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 ...


Wed 17: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 17: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 17: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 17: John Pope & John Garner + Nisha Ramayya @ Cluny 2, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors). £15.00. (£12.00. adv.). A Gem Arts Masala Festival event.

Thu 18 Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle NE1 7BJ. 2:30pm. £4.00.
Thu 18: Theo Croker @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Thu 18: Brad Linde’s Continentals @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Thu 18: Eva Fox & the Jazz Guys @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 18: Ray Stubbs R&B All Stars @ The Mill Tavern, Hebburn. 8:00pm. Rhythm & blues.
Thu 18: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band: Darlington Big Band.

Fri 19: Luis Verde with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. SOLD OUT!
Fri 19: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 19: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 19: Luis Verde with the Dean Stockdale Trio @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. Opus 4 Jazz Club.
Fri 19: Zoë Gilby Trio @ Seventeen Nineteen, Hendon, Sunderland. 7:30pm.

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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mo The Magnificent @ The Chilli.

Mo Scott (vcl), Neil Harland (bs), Rod Sinclair (gtr).
Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Jim Crinson (bs), Barrie Ascroft (pno), Eric Stutt (dms). + David Carnegie (pno), Harley Johnson (pno), Paul Gowland (ten).
The numbers were up on last week although not by quite as many as the Man U game on the bar's large screen TV.
Upstairs in 'The Jazz Room', the Mo Scott Trio turned in a scintillating performance that was in it's own Champion's League class.
Although Mo only sang one out and out blues, "Love Me Like a Man", each of the dozen or so standards that she sang were as impregnated with the blues as a stick of Memphis Rock.
From "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby" through to "Route 66" via "Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You" and "I Got It Bad", Mo's blues background came screaming through. This was the real deal.
Amidst it all, there was the tenderness of "But Beautiful", "Imagination", "God Bless the Child" as well as the belter that is "Come Rain or Come Shine".
There were others - "Love Me or Leave Me", "Exactly Like You", "Sit Right Down & Write Myself a Letter" and a nice take on "There Will Never Be Another You". Let's change the title of the latter song to "...... Another Mo."
Not that our girl stood alone. Rod's mildly amplified accoustic provided solid chording and his solo's were masterpieces in their own right. Likewise Neil, comfortable in the background, he compensated for the lack of a drummer with steady, yet imaginative, basslines as well as throwing the odd 32 bars in here and there.
It was a grand night for swinging.
Earlier, the Take It To The Bridge guys set the mood with "Beautiful Love", "Love For Sale" and Turrentine's "Sugar".
In the truncated set that followed Mo's magnificence, Paul Gowland blew up his usual storm on "Killer Joe" - David Carnegie sat in on piano. David was replaced by Harley for "Solar" which saw the night out.
It truly was a Killer Joe of a night or should that read Killer Mo?

Chilli Treat Tonight

Tonight looks like being an unmissable night at The Chillingham, Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle. Headlining is jazz/blues/rock chick Mo Scott's trio.
The trio - stylistically adaptable guitarist Rod Sinclair, who tonight I'm sure will be in earthy/cool bottleneck mode, Neil Harland, considered by many to be the doyen of the current crop of bassists and, of course, Mo.
Mo Scott can strut with the best of them her throaty vocals raunchy loud or seductive soft. Having heard the trio at the Maggy Bank earlier this year and at the Corner House before that I know it will be a night to remember.
Also, New England's gift to Newcastle has returned from France so Dave Weisser will be putting his chops around Vincent Bach's mouthpiece as well as laying down a few choice vocals backed by the Take It To The Bridge mob.
All this for a pound? Eat your heart out Sainsbury's...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Minutes Pass Like Hours When You Sing.

I guess most of the site regulars have heard this hilarious track which is going the rounds. For those who haven't, click here for a chuckle... Lance.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fred's Lost his Vocal Chords. Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Corner House.

Mike Durham (tpt/vcl), Lawrence McBriarty (tmb), Barry Soulsby (clt/vcl), Brian Bennett (bjo/vcl), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms).
Fred didn't sing tonight - surely a first as Fred's vocal chords are as much a part of him as his Hi-Hat. Presumably some laryngetic problem. Needless to say there were no shortage of volunteers to add their vocal talents to the ensemble.
Barry 'did' "Roses of Picardy" and "Cakewalkin' Babies Back Home"., Brian Bennett sang something about Candy Chips or was it Candy Lips? whilst Mike did "Baby Won't You Please Come Home." There were others.
There were also a few early complaints about the quality of the beer - John Smith's. Mike suggested the brewery adopted an alias...
It was eventually sorted thus enabling the clentele to carry on carousing to the growling of McBriarty Major on "Creole Love Call". His plaintive plungering was plumbing perfection. Mike too 'Bubbered' on this one with Barry 'Bigard' completing the Ducal frontline.
All in all the usual evening of fun and frivolity with a little jazz mixed in.

