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Bebop Spoken There

Mark Walker: "A drummer in a big band is always happy. It's like driving a big bus." - (Downbeat, August 2019)

Archive

Daily: July 6 - October 27

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

Today Wednesday July 24

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Levee Ramblers NOJB - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.00.

Blues/Folk

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

"Tina May @ The Green Man, London" - as seen and heard by Angela.

It was five o’clock. I’d had a hard day at the office, albeit air-conditioned. I walked out into blistering heat only to find I had a flat tyre. I called the RAC. I am a woman of a certain age after all and my days of changing my own tyres are now over.
The delay would have been fine save that I was some 11 miles from home and still had to eat, change and get to The Green Man, (6 miles) for 7.45pm, where I had an evening of Tina May ahead of me in the company of your favourite blogger, Lance.
I just realised that these distances seem like nothing, but I’m talking London traffic here and on a good day that 11 miles (Stanmore to Crouch End) takes an hour and that 6 miles (Crouch End to Central London) takes three quarters of an hour. Then I had to find parking, walk to venue – living in London is a headache at the best of times.
The RAC had quoted me a good hour to hour and a half and I had to sit in the car, twiddling my thumbs while I waited for him to arrive and change my tyre.
The band were half way through Daahaud when I finally arrived. It sounded perfect. Tina did a weeny bit of scat and I have to say that at that early stage it fitted just right. I agree with Lance – You go to my head, whilst a lovely song (I’m thinking I might sing it myself) didn’t work as a fast samba. I did like Lucky to be Me. What a great song! Bit of scat, not much, great. Not so as the evening wore on. The scat to lyric ratio increased exponentially. As you will have guessed by now I’m not a great scat lover. Not for nothing is it the term we give to animal faeces.
Tina’s French Autumn Leaves was lovely, and her choice of songs well balanced but oh that scat! I really don’t know that many musicians who actually like singers scatting so why has it become de rigueur amongst British female singers? There comes a point in a gig when it just starts to get embarrassing for the instrumentalists.
Tina’s co-conspirator in this scat attack was the NYJO’s Sarah Hughes, who chose to sing Route 66 and A Train. They were admirably sung, save for that damned scat again! Sarah’s voice was not as rounded as Tina’s but then she was a sweet young thing with a life ahead of her and plenty of time to develop as a singer. Tina May, on the other hand, had perfect intonation, good delivery, a little bit of soul and used her large range to good effect. I was pleasantly surprised at just how good she was – save for you know what.
Just to fill in a couple of details – bass player was Arne Somogyi, whose myspace site http://www.myspace.com/arniesomogyi is more interesting that his playing was last night. At one point he held his head in his hands and rubbed his eyes hard. I think he was tired. It showed. The drummer was Stephen Keogh, who extremely good, if a little overeager. Robin Aspland I’ve seen several times. Apart from gigging with his trio he seems to specialise in accompanying British female jazz singers – Anita Wardell being one of them (another demon scatter!). I favour the more boppish type of playing rather than the free form ‘let’s try out a bunch of notes that don’t bear any relationship to the tune’ but then I guess that’s jazz!
It was lovely to meet Lance – he gave me a copy of his book of stories: Something Cool, and we had a nice long chat about this and that – and of course jazz. I can’t believe how fast he blogged about it! Good on you Lance!
(I felt this was too good a piece to get lost among the comments - Lance)

5 comments :

Lance said...

I have long had similar thoughts Angela but to speak out was rather like querying Newton's views on gravity.
Singers are unique inasmuch as they have both words and music to play with. Sinatra, Billie never scatted and, to me, Ella's scatting whilst appealing initially quickly became tiresome with the revelation that her 'improvisations' were far from improvised!

Angela J Elliott said...

Oops! It's been pointed out to me by my partner (bass player Louis Cennamo) that I may have made some comments on my post that might be misconstrued by the artists concerned.

Sarah Hughes is indeed a 'sweet young thing' and I did not mean to be patronising but meant that she really is lovely. She sang beautifully but she didn't sing like Tina May who has been singing for a long time now and is naturally going to have the edge.

Arne Somogyi is a fine bass player and his myspace is genuinely very interesting.

Robin Aspland is a wonderful piano player.

Steve Keogh is an equally great drummer.

I know Anita Wardell and she is a lovely person with a fabulous voice and amazing ability. When I said she was a 'demon' scatter, I meant it in the way that you would say someone is a 'demon' bowler (in cricket), or a 'demon' goal scorer (in football). In other words she's brilliant at it! I remember once she told me I didn't have to scat if I didn't want to. We can't all like the same things.

I like the way Blossom Dearie delivered a song. She rarely, if ever (I'm trying hard to think of a tune) scatted. She had a little girlie voice, which some don't like, but which communicated the story of each song perfectly. It wasn't fussy. She didn't try to do too much. It was as if she was saying 'it is what it is'. You couldn't say she was a 'great' singer, but she sure could interpret a song.

You want to hear the kind of scat I actually like? Listen to Clark Terry doing Mumbles! Fabulous. Love that man.

Paul said...

I'm not sure if the issue here is scatting, the scatter, or the scattee!

Perhaps if we heard more more of it, we'd all be used to it - in the same way that an audience familiar to jazz doesn't hear a saxophonist start a solo and say 'he's not playing the tune! What's going on?!'.

Having said that, there are numerous sax and other instrumental solos that have lost my interest, quite simply because they're not that good, and they don't tell a story - so the ability of the scatter must be considered.

Or perhaps, the sound of the voice, which above all other instruments is the most natural and communicative means of performing is too powerful and delicate both at the same time to make the peculiar nonsense noises that tend to emerge when scatting is commenced?!

I quite like it when a singer scats, with one major proviso...I have to be able to hear that THEY can here the changes and they can tell me a story, but then the same is true for any solo.

I never thought I'd write such an extended paragraph on 'animal faeces'.

Roly said...

Well - an interesting topic.
A matter of personal taste I suppose, like all artistic endeavour. For me I'm not a big fan of vocal gymnastics type scat but then, what about the following?
Not technically perfect or in any way showing off technique - but improvised and lyrical with plenty space.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB1Lr6HBbu0&feature=related
Roly

Angela J Elliott said...

Love Chet Baker. Hate the scat. Doesn't do anything for the song, or me. But it is a personal thing and I wouldn't want to stop anyone from doing it. Chet does however, sing with all his pain in his voice and he had one hell of a life.

Blog Archive

About this blog - contact details.

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

Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance