connecticut. Dave can be heard singing and playing trumpet with his musical associates on Wednesday nights at The Chillingham pub on Chillingham Rd., in Heaton, Newcastle circa 8:00 pm.

Chris Yates said...

The Nigel Stanger tributes made for very interesting reading indeed...yes, he was a remarkable player right enough.
Re-Gosforth Hotel line-up, I believe the late John Pearce was the pianist and often it was Gerry Richardson on bass (but possibly not always..memory blurs) Graham Sheppard (whatever happened to him?) often played baritone sax too.
Re-Savannah Syncopators UK premiere of 'Creole Rhapsody', it was part of a Jazz North East series at The Canteen (Ncle Univ. Students' Union went bust and Andy Hudson took it over as a music venue, c.1978 re-naming it as 'The Canteen'). JNE did a series of Sunday nighters and part of our programme was a special Northern Arts grant for original composition, which included the Savannah Syncopators' transcribing and performing Ellington's 1930 'Creole Rhapsody', original electronic music from the Alan Glen Complex and original music performed by the Newcastle Big Band with Don Rendell and others, no doubt Henry Lowther guesting.
Best, Chris

David said...

I also have fond memories of Nigel playing at the Corner House in Newcastle on a Sunday night in the 1980's with Little Mo's band and guests such as Jimmy Witherspoon and of coure his own band the Nigel Stanner quartet. Chas Chandler was a close friend of Nigels would often attend. A very sad loss and a genuine guy.

Blog Archive

About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: I look forward to hearing from you.

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Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
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