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Bebop Spoken There

Dee Dee Bridgewater: “ Our world is becoming a very ugly place with guns running rampant in this country... and New Orleans is called the murder capital of the world right now ". Jazzwise, May 2024.

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.

Ann Braithwaite (Braithwaite & Katz Communications) You’re the BEST!

Holly Cooper, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

Josh Weir: I love the writing on bebop spoken here... I think the work you are doing is amazing.


16382 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 262 of them this year alone and, so far, 59 this month (April 20).

From This Moment On ...


Sun 21: Jamie Toms Quartet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay Metro Station. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 21: Lindsay Hannon: Tom Waits for No Man @ Holy Grale, Durham. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: The Jazz Defenders @ Cluny 2. Doors 6:00pm. £15.00.
Sun 21: Edgar Rubenis @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 7:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig. Blues & ragtime guitar.
Sun 21: Tweed River Jazz Band @ Barrels Ale House, Berwick. 7:00pm. Free.
Sun 21: Art Themen with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00. +bf. JNE. SOLD OUT!

Mon 22: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 23: Vieux Carre Hot 4 @ Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval. 12:30-3:30pm. £12.00. ‘St George’s Day Afternoon Tea’. Gig with ‘Lashings of Victoria Sponge Cake, along with sandwiches & scones’.
Tue 23: Jalen Ngonda @ Newcastle University Students’ Union. POSTPONED!

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: Sinatra: Raw @ Darlington Hippodrome. 7:30pm. Richard Shelton.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Death Trap @ Theatre Royal, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Rambert Dance Co. Two pieces inc. Goat (inspired by the music of Nina Simone) with on-stage musicians.

Thu 25: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 25: Jim Jams @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University. 1:15pm. Jim Jams’ funk collective.
Thu 25: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 25: Death Trap @ Theatre Royal, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Rambert Dance Co. Two pieces inc. Goat (inspired by the music of Nina Simone) with on-stage musicians.
Thu 25: Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra @ Arc, Stockton. 8:00pm.
Thu 25: Kate O’Neill, Alan Law & Paul Grainger @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass); Garry Hadfield (keys).

Fri 26: Graham Hardy Quartet @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 26: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 26: Paul Skerritt with the Danny Miller Big Band @ Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Fri 26: Abbie Finn’s Finntet @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Sat 27: Abbie Finn Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 6:00pm. Free.
Sat 27: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Liane Carroll & Brian Kellock @ The Sage.

Liane Carroll (vcl), Brian Kellock (pno).
The gig got off to a bad start for me. In their wisdom, the good, or do I mean greedy?, burghers of Gateshead have raised the car park charges at the Sage. Whereas it was free after 9:00 pm now you have to wait until 11:00 pm for the the free bit to kick in by which time most concerts have finished. This means that what was £1.70 is now £3.90 which, according to my abacus means an increase of circa 129%. Needless to say, I wasn't in a good mood when Liane and Brian came on with LC firing on all cylinders for the most incredible "Witchcraft" ever, it was too much for me to take in.
However, once my anger subsided and I reflected on what I'd just heard I realised this was someone rather special.
"I Only Have Eyes For You" kept the groove going whilst "The Nearness of You" was tender without being maudlin. "Pennies From Heaven" saw the game lifted with an amazing solo by Brian - there have been some great pianomen around lately - Dave Newton and Robert Mitchell to name but two - Brian Kellock is up there with them.
"Someone To Watch Over Me" - Liane wrung every ounce from this one. Her vocal wizardry is just amazing. The lines, the intervals, the pitching, the ideas - they flow like a Sonny Rollins solo.
"Alfie" - something else - this really was what it's all about.
I must also say that, apart from singing, Liane is a very humourous person and her remarks, even her facial expressions, suggest that she could also cut it on the comedy circuit. Sample, "This next song is entitled 'It Never Entered My Behind'"! The final tune, I didn't recognise but it had quite a contemplative feel to it.
The less than full house came away knowing they'd been privileged to a performance by two of the very best - Liane & Brian, take a bow and come back soon.
Those who didn't make it will have to get used to my smug, superior, expression for the next 100 years.

Krall, Brown & Springer

Anyone see Diana Krall on the Andrew Marr Show - BBC 1 from 9:00 till 10:00. Other guests were the PM and Gerry Springer!! Have a look on iplayer Diana interview at about 21 mins in and live with a bass player with Boy from Ipanima at the end. John T. (Diana has just been on the BBC Breakfast show - Monday. ) Lance. Londonjazz review (see Comments)

Swing Bridge and Sheila Robson @ Barnes Park, Sunderland.

Sheila Robson (vcl), Malcolm Railton (tpt/gtr), Kathrine Turner (ten), Dick Straughan (pno), Ian Heslop (bs), Stevie Doyle (dms). It was a gorgeous summer's day and the jazz population of Sunderland turned out en masse - they both looked well. There should have been more as an exciting new voice - well new to me - was unveiled.
Sheila Robson, mark the name, is a welcome addition to the growing list of local chanteuses. She gave great renditions of "Mean to Me", "Makin' Whoopee", "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby", "Ain't Misbehavin'" amongst others. Up to date with it too - "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" had the line - 'Diamond bracelets PRIMARK doesn't sell baby."
Behind her, Swing Bridge were sound despite the acoustical difficulties associated with al fresco performances. Their versions of "Cute" and "Yardbird Suite" bore comparision with last years.
I can think of few better ways of spending an afternoon in the park although I'm open to suggestion. Photos.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Liane Carroll & Brian Kellock. Sunday @ The Sage.

Here is a nice foretaste of what to expect on Sunday night at The Sage, Gateshead, when Liane and Brian strut their stuff in Hall 2. Strut-off is at 8:00 pm. Lance.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Blaydon Delicacy - Roly Veitch/Jim Birkett Duo w. Mick Shoulder

Jim Birkett (gtr), Roly Veitch (gtr/vcl), Mick Shoulder (bs).
The intimate atmosphere of the club lounge is tailor made for Jim, Roly and Mick's gentle brand of jazz. Add a few friends and acquaintances that I hadn't seen for many years (Hi Brenda, Hi Derek C) plus jazz regulars George, Jim, Cathy and John and you have the recipe for a very enjoyable, well attended, evening with some gourmet guitar jazz the icing on the cake.
This was another feast of quality songbook material although Roly's vocal chords were only used sparingly, but effectively, tonight. When he did sing, I was pleased to hear the verse to such gems as "A Hundred Years From Today", "Honeysuckle Rose", "Take me to the Land of Jazz" and Ray Noble's "The Touch of Your Lips" all chanted in his cool relaxed style.
However, this was predominantly a guitar night with both Jim and Roly playing some great stuff.
The fugue-like interplay on the opening "I'll Remember April" set the mood. This was no cutting contest but two sympathetic players making good music together. Jim's choice of "A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square" served to remind us, as if we needed reminding, what a marvelous song it is. I love the way the middle eight bursts from the preceding sixteen bars adding a touch of majesty to what, until then, is just a very nice tune. "Meditation" - the vamp-like chord progression at the end has always made that tune special to me.
So many moments to savour - not least the contrasting timbre of the two guitars. Jim, the electric guitar sound associated with everyone from Charlie Christian onwards. Roly, more in the electro/accoustic vein of say George Barnes.
And who would have thought I'd hear "In Your Own Sweet Way" two nights running?
As well as the six-stringers, on four strings, double bassist Mick Shoulder played as good as I can recall hearing him - his solo on "Yesterdays" impressing both audience and band as the photo indicates. His inclusion, I think, gave tonight's session the edge on last month's gig.
Incidentally, tonight was a hasty replacement for the Bill Harper/Anne De Vere gig advertised. Bill and Anne hope to make Blaydon in September.

