Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 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.


16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...


Sat 20: Snake Davis & Helen Watson Duo @ Chopwell Community Centre NE17 7HZ. 7:30pm. £17.50.

Sun 21: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 21: Salty Dog @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free. Sun 21: The Big Easy @ The White Room, Stanley. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: Ben Crosland Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

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

Tue 23: Nomade Swing Trio @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm. £10.00. Tickets from Tully’s of Rothbury or at the door (cash only). A Coquetdale Jazz event.

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: The Ronnie Scott’s Story @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Thu 25: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Garry Hadfield (keys); Noel Dennis (tpt); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).
Thu 25: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

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: Stuart Turner @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Fri 26: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Fri 26: Bold Big Band @ Old Coal Yard, Byker, Newcastle. 9:30pm. A Newcastle Fringe Festival event.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tina May @ The Green Man, London

Tina May (vcl), Robin Aspland (pno), Arnie Somogyi (bs), Steve Keogh (dms). + Sarah-Emma Hughes (vcl).
I decided it was time to pack up all my cares and woes and head south for a couple of days in our capital city (London). That I chose possibly the hottest day of the last ten thousand years didn't faze me although I did wilt a little in the intense heat. However, the air conditioning in the Green Man's 'Porters Basement Bar' was very effective. In less humid times it could have been referred to as 'draughty' (or is it 'drafty? Or does it matter?) Tina May with the Robin Aspland Trio was the star attraction and she gave her own distinctive renditions of an assortment of 'gassers' (songs from the great American songbook) and bebop classics. In the latter category, Clifford Brown's 'Daahaud' was on the money, 'Well You Needn't' not quite. “You've Changed” (the sparkle in your eyes is gone) always an emotive lyric was handled well as was one of the lesser known songs from “On The Town” - "Lucky To Be Me".
"You Go To My Head" sung as a samba didn't quite work but it was an admirable attempt to inject some new life into an overworked standard. One of Tina's plus points is her delivery of les chanson – her pronunciation displays not a hint of Franglais and it is easy to see why she did the recent Piaf tour; “Autumn Leaves” a fine example. An added bonus was a guest appearance from NYJO singer Sarah-Emma Hughes who duetted with the star on a blues melange involving “Route 66” and “Kansas City.” The girl did good. She later returned for a blast on “Take The A Train”. On piano, Robin Aspland was the perfect accompanist and a powerful soloist. The rhythm section of Arnie Somegyi and Steve Keogh acquitted themselves admirably.
All in all a very enjoyable evening spent in the charming company of our southern correspondent Angela J.Elliott who is herself no mean singer. Lance.
PS: Thank you Angela for correcting the bass and drum names.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Déjà Vu

Among the photos and memorabilia from Ian Forbes were some press cuttings from the 1960s. In one of them, Mighty Joe Young begs the question as to why the audiences who attend the City Hall jazz concerts are rarely seen at local club sessions.
Jump to 2009, substitute Sage for City Hall and the same question can be posed.
Another example; the Highfield Hotel, East Rainton. Admitedly an out of the way venue yet free gigs featuring Tony Kofi and Julian Siegel filled the room so it wasn't too far out of the way. Inbetween Julian and Tony, local bands failed to draw a fraction of the support and the venue folded.
I imagine similar situations exist throughout the land - sad really.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Partisans - Prologue.

This month's "Schmazz @ The Cluny" (Tuesday June 30) presents Partisans (Julian Siegel (ten/sop), Phil Robson (gtr), Thad Kelly (bs), Gene Calderazzo (dms)). For those of you still undecided upon forking out the not unreasonable £7/£5/£3 follow this link to LondonJazz for a review of the latest gig. If reading that doesn't inspire you to attend then 'Jack you're dead'.
As fortune has it I won't make it myself (I'm heading south as Partisan heads north - perhaps we could wave to each other 'round 'bout Doncaster).
This is going to be a seriously good gig. I May be listening to Tina and Robin Aspland whilst Parisan are Schmazzing.

The Mighty Joe Young Band - City Hall 1961

Prob line-up: John Walters (tpt/vcl), Barry Robinson (alt), Leo Harwood, (ten), Dick Errington (bar), Bill Harper? (pno), Brian Fisher (bs), John 'Joe' Young (gtr), Ian Forbes (dms). + Eric Burdon.
I've recently obtained a recording of the Mighty Joe Young Band playing live at Newcastle City Hall in 1961 - an event that was advertised as "The City Hall Jazz Festival" - possibly the city's first ever jazz festival?
It is an eyeopener. Much has been made, and rightly so, of the Emcee 5 on the local scene but this band was up there with them and I would be so bold as to say that, at the time, John Walters was probably a better trumpet player than Ian Carr. Ian, of course went on to achieve international status whilst John became a Radio 1 producer; a role he performed until his death in 2001 aged 62. Had John Walters remained a trumpet-player who knows what heights he may have reached musically - if not financially. He also sings on "Just Squeeze Me" but we won't talk about that!
Ian Forbes, who provided me with the recording, drives the band along forcefully dropping bombs at the appropriate target points - "Standing Room Only" a case in point. On alto, Barry Robinson is featured extensively on "Jeep's Blues".
More Ellington with "The Jeep Is Jumping" and punchy solos all round.
"Let The Good Times Roll" has the pre-Animal Eric Burdon shouting the blues whilst the band riff along behind. Even though the recording verges on the primitive it doesn't detract from the music - quality nostalgia.
This begs the question, were you there? April 21, 1961 was the date - you must remember - it's only 48 years ago. If you were there let us have your memories.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Paul Edis Sextet @ Blaydon Jazz Club

Graeme Wilson (ten), Graham Hardy (tpt), Chris Hibbard (tmb), Paul Edis (pno), Neil Harland (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms). Photo left courtesy of Eddie Carson.
It would be difficult to pick six better north-eastern musicians than the above, or two better composer/arrangers than Paul and Graeme. Throw standards such as "Out of Nowhere", "In A Sentimental Mood", "Joyspring" and "All the Things You Are" into the mix, add some original originals and you have the recipe for a couple of very listenable sets with a distinctly west coast feel to some of the numbers.
Particularly outstanding was Paul's version of "All the Things etc." which he re-titled "All the Things You Aren't" (Anglifying Maynard Ferguson's "All The Things You Ain't"?). This had the horns playing a Bach-like fugue as an intro - brilliant.
Paul, Neil and Adam played one of Roly's compositions "Job Shufflebottom" as a trio with some effective drumming from Adam. The title, incidentally, comes from an insurance claim that Roly dealt with in a former life. Amazing where composers find inspiration! Perhaps I/we could write some words to it?!
All in all it was a session that went down okay with the small but enthusiastic audience.
Personally, much as I enjoyed it, I felt a few more uptempo numbers would have broken things up a bit and perhaps more dynamics on the slower ones.

More What's New

I think this version is wonderful don't you? Hil.

Ian Forbes' Photos

Ian Forbes has kindly loaned me a wadge of photos and memorabilia that will gradually appear in an album. The photo on the left shows Ian on vibes, his son on drums along with Roly and the Blaydon boys (Derek Dixon (bs), Bill Smith (ten), Bill Harper (pno).)
Photo Link. Poster Link Watch this space! Lance.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Budvivar Still Groovin' High.