Big Mussel

There is a rumour going the rounds that there is a weekly jazz session taking place on Wednesday evenings at the following venue; Big Mussel, 15 Side, Newcastle upon Tyne Tel: 0191 2321057. A Jazz Duo., possibly student based, are said to play from 7.00.-10.00.p.m.
If you can give us more information then I will post it and hopefully double your audience.
Lance (info from Russell).

Gannets @ Star & Shadow Cinema.

Fyfe Dangerfield (keyboards/electronics), Chris Cundy (bass clarinet/saxcello/electronics), Alex Ward (clarinet/alto saxophone), Dom Lash (double bass), Steve Noble (drums/whistle). The quintet took to the stage upon which free jazz heavyweights such as Ken Vandermark and Charles Gayle had given towering performances in recent times. Undaunted, the band led the hardcore audience on a rollercoaster ride of fearsome blowing, subtle shuffles and convincing drum 'n' bass excursions.
Bandleader Fyfe Dangerfield ensured a collaborative effort; reeds players Cundy and Ward offered lyrical then full on contributions, bass player Dom Lash, an emerging figure on the free jazz scene, gave a committed performance and the man at the back - Steve Noble - had it all covered. Noble, no stranger to Tyneside, gave a percussion (and whistle!) masterclass amidst the group performance - New Orleans shuffles, Blakeyian press rolls, swing to bop to improv. A good gig.
An hors d'oeuvre to the main event was the screening of Shirley Clarke's documentary film ''Ornette: Made in America''. The interest in the film could be gaged by the presence in the audience of members of Gannets - themselves the main attraction of the evening.
Last night's event was the latest in Jazz North East's offering of free jazz concerts (a series of concerts known as ''On the Outside''). The next installment is the highlight of the year for fans of the music - it comes in the form of the three day festival ''On the Outside'' held at the wonderfully renovated Gateshead Old Town Hall from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th October inclusive. So many names, so much to hear including Marilyn Crispell, Marc Ducret, Rudi Mahall, Chad Taylor and Graeme Wilson. It all adds up to five sessions over three days preceeded by an improvisation workshop and drum clinic on Thursday 8th.
The marathon event will be captured on canvas by artist in residence Gina Southgate. Tickets from Gateshead Old Town Hall, JG Windows and Roots Music. Further details from or telephone 0191 265 5699. Russell

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Billy Hart Quartet Live @ The Village Vanguard.

Click here for an hour plus of jazz from one of New York's leading jazz clubs. Lance.

Now the Bad News!

Monday night's gig at the Cluny by The Alex Skolneck Trio has been cancelled. The headings for this and the previous post are interchangeable according to taste ... Lance.

First the Good News. Tonight @ The Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle

A filmed documentary on the life of Ornette Coleman provides the overture to a live performance by Gannets - an improvising quartet. Alongside this latter ensemble I suspect Ornette will come across as a rather adventerous dixielander. Nevertheless, this could be the way forward, then again...
Film - 'Ornette: Made in America'. 7:00 pm. Star and Shadow Cinema, Stepney Bank, Newcastle. 7:00 pm. £4/£3.
Gannets - 8:45 pm. £7/£4.
Film and gig: £10/£6.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Telegraph On-line Says that Bebop Spoken Here is one of the 5 Liveliest Jazz Blogs in UK!...

"Bebop Spoken Here: Oop-Bop-sh-Bam: Lance Liddle, a retired music retailer, covers the scene in the North-East. He’s been blogging for just over a year. He has played tenor sax for years, including a stint in the Newcastle big band when a teenage bass player now called Sting was getting his chops together. Lance is from Hebburn outside Newcastle. His site covers a huge number of gigs in the region. Definitely worth bookmarking is Lance’s stupendous collection of old photos and memorabilia."
To be honest, this has rather made my day!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ruth Lambert Trio @ Bascule Bar & Bistro

Ruth Lambert (vcl), Mark Williams (gtr), Paul Susans (bs).
The easiest way to access this trendy bar, perched on the edge of the marina that is St. Peter's Basin, is by motor launch although there is a yellow bus that stops close by. I doubt if the yuppie pop. of St. Peter's Basin have heard of buses judging by the town and country cars parked outside of their fancy address.
They are extremely fortunate to have such a joint as the Bascule Bar and Bistro within their midst - well at least they are on the last Thursday in the month when the Ruth Lambert Trio ply their trade before an audience who should have sat in open mouthed silence; full of admiration and appreciation for a sound bass-player, an excellent guitarist and a superb singer. What more could they possibly want other than a reduction in their mortgage?
Of course life isn't always like that and Ruth, Mark and Paul played brilliantly to the accompaniment of a noisy hen party.
It didn't faze them - they just let it all hang out with a choice selection of songs several of which were from Ruth's recent album (see review).
For me, the highlight was a song I'd never heard before which Ruth tells me is originally from Julie London vol 2 - "Too Good To Be True".
I thought I'd heard all the great songs over the years but this was new to me and rather beautiful.
It was worth the journey, the wrong turnings and the noisy atmosphere for this one tune although of course there were many others inc. "Long Ago and Far Away". One day I'd like to hear Roly and Ruth duet on this one.
Talking guitars, Mark was in great form with some lyrical solos and smooth chording as indeed was bassman Paul Susans.
Strangely, after a while, the noisy crowd became part of the background and I don't think a hushed silence would have added to the ambience!
An enjoyable evening. Also enjoyed chatting (at a low level of volume) with Brian Chester.
Y'all get along to Ruth's CD launch at the Saville, North Shields, on Oct.23.
PS: Paul Susans said "Thank you" to Russell for his kind review of the recent Horn Dogs gig at the Bridge.