Melody Gardot.

The latest "jazz chick" on the block is Melody Gardot who seems to have been popping up on the various breakfast TV shows just about every other day.
I'm always suspicious when mainstream television makes reference to jazz - usually the performer in question is peripheral to say the least.
Melody Gardot isn't - she is the real deal. A voice, seductive enough to make an MP come clean about his expences, that sinuates itself around the song in the manner of a twenty-first century Peggy Lee or a sexy Madeline Peyroux.
Her current 'buzz album' is "My One And Only Thrill" on which Melody even manages to make my most unfavourite song, "Over The Rainbow", tingle.
You can listen to the album for free on Spotify. Try the title track or "If The Stars Were Mine."
Melody is well named.
Interesting to know what others think. (click here for Londonjazz link to Melody Gardot.)

River City Jazzmen @ The Swan, Choppington

Gordon Solomon (tmb), Jim McBriarty (sax/clt), Keith Stephen (gtr), Bill Brooks (bs0, Fred Thompson (dms).
The R.C. always do this monthly venue as a trumpetless 5 piece. Sadly, last night, the pull of the Champions League was greater up here than it was in Heaton according to Lance's report from The Chilli. I think band and audience played a score draw fives each. (No, the audience clinched it in extra time after a penalty shoot out.)
Jim McBriaty seems to be the regular clarinet player now. He also did some superb work on his new dark blue soprano sax.
They played one number that Gordon did not know. Keith shouted the chords out for him (from memory) as they played. By the end of the tune that was another fine one for the pad.
Fred sang a few requests and I won a bottle of wine in the raffle.
Altogether a nice night out. Solly (Gordon Solomon), informed me that the line up was the one he is bringing to Ashington on the 8th of July, with the addition of Ray Harley on trumpet.
The River City have several gigs with Ray around the start of July including the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival and the Mouth of the Tyne Festival. Its always worth looking out for the programme for the "Mouth". Usually 3 jazz bands on the Saturday and 3 on the Sunday on Tynemouth High Street.
Watch this space for details.
John T.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quality Night @ The Chilli

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger (alto), Stu Collingwood (pno), Mark Williams (gtr), Barry Ashcroft (bs), Scott Adair (dms). + Debra Milne (vcl), Ian Forbes (dms).
It might have been thought that competition from the Champions League Final on TV would have affected turn out at the Chilli tonight but, surprisingly, audience numbers were above average and the band very much above average. This was a quality line-up.
Stu, no doubt inspired by last night's Robert Mitchell gig, played out of his skull and Mark, spurred on by Scotty, fired off some runs and phrases that most guitarists could only fantasise about.
Barry kept it all together on bass whilst Dave and Darren also had inspirational moments.
Nat Adderley's "Old Country" kicked things off, "Night in Tunisia", an Ashcroft original that I adore - "Mr Rascal", Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" (lovely tune - lovely title), "One by One", "Invitation" (a fine vocal by Dave) were just some of the delights savoured as the session rolled on including the Budivarian Debra M vocalising on that most challenging of tunes, Horace Silver's "Song For My Father" - solo blasts all round and big licks from Mark on this one.
The final "Revelation" saw Dave hollerin' like a Holy Roller with Ian Forbes laying down a shuffling backbeat that had the congregation seeking salvation. Dave should have unglued his Harmon (mute) for this one.
Un tres enjoyable session despite the hole in one of Dave's socks.
Lance (AKA 'Leprechaun' - not!).
PS: Who was the lady with the legs who won the raffle?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Robert Mitchell 3io - Schmazz @ The Cluny

Robert Mitchell (pno), Tom Mason (stick bass), Richard Spavin (dms).
Anyone who heard Robert Mitchell at Matana Roberts' recent Live Theatre gig didn't need reminding that Robert is a pianist of outstanding technique and creativity. This promised to be one of the most outstanding Schmazz @ The Cluny gigs for many a full moon and I'm pleased to say that it lived up to expectations. With Tom Mason on bass and Richard Spaven, drums, Britain really did have talent tonight at The Cluny.
Mitchell is possessed of possibly the most prodigious technique I've heard in any pianoman and he used it to the full without a parachute.
If you've ever watched the Tour de France and marvelled at the skill with which the riders handle the twisting Alpine descents - this was it in piano terms. At times it was almost like a Liszt Piano Concerto played in double time. His attack was so percussive that his hands were just a blur. If he ever gets sick of piano he'd make one helluva drummer!
Tom Mason on the strange instrument called a stick bass - I call it a 'Pogo' - had some nice touches although I can't see any advantage over a double bass or even a fretless. Still it's his choice so who am I to argue.
Spaven proved to be yet another fine young drummer who added his own voice to the trio, sorry '3io'. For once we had a gig without endless rounds of fours and obligatory bass solos - I'm pleased to say.
Great gig.

Screamin' The Blues @ The Tate Modern by Angela J.

Well we went and screamed. It was a big anti-climax. We were herded in through the back entrance at the Tate Modern. We had to wear rubber bands, that may have been stolen from the post office, on our wrists. We were given yellow ear plugs. Inside there were two screens with a count down from 10 to 1. Most people didn't wait and screamed when the numbers got to 1. But the scream was meant to be when the screen said 'scream'. Then it said 'wait' and then 'exit' and we all shuffled out again. There was a nutter in long robes and a gold hat handing out joss sticks and ching chinging on little chimes. His chimes were taken off him on the way in.
There were people supposedly shouting 'free Tibet' though I couldn't hear them. It was very British in that we queued in an orderly fashion. However, at one point it was a little disconcerting - as we passed through the metal doors into the turbine room it was a bit gas chamberish. The metal doors came down.... and .... oh we got paid £20 a scream. That means it costs someone - us probably via the lottery or some such funding body, £20,000. They could have had some nice jazz for much cheaper. I don't know if it sounded how the artist intended it to sound but it was interesting, and it was a hot day and we had a pitcher of Pims by the Thames and watched the boats go by afterwards. My son came with me (he's 21) and my friend who is a singing teacher and some of her students. We bought stuff in the Tate shop - a mug with Roy Litchenstein prints on it, a cartoon book, postcards. We walked across the Millennium bridge, you know the wobbly one that doesn't wobble anymore. I was a tourist in my own town! Got the tube home and fell asleep in front of Britain's Got Talent. Woke up just a little while ago to some noisy neighbours shouting at each other in their back garden.
There, life in the metropolis.
Angela J. Elliott
(The event described by Angela was to "Welcome" Edvard Munch's 'The Scream'.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Corner House