Budvivar:Stuart Findon, Fiona Littlewood (tens), Chris Finch (pno), Eddie Nickson (gtr), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms).
Take it to the Bridge: Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger (ten), Barry Ashcroft (pno/bs), Tom Dibb (gtr), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms) + Solomon ? (dms).
Twice in a week for Budvivar and it has to be said that tonight's venue (The Chilli) provided a more sympathetic audience than did the Tennis Club. As a result the 'Buds' raised their game accordingly even though it was virtually the same set.
One number I overlooked on Friday was "Hit That Jive", originally a King Cole Trio number that had the two tenors adding their voices to Debra's vocal. "Route 66", played as an encore, reminded me of what a grand old favourite the Bobby Troup tune is and they did it justice. For the rest see Friday's post.
Before and after, Take It To The Bridge played some good stuff with Tom Dibb on guitar excelling. A guy called Solomon sat in on drums for "Watermelon Man". Eric had returned by the time the final "Billie's Bounce", taken at tempo di lique, blew the roof off with inspired thrashing from TD and good solos from Chris, who'd stayed on after his Budvivar set (Barry moved over to bass guitar) Dave and Darren.
That's it for now - I'm falling asleep -zzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Lemondrop Kid.

I met a chap in the car park as I was leaving tonight's River City gig. his name was Ken. Ken told me he once met Duke Ellington in Newcastle and sang George Wallington's "Lemondrop" for him. Now Ken, if you read this you've got to tell us more. There can't be many amongst us who have sang "Lemondrop" for Jazz's all-time numero uno and to have sung it for him in Newcastle must surely be unique. So please, Ken, tell it like it was.

River City Jazzmen @ Royal British Legion Club, West Jesmond.

Mike Durham (tpt), Gordon Solomon (tmb), Bill Smith (alt), Keith Stephen (bjo/gtr), Bill Brooks (bs), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl).
"Bourbon St. Parade" kicked things off - it reminded me of the Breda Jazz Festival back in the 1980s when every band, including the RCJ, played that tune just about every set. Only Gordon ("Solly") and Bill Brooks remain from that edition but the tune has stayed with them - honed to perfection over the years. The ubiquitous Fred Thompson turned up again tonight on drums and vocals. He sang, for starters, "Am I Blue?" If you were blue to begin with Fred's easy style coupled with some fine guitar from Keith would soon banish those feelings. Keith stuck mainly with banjo tonight and his "The World Is Waiting for The Sunrise" displayed an awesome technique on that most maligned of instruments.
Guesting on trumpet was Mike Durham - looking and sounding more like Humph every day - Mike slotted in with the band and was particularly impressive on "Treasure Island". Mike reminded me that the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival is almost upon us (Mike is the Guru behind the festival) so keep the weekend of July 12 & 13 free.
Bill Brooks displayed the solemnity once associated with Marshall Walker (former RCJ drummer) whilst doing all the right things at the right time on bass.
What can you say about Bill Smith? 82 year old and still blowing (alto these days).
Finally Gordon Solomon. Leader and trombonist First Class. I hadn't heard "Solly" for many years and I was pleased to note he is no longer a slave to Chris Barber but has mellowed with a smoother sounding voice of his own.
An enjoyable, reasonably attended evening. Photos.

What's New?

This morning a wonderful sound came filtering out of the kitchen from the Terry Wogan Show of all things. It was Linda Ronstadt singing "What's New?" surely one of the top ten songs of the 20th century. Like "Stardust" a perfect match of music and lyrics. I believe the story behind it is that Bob Haggard wrote the tune in 1938 and Johnny Burke promised to write words for it and then forgot, some years later when they met Haggard asked about the lyric and Burke said he had them in his office and would go and get them. An hour later he came back with the newly written words and the rest as they say is history, and he changed the title from "I'm Free" to "What's New?" There is still hope for Radio 2.

R.I.P. Steve Race.

Steve Race died on June 22nd. Younger fans may say who? even some of the not so young may consider his connection with jazz to be tenuous but to us 'oldies' his jazz pedigree was impeccable. Not for his piano playing even though it was very good, nor his broadcasting skills (Jazz 625) or even his journalistic ability (Melody Maker).
I remember him mostly as the champion of Dave Brubeck when most of his peers mocked and derided him. I took Steve's side, after all he was a fair old musician himself unlike those armchair critics who can only play dominoes.
Steve stood firmly by his man and time has decreed that Dave has stood its test and vindicated Steve Race for standing by his convictions.
Rest in peace Steve you had 88 good music , not just jazz, filled years.
Lance. Telegraph Obit.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Corner House

Peter Wright (tpt), Barry Soulsby (clt/alt/vcl), Laurence McBriarty (tmb), Brian Bennett (bjo/vcl), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl).
No 'special guests' tonight just the usual suspects doing their usual thing rather well. What you see is what you get with the Vieux Carré Jazzmen who, on Monday nights, turn a corner of Heaton into the New Orleans district of Storyville - musically speaking that is!
"I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" (there are some strange song titles!) got things moving with good solos all round.
Clarinetist Barry Soulsby's later feature on "Wildcat Blues" (in trio format with Les Deux Brian) also impressed.
Laurence dipped into his Kid Ory bag for "Savoy Blues" - and used his wide array of mutes effectively on other idiomatic favourites.
Peter Wright, solid and forceful throughout, gave a sensitive rendition of "Lily of the Valley".
As always with the VC there were songs from Fred - "Winin' Boy Blues" being but one. The drummer also duetted with Barry on, "I Get the Blues When it Rains" - a suggestion of Barbershop in the air on that one.
Brian B vocalised on "The Second Line" and the final "Goin' Home". There were other highlights but you've got the picture.
In the engine room, the rhythm section kept the props turning with their own brand of urbane, sophisticated, metronomic stimulation.
All in all it was a clunking good night.

Live from Detroit - LeeBop. Tribute to Lee Morgan.

Latest offering from npr media is a live stream from Detroit International Jazz Festival. Sponsored by Pabst beers and introduced by Dee Dee Bridgewater this set has 58 minutes of LeeBop doing a three trumpet tribute to the late Lee Morgan. The hornmen are: Dominic Faranacci, Jeremy Pelt and Branden Lee. It is a cooker! Lance. Click here.

Snippets from Russell.

One or two snippets of news... Newcastle's City Library is hosting an exhibition of photographic prints by Jimmy Forsyth (documentary photographer par excellence of Newcastle and its citizens of the last half-century). One print of interest to jazz fans is The Royal Arcade, 1960 - clearly visible is the entrance/facade of the Newcastle Jazz Club ! The prints on show are just some of the many images in Mr.Forsyth's new book ''Jimmy Forsyth: Photographs from the 1950s and 1960s''. Published by Newcastle Libraries imprint Tyne Bridge Publishing in association with Tyne & Wear Archives.ISBN 978 185795 132 2. £8.99., paperback. Tuesday's Independent runs an obituary of Eddie Bo (New Orleans jazz & blues pianist). Djangology's gig this Thursday at Hexham's Queen's Hall is a sell-out !