There'll Be Some Changes Made - Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie's

Jim McBriarty (clt/vcl), Brian Chester (tmb), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Tommy Graham (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl).
With 'Turk' Hudson on vacation Brian 'Snakehips' Chester took over on trombone, his vintage, riproaring, style contrasting nicely with the urbane clarinet of Jim McBriarty.
Tried and tested warhorses were given a canter around the Irish Bar that is Rosie Malone's and much tapping of feet was in evidence - often quite close to the beat.
Olive strutted her vocal chords around "All of Me", "The Best Things in Life Are Free" (although not the ale), "Back in Your Own Backyard" and other songs of the mauve decade including that anthem beloved of elderly drunks "My Melancholy Baby" - it went down well with the locals. Jimmy Mac also laid siege to the songbook with a spirited take on "Who's Sorry Now".
Once again the rhythm section provided a well cushioned launching pad for the soloists as well as having their own moments of glory.
I enjoyed it - not least because the painkillers seemed to work better than they did last night!

"Exactly Like You" Rebecca Kilgore e Lino Patruno at Ascona

Today, Sept. 24, is Becky Kilgore's birthday so let's celebrate it by watching and listening to her version of "Exactly Like You." Happy Birthday Becky.

I Heard It From A Guy Who Heard it From A Guy Who...

The word on the street is that LondonJazz's Boss Blogger, Sebastian Scotney, is blogging for The Telegraph. Click here for his opening salvo. Lance.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Old Rockin' Chair's Got Me.

Darren Grainger (ten)Laurie Brown (vibes), Robin Douthwaite (gtr), Jim Crinson (bs), Barrie Ascroft (pno), Eric Stutt (dms).
I should have stayed in bed! This wasn't the best night I've ever had at The Chilli in fact it could easily be just about the worst!
Nothing to do with the music which at times was reminiscent of the Shearing Quintet (at other times it wasn't). No, the problem was me - suffering from a severe case of Scarborough Shoulder. An affliction caused by sitting in draughts at sea front jazz festivals.
As the painkillers wore off so the mobility of my left arm decreased and not even a spirited version of "Bluesette" could ease the pain that coursed through me.
I shouldn't complain - Darren had been to hell and back, was still in the Chemo Chain and blowing with mucho gusto. By comparision my aching bones were but a small sneeze in the big picture.
I was still in agony though.
So I vacated my position as doorman for the night (I hadn't been overworked) and left as the band went into "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing."
As I descended the stairs, pausing to appreciate a Hampton-like break from Laurie who had taken over from the late Adolph Hitler on vibes, ascending the the stairs was "The Doc".
I described my condition to him in detail and awaited his diagnosis.
He nodded his head sagely as doctors - even swing violin playing doctors - do before making their pronouncement.
"It's a severe case of Old Age, Lance my boy (boy!?)."
PS: Must make sure I'm well for next week's gig with Mo Scott, Rod Sinclair & Neil Harland. Tell everyone you know because these cats are Mahatma Gandhi, Napoleon Brandy they're Cellophane (or should that be updated to Cellphone?) whatever they're the top.

Never turn your back on Adrian T at Scarborough!

Adrian T snuck up on me and caught me from behind with his telephoto lens!
On stage the Michael Janisch Quintet were going for gold.

Brew Moore

We all have our favourites, sometimes quite obscure ones, we can also be fickle and forget about them as newer stars come along to illuminate the jazz universe.
I first fell in love with the playing of tenorist Brew Moore when I heard him blowing alongside Howard McGhee on Machito's "Cubop City" one of the first Latin/Jazz records I'd ever heard.
Not that Brew was in any way a Cuban or, come to that, a bopper although his playing did at times hover around the periphery of 52nd Street.
Brew was a Lester Young man and got as close to 'Pres' as did any of his clones with the possible exception of Quinichette. Attributed to Brew is the famous statement that ... "Anyone who doesn't play like Lester is wrong."
Perhaps a slightly over the top remark but it told the world exactly where he was coming from and it was underlined by his playing.
I bought his LPs and played them constantly until, gradually, I turned elsewhere. Art Pepper, I think, took over in my affections and Brew somehow was forgotten - he even died during this period falling down some stairs in Copenhagen after a drinking session. There but for the grace of God...
However, old loves are never totally forgotten and I came across the above LP when looking for a Monk LP (Moore alphabetically follows Monk) and, out of curiosity, gave it a spin.
With a Swedish rhythm section Brew once more won me over - his lyricism on "Old Folks' warmed my very soul and I'm looking forward to reawakening past memories of a great and forgotten tenorman.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Info Wanted on Tommy Henderson