Brian Bennett ( banjo ), Barry Soulsby ( clarinet, alto saxophone & vocals ), Laurence McBriarty ( trombone ), Fred Rowe ( trumpet & vocals ), Brian Sibbald ( double bass ) and Fred Thompson (drums and vocals ). ''Hotter Than That'', rather appropriately considering the non - stop sunshine, got things under way at the Corner House. ''Margie'' featured Fred Thompson on vocals and the following number, ''Pontchartrain Blues'', showed to good effect the soloing skills of the frontline; McBriarty (excellent plunger mute), Rowe and Soulsby. Fred Rowe, depping for Peter Wright, sang ''Mandy Make Up Your Mind'' and Barry Soulsby sang ''Everybody Loves My Baby''. Thompson took the vocals on ''Basin Street Blues'' with excellent solos from Soulsby on alto and Rowe on trumpet with sterling work from the boys in the engine room - bassman Brian Sibbald and banjo rhythm meister Brian Bennett. ''Isle of Capri '' featured Barry Soulsby's fluent clarinet playing followed by something of a hit for the Andrew Sisters, the Yiddish folk song ''Bei Mir Bist Du Schon''. The interval pint of Guinness went down well with the added delight of a free Corner House buffet. The raffle? Bottles of wine - they went to other homes. Fred Rowe resumed on vocals with ''Ace in the Hole''. Fred Thompson sang Louis' pension - provider ''Hello Dolly''. Fred Rowe played some great trumpet and sang on Shelton Brooks' ''Some of These Days''. Mr.R continued to exercise the larynx with a slow rendition of Johnny Mercer's ''Dream''. MC Bennett announced that Mr.R would sing the next one ''Big Butter and Egg Man'' until the band decided that drummer Thompson should take it; a great job he made of it too. ''Angry'' was a hoot (I've heard Fred Rowe sing this one with Rendezvous Jazz), Laurence McBriarty growled on trombone and Barry Soulsby played alto. Time flew. Mr.Bennett said we should be ''Goin' Home'' ; off we went into the still warm night. Russell

Jazz In The Afternoon @ Cullercoats

Iain MacAulay ( trombone, piano & vocals ), Brian Chester ( trombone & piano ), Derek Fleck ( clarinet, tenor saxophone & banjo ), Mike Durham ( trumpet & vocals ), John Hallam ( double bass & sousaphone ), Jim McKeown (drums ) + Theresa McMullen ( vocals ), Roy Gibson ( piano ) & Doris Fenn ( banjo ). The north east jazz riviera basked in sunshine throughout the holiday weekend and Monday lunchtime served up some sizzling good time jazz to a standing room only audience at the Crescent Club. Two or three of the band donned Hawaiian - style shirts for the occasion (perhaps they were suffering from heat stroke) and kicked off with Iain MacAulay taking the vocal duties on ''I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby''. Clarence Williams' ''Royal Garden Blues'' followed by ''Buddy Bolden's Blues'' set the standard for an afternoon of choice material. An instrumental version of ''Ain't Mishehavin''' set me thinking...had I ever heard the tune without the lyrics? ''Happy Birthday'' was a surprise inclusion. Dedicated to Alice - Derek Fleck's other half - it was met with approval by all. Mr.Fleck took the opportunity to steal a kiss! The first set highlight - ''Trog's Blues'' featured Fleck on clarinet in a duo with pianist Brian Chester. Fleck achieved a quite wonderful vibrato; Chester contributed a chiming effect which could be said to have been of the baroque. Perfect. The tempo increased with a rousing version of ''St. Louis' Blues'' - Fleck switching to tenor sax and Chester cranking it up with a bootin' Hammond solo (Gerry Richardson or Jimmy McGriff would have been proud!). ''Hiawatha'' brought the first set to a close. The interval allowed for another thirst - quenching pint of Guinness, the purchase of a par for the course losing raffle ticket and a bit crack. The great Theresa McMullen opened the second set accompanied by Roy Gibson at the piano, with bass and drum stalwarts Hallam and McKeown in support, singing a beautifully - paced ''East of the Sun''. The boys in the band, having returned from proping up the bar, launched into ''Savoy Blues'' with Chester and MacAulay switching roles. Chester demonstrated his infectious, bustling trombone style and MacAulay can certainly play the piano. Guest trumpeter Mike Durham blew some top stuff on ''Bad Penny Blues'' together with Chester, Hallam and McKeown. Doris Fenn sat in on ''Lady Be Good'' alongside fellow banjoist Fleck, Chester and MacAulay played 'bones and John Hallam produced, as if out of thin air, the monster that is the sousaphone (had this creature just escaped from the Blue Reef Aquarium along the coast?). Mr.MacAulay said, to much hilarity, that Marshall Walker, the band's erstwhile drummer, referred to the sousaphone as Hallam's ''fart - o - phone ''! All said and done ''Lady Be Good'' is a good tune ! ''Basin Street Blues'' was a good ensemble piece with Roy Gibson back at the keyboard. The entertainment concluded with ''Enjoy Yourself ''. All present did just that. Russell

New Photo Heading

The new photo heading, which I'm pleased to say seems to have met with approval, dates back to, I think, 1983 and a concert by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers which took place at Newcastle Playhouse. It was broadcast by Channel 4 as part of a series, masterminded by Andy Hudson, entitled "4 Up, 2 Down".
Line-up is Terence Blanchard, tpt; Donald Harrison, alt; Jean Toussaint, ten; Johnny O'Neal, pno; Charles Fambrough, bs; Art Blakey, dms.
Click here for more photos. (Photos from 1982 concert just added.) Lance. PS: The Messengers also appeared at Newcastle Festival in 1979 and 1982. I'm currently adding Newcastle Jazz Festival Programmes to the gallery. There are still some Festival programmes missing so if you've got them up in the attic...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dave Newton All Stars @ Darlington Arts Centre

Steve Waterman (tpt/flug), Derek Nash (sop/alt/bar), Dave O'Higgins (ten), Dave Newton (pno), Mark Hodgson (bs), Steve Brown (dms).
Only change from the announced line-up was the replacement of Andy Cleyndert with Mark Hodgson on bass. In the photo, Mark sits between Dave Newton (left) and Steve Brown (right). Looking on is the Darlington Jazz Co-ordinator, whose name escapes me for the moment (Roly has since reminded me that it is Peter Bevan - a nice guy totally committed to jazz). They had just finished a pizza.
The sextet kicked off to an almost capacity house with Mobley's "This I Dig of You" setting the mood for an evening of what, these days, could be described as the modern side of mainstream. Personally, I prefer to refer to it as, simply, "good music that swung, jumped, rocked and caressed the soul."
O'Higgins had some rare mid period Getzian moments, Waterman blew with seemingly effortless technique but the undoubted crowd-pleaser was the animated Derek Nash. I must confess I'd never heard him before but he blew some fiery alto, powerful baritone as well as displaying an out of character tenderness on a curved soprano (sax). his body language was something else!
Dave Newton proved once again that he has nothing left to prove - he is simply as good as it gets.
Having said that, one of the most outstanding numbers of the night was "Five Brothers" which didn't use Dave at all. Instead we had Derek on bari and Steve W on trumpet recreating the Mulligan Quartet.
Steve Brown wore his usual Cheshire Cat demeanour and drove things along nicely whilst Bassman Mark was no passenger either - he contributed mightily to the rhythm section.
It was a good gig and I drove home with "Funky Mama" still blowing my mind; by bedtime, it was "Nostalgia in Times Square" providing the lullaby.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Gee Thanks Fellas

Modesty prevents me saying anything other than click here. Lance.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's South Shields.

