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Bebop Spoken There

Val Wilmer: "The festival [New York Musicians Festival], an impressive exercise in African-American self-reliance, had come about after the promoter George Wein had moved his annual Newport Jazz Festival to New York the previous year [1972], and paid scant attention to the avant garde." - (Wire June 2020)

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

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.

2 comments :

Russell said...

Hi Lance

It seems that George enjoyed the Tynedale Beer Festival. I did intend being there myself but knew if I did I wouldn't make it to the Bridge for 2+2=Infinity (Andy Champion was ''just Champion'').

George - was the Boardwalk well attended ?

Russell

George Milburn said...

Aye Russell it was; at least they were fighting over the last pieces of chicken in the curry sauce as I sat down, if that's anything to go by!
The Tynedale Beer Festival was canny crack but a shouldn't've biked there 14 miles - that was just daft like ; also reminded me of those wonderful jazz festivals they used to have : Bracknell, Crawley etc. but without the jazz!

George

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