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Tale of the Unexpected. Nick Gill's Byzantines @ Saville Exchange, North Shields.

Nick Gill (pno/vcl), Jake Gill (gtr/6 str.bjo/vcl), Debbie Arthurs (dms/vcl), James Evans (clt/alt/vcl), Pete Morgan (bs). I went to this gig, last night, not knowing what to expect or, to be more accurate, expecting a conventional classic jazz type outfit. All the musicians are very established players on the classic jazz circuit with the possible exception of young Jake Gill – a talented player and a name to watch out for. Imagine my surprise when I encountered an evening of mostly original music – songs at that, on varying topics loosely in a 20s era, Temperance Seven, Bonzo Dog, early dance band , varsity ball sort of vein. There were a few items from the familiar repertoire – "Dr Jazz" (a tour de force from Evans on alto plus his unmiked vocal), "High Society" (Evans, now on clarinet, playing the obligatory solo), "Dinah" (with period vocal and Djangoesque solo from Gill) but, apart from some novelty piano rag solo pieces from Nick in the break, all of the rest was original material. Mostly composed by Nick Gill but with a couple of songs written by his associates. Songs ranged from nostalgic, haunting –"The Station", to varsity ball "Do the Yak", novelty "Mr Exstein’s X Ray Ears" to macabre "Angel (of death)". Material wide ranging in subject matter and feel, albeit within the general style as outlined above. Nick Gill snr is a fine ragtime/stride pianist, nephew Jake plays good 6 string banjo and Django inspired guitar – and both also sing nicely in that early dance band, light vocal style. Debbie Arthurs is now a hugely popular figure on the trad circuit – neat, swinging drums plus delightful, youthful vocals. Check out her own band ‘Sweet Rhythm’ or her work with players such as Spats Langham. James Evans is a virtuoso clarinet/alto player with a fast growing reputation. He has fluent, immaculate technique – a top drawer player in his chosen idiom. Surprise band member was Pete Morgan on bass. A fine player with a ‘modern’ style that has seen him play with such as Don Rendell, Tony Lee and many visiting American soloists. Great walking bass plus nice Slam Stewart type solos too. All in all, an enjoyable and very intriguing evening. Hats off to Nick Gill and the gang for resolutely doing something so ‘out of the ordinary’.
Roly. (Photo of James Evans taken earlier in the week at Abersoch by John Taylor - Lance)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Any One For Tenors? Budvivar @ Northumberland Tennis Club.

Debra Milne (vcl), Stuart Findon, Fiona Littlewood (tenors), Chris Finch (pno), Eddie Nickson (gtr), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms).
Sweaty bodies and hairy legs congregated in the bar area as the tennis players, in a flurry of pre-SW19 enthusiasm, replaced their lost bodily fluids with the contents of tall glasses of Kronenberg Lager.
Moving away from the Wimbledon Wannabees I was delighted to rub noses with Germaine S. - a breath of fresh air midst those of the more athletic endeavour - she looked good.
Down front, the band were setting up and I joined Russell (and later Cathy & John) for an eagerly anticipated first set.
Debra referred to our table as 'The Jazz Mafia' - I'm sure it was a compliment!
The two tenors give this boppy band a great sound. From the opening "Groovin' High" to the closing "A Train" they were never far from 52nd Street with the masculinity of Stuart's sound contrasting perfectly with the more delicate lines of Fiona (both musically and otherwise). With solid backing from Chris, Eddie, Jim and Eric this was a cohesive unit. Chris and Eddie also did good solo work.
Out front, Debra applied her distinctive vocals to "Night In Tunisia", Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments", "Beautiful Love", "You go to My Head", The Jobim tune that I love and can never remember - "Aqua something or other" I guess it has to do with water - Monk's "Well You Needn't", "Four", "Invitation" to mention but a few; none of them easy tunes to sing.
An enjoyable evening; catch Budvivar again at the Chilli on Wednesday (24th).
PS: Thank you Debs for mentioning Bebop Spoken Here. I loved your dress.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's South Shields.

Iain McCaulay (tmb), Derek Fleck (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Ian Forbes (dms).
I must confess that this week I was somewhat remiss in not giving the music my full attention. This was because my old mate and drummer Bill Shaw was in the audience - our friendship dates back to schooldays and subsequently various bands and 'social occasions'. His lovely wife Mary was with him as was that fine guitarist George Gosling. I hadn't seen them for a number of years so needless to say the reminiscences flew back and forth to make for an enjoyable and nostalgic afternoon.
What I did hear was some fine trombone from Ian, depping for Herbie Hudson, and good vocals from Olive - "Jeepers Creepers" and "Mr Shane" (English translation) are two that made an impression.
So apologies all round but the music in the background did sound good and the atmosphere was lively.
Next week I shall sit with furrowed brow and stroke my hypothetical beard pausing only to say, at periodic intervals, "Yeah man!")

Hurry! Hurry! You've got half an hour to get to Middlesbrough.

Thu June 18 Noel Dennis Quartet @ Mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), Centre Square, Middlesbrough. 5.00.p.m. Tel: 01642 726720. Russell.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

All's Well That End's Well. Take It To The Bridge @ The Chilli.

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Mick Danby (bs), Eric Stutt (dms). + (pictured) Chris Finch (pno), Nicola Weaver (alto).
The early indication was that tonight was going to make a seance seem like a 'Rave'. The music was fine but the audience was thin and by that I don't mean slim. Then, as if by divine intervention, a boatload of students arrived which quadrupled the numbers and meant the band would have bread on the table tomorrow. It was as if one of the mythical Schmazz coachloads had finally materialised.
A guy called Michael celebrated his birthday and his friends were carousing as if there was no tomorrow.
This meant it was noisy but I like a bit of noise providing it isn't too much. My theory is that jazzers will take more chances in a noisy atomsphere than at one of those pin-drop gigs. Well I certainly would!
Chris and Nicola sat in at this point for "Blue Bossa", "Invitation", "Corcovado", "Up Jumped Spring" and the favourite blues in F - "Blues For Duane".
Turned out to be a good night after all even though Lawrie Brown didn't make it - perhaps he'd overcooked at the Porthole!.
Chapeaux en massé!

Jazz Esquires @ The Porthole, North Shields

Mick Hill trumpet/flugel, Eddie Bellis trombone, Roy Gibson keyboard & Laurie Brown drums. Although the wet weather kept the crowds away the Jazz Esquires gave of their all to those who turned up.
Mick Hill again proved why he is in demand, driving on the up tempo numbers, lyrical on the ballads, he played a lovely Harmon solo on "I'm Confessin'" and an equally effective open one on "Stardust."
The smooth trombone of Eddie Bellis added to the joys, and he proved his musicianship by transposing from the Bb tenor sax parts in the ensemble.
Roy “Fingers” Gibson again showed his keyboard skills and what can you say about Laurie Brown? The man who drums were invented for. From skilful brush work on the ballads to knocking seven shades out of the cowbell on "Quando! Quando! Quando!" he never let up.
Intermission music was provided by Colin Johnson, keyboard and Derek Chapman drums, after which Roy played while Teresa proved again there is more than one Cullercoats lass can handle a ballad, Mike Read who doubles as the landlord and A.N. Other also provided songs. As they used to say after the Chapel trip, a good time was had by all. Miles.