Herbie Hudson (tmb/harm/vcl), Derek Fleck (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Ian Forbes (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl). May 21, Rosie Malone's, South Shields.
A stomping good afternoon by the Maine Street Jazzmen (and jazzwoman) twixt the shamrock covered walls of Rosie Malone's. Hardly a jazz audience but, nevertheless, they seemed to like what the gang were doing to tunes such as "Avalon", "Hello Dolly", "Sunny Side of the Street", "Some of These Days" and "Back in Your Own Backyard."
Good solos all round with some fine chanting from Olive who delivers with plenty of zest and personality.
If you like Guinness, real ale, good food and banjoless dixieland bands this is the place to be - every Thursday afternoon from 2:00 pm. Photos.

"Ryan Home" - Quigley Elected.

The Ryan Quigley Sextet , who last week set the Corner House on fire, have won the 2009 Parliamentary Jazz Award as best Jazz Ensemble. Scotsman Quigley and his ensemble are not expected to sit in The House but may stand at the bar. The rumour that party leader Quigley, because of his accent, may be offered the vacant gig of Speaker is unfounded.
Full details in Hansard or on LondonJazz.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

All The Cats Join In - Jamming at the Chilli.

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), John Rowland, Darren Grainger (ten), Laurie Brown (vibes), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Stuart Davies (gtr), Jim Crinson (bs), Scott Adair (dms). + Paul Gowland (alt), David Carnegie (pno), Chris Finch (pno).
Never a dull moment at The Chilli. Tonight was reminiscent of one of the old Buck Clayton Jam Sessions with chorus after chorus all round and a degree of uncertainty as to if and when it will start and end. However, the stuff in the middle was great with gutsy tenor solos from Darren and John, Milesian (Davis that is) trumpet from Dave, intricate guitar work from Stuart and Laurie Brown giving the vibes (or the electric glockenspiel as one member of the audience remarked) a hot mallet workout.
"Well You Needn't" got things moving with guest Scott Adair on drums keeping the momentum going and Dave plucking some rare turns of phrase from within the progression.
Laurie was outstanding on his own arrangement, courtesy of Milt Jackson, of "Angel Eyes" which somehow managed to be in 3/4 time. Intentional or accidental it worked!
"Beautiful Love" also kicked for home. Chris Finch sat in on piano and Paul Gowland blew alto.
Chris has the "Real Book" on his iphone which is very useful - providing your mother/wife/girlfriend or bank manager doesn't call during the middle eight of "Epistrophy".
Paul and Laurie had a series of fours (or was it eights?) that lifted the game before the guys took it out in style.
"Killer Joe" also rocked with David Carnegie on piano and a wild guitar thrash by Stuart Davies.
Underpinning the lot was the effervescent Barry Ashcroft on piano, Jim Crinson - back to stand-up bass this week - and Scott Adair who drove things along with powerful precision.
A nice one. Photos.

Martin Blackwell & Change Is Night Club.

Mention of Newcastle's "Change Is" nightclub brought to mind the guy who played piano there - Martin Blackwell. This would be in the 1970s and I was working in a music shop selling, among other things, jazz records.
We held a large selection of Blue Note LPs and Martin was one of our best customers. The problem was he had to have literally everything on Blue Note that was jazz piano related which of course meant the whole catalogue!
Each week he'd buy a couple of LPs and reserve another couple. These we'd stash in a box for him until the following week when he'd return to buy them. Except he didn't! Some other discs would catch his eye and he'd buy them instead and so it went on...
He was a fine pianist then so I imagine he is a prodigious one now. I see his name in the listings quite often but never far enough north for me to get to hear him although I vaguely recall him at The Corner House once in the dim and murky past.
If he chances to read this it's "Hello" from Lance, formerly of Windows Music Shop, Newcastle - perhaps he even got to accompany Susannah McCorkle - if she did appear at "Change Is".
The club, incidentally, was owned by Bob Monkhouse.

Susannah McCorkle

Yesterday, May 19, marked the 8th anniversary of the death of Susannah McCorkle, one of my favourite singers. A manic depressive, Susannah killed herself by jumping from a window in New York.
She was 55.
Susannah McCorkle had a unique voice that first came to my attention when I, literally, stumbled over an LP of hers in a Drury Lane charity shop. The record was an album entitled "The Quality of Mercer" that, after picking myself up, I bought for 50p. It was the first of many LPs and CDs that I amassed and cherished. Recorded in London, in 1977, with a band that included Danny Moss, Digby and her partner to be (briefly) Keith Ingham she interprets the Johnny Mercer songs as good as anyone ever did. Check out her almost laconic rendition of "This Time The Dream's On Me" and other Susannah gems on YouTube. Here there is a frustrating interview with vocal snippets. I say frustrating because the actual interview is excellent giving an insight into her musical awareness but the music itself suffers from abysmal recording. Never mind it is worth it for the, I believe, only known interview. I have a vague recollection that Susannah did some gigs in Newcastle during the 1970s at, possibly, "Change Is" or maybe even the New Orleans Club. Anyone able to confirm this?
PS: My Ideal is just that! She'd be So Easy To Love.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Monk's "Ask Me Now" - Kofi played it the other Sunday at East Rainton. Has anyone put words to this tune? It is so beautiful I absolutely love it and i'd like to also hear it sung. Lance.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Corner House

Gerry Denning (cor/vcl), Gordon McGregor (clt/alt/sop/vcl), Barry Soulsby (clt/alt/vcl), Lawrence McBriarty (tmb), Brian Bennett (bjo), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl).
Two visiting horns in the frontline - Gerry Denning and Gordon McGregor. The former is a Swale Valley Stomper, the latter's pedigree was not disclosed. Nevertheless, capable musicians both who slotted in well with the VCJ.
Denning directed the traffic with his firm lead in "Bourbon Street Parade". whilst McGregor blew Louis Jordan style alto on "Aint Misbehavin", as well as soprano and a reedy sounding clarinet on other numbers. They both sang in the time honoured tradition of just about every instrumentalist since Satchmo Armstrong.
Barry Soulsby gave his alto a rare outing although mostly he stuck to clarinet "Apex Blues" in tandem with McGregor worked well - Barry also sang. Lawrence McB had a few preaching solos using plunger but didn't sing. Fred Thompson did, Brian Bennett and Brian Sibbald didn't.
It was a lovely way to spend an evening, couldn't think of anything I'd rather do (well I could but that's another story...)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sal Nistico - Seems like the good do die young.