I have came across the names of several musicians that I knew a few years back on your website. Here are three for starters: Tommy Henderson, Kenny Morrell, Ronnie Stidolph.
Kenny Morell, who I knew very well, died a few years ago whilst Ronnie Stidolph died decades ago.
But what happened to Tommy Henderson? I knew these three guys from Greys Club in the late 60s. Ronnie Stidolph used to sing like Johnny Mathis, he used a Binson Echo unit to great effect. I have no doubt that you knew Kenny Morrell from your days at Windows Music Shop, a lovely guy.
Tommy Henderson, the Bass Player, I knew better than any of them.
I worked in Savilles in Sunderland where I got to know many musicians but I never heard a thing in the last 40 years about Tommy Henderson. Do you or any of your readers know what happened to him - is he still around?
Ron Chapman.

Bebop Spoken There

In enlisting my aid to help him make contact with John Warren - which I was able to do - Guy Dechenes introduced me to his blog Bebop Memories. Check it out; it's the business. Fascinating stories of his time in New York en route to London from Montreal. Coltrane blowing mid-afternoon in Birdland, Kenny Dorham selling him a trumpet mouthpiec in Giardinelli's and much much more. I shall be following this site avidly and stealing his stories as shamelessly as the alto players stole Bird's licks! Lance.
PS: Only joking Guy!

Paul Edis Trio + Graeme Wilson at The Cherry Tree, Monday 21 Sept 2009

Anyone out there missing their Monday night fix since the demise of the Side Café sessions should get themselves along to The Cherry Tree Restaurant in Jesmond for 7.30–ish Monday evenings (reservation advised then you get a downstairs table close to the musicians). Tonight’s “Jazz in Concert”, naturally, featured superb jazz (here I must declare an interest – see below), and the food was excellent, too! The two sets featured a range of standards from "Freddie Freeloader" (a favourite of mine) to the lyrical "Blame it on My Youth", via everything in between! Paul clearly enjoyed the opportunity to play a "real" piano and the band were in fine form generally, with some great solos from all concerned. The audience (every table was taken) enjoyed the music and were very responsive - especially in the second set, when most had finished dining and the musicians really did have centre-stage. The trio and Graeme were joined in the second set, for two numbers, by Nick Pride whose guitar blended beautifully with Graeme Wilson's sax in places. Nick is next up, on September 28th and Monday October 5th brings Ruth Lambert – a hat-trick of excellent entertainment. So, if you love jazz and superb food, the Cherry Tree is well worth a visit... Foot-note: there is no car-park, but nearby streets are parkable (we managed to get within 50 yards) and Osborne Road is well-served for public transport. Jerry Edis (biased about the music, but a fussy eater!!)

Sting and the Phoenix Jazzmen (now).

Gordon Solomon sent me this photo of a get together of former members of the Phoenix Jazzmen.
(l-r): Ronnie Young (tpt), Gordon Solomon (tmb), Sting (bs), John Hedley (gtr).
Sting has been in the area recording at Durham Cathedral, taking a passive part in the Great North Run and meeting up with the Phoenix Survivers.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band @ Trinity Centre, Gosforth

Attended the first of five jazz sessions planned between September and the end of the year.
The Rae Brothers excelled in the setting of The Holy Trinity Church Gosforth where the evening was dedicated to the emancipation of the North American slaves.
It had been almost two years since I last saw this local band and the first time I had seen their "new" clarinetist Liz Bacon. Liz offered subtle tones to complement the more extrovert playing of Mac Rae whilst Jim Blenkin played a lovely muted tombone. (My wife also liked Liz's outfit). The event was attended by over eighty fans who were treated to some truly wonderful piano playing by Ian Wynne who is a remarkable find for the band.
George Watt

Scarborough - Sunday

Sunday morning up with the larks and more unhealthy eating with yet another big fat sausage sandwich - quaintly spelled 'sandwhich' on the menu. A stroll in the sunshine then back to The Spa. My initial reaction to Michael Rosen and the Homemade Orchestra was Curious, Reactionary, Anti-jazz, Performance. Apparently Michael Rosen is some kind of big deal in the world of children's poetry so perhaps I was too old to appreciate his humour which, in my eyes, paled into insignificance alongside that of Alan Barnes. However, to each his own, and I have to admit the parents and their offspring seemed to enjoy it so who am I to criticise? Michael obviously hit the market he was aiming at.
The band did have their moments with Tim Whitehead outstanding on tenor although I could take or leave his recorder playing.
The John Etheridge Christian Garrick Duo was another curates egg - when it was good it was very good but at times I felt a degree of blandness creeping in. For me the highlight was Alan Barnes joining in for a blast on "After You've Gone". Don't get me wrong, Etheridge and Garrick are monsters on their instrument but, for me, a bass player would have been welcomed. Arnie Somogyi's Scenes of the City. This was the real deal. A tribute to Mingus that performed the great man's music to perfection. Many of the pieces were from the album "Mingus Ah Um". Alan Barnes on alto and tenor, Tony Kofi alto and baritone were in top gear throughout and it was sheer Mingusian Magic. The feel good factor was with me.
Down to harbour for some of Harry Ramsden's chips, chatting with Fergie the Banjo en route (the only banjo in Scarborough that day!) then back for a solo set by Liane Carroll.
This girl can sing and play mighty fine piano in a program that had everything including Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, the Coasters' "Love Potion Number Nine" (Lieber and Stoller) - a great fave of mine - as was "Orange Coloured Sky". I recommended this last number to Eric for Debbie to sing with Budvivar if you're reading this Debs...
Finally - Ken Peplowski (clt/ten), Alan Barnes (alt/ten/clt), Dave Newton (pno), Arnie Somogyi (bs) and Steve Brown (dms).
This was the perfect finale five great musicians - what more can I say except - They Delivered!
So it was all over, many many highs and very few lows. Also new friends such as Annie from Hull, Liz and Amy from Kent (and their respective spouses where applicable) plus the couple from Manchester who were fans of Claude Werner. Enjoyed meeting you all and I hope we meet up again next year.