Zoe Gilby Trio @ The Boardwalk Café - June 12.

Sorry, but this will ramble on - I enjoyed it so much that my promise to be at Andy Champion's gig 2+2=infinity got lost in a haze of hops & barley at the Tynedale Beer festival on Saturday - hic! It's always good to slip a word like 'incongruous' into the blogosphere and turning up at The Boardwalk last Friday night was just that: Act 1, Scene 1 A warm summer evening ; kids playing on the beach ; someone's flying a red stunt kite, whoops ; the Spanish City frowns as it looks on, still under anaesthetic from its huge theatre gown - what are they building in there! Our jazz fan sand dances into the beachside Boardwalk bistro & bar where they're already queuing for the inclusive buffet of chicken or veg curry (or both!), pays his 10 quid and, reserving his Johnny-no-mates table for one with a pint of 1664, joins the eager line of diners. Queuing here is a trance-like pleasure: "Listen how happy hearts are beating, Like the ocean beats upon the sand, And our feet in rhythm keep repeating, Evr'y little movement of the band..." (When Lights are Low - Spencer Williams/Benny Carter)... could this be vu-deja: watching the waves breaking on the beach, I put 2+2 together and the a.m. red kite describes infinity across the graph paper of the venetian blinds - pretentious, moi?! And so our scene is set. The Players Vocals: Zoë of course ; Guitar: Mark Williams ; Double Bass: Andy Champion. The Play: I've not heard Zoë before but, 4 bars into the 1st number's vocal, 'No More Blues' and I was won over. This was an amazing performance with, I hazard a guess, her love of Ella and Shirley Horn shining through the phrasing and delivery, with a hint of Peggy Lee's undoubted sensuality bringing double entendre to new heights - well at least treble! like Ella, Zoë is also one hell of a scat singer taking scat solos on several of the night's set including Angel Eyes. She also puts over her mischievous sense of humour with such panache: "This one is a Dave Frishberg song," she smiles, "which apparently means Fresh Mountain, mmm.... and describes perfectly the way we women want our men to be.....", going on to sing 'Peel Me a Grape' ; "....Polar Bear rug me.... Thunderbird me, mink me, but don't out-think me....", with such belief that we male mortals simply look on in amazement! As the end of the first set loomed, Zoë told us of her rehearsing for the Marsden Jazz Festival in October where she will perform as a duo with her partner Andy Champion. So, as Mark set off to the bar, Andy slid the bass string up the neck for the sleazy haunting intro of 'Way Down in the Hole' - what a delivery - living proof that you don't need to drink a bottle of Bourbon and smoke 60 tabs to sing a Tom Waits song - mind you, it's a reasonable excuse! Sitting at the side of the stage, Zoë's mam, who apparently insists that Andy starts Juan Tizol's "Caravan" with a demonstration of his bongo skills on the top of the bass body - no shame: a perfect scene-setting intro to a dusky desert song. Of course a trio is a trio and I must give all due praise to Mark and Andy who added their imaginative and energetic backing and improvisations to build a wonderful set. Then, to end off the evening, a public information announcement for anyone aiming to take the last buzz(ard) home to Gateshead: 'Straighten Up and Fly Right' - thanks from a Dunston Monkey for that invaluable wisdom Zoë!
George Milburn.

Memories from Mal Maddock

I have to say what a great blog this is......So many names that mean so much to me........Willie Payne!.....I did a residency with Willie at the Estoril Restaurant in Tynemouth.....What a player...... Nigel Stanger......Spent some time with Nigel & Germaine.....Such beautiful music..... Bill Golding....Another one off unique Saxophonist that I had the pleasure of working with early in my career...... Alan explosive band with great tunes...... Mal Maddock
(I felt this was worthy of a seperate post rather than a comment - Lance.)

Fancy a Pizza, Roly?

If so - this must be the place! 23-25 June Birdland Jazz Club 315 W 44th St New York, New York 10036 (212) 581-3080 PIZZArelli Party with the Pizzarellis!: John, Bucky, Martin, Jessica Molaskey, plus honorary Pizzarellis Harry Allen, Aaron Weinstein. and BECKY KILGORE! See you there (in my dreams - I'll probably have to settle for a bag of crisps at The Chilli!). Lance

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

R.I.P. Charlie Mariano

Another former Kenton saxman, alto player Charlie Mariano, died this morning (June 16) aged 85. A fine player who also played with Mingus (The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady was outstanding.) I remember hearing him in Den Haag in 1983 (see photo) with the George Gruntz Concert Orchestra. Charlie blew up a storm on both alto and soprano. Sadly missed by those with a taste for modern alto playing.
Tribute. Lance.

Whisper Not - Benny Golson's @ Ronnies.

Read a review of Benny Golson at Ronnie Scott's on Londonjazz. Then jump on a southbound train - finishes tomorrow. Lance. PS: Of course if you live south of the Thames it will have to be a northbound train.

R.I.P. Jack Nimitz

One of the West Coast breed of baritone sax players whose careers' fluctuated between the studios and the bands of Kenton, Herman etc. Jack Nimitz died on June 10th aged 79. My particular memory is of him in the sax ensemble, "Supersax". The band that played Charlie Parker solos as a section. I wonder if the discs are still available? "Bebop is the most sophisticated form of jazz," he once said. "It's very challenging but also rewarding because it feels so good when it happens." L.A Times obituary. Lance.

Second Set Corner House

Having been delayed elsewhere I dashed to the Corner House hoping to sample the interval buffet and listen to the second set featuring the guest for the evening clarinetist Don Armstrong. A big disappointment was the lack of a buffet ! A decent alternative was a nourishing pint of Guinness. So, pint in hand, the second set commenced with a rousing rendition of ''Happy Birthday'' by band and audience alike for birthday boy Mr. Armstrong (75 years young today). The jazz resumed with 'Over the Waves', a tune associated with George Lewis and, no doubt, well known to Don Armstrong (solos from Armstrong, Wright and Soulsby). An unexpected hiatus occurred when someone (no names, Mr.Soulsby) dropped a pint glass, shattering glass and spilling its contents all over the dance floor. The miscreant went off in search of brush, dustpan, mop etc. On his return it was suggested that, in clearing up the mess, he had found his true vocation ! Drummer Fred Thompson took a vocal on ''Sweet Sue'' followed by an excellent muted trumpet solo by Peter Wright on ''Sentimental Journey''. Louis' ''Someday You'll Be Sorry'' was another vocal feature for Thompson, with a solo turn from Brian Sibbald as Soulsby switched to alto for this one only during the set. An audience request - '' 'Tain't No Sin to Take Off Your Skin'' - saw Barry Soulsby reading the lyrics sheet with Bennett and Sibbald reading the dots to supply the rhythmic foundation. It was almost time to go but not without a two clarinet stirring of ''Clarinet Marmalade''. It was good to see a better turn-out than of late. A good night.