Mention the Woody Herman 'herds' and one invariably thinks of the endless chain of tenor saxophone players who graduated with honours from the organisation. Flip Phillips, Stan Getz, Zoot, Al, Richie Kamuca, whom we've looked at earlier and who also died young, are just a few of the many. One of my favourites was Sal Nistico.
Sal, who died in 1991 aged only 51, was one of the new breed of player who'd emerged from the world of jazz/rock - playing with the Mangione Brothers before joining Herman.
With Herman he played Newcastle City Hall in the 1960s and I recall his blistering solo's as if it were yesterday. In fact his style was very much akin to Tubby Hayes. Lots of notes but with a harder edge.
In the 1980s he played the Corner House as a soloist with one of our local rhythm sections - Scott Adair? Willie Payne? Bill Harper? - he blew up a storm that night and it was hard to credit that he only had a few years left.
I do have one important legacy - a recording he made for the BBC in 1982. Sal shares the frontline with Art Theman for some hard-blowing postbop. Theman, as was and is his wont, perhaps blew more futuristic but it was Sal who got the feet tapping with his sheer, intensive drive. Listening to it as I type it hasn't dated one iota; if it has, then I've dated with it.
PS: Just been checking out a CD Sal made with Chet Baker - Lorne Lofsky's on guitar - I recall Roly waxing eloquently (as he does) on Lorne. They play a version of "Tangerine" that Chet re-titled "Margarine"!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Recollections of the Rex Jazz Club, Whitley Bay by Scott Adair.

Like Lance, I too have fond memories of the Rex Jazz Club, Whitley Bay, taking place every Sunday evening. It was held upstairs in the Palace Room of the Rex Hotel.
My earliest recollection was back in 1960 when, along with my pal Dave Murphy, we'd listen to modern jazz played by a group of musicians comprising Jack Sheldon on piano, Sid Trager on bass and Frank Gibney on drums. Regular guests included Eric Gamblin on guitar, Joe McMullen on trumpet and of course those inseparable friends - Syd Warren and Arthur Mowatt on saxes.
Dave and I would hope every week that we could play in the interval with the musicians we both admired. These were the learning days!
Eventually, we became part of a great regular quintet at the Rex that featured Syd on tenor and flute, Bobby Carr on trumpet and Colin Haikney on piano and vibes.
Lance makes reference on The Blog of hearing Syd play "Blue Daniel". The arrangement was actually transcribed from my 'Cannonball Adderley at the Lighthouse' LP along with "The Big P" and "Sack of Woe".
Guest players would arrive every week hoping to have a knock. Among them, Arthur Mowatt saxes, Kenny Morrell, Malcolm Saul piano, Sammy Padmore bass, when he was home from Uni., and many more. The bar manager who ran the evening was a great character - an ex-RAF man, complete with handlebar moustache called Jeff Murphy. He later became a rep for Teachers whisky. Happy days indeed!
The quintet mentioned above became the nucleus of the Corner House Monday evening band that Jazz North East asked to back the visiting Americans.
Hope this is of some interest.

Alan Glen Quintet @ The Cooperage - a few memories from Roly.

Recent enthusiastic comment about Alan Glen's great playing reminded me of going to hear his quintet some years back, maybe in the late late 70s I guess? They had a regular gig at The Cooperage down on the Quayside.
The music they played was very attractive - all original material, some quite extended or segued compositions. Alan on piano, a great guitarist Terry Ellis (with his blonde Gibson 345), Ray Truscott on electric bass, Billy Golding on tenor - I can't remember the drummer. Nice memories of what was a unique band.
Terry Ellis worked locally as a peri teacher and played both guitar and elec. bass professionally. I have a Bobby Thompson video from somewhere in CIU clubland and I'm sure it's Terry on bass in the background. I'm not too sure if he is still around locally - I've not seen him for quite a long while now.
I think Billy Golding passed away - he was a fine player. Ray Truscott I've not seen around for years either. Anyone got any more info?

Friday, May 15, 2009

The New Century Ragtime Orchestra - Jazz At The Fell.

Authentic sounding hot dance music of the 1920s/30s expertly executed by a band steeped in the idiom.
In the 'pretty section', as Ellington used to describe his girl vocalists, Caroline Irwin sang "Am I Blue" and caught the mood of the song perfectly whilst "Red Hot Mama" was indeed red hot. Caroline also had an 8 bar cornet solo in a later piece.
Gavin Lee blew some rooty clarinet on "Paducah" - Tesch and Peewee surely figure in Gavin's ancestry. By contrast, Jim McBriarty's more liquorishy sound has traces of BG. Jim also crooned some period vocals that conjured up images of white spats and bootleg gin.
Keith Stephen - ever a good man to have around - switched between banjo and guitar, on the latter instrument sounding at times almost like Lonnie Johnson or Eddie Lang.
Unfortunately, circumstances decreed I could only stay for an hour so I missed any Steve Andrews' solos which was disappointing but I did have a chuckle at some of his announcements "For the benefit of latecomers we play our signature tune second." - "This next number is called "Tuning-up". Click here for YouTube clip from Whitley Bay Festival.
Hope to be able to catch the full session next time round.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ryan Quigley Sextet @ The Corner House

Ryan Quigley (tpt/flug), Paul Towndrow (alt), Paul Booth (ten), Steve Hamilton (pno), Mario Caribe (bs), Alyn Cosker (dms).
Not for the fainthearted! This was adrenaline pumping, yet accessible, mind blowing stuff. Six guys shooting from the hip and taking no prisoners. It was loud, possibly the loudest non-electric, six-piece band I've ever heard. Think Art Blakey, double it and then add some.
Leader Quigley is one helluva trumpet-player with a big fat Clifford Brown sound and a range capable of reaching into the stratosphere to maybe Jupiter on a clear night.
On tenor it was a welcome return to the region by local boy made good, international tenor star, Paul Booth. I'm pleased to be able to claim a small part in his success - I sold him his first sax 22 years ago and the rest is history. Part of that history was at the Black Bull, Blaydon where Paul played some of his early gigs with our man Roly Veitch.
Another fine saxist, also called Paul (Towndrow), blew some wild alto solos although possibly the wildest man of them all was drummer Alyn Cosker who could and did switch from swing to free to rock to Latin to a multitude of other rhythms and back again without missing a beat - although I guess the audience's hearts missed a few. During Alyn's final drum blast the frontline blew a riff from, I think, Louis Bellson's "Skindeep" - very appropriate.
Steve Hamilton, playing a 'real' piano excelled throughout and Brazilian bassist, Caribe, supplied a strong harmonic foundation.
The music itself varied from ultra-modern hardbop to free with some compelling group improvisation; imagine the Don Ellis Band, on a 'trip', playing Modal Dixieland and you've maybe got the picture. Supremo Extremo!
If there has to be a criticism an extra ballad wouldn't have gone amiss - Roly agreed and Roly knows a thing or two about ballads.
However, it didn't detract from an evening that kicked from start to finish - my pulse is still racing!

News Flash - Scorsese to direct Sinatra movie.

LondonJazz has drawn my attention to the news that Martin Scorsese is to direct the forthcoming movie on Old Blue Eyes and wonders who will play the title role? Any suggestions? Lance.