Scarborough Saturday

The day began with a killer sandwich in Sainsburys followed by Killer Shrimp at the Festival.
I knew the band from previous at the Corner House and they performed to the standard expected which was pretty high. Reminded me at times of an updated Mulligan Quartet with Damon Brown and Ed Jones waxing lyrical. Drummer, Luke Flowers looked and played like Phil Seaman which isn't a bad place to be..
Nicholas Meier Group varied from exciting virtuoso displays and excitng solos to bland floating, arboral themes that lost attention of this listener.
Andy Panayi Big Band. They played two sets. The first, in the afternoon, "The Greek God Suite" and the second "The British Jazz Story" both were absolutely tremendous the former surely a piece to rank alongside any extended jazz work. The fact that it was narrated with side-splitting humour by Alan Barnes made it even better.
I'm not going to even try and mention the highlights there were just too many. Paul Booth, Mark Nightingale, Barnesy, Sammy Mayne, Jim Hart (on drums) I could go on forever.
Damon Brown returned with Steve Grossman for a varied set. Lots of good solos but just a little untidiness. Not enough to spoil things.
However, good as the co-leaders were the revelation of the whole Festival came with Leon Greening's amazing piano playing. I didn't know him from Adam yet his brilliance shone in all directions from bravura runs to big fat block chords à la Milt Buckner with some modern day Garner thrown in. I'm not sure if he's an old-time modernist or a modern oldtimer but whatever, his playing was unique inasmuch as he inspired a standing ovation after one of his solos in the middle of the number. He kicked ass and how!
Trudy Kerr with Michael Garrick Trio. Trudy had a hard job following that and, to her credit, nobody left. A vocalese version of Coltrane's "A Moments Notice", and a blast on "Cloudburst" (remember Don Lang and the Frantic Five?) saw her keep the ball in play. She encored on "Lush Life" which perhaps wasn't the best choice to go out on.
Apologies if details are rather sparse but there was a lot to get through and Sunday is still to come.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Friday

Picked up Eric at Washington then off we went down the A19 heading for the Yorkshire coast.
Eric, a veteran of many Appleby's had yet to experience Scarborough. The journey flew by as we listened to Freddy Hubbard just to sort of get us in a jazzy mood as if we needed anything!
We missed out on the John Turville Trio but caught "If Destroyed Still True". A young band of flawless technicians playing in the current vogue of funkiness. In particular pianist Jonny Tomlinson shone with an almost classical approach to his solos. A good start to the festival.
Ryan Quigley. We'd heard him a couple of months back at Corner House so knew he would be good and we weren't disappointed. There were two surprizes - Not a quartet as advertised but a sextet with the Pauls, Booth and Towndrow, on tenor and alto and a big plus - Brian Kellock on piano. If the weekend doesn't get any better than this I'll go home happy even though these first gigs were free courtesy of Jazz Services.
Quig's is simply the finest trumpet player I have heard for many a generation. His "Embraceable You" - acc. only by Kellock was trememendous. He plays with a fullness of tone throughout the registers and I speak very much in the plural - he soars effortlessly among the Gods. The two Pauls were also on fire reaching and passing the heights of mere mortals.
Wow! sums it up.
Opening band at the evening session was Kyle Eastwood Band. More funk with son of Dirty Harry playing some decent bass. If the sound of Ryan Quigley hadn't still been ringing in my ears I'd have been more enthusiastic. Just a little bland but still a very listenable set.
Mike Janisch Quintet played an identical program to last Saturday at Live Theatre even down to the jokes. Needless to say what I said then applies now and they were superb with Paul Booth yet again on form. Paul, with more appearances to come, may yet be the star of the weekend.
Dave O'Higgins 7 + Jazzcotech Dancers. A groove based set with perhaps the best ensemble sound so far. They were supplemented by three dancers who were excellent although, performing at the side of the stage, it needed the big screens to properly appreciate them.
An outstanding first day and more to come. Pictures .