Monday, June 15, 2009

DON ARMSTRONG IN TOWN - Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ the Corner House.

Peter Wright (tpt), Don Armstrong (clt), Barry Soulsby (alt/clt/vcl), Lawrence McBriarty (tmb), Brian Bennett (bjo), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl).
Former Panama (Jazzmen) clarinetist Don Armstrong celebrated his 75th birthday by making a guest appearance with the Vieux Carré Jazzmen at the Corner House. Don, who has lived in Oz for many years (he's on vacation), was a regular on the local scene in the 1950s and is well remembered by survivers from that era. His playing has (probably) changed little during the interim years with his allegiance still firmly nailed to the mast of George Lewis and the other New Orleans reedmen. Barry Soulsby, with his purer tone, provided a contrasting sound although, by necessity, tonight Barry played more alto.
Peter Wright, as he did last week drove the ensemble along whilst Lawrence McBriarty had an interesting feature - "Moonlight and Roses."
"If I Had You" put Fred Thompson in the vocal spotlight and the drummer did Ted Shapiro's song justice. The two Brians kept the rhythm clunking along; close your eyes, and you're transported back to Bourbon St or, more likely, Newcastle's Melbourne Street in the 1950s.
I could only stay for the first set this week but it was enough to give me a nostalgic fix and a reminder of the delights I knew before I discovered bebop.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bill McHenry Quintet Live @ the Village Vanguard

Another gem from npr music - Bill McHenry Quintet in a live performance from New York City's famous Village Vanguard. Lance.

Bejazzled @ York. What a swell party that was - by Liz.

Tim New (flt/ten/sop), Don Lodge (gtr), Ed Jackson (bs).
"A country dance was being held in a garden..." Actually it was a friends' significant birthday' party and, although I wasn't wearing polka dots and I had to leave before the moonbeams, it was a near perfect day. I cannot think of a better way than to party on a lovely sunny afternoon to such a great trio as "Bejazzled" here in the fair city of York. This band, so fitted the bill. With such faves as "Bluesette" " When Sunny Gets Blue" and a particularly fine version of" My Funny Valentine" it had all the summer ingredients that we wait for all winter! Tim is very well known here, and in immaculate dress, (Ed in a very fetching panama) with a laid back & gentlemanly manner, he & his guys were simply the best.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2+2= Infinity. Bridge Hotel, Newcastle.

Andy Champion (double bass), Graeme Wilson (baritone & tenor saxophone), Paul Hession (drums), Mike Hurley (keyboards). Jazz North East's second season of gigs presenting the best of free jazz and improvisation concluded with a meeting of two duos; Tyneside's own Andy Champion and honourary Geordie Graeme Wilson (hailing from north of the border) and free jazz percussion wizard Paul Hession (no stranger to Newcastle) and midlands based keyboards player Mike Hurley. The ''local boys'', Champion and Wilson, got things under way, displaying no little confidence with their illustrious counterparts listening intently at the bar. Wilson possesses a cast iron technique on baritone and, most impressively, searches for a figure, a rhythm, a texture at a slow tempo which, in less capable hands, could expose a paucity of ideas and invention. Champion, the first - call bassist on the north east jazz scene, enjoys a musical rapport with Wilson which has, no doubt, come about from their countless gigs together in other ensembles across the region. The bassist used the bow and mallets in response to Wilson's probings and offered the added dimension of loop pedal effects (used sparingly on this gig). West Coast cool is the image Wilson projects, yet, in full flow, he can produce an incendiary performance (more of which later). The second set featured Hession and Hurley. Hession is in the top division of UK free jazz drummers (Mark Sanders, Steve Noble, Tony Marsh et al). Hession guarantees a performance; from himself and those sharing the stand. Mike Hurley is a new name to most on Tyneside. A duo of drums and keyboards begged the question - would it work ? Hurley revealed a debt to Debussy allied to a Keith Tippett - like attack with a bottom end hammering recalling Cecil Taylor. In full flow the duo captured the thrilling essence of the music; sometimes fleeting, shifting, lost in the ether. The set took an unexpected turn - Hurley had exhausted the keyboard; battered into submission it was retired for the evening. Hurley's work done it was down to Hession to deliver a drum masterclass to conclude the set. The third set, scheduled to be a quartet, was played as a trio. Hession's encouraging, urgent performance offered the (unexpected) opportunity to Champion and Wilson to stretch - out and deliver a blistering set. This was free jazz at its best. The third season of Jazz North East's ''On the Outside'' gigs is almost upon us. The Side Cafe on Friday 3rd July sees Tom - Mix riding into town. See you there (stetson optional). Russell

R.I.P. HUEY LONG of the Inkspots

Huey Long, until June 10 the last surviving member of the legendary vocal group The Inkspots, died on that day this week aged 105. As well as playing the distinctive guitar intros to the groups' records, Long also played on a number of sessions in the mid '40s with boppers such as Fats Navarro and Lockjaw Davis. Not many jazz/show biz folk hang around for as long as Huey did. Perhaps "Long" was short for Longevity.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Monk @ Town Hall - the Charles Tolliver Tentet

Our favourite poetess, lyricist, vocalesee, Angela J. Elliott has kindly pointed me in the direction of this jazz site which includes a recreation of Monk's Town Hall Concert by the Charles Tolliver Tentet. 87 minutes in a Monastery garden of delights. Click here. Don't be deterred by the long-winded pre-music talk - the wait is worthwhile.
PS: Stanley Cowell comes out of the blue mist as Monk.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Janusz Carmillo w. Jeremy McMurray Quartet @ Blaydon Jazz Club

Janusz Carmello (pkt tpt/flug), Jeremy McMurray (pno), Roly Veitch (gtr), Pete Stuart (bs), Bill Shield (dms).
This was undoubtedly a game of two halfs. The first which was merely excellent and the second - well I'll tell you about the second later but it was something else.
"September In The Rain" played on flugel made for a mellow toned start. Janusz really has the most perfect sound on flugel that I've ever heard and it wafted gently into the audience who, if they didn't outwardly sigh, must surely have heaved an inward one. "What Is This Thing Called Love?" had a few bop nuances that the hero of the hour threw off effortlessly. He does it all with apparent ease. Roly, Pete and Jeremy soloed impressively, as they did throughout the night, with Janusz on his trademark pocket trumpet slowly stoking the fire.
By interval time the general consensus was "pleasant". It had been a set oozing taste but not a lot in the way of fireworks. Most listeners felt the ambience would have been greater if the hall lights had been lower as was indeed the case when they were dimmed for the recall.
In the second set, the opening "Joyspring" changed any sense of ennui! Janusz gave the old Clifford Brown warhorse the ride of its life and that was only the start! A beautiful "Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square" - (JC jokingly changed it to "Leicester Square") got the heart beating faster and "Careless Love" was far removed from the banjo driven rhythms normally associated with the tune. A few Bossa Novas were interspersed as well as a delightful number in 3/4 time - what did they call it? Janusz invited everyone to waltz although nobody took up the invitation!
The set ended as it begun with more Clifford Brown - "Tiny Kapers". Janusz quoted Brown as his favourite trumpet player and it showed - I'm pleased to say.
Back of the trumpet player the rhythm section gave him solid support as well as handling their own solos with the aplomb and dexterity that their status on the jazz scene deserves. Nice one boys and thanks to Roly for organising the gig which was part of the Blaydon Festival.
PS: How could I forget to mention the trumpet/guitar duet on "My Romance"? Beautiful.