1967 Ирма Сохадзе - советский потрясающий джаз

Thanks to Hil for thisgem

Eddie Thompson Trio - Darlington 1964

Scott Adair kindly loaned me this photo, taken at the Bridge Hotel -AKA Opus 3 Jazz Club - in Darlington in September 1964. Pictured, is the legendary pianist Eddie Thompson. Scott is the drummer and Dave Murphy is on bass.
Thompson, who died in 1986, is widely regarded as one of the all-time great British jazz pianomen. Blind since birth, his guide dog would sit faithfully at the side of the piano whilst the master performed. I seem to recall from the days when I used to hang-out at London's Flamingo Club that Eddie's dog was called Max.
Scott remembers that Eddie Thompson was magnificent that particular night playing an up-tempo version of "Tea For Two" so fast that he and Dave Murphy could barely hang on in there and neither of those two boys were/are slouches!
Thanks for the photo and the memory Scott.
PS: Look forward to hearing Scott Adair at the Chillingham next Wednesday with the Take It To The Bridge outfit. Laurie Brown (ex Squadronaires) is there on vibes that night so two top guys to see and hear.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Alan Glen Trio - A Night To Remember at The Chilli.

Alan Glen (pno), Lawrence Blackadder (bs), David Carnegie (dms).
Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Dr. Nicola Weaver (alt), Jim Crinson (gtr), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Mick Danby (bs), Eric Stutt (dms). + David Carnegie (pno), Paul Gowland (alt0).
I'm getting repetitive but, with Alan Glen it is difficult not to say anything other than 'he's never played better' - tonight was no exception. From the opening "If I Were A Bell" to the closing "Night and Day" I had to say, once again, that this was the best yet!
In between the above two classics, "The Quiet Man of Jazz" included a sensitive interpretation of "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square", a blues drenched "Georgia on My Mind", a boppy "Groovin' High" and a "Time After Time" that was like mulled wine in a ruby chalice - rich, warm and fulsome - rolled around the palate and imbibed with respectful satisfaction.
As ever, David and Lawrence were doing the biz both in support and solo. Lawrence had some tasty melodic lines on "Berkeley Square" whilst David kicked night into day when he unleashed a powerful solo during the final number.
David moved over to piano for the jam session and "Body and Soul" saw him play some nice chords behind Nicola and sitter-in Paul Gowland - both on alto. Surprisingly, given that just about every big hitter in town seemed to be in the audience, there were no other sitters-in.
The two altos were featured on "Like Someone In Love" along with a vocal from Dave before the final Kenny Dorham composition "Recorda Me" which also had alto blasts of mucho merita from both blowers. Two many gems to mention everyone so apologies to Mick for not commenting on his sterling basswork on "So What" or Jim Crinson's rare appearance on guitar as opposed to stand-up bass and Eric Stutt's fine drumming; Eric was totally unfazed by the presence of at least three of the north-east's finest drummers - and why should he be? - he made it four! Barry likewise, despite the room being kneedeep in pianists, had moments to cherish whilst Dave held it altogether with the wit and wisdom of the Duke of Ellington.
Oh and, seeing as I now have mentioned everyone, let's not forget Allan - doorman, timekeeper, raffler and now - music liaison officer.
Quite a night.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Looking For Buddy" - a play by Alan Plater. Live Theatre, Newcastle.

Set in the mean streets of Wallsend's Lower East-side this is Alan Plater's take on Raymond Chandler in Geordieland. Like so much of Plater's work, "Looking For Buddy (Bolden)" is jazz related - some unlikely characters looking for a record of the unrecorded trumpet player Buddy Bolden - without being aimed purely at the aficionado. It is simply one of the funniest musical plays I have ever seen. The broad Geordie dialect, the song and dance routines coupled with every possible hardboiled Hollywood cliche imaginable make this an absolute hoot!
Tim Healy, as a failed Wallsend architect turned private eye, sings and wisecracks, gets slipped a 'mickey', meets a beautiful blonde and gives out with some pungent social commentary relevant to Britain and Tyneside in particular. He is brilliant and so are his supporting cast - Jayne McKenzie, Phil Corbitt (who also played sax), Jane Holman, Jacqueline Boatswain and Nicholas Lumley as 'Fat Jack'.
The music, by Alan Barnes, captured the mood perfectly with Peter Allsopp (pno), Adam Keast (bs) - Neil Harland takes over on May 19 - and Chris Grahamson (dms).
Miss this at your peril - Andrew Lloyd Webber it ain't (thank gawd!)

Jazz at the Cumberland Arms - Byker.

Curious to know more about the above gig which is scheduled for tonight (May 12 - 8:00 pm.)
Can't get there myself as I'm 'Looking For Buddy' at Live Theatre but I would like to know more than can be gleaned from the rather sketchy details here. It is also listed in the Guardian guide.


PS: Russell has confirmed that, despite still being in the Guardian listings, the Tuesday sessions at the Cumberland finished some time ago. The management at the pub have said they will, eventually, amend the website.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Icons Among Us: Jazz in the present tense.

Ariel Cyber Publicity drew my attention to the above program on the Documentary Channel.
"Since we love and respect Bebop Is Spoken Here (sic), we wanted to make sure you were aware of the biggest jazz event to hit TV this year.
Icons Among Us: Jazz in the present tense is a documentary film series that captures the metamorphosis of jazz by showcasing the words, music, and spirit of the artists that are paving the way for an unprecedented musical evolution. The four-part documentary film series examines the world of contemporary jazz looking at today’s brightest talent. Featuring live footage and interviews, the films include many current jazz icons including The Bad Plus, Terence Blanchard, Jason Moran, Ravi Coltrane, the Benevento-Russo Duo, Robert Glasper, Charlie Hunter, Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Medeski Martin and Wood. The films also features these performers’ legendary predecessors and influences including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis.
The Documentary Channel will present the film in its entirety Wednesday May 27th and Wednesday June 3rd starting at 8 pm EST. Check out the website for detailed information: learn more about the film, view the preview and get access to images and info go here:".
Unfortunately, I don't think it is due to be shown in the UK - at least not yet.

Jolly Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats

Ian MacAulay (tmb/vcl), Derek Fleck (clt/ten/bjo), Barry Soulsby (clt/vcl), Brian Chester (pno/tmb), John Hallam (bs), Jim Mckeown (dms). A typical afternoon at Cullercoats' Crescent Club with a well balanced mix of the ancient and the not so ancient.
Guesting on clarinet, Barry Soulsby sang and played "It Ain't no Sin To Take Off Your Skin and Dance Around In your Bones." Fortunately, despite the mini heatwave, no one took him up on the suggestion.
Other delights included Ian's "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone", "Royal Garden Blues" featuring two clarinets and two trombones, Theresa, with offspring Roy backing her on piano, chanting a surprisingly delicate "Days of Wine and Roses" and Jimmy Ruddick vocalising on "Doctor Jazz".
It was all good fun - look at the faces in the photo - and the room was crowded.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Zoe Gilby (vcl), Paul Edis (pno), Andy Champion (bs).
Ruth Lambert, like the majority of last week's crowd, phoned in sick. However, Zoe Gilby was at hand to step into Ruth's stilettos so all was not lost - although a few more posteriors in pews would have added some ambiance to the proceedings.
It was a good performance under difficult circumstances and our girl, like the trouper that she is, sang in her inimitable, recognisable, style.
Loved her version of "Straight No Chaser" and "Lullaby of Birdland" as well as "Time After Time" and who would have bet on "I Thought About You" turning up two gigs running? (Simon Spillett was the other one.)
Paul and Andy also excelled - have they ever done a gig when they didn't I wonder?
Shame that the support hasn't been sufficient to maintain a weekly jazz gig. Next one is rumoured to be 'sometime next month'.