Live at Lanercost presents The Gerry Richardson Trio - Lanercost Cricket Club – Saturday September 26th 7.30pm

Gerry Richardson has had a full and eventful career both as an accomplished musician and composer. He has a wealth of experience in all styles of music involving him with some of the biggest names in jazz & rock.
In the 70s he and Sting formed the seminal North East Jazz Rock band 'Last Exit'. Gigs have included work with The Police and Eberhard Schoener, Billy Ocean, Guy Barker, John Miles, Alan Price, Ian Shaw and Elliott Randle (Steely Dan). Gerry played organ on Sting's 1996 million selling album 'Mercury Falling'.
In 2008 Gerry got to play Carnegie Hall (Rain Forest Foundation concert) with Billy Joel, Sting and a stellar band including Narada Michael Walden, Larry Carlton and Will Lee.
The Gerry Richardson trio features Gerry on Hammond B3 organ, Paul Smith on Drums and Gary Linsley on sax.Visit for more information and to listen to tracks including Sting on Springtime.
Tickets: £10 (members £8) Kids £5.
Available from: Brampton Post Office or 016977 41829
(Info from David Gosling).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Roy Williams & John Hallam @ Blaydon Jazz Club.

John Hallam (ten/bar/clt), Roy Williams (tmb), Roly Veitch (gtr), Jeremy McMurray (pno), Neil Harland (bs), Bill Shield (dms). Forget Roy Williams and John Hallam even though they played brilliantly. Tonight there was only one star. Not for his guitar playing even though it was as classy and tasteful as ever but for his dedication and perseverance in keeping the Blaydon Jazz Club alive - often singlehanded. I am, of course, referring to Roly Veitch.
I could say much more but such is his nature that he would probably demand that I withdraw it. So suffice for me to echo what a crowded club said tonight which is "Thank you." It was a fitting way to celebrate the clubs 25 years by having Roy Williams and John Hallam front the resident Blaydon Jazz Quartet. Roy and John have played at the various Blaydon venues many times over the years but I'm not sure if this wasn't their first appearance together. Roly will no doubt clarify that.
Impossible to mention all of the highlights but Roy Williams' feature "For You, For Me, Forever More" was one. Strange how this rarely played Gershwin tune should crop up twice recently (Chris Connor was the previous).
John Hallam playing "Where or When" on clarinet, "Lullaby of the Leaves" and "Bernie's Tune" on baritone.
"East of the Sun" had a corker from Jeremy. In fact the pianist was in scintillating form tonight as was Neil Harland and the ever dependable Bill Shield.
Roly too shone on whatever tune they called - he was enjoying himself I don't think he stopped smiling all night!
Shirley, who tends the door and a million other things, presented Roly with a framed citation honouring the 25 year achievement and it was a question of who cried first!
Neither actually although it was a close run thing!
It was particularly poignant for Shirley as this weekend marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Randolph (Randy) Heads. Her partner and a good friend to Blaydon Jazz Club as well as to all of those he knew. Roly dedicated the evening to Randolph's memory.
I'd also like to thank Roly for his support of Bebop Spoken Here. Jazz needs more people like you.
Photos from Eddie shortly.
Posted by Picasa

McBriarty adds Variety to Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie's

Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Tommy Graham (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl) + Peter Holdsworth (tpt). As announced exclusively last week on "Bebop Spoken Here" Derek Fleck and the Maine Street Jazzmen have parted company. Severance pay ran into several zeroes albeit without any digits in front of the zeroes. Derek's replacement is man about town Jim McBriarty (pictured left).
Jim soloed well insuring the high standard of clarinet playing he inherited was continued.
It was another rip-roaring session of Goodtime Jazz with Herbie slipping and sliding around to the manner born. Vocals too roll from his tongue as does the chromatic mouthharp he produces from some hidden orifice.
Malcolm Armstrong must have the best left hand in the business - reminiscent of Bob Zurke and the old Bob Crosby Bobcats. Tommy Graham punches things along and Alan Rudd had some nice breaks. Olive, Alan's fair lady, impressed on "Keeping Out of Mischief Now", "Some of These Days" "Singin' the Blues" - which is the old Beiderbecke/Trumbaur tune (didn't recognise it with words last week!) and rabble-rousers such as "Doctor Jazz" and "Bourbon Street Parade".
An excellent start to the weekend - it's Roy Williams and John Hallam at Blaydon tonight then down to the Scarborough Jazz Festival (Friday through Sunday).