Maine Street Jazzmen w. Mike Bird @ Rosie Malone's.

Herbie Hudson (tmb/hmca/vcl), Derek Fleck (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Ollie ? (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl). Special guest - Mike Bird (clt).
The audience had increased tenfold since the last time I looked in at "Rosie's" by which I don't mean there were ten people in the room. It was a sizable crowd and even if they weren't all jazzers they seemed to enjoy themselves.
Accordingly, the band responded to the atmosphere and got a good stomping sound with Olive and Herbie sharing the vocals. "Mei Bir Mist Du Schoen" being a particulary good one for Olive.
Sitting in this afternoon was Mike Bird, a fine clarinet player from Wakefield, who opened up with a Goodman-like blast on "Indiana". "China Boy", "Mood Indigo" and others followed. He fit in well with Derek and the two had some sympathetic exchanges.
This was an excellent afternoon with all 7 guys (today you're a guy Olive) having moments of glory.
Make a note of Mike Bird - worth catching if he's back in the area. If Mike reads this perhaps he'll make a note to let us know if and when he returns.
"Nowt like this in Wakefield" he said. (He was referring to Pub Jazz as opposed to the renowned Wakefield Jazz Club.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Alan Glen Trio/Take It To The Bridge/Zoe Gilby

Alan Glen (pno), Lawrence Blackadder (bs), David Carnegie (dms).
Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger (ten), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Mark Williams (gtr), Eric Stutt (dms). + David Carnegie (pno), Zoe Gilby (vcl).
Every visit to the Chilli by the Alan Glen Trio produces something special and tonight was no exception although it was rather sad inasmuch as it marked the end of Lawrence Blackadder with the trio - he lives in Cumbria and the travelling is too much.
Nevertheless, all three were at the top of their game with a selection of tunes that would have delighted our lady from York (Liz). These included, "Have you Met Miss Jones", "It's You Or No One", a most ravishing version of "Skylark" and an uptempo "Love Letters" that owed nothing to Ketty Lester. Add Neal Hefti's "Shiny Stockings" and a few other tunes I couldn't put a name to and you have a set that enthralled from start to finish. The ease with which Alan executes the most complex phrases is truly awesome.
It goes without saying that, on his last night, Lawrence soloed superbly whilst David C, not content to solo and boot the whole thing along, later played piano with the Take it to The Bridge Boys giving Barry a break. Barry incidentally has been shorn of his locks and now looks a semi-cool dude. Another dude - a total dude - Mark Williams, who also went under the shears recently, had some fine moments on guitar. He really wailed on the final "Blues in F" ("Duane's Blues").
Eric Stutt socked it to the frontline - he's a rhythm machine with feeling - whilst Jim Crinson put in a good shift on bass, undeterred by Lawrence's performance or the fact that supremo Andy Champion was in the audience. Andy was with Hil and Zoe Gilby and Zoe lent her vocal chords to an excellent "Summer Samba" (or was it "So Nice"? or are they one and the same?).
Dave sang the verse to "Green Dolphin Street" as well blowing a nice, tightly muted, solo. Throughout their two sets Darren blew some lusty tenor. The Sam Jones' number "Unit 7" was made for his big sound
This was a top drawer night and with a decent sized audience (by Chilli standards) that included a few new faces.

Happy Birthday Mike Gilby

Trumpet player par excellence Mike Gilby, father of Zoe, was 75 today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY FROM ALL AT BEBOP SPOKEN HERE

Tell It To Me Like It Is

Here at Bebop Spoken Here we try to get round as many gigs as possible however, even with the able assistance of that intrepid traveller Russell, we don't get everywhere which is where you, dear reader, come in.
If you've been to a gig 'twixt Tees and Tweed, Ouse and Ouseburn (and beyond if it's 'special') tell us about it with a review and a picture. Doesn't have to be a big name gig - half a dozen guys blowing "Anthropology"/"The Saints"/"Original Composition No. 274a (delete as applicable) whatever, is fine. Love to hear from you.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Latest Blaydon News

Following this Thursday's (June 11) gig with Janusz Camello - the Polish trumpet player musn't be missed! - and the equally exciting Paul Edis sextet on June 25, Roly has lined up further gigs for July and August.
Thurs 9th July - Ruth Lambert (vcls) and Paul Gamblin (gtr) with The Jeremy McMurray Trio. Adm. £5.00. Top NE jazz singer Ruth teams up with great bebop guitarist Paul Gamblin plus Jeremy's trio to play some fine standards. Paul still works away from the area so this is a rare chance to hear one of our top jazz guitarists. No accolades needed for Ruth, her huge popularity speaks for itself. Also featuring Mick Shoulder bass & Billy Shield dms.
*Thurs 30th July - Roly Veitch Trio with Noel Dennis tpt/flgl and Neil Harland bass. Adm. £4.00.Roly brings his own trio, based loosely on gentle/intimate Chet Baker styled jazz, for a first gig at Blaydon. *This session is in the lounge.
Thurs 20th Aug - Paul Edis/Roly Veitch Quartet. Adm. £5.00. Pianist/composer Paul has in the past 2/3 years emerged as one of the area's finest jazz musicians, with a style reminiscent of the great Bill Evans. For this concert he joins Billy Shield dms, Neil Harland bass and Roly gtr/vcls for a one-off get together.
Bookmark these dates. Link to Blaydon Jazz.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Roger Myerscough w. Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Corner House.

Roger Myerscough (bar/clt/vcl), Barry Soulsby (clt/alt/vcl), Peter Wright (tpt), Lawrence McBriarty (tmb), Brian Bennett (bjo), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl).
A pleasant session with reedman Roger Myerscough guesting with the band. He blew some fine baritone reminiscent in places of Adrian Rollini's bass sax he also played clarinet and had an impressive duet with Barry Soulsby on "Apex Blues". It has to be said that Barry lost nothing by comparision.
However, perhaps the outstanding number of the night was "St. James Infirmary" sung by Fred Thompson with a restructured lyric. "I went down to Saint James Park - saw Alan Shearer there etc. It proved a hit with the decent sized crowd and had an excellent plunger solo from Lawrence.
On trumpet tonight was Peter Wright whose forceful lead put the decibels on overtime. On "Smiles", after a Barry vocal, he proved he also had a sensitive side with a nicely constructed solo.
All in all a good night with the usual sumptuous buffet served during the intermission.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Summertime in the City.

Well I never...I've just walked into the new library (in Newcastle - it opened at 11.00.a.m.). Hundreds of people milling about and what a bonus - as I write this one Nick Pride is playing jazz guitar ('Summertime'). No one is listening. No, tell a lie, two or three people are!

Rendezvous Jazz @ The Piper, Cullercoats. June 6.