RUTH LAMBERT is tonight's (Sunday May 10,) star attraction at The HIGHFIELD HOTEL, East Rainton, County Durham. The down beat is at 8:00 pm and Ruth is one classy chanteuse. With PAUL EDIS on piano, ANDY CHAMPION, bass, sounds to me like you ought to be there.
And, if you are still in doubt, it is FREE!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Jazz North East - Plunge @ The Bridge, Newcastle May7. Report by Russell.

Andreas Andersson (alto & baritone saxophones), Mattias Hjorth (double bass), Peter Nilsson (drums). The Bridge Hotel has established itself as a key venue in the north east of England for visiting improvising musicians and tonight a warm welcome was afforded the Swedish trio. Plunge.
An attentive audience heard a "free improv'' performance with a difference - melody and rhythm very much to the fore.
Andreas Andersson opened proceedings on baritone saxophone; quiet, tentative, seeking out a figure - once found, his compatriots added colour to the piece. This first set of gentle, probing, collective improvisation was well received by the appreciative and knowledgeable crowd of Jazz North East regulars. The interval saw Bridge Hotel regulars and Swedish improvising musicians head to the bar to sample the ever-excellent real ales. Tonight's offering on the bar was particularly good - all seven hand pumps were dispensing beers from local micro breweries. Our Swedish visitors were most impressed ! The second set comprised three pieces. Andersson played alto and baritone saxophones with equal facility, Mattias Hjorth achieved a beautifully warm tone on double bass (the instrument being kindly loaned for the evening by local bass hero John Pope) and drummer Peter Nilsson was most impressive throughout; restrained, subtle yet commanding. The performance was one in a series of On The Outside gigs (Jazz North East's strand of adventurous free jazz and improv). The next one, also at the Bridge Hotel, is on June 13th.It features a double bill of Paul Hession (drums) & Mike Hurley (piano) paired with Tyneside's Andy Champion (double bass) & Graeme Wilson (saxophones). To see (and hear!) Plunge at the Bridge Hotel visit Russell.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Simon Spillett Quartet - Early Music Centre York

Simon Spillett (ten), John Critchinson (pno), Andy Cleyndert (bs), Martin Drew (dms).
Amazingly, given the above line-up, the Early Music Centre wasn't sold-out - perhaps the music wasn't early enough. Paradoxically, tomorrow's concert by Snake Davis is sold-out! The jazz world never fails to amaze me.
Still, it was their loss. Four of this country's very finest gave a stella, nay, memorable performance - what a saxophone bonanza we've had recently (Tony Kofi, Julian Siegel, Tim Garland - albeit further north than York).
Tonight it was Simon Spillett, blowing in the tradition of Tubbs and Griffin. Hit 'em hard and hit 'em fast was the name of the game as SS sailed through the changes on his new (on loan) Cannonball tenor.
"The Right To Love" and "I Thought About You" touched on his lyrical side but it was the movers such as "Peace Pipe" and "Cherokee" that really got the adrenaline coursing.
Pianist Critchinson has been around for some time now and in truth they don't come much better than John who revelled in the delights of playing on a Bosendorfer grand - the same make of piano that Oscar Peterson used to favour. OP's former drummer, Martin Drew, swung things along nicely and soloed powerfully whilst Andy C was, as ever, the epitome of the thinking man's bass player.
Great gig, great venue and great company.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Virtuoso Trio @ Ashington Jazz Club - Report by John T.

George McDonald (clt), Jim Birkett (gtr), Pete Stuart (bs).
What makes a good jazz night?
Is it the performers, the venue, the audience or is there something else? What ever it is we found it with Virtuoso Jazz at the Elephant last night.
Jim Birkett has now been passed fully fit by the doc so his last three performances were probably just a warm up for last night. George and Peter were both on their first visit to Ashington and all three gave us a whole new experience of classic jazz done in a very sophisticated way with some great jazz history stories from George. You could have heard a pin drop - no obtrusive chatting at the bar and tumultuous applause after every number from the audience of 66.
Lots of new faces tonight; they said they'd be happy to come again.
The varied programme explored many different facets of jazz and the band's own enjoyment was clearly evident. James preferred the acoustics here to the old venue and, as with Ruth Lambert, each had their own, minimally set, amplification, creating an acoustic effect.
This is probably the first time we've had a trio - usually four to seven piece bands. Last night was about quality not quantity.
Afterwards, talking to Pete Stuart, he tells me that lately he's been gigging in Yorkshire with Dave Challis and Bob Ludlam.
Yorkshire will surely relish his playing!
John T.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Chilled Out Chilli.

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Nicola Weaver (alt), Barry Ashcroft (pno/bs.), Mark Williams (gtr), James ? (gtr), Claude Werner (bs), Malcolm Dick (dms). + Chris Finch (pno).
----- A laid back, relaxatious sort of night. Guesting on drums, no less a personage than Richie Blackmore's stickster - Malcolm Dick. Malcolm, aided and abetted by Claude (on double bass), gave the kiss of life to "How Insensitive"; later, they both kicked ass solowise on, I think, "Beautiful Love" or was it "Billie's Bounce"?
Nicola blew a cool "'Round Midnight" - Dave did the vocal on this one.
For the first set, a surprisingly restrained Mark Williams played guitar whilst in the second young James was the favoured frettist. Biggest surprise was in the final blues - Barry playing double bass!
Chris Finch sat in on piano.
No out and out fireworks tonight just nice tunes such as "My Romance" and "Skylark".

Virgins are at it again.

More apologies for the delay in posting comments and answering Emails but The Net has been down yet again in my little corner of the planet - thank you Mr Branson - not!
(I've been told that planets do not have corners unless you're a member of the FES so I'll change it to 'neck of the woods'.)
Good news, however, is that subscribers to Jazz Journal International are now receiving their copies of the re-launched publication and selected shops should soon have theirs - watch this space.
More good news - RUTH LAMBERT struts her stuff at the Highfield Hotel, East Rainton, this Sunday (May 10). Paul Edis and Andy Champion complete the triumverate. The bad news is that, after this gig, the jazz sessions at the venue will be monthly (last Sunday in the month). So please show your support - you did it for Tony K and Julian S - do it for Ruth, Paul and Andy. And it's free...
Mention of Ruth prompts me to draw attention to last night's rehearsal/recital by Ruth and the Customs House Big Band at the New Crown in South Shields. The eternal teenageric Ruth was in fine voice - her smoky take on "Black Coffee" is up there with Peggy's whilst "Mambo Italiano" was inspired by George's Auntie Rosemary.
As for the big band, if you get the chance, cast an ear to their workout on an arrangement of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band's "High Maintenance" - a groover was how CHBB's leader Peter Morgan described it - he was right! Next New Crown session Tuesday June 2 (I think).
I've got a soft spot for vocal groups - The Boswell Sisters, The Andrews Sisters, The Four Freshmen, The Mills Brothers and Manhattan Transfer...Click here for their version of "Blue Champagne".
PS: Liz might like this (see comments).