Andy Sheppard takes historic Lanercost Priory by storm

Having spent the afternoon describing his practice regime and tone exercises to ten enthralled saxophone students Andy Sheppard then proceeded, in the evenings concert, to demonstrate the full extent of the saxophone’s capabilities as well as his own, not inconsiderable, talent at playing the instrument. Lanercost Priory is a unique building, not only acoustically but also historically, and Andy Sheppard’s solo concert (Sept 12th) was a fitting tribute to such wonderful surroundings. Supported by local trio Hip Graffiti, Jay Myerson on guitar, Katerina El Haj vocals and Laurence Blackadder bass, who performed a smooth set of jazz standards and El Haj penned tunes, the scene was set for Sheppard to make a dramatic entrance. The audience, as one, swivelled in their seats when the first note (Soprano sax) reverberated around the building from a position 40ft above their heads at the rear of the Priory. Andy proceeded to walk down to audience level whilst blowing a wonderfully lyrical improvisation incorporating many of his compositions, particularly ‘Natural Calling’ from his ’98 album Learning To Wave, seamlessly into a fifteen minute demonstration of his sublime tone and technique. All of this without the aid of amplification, such is the acoustic quality of this 12th Century building. Testing Priory acoustics to the full Sheppard continued to stroll amongst the audience for a full hour including a particularly relevant piece, given the surroundings, in Gavin Bryars ‘Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet’. Playing a concert that was a fund raiser for Lanercost Priory meant that a large proportion of the audience were there to support the cause and not necessarily because of a love of jazz or Andy Sheppard. Such was the quality of Sheppard’s playing that almost all of this group were completely won over and joined in the standing ovation with gusto. A truly wonderful performance from a musician right at the top of his game – the Gods would have approved! David Gosling

In Walked Angela

Thelonius Monk Melodius Thunk Spherial Joke Going for Broke Contagious atmospherics Cliffhanger notes on high Pannonica's child Flying so wild Boo Boo and Toot Oh what a hoot Infectious esoterics Dreaming of old NY Angela J. Elliott

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alan Glen Trio/Take it to the Bridge @ The Chilli

Alan Glen (pno), John Pope (bs), David Carnegie (dms).
Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Paul Edis, Nicola Weaver (alt), Barrie Ascroft (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms) + Harley Johnson (pno), Solly Bashiri (dms).
The superlatives are running out when it comes to Alan Glen. Just when you think you've heard it all before he'll unleash a phrase that lesser pianists, and there are many, would kill for. Tonight he was on top of his game with his two henchmen (David and John) up there with him.
As ever, a beautiful mix of songbook and jazzbook.
"Speak Low", a soulful version of "My Funny Valentine", "All of You", "Body and Soul" intermingled with "Bud's Bubble" and "Walkin'" made for as good as a set as the maestro has played at the Chilli and I don't care if I do say that every month - he's maturing with age!
John Pope, too is striding forth rapidly whilst David Carnegie always impresses whether he's driving, laying back or going for broke in his solo finale.
Earlier, Take it to the Bridge had two altos in the frontline - Nicola and Paul Edis. They had a hearty blow on "Work Song", "Caravan" "Well You Needn't" - one or two others.
After the Glen Set, Dave sang "My Foolish Heart" and Nicola played her best solo of the night - every note sounded as though no other note could replace it which is the way it should be but rarely is with anyone (except Alan Glen!)
Harley had to wait until the final "Green Dolphin Street" to do his thing although he had kicked off the first set. Solly had his moments too sitting in to give Eric a break (saving himself for Scarborough perhaps!)
Next week it's the Laurie Brown Trio.

Shirley Horn Meets Miles Davis

I think this is simply fabulous....hope you agree? Hil.

Photo Find!

Came across this photo of some early South Tyneside jazzmen circa 1950s whilst visiting a photo exhibition of the Jarrow and Hebburn History Society.
Photo probably came from drummer Ken Goss who is a member of the society.
It shows a very young Charlie Carmichael on 'saxaphone' - well he was a salty sort of a guy and a very good friend.
Billy Walton and I were in the same cycling club. He later worked in local trad bands and with Herbie Hudson in the Bert Brown Band.
You only need to look at the clothing to differentiate between the modernists and the traditionalists!
Any info on the others would be welcomed.
I wonder who took the photo? Probably the bass player. "Don't take a solo take a photo instead."


Tomorrow night's session at Blaydon Jazz Club marks 25 years of jazz in Blaydon organised by guitarist/singer Roly Veitch.
Featured with the resident quartet of Roly, Jeremy McMurray (pno), Neil Harland (bs) and Bill Shield (dms) are trombonist Roy Williams and reed player John Hallam. Both have been guests of the club many times previous and it is fitting that they have been chosen for this the club's Silver Jubilee.
There are many great musicians in the area and there are several enthusiastic promoters - when you have the two combined in one person such as Roly then you have the best of both worlds.
I'm sure everyone will show their appreciation of Roly, the band and the guest stars by supporting this event.
Thursday Sept. 17, 8:30 pm @ Blaydon CIU Club, Blaydon on Tyne. £6. Photo link. Lance.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

R.I.P. Irene Sutherland

I have been informed that popular Jazz & Function singer Irene Sutherland has succumbed to cancer. I haven't had the full details save that the funeral is on Thursday although I don't know the time and place. If anyone can provide further information it would be appreciated. Sadly missed, may Irene Rest in Peace. Click here for Irene's website. Lance. See comments below for further details of funeral.