Maureen Hall (vocals), Fred Rowe (trumpet & vocals ), Barry Soulsby (clarinet & vocals), Iain MacAulay (trombone & vocals), Mac Smith (piano), John Robinson,(double bass), Jim McKeown (drums), Matthew Office (acoustic guitar) & Doris Fenn (banjolele).
Tonight's session was scheduled to take place in the bar (with buffet included) due to refurbishment works in the lounge. The management made other plans and the jazz was to be heard, as usual, in the lounge. A pint of Old Speckled Hen ordered, a seat taken, the jazz began. ' June Night , rather appropriately, got things under way with Fred Rowe doing justice to the lyrics. Bandleader Maureen stepped up to sing 'You're Nobody's Sweetheart Now' (always a winner) followed by the first instrumental of the evening Duke Ellington/Johhny Hodges' 'Rent Party Blues'.
The first of two tunes often sung by Jimmy Witherspoon at Newcastle's Corner House - 'St.James Infirmary Blues' - offered solo opportunities to trumpet and trombone with a well - paced reading of the tune by Maureen. The tempo was upped with 'Honeysuckle Rose'; solos from clarinettist Soulsby, pianist Mac Smith and an inimitable vocal from Iain MacAulay.
The first set unveiled a new (young!) talent by the name of Matthew Office. Playing acoustic six string guitar it must have been difficult for him to hear himself. He read the charts, played the chords; all the while with a smile - he's one to watch out for. 'Bugle Boy March ' brought the fist set to an end with excellent ensemble work. Being 'D Day' (June 6th) the second set opener was, fittingly, 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary'. 'Melancholy Blues' demonstrated Maureen's command of a blues number and the tunes kept on coming 'Careless Love' (the other ' Witherspoon' tune), 'Smile', 'Dinah', 'Borurbon Street Parade' and more.
A good night out. The next installment, in the lounge, with a buffet, is Saturday 4th July.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Steve Melling-Clark Tracey Septet @ Darlington Arts Centre.

Mark Armstrong (tpt), Barnaby Dickinson (tmb), Simon Allen (alt) Dave O'Higgins (ten), Steve Melling (pno), Ryan Trebilcock (bs), Clark Tracey (dms).
I'm beginning to get the impression that those folks in the south of the region have more enthusiasm than their counterparts in the big city (Newcastle). Saltburn sold out last night, Darlington Arts Centre sold out a fortnight back and the same venue tonight, healthily attended.
Tonight was a cracker of a performance of straight down the middle contemporary jazz. With the exception of "Cherokee" it was an all original program written by the individual musicians and it didn't hurt a bit.
Geoff Gascoyne couldn't make the gig but his dep, Ryan Trebilcock proved to be a more than capable stand in.
The frontline all had moments to cherish as did Steve and Clark. If Stan Tracey is the "Grand Old Man" of British jazz then Clark must now qualify as the "Grand Middle-aged Man" of BJ.
In an evening of superb arrangements it was fitting that they saved the best until last.
This final number (before the encore) was quite unique. Instead of the inevitable round of fours so beloved of our local boys the horns had a round of 'thirty-twos' followed by 'sixteens' then 'eights' then 'fours' finishing off with 'twos' and finally 'ones'!
The blues, played as an encore, was equally original with sudden stops and pauses during ensembles and solos that came across as a very, very effective 'head'.
The gigs just get better!
PS: Avoid Row E - you will be sitting behind a human mountain and, unless your middle name is Everest, you will miss most of the visual excitement. During the interval I moved to the front row which for some reason was unoccupied. This gave me a perfect view - shame that the Darlo powers that be don't like photographers - I could have had some stunning images even without flash.

Steve Waterman's Ten Piece Project @ Saltburn Community Hall. (Friday June 5.)

Steve Waterman (trumpet & flugel horn), Noel Dennis (trumpet), Sue Ferris (baritone sax), Graeme Wilson (tenor sax), Rod Mason (alto sax), Chris Hibbard (trombone), Keith Norris (trombone), Paul Edis (piano), Andy Champion (double bass & electric bass), Adrian Tilbrook (drums).
The Victoria pub just down the road from the Community Hall was, I thought, just the place to sit and have a pre - gig pint and escape the falling rain in Saltburn...ten musicians had already hit on the same idea ! So, a pint of Skelton's IPA it was. A glance at Cleveland's '' Evening Gazette '' and it was time to stroll up to the venue. Well before the advertised kick - off the place was packed to the rafters - I think they knew they were onto a good thing.
Waterman's Ten Piece Project was assembled to play the music of some of the trumpet maestro's favourite composers. We were treated to an evening of tunes by Tadd Dameron (''Our Delight'', ''Good Bait'', ''Lady Bird''), Benny Golson (''Killer Joe''), Herbie Hancock (''Watermelon Man'', ''Chameleon'', ''Cantaloupe Island'') and others.
''Our Delight '' opened with Waterman and Ferris in unison; the other frontliners (all five of 'em!) joined in and the ace rhythm section stoked it up. Waterman afforded solos to all in the ensemble throughout the two sets; it was very much a collaborative evening of music making.
Solo after solo proved to be a highlight - Adrian Tilbrook (a master percussionist of the larger ensemble) took a superb solo, as did Andy Champion, Graeme Wilson, Rod Mason, Noel Dennis...the list goes on. Waterman's own composition ''Destination Unknown '' demonstrated his top - drawer technique. The band dealt with ease anything and everything thrown at them, not least the rhythm section playing ''Chameleon'' as the frontline played '' Watermelon Man'' - it worked!
A great gig at a nice venue with a bottle of Fuller's ''London Pride'' at hand. Perfect.
This evening's concert was presented by Saltburn Arts in association with Jazz Action and Geneva Trumpets. Geneva Trumpets are hand made in nearby Skelton by Tim Oldroyd. Messrs. Waterman and Dennis are but two of his clients.
Russell .

Blues For Mister Charlie (Carmichael).

12 years ago today my very dear friend Charlie Carmichael died. A brilliant sax, clarinet and flute player he was also a good mate who loved music and life and, above all, a good laugh. I've never known anyone who knew quite as many jokes as Charlie did and he could turn anything, even his own terminal illness into a joke - Nigel Stanger showed similar qualities.
On one of his last trips out Charlie visited the Porthole. The first person he met told him that Jimmy Stewart had died. The next guy said that Eric Agnew had died. Charlie replied, "Do you think I've got time to go to the bog?"
Will always be missed.
Lance. (I'm the one on the right - circa 1980)

Tenor Men - a kind of a poem.

It began with Coleman Hawkins, Played staccato in his early years. “Bean” mellowed as he grew older, But when he grew old, he grew bolder. ----------- Ben Webster had that big breathy sound, Slightly ragged around the edges. “Frog” used Rico reeds number five, Used number fours - may have still been alive. ---------- Lester Young had no eyes for bombast, Cool, streetwise, long before Miles and Gerry. “Prez” was father and surrogate mother To four great cats – all of them brothers. ---------- “Sheets of sound” you know where I’m at John Coltrane never stood still. “Trane” dug deep, into his soul and his mind Giant Steps. For you, and for me, and for mankind. ---------- Sonny Rollins - mystical as Monk. Woodshedding on Brooklyn Bridge, "Newk" could blow all night long A thousand choruses of the one song. Lance.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Pasadena Roof Orchestra - Alnwick Playhouse (May 29.)