Monday, May 04, 2009

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Corner House

John Cowan (cor/vcl), Lawrence McBriety (tmb), Barry Soulsby (clt/alt/vcl), Eric Brooks (pno), Bill Brooks (bs), Brian Bennett (bjo/gtr), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl).
A rousing "At The Jazz Band Ball", complete with vocal from Fred Thompson, got things off to a foot-tapping start. John Cowan, depping for Peter Wright, provided a solid cornet lead that remained constant throughout the evening. Barry and Lawrence soared and slid above and below with the piano augmented rhythm section giving that extra impetus. This was more Dixieland than New Orleans. However, they were soon back to the Delta with, I think, "Miss Magnolia" where they stayed awhile before "My Blue Heaven" took them back upstream.
As well as JC, the Brooks, who aren't related except in jazz, were also depping.
The bass-playing Brooks is a well known figure on the trad circuit and deservedly held in high esteem but Brooks, The Piano, was an unknown quantity to me and he proved to be a fine two fisted player well versed in the idiom.
A good stomping session with an interval buffet that could easily have fed five thousand; perhaps JC's talents go beyond mere cornet playing...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Tony Kofi and the Paul Edis Trio @ the Highfield Hotel.

Tony Kofi (alt), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms).
This was my kind of music - updated Charlie Parker and then some. From the opening "Big Foot" to the closing "I Got Rhythm" this was a night to remember not only for Tony K's agile, angular, altoistics but also for the Paul Edis Trio who handled it all with aplomb despite minimal rehearsal time.
On "Star Eyes," Tony blew an extended version of the traditional Parker intro before soaring into cloudland like an uncaged Bird; freed to explore the unknown. "Milestones", not the familiar tune but an earlier piece, had some unusual twists and turns. Likewise, "Bluesette" was far removed from Toots Thielemans' concept but it worked - I think."
What definitely worked was Monk's "Ask Me Now". A beautiful ballad in its own right it should be accorded its rightful place in the gasbook. Tony did it justice - he's arguably the best frontline interpreter of Monk's music since Charlie Rouse. Charlie Rouse was on the original recording of Sonny Clark's "Melody for C" which Tony reprised here brilliantly.
In truth, despite possibly a quote or two too many, all of his solos were gems.
Mention must be made of Adam Sinclair's drumming. He caught everything that Tony threw at him in various exchanges of fours and eights and threw them right back. Personally, I thought they overdid the exchanges but even so it didn't detract from the practioners.
Paul too was on top of his game (when is he not?) and he had a particularly appealing Bachlike interlude on "Rhythm". Mick too, although not featured heavily, had some nice solo touches.
But the night belonged to Tony. At the beginning of the evening he said that he always gives 110% - he sold himself short!

Rendezvous Jazz @ The Piper, Cullercoats. Report by Russell.

Maureen Hall (vocals), Mac Smith (piano), Fred Rowe (trumpet), Barry Soulsby (clarinet & vocals), Iain MacAulay (trombone & vocals), John Robinson (bass ), Jim McKeown (drums).
An evening of celebrations at the Piper last night. Maureen Hall's Rendezvous Jazz chalked up ten years at the Cullercoats hostelry and bass player John Robinson had just become a grandfather!
This called for a pint of the landlord's finest - Greene King's Abbot Ale.
The opening number was Earl Hines' ''Rosetta'' followed by a good 'un for Maureen to sing - ''Mean to Me''. A tune I didn't know called, I think, ''I've Got What it Takes But it Breaks My Heart to Give it Away,'' sounded good to me; George Melly, I believe, was fond of this one. ''Swing That Music '' brought Fred Rowe to the fore - it could have been Louis! Trombone maestro MacAulay played a beautiful solo on Hoagy's ''Stardust'' (perhaps the highlight of the evening). Our bandleader was on form with another favourite - '' Who's Sorry Now?''. The interval allowed for a refill, a raffle ticket (no luck) and the introduction of the great Doris Fenn on banjo (or should that be banjolele?) for the second set.
Maureen asked the question ''Am I Blue? '' to get the second set under way. Trombone man and humorist Mr MacAulay introduced ''East Coast Trot'' and enlightened the audience with the fact that this number was a tribute to Newcastle Brown Ale! A blues brought Barry to the mic for a vocal turn followed by ''China Boy'' - with good contributions by all. Louis' ''Someday You'll Be Sorry'' once more showed veteran Fred Rowe to be no mean trumpet player. The evening's entertainment was brought to a close with ''I Double Dare You''.
A gig of good tunes and good ensemble work enhanced by Fenn's rhythmic contributions. Next month's session - June 6th - is in the bar due to a refurbishment of the lounge. A buffet will be on offer. One could ask no more - good beer, food and some great jazz. Here's to the next ten years.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Info on Syd Warren Wanted.

I received the following EMail, I'm sure we can help Maxene:
Hello, I wonder if you can help me. My dad was Syd Warren, tenor sax player in the north east for many years. My dad sadly passed away almost 14 years ago.I was wondering if you had any photos of him as, unfortunately, I have lost contact with his second wife. When my dad was 15 he played at the Oxford Galleries in Newcastle, I can remember as a child a photo of him in a big band, I think the Band Leader was George Evans but I am not sure. I would be really grateful if you could come up with anything of him. About twenty years ago he made a record with Scott Adair, Colin Haikney, Kay Rouselle, Derek Dixon, and Ray Harley. I have just recently started listening to it and the memories come flooding back of his playing and happy times. I wondered if any of them are still with us. Can you help me with that? I would love to hear from you and I know it is a tall order.
Kind regards
Maxene Wells .
Maxene, I've tried to EMail you but the server was having none of it. I've put a few photos together here. There may be more to follow. In the above photo Syd (tenor) is with American trombone player Jiggs Whigham, Derek Dixon (bs) & Willie Payne (gtr).

The Harry Allen Heart Foundation

I ambled into one of our local charity shops the other day - see what they had in CDs. There was the inevitable passé pop discs, some classics - Mozart's Greatest Hits, Best of Beethoven, - the usual dross and then...and then...Tommy Whittle. Joy folowed by sadness as it was a disc I already had but then...but then...not one but two discs by Harry Allen!
"A Night At Birdland" morphed the Art Blakey Blue Note cover and had Harry, Randy Sandke, Brian Dee, Len Skeat along with Oliver Jackson on drums.
"How Long Has This Been Going On" retained Jackson on drums; Keith Ingham (pno) and Major Holley (bs) were the others. Harry is surely as a good a mid period tenor player as there is these days (with the possible exception of Vasy) and both discs are superb.
A couple of days later, I re-visited the shop and there was yet another Harry Allen! This time a duet album with Howard Alden on guitar - "I'll Never Be The Same." Magic; and all at £1.99 each.
On my final visit they'd sold out of Harry Allen but did have a Barbara Jay/Tommy Whittle and a Rachael Pennell/Stan Greig with Barnes, A and Adams, B(ruce).
I've got a lot of listening to catch up on.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Frank Brooker Photos

I didn't get any shots that were worth publishing from Frank's gig at Blaydon last month but, fortunately, Eddie Carson was able to help out so click here to view. Thanks Eddie, Lance.

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