All seats in the theatre are occupied. Lights are low and the audience whisper amongst themselves.Then, with a quiet swish, the curtains are drawn aside and the gentle murmers subside. On stage is revealed the precision setting of musical instruments and Art Deco presentation of perhaps Europe's best loved big band. The Pasadena Roof Orchestra are in town. I am privileged to be here at Alnwick in England's North Northumberland. The next two hours are sheer bliss. What a show. Thanks Lance for the timely reminder of their appearance. Keep up the good work on all things jazz. George Watt.

Darlington's The Place to be - Tomorrow Night.

Another post-bop special at Darlington Arts Centre with the Steve Melling - Clark Tracey Septet.
Mark Armstrong (tpt), Barnaby Dickinson (tmb), Simon Allen & Dave O'Higgins (saxes), Steve Melling (pno), Geoff Gascoyne (bs), Clark Tracy (dms) are described by Paul Bream as "The cream of UK's bop aristocracy" and that's good enough for me.
See you there (Row E).
Lance. PS: For those with more historical interests, New Orleans Heat play a lunchtime set (12.30) at the same venue.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

"You're An Unlucky Guy" - Becky Kilgore not at Nairn this year.

Despite Jazz UK announcing that Becky Kilgore is to play the Nairn Jazz Festival this coming August, a Facebook message from the lady herself tells me otherwise. Big disappointment - just have to keep listening to the CDs. Lance.

Zoe Gilby Quartet @ Ashington Jazz Club

Zoe Gilby (vcl), Mark Williams (gtr), Andy Champion (bs), Richard Brown (dms). Ashington Jazz Club celebrated their 24th anniversary last night with a fine performance by the Zoe Gilby Quartet. Photo opposite courtesy of John Taylor.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Evoking a Feeling on a Quiet Night in Heaton.

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger (ten), Joachim Kristiansson (gtr), Barry Ashcroft (bs), Eric Stutt (dms). + Ian Forbes (dms).
After last week's night of the big hitters it might have been feared that this week "The Chilly" would be a letdown - particularly when the bassplayer didn't show.
However, the Take It To The Bridge boys are a resilient bunch. Pianist Barry moved over to bass guitar, Eric, back from holiday was on drums, and completing the rhythm section, on guitar, a face that was new to me but known to the boys from the old "Egypt Cottage" days, Joachim Kristiansson. He had some nice solos. When Dave implored the section to 'Evoke a feeling' on, I think, "Cantaloupe Island" a feeling was duly evoked with some sympathetic chording by the young Dane (?). Say this about The Chilli, the list of fine guitarists who turn up is seemingly endless.
Out front, Darren was on tenor, big sound, Dave played trumpet and sang in his own distinctive style - the vocal chorus on "Like Someone In love" was appreciated by the small coterie of fans who stayed 'till the death. There may not have been as many fireworks as last week but for good, honest, endeavour - with the occasional surprise (where else in the world would the raffle prize be a compilation of music by ex Herman, Rich, Zappa, trumpet player, Sal Marquez?) - the Chillingham is unbeatable. In years to come an enlightened city council may put a blue plaque on the wall.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Customs House Big Band w. Ruth Lambert @ The New Crown, South Shields.

This open rehearsal of the Customs House Big Band demonstrated yet again what a fine band they are even when they are a trumpet or two short of a full section. Fine arrangements, honed to the nth degree, give a precision like end product. In particular, "A Foggy Day" impressed as did "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and "Witchcraft". Their second number, an imaginatively arranged piece that I didn't recognise and which the band took some time to nail, was well worth the effort when they got there.
Ruth Lambert, as always in good voice, didn't spring any surprises this week. Instead we were treat to her familiar takes on "Fly Me To The Moon", "Fever", "Well Alright, OK, You Win" and a fine version of "I've Got The World On A String."
Ruth said her new CD release was imminent but I'm not holding my breath. When it is you will read about it here.

Humble Beginnings

Derek Humble was born in Wheatley Hill, County Durham. He went on to play lead alto for Ronnie Scott and, later, the Clarke-Boland Big Band. His fellow saxes included Scott, Johnny Griffin, Sahib Shibad and Tony Coe. Basie tenorman, Billy Mitchell, rated him alongside Phil Woods and Marshall Royal as one of the world's greatest lead altos.
This cutting from a 1947 Melody Maker lists him as a 16 year old winning the best alto award in the paper's annual band contest.
PS: The bass playing award went to John Humble. Was this Derek's brother or his father?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Blues In The Night

BBC Radio 5 Live broadcasts throughout the night, seven nights a week. The programme ''Up All Night'' on Sat. night/Sun. morning was something of a New York jazz special. From 1:00 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. there was conversation (not exclusively) about jazz followed by a half hour interview with Terence Blanchard (3:30 - 4:00 a.m.). The contributors included Paul Blair, editor of ''Hot House'' a New York jazz publication ( Paul Blair also runs jazz tours of the Big Apple ( ). The programme can be heard again via the BBC's listen again facility BBC iPlayer.

Alter Ego @ Queens Hall, Hexham. May 29.

Dave Hignett (tpt/flug), Steve Summers (alt), Niall Armstrong (ten), Andy Hawking (pno), Giles Strong (gtr), Ian Paterson (bs), David Francis (dms).
So, being a sunny evening, I took myself off to visit a mate in Hexham who suggested we make an evening of it in the light and airy Queens Hall cafe, where Alter Ego (from the James Williams piece) were performing just the kind of set that lets you breath and drink beer at the same time - a perfect marriage for a summer evening: Bobby Watson, James Williams, Grant Green, Hank Mobley etc. in their orbits around Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
Described by Jazz Action as an "exciting new jazz ensemble from Newcastle" ( the performance was generally pretty good and certainly deserved the encore, which this night's laid-back Hexham audience failed to deliver! So it was good to get the set list - some of which can be heard on the Jazz Action page - from their enthusiastic co-leader and drummer David Francis - no coincidence with Art Blakey of course!
Must say that my man of the match award went to trumpet/flugelhorn player Dave Hignett, who worked up the the most inspiring of red-faced sweats with his chromatic prestidigitations - 1st to the bar as well! It may have been where we were stuck, on seats at the back of the low-ceilinged bar area, having arrived 10 minutes late! but I'd say that guitarist Giles Strong could do with an '11' setting on his amp at least for his Grant Green inspired solos. Definitely worth the 7 quid plus several San Migs. Set List: The Red Snapper (Bobby Shew); A Bitta Bittadose & A Wheel Within a Wheel (Bobby Watson); Alter Ego (James Williams); Hit & Run (Jay Chattaway); Compulsion (Andrew Hill); Little Man (Charles Fambrough); Grant's Tune (Grant Green); Zee Kay 30 (Doug Beach); Roll Call (Hank Mobley); The Soulful Mr Timmons (James Williams); One for Trane (Mickey Bass): Jazz Action's right - it's good to hear some of the less obvious numbers, which get you digging through the discographies. Photos (by Amanda Knight).
George Milburn.

Blog Archive