More Memorabilia

Dave Kerr has sent some memorabilia of which this is but one. Click here for more. Lance.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Corner House

Peter Wright (tpt), Brian Soulsby (clt/vcl)), Laurence McBriarty (tmb), Brian Bennett (bjo/vcl), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl). A fairly routine sort of evening at the Corner House or perhaps, after wallowing in the sophisticated sounds of Ruth's CD on the car stereo I wasn't quite ready for "John Brown's Body" (AKA "The Battle Hymn of the Republic.") Or maybe I was too busy treasuring the 1945 copy of Down Beat I received from Dave Kerr whatever, the surprisingly small number of fans enjoyed themselves and there were moments.
Fred's vocal on "Chinatown My Chinatown" inspired good solos across the frontline and a vocal from Brian Bennett that sounded not unlike Lonnie Donegan's "Putting on the Style" was new to me.
It isn't too often that Vera Lynn's name crops up in jazz club announcements but tonight the band paid due reverence to Dame Vera with their version of her inspirational song "We'll Meet Again." Once again the infantry in the frontline did their duty with some pithy solos.
No doubt the tune will be featured heavily at next weekend's gig in the Trenches of Frosterley.
A pleasant evening. Now to read about Boyd Raeburn in Down Beat (July 1, 1945) and maybe I'll put a CD on...

Review - Ruth Lambert's "Easy Street" *****

After a year of false dawns I am pleased to announce that, finally, the new Ruth Lambert CD is now available on the Jazz Action label. Every track is a gem and I make no apology for treating each one individually.
Easy Street: A totally relaxed and convincing Ruth accompanied only by Mark Williams on guitar. Never Will I Marry: One of Frank's 'Loesser' known tunes (sorry about that!). Up tempo with a sizzling tenor solo by Graeme Wilson. It's not an easy song to sing but Ruth's pitching is spot on. There's also a nice bass intro from Andy Champion. Beautiful Love: Victor Young's classic ballad. Piano, bass, drums backing. Sultry laid back vocal. Paul Edis piano solo - need I say more? Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend*: Whereas Marilyn insinuated and caressed the lyric, Ruth takes the no nonsense, straight talking, matter of fact approach and it works! Not least because of the Graeme Wilson arrangement for Splinter who provide the backing. Chris Hibbard solos on trombone. ‘Round Midnight*: The Splinter octet remain for this original take by John Warren of possibly the best known Thelonious Monk composition. If John had been American he'd be rated alongside Gil Evans and George Russell. Ruth's smoky vocal is perfectly suited to that time of the evening. Taking A Chance On love: More Mark Williams guitar with Graeme Wilson’s tenor and Andy Champion’s bass adding extra ambiance to Ruth’s vocal. Dindi: A Jobim tune, Mark Wlliams guitar chords and Ruth. Does anyone have a better recipe? Once again our girl displays her faultless intonation. Cry Me A River: After Julie London it takes guts to tackle this one but, with just Paul Edis’ backing, Ruth is up there with JL. Secret Love*: The octet kick this one along thanks once again to John Warren’s imaginative arrangement and some fine bass work from Andy Champion. Ruth re-fashions the song, cleverly steering it away from the cloyingness of the original. Love That Never Dies: Ruth’s own composition features Graeme Wilson, tenor, and Andy Champion, bass, as well a fine arrangement by Graeme. This is Always: Another beautiful guitar/vocal track. The Harry Warren/Mack Gordon song has had few better recordings not least because of Mark's sympathetic guitar work and Ruth's feeling for the lyric. West Coast Blues: Interesting to compare this version with Zoë Gilby’s. Z’s is a more laid back affair whereas R’s begins that way the entry of the horns builds it up to quite a frenetic state with a Graham Hardy trumpet solo that doesn't hurt a bit. I can happily live with them both Musicians: Graham Hardy (tpt), Graeme Wilson (ten), Paul Edis (pno), Mark Williams (gtr), Andy Champion (bs), Tim Johnstone (dms).
* Add Noel Dennis (tpt), Chris Hibbard (tmb), Adrian Tilbrook (dms).
If you enjoyed Ruth's previous album "So Many Stars" then you'll want this one.
Click here for Myspace samples.
The CD is now available from Ruth either at gigs or, from September 14, via her new website The official launch of the CD is scheduled for October 23 at the Saville Exchange, North Shields. Watch this space for more details.

Tessa's Back in Town (Sept. 23)

Facebook update from Tessa Smith. 23rd SEPT - SPICE JAZZ, LONDON - Evening gig! 4th OCT - HIFI CLUB, LEEDS - Lunchtime gig!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Song Is Ended But La Melody Twitters On

That inveterate Twitterer, Melody Gardot, usually has some acute observations to make e.g.:
"There must be a word created - greater than gratitude - for the feeling that comes after performing in Paris. I have yet to see it invented."
Surely this will enter the 'Book of Quotations."?

Contraband and other Wansbeck Valley Stompers

Just returned from a great afternoon of live music care of the big blue taxi /bus pass.
At lunch time today I travelled by the "deka" from Ashington to Newbiggin. I was in time to hear the second set from Contraband - as featured at Blyth Beach.
Different line up this time -missing the keyboard. Nice fish and chips in a paper.
Around 2 o'clock I was bound for Morpeth to catch the River City Jazzmen who were playing in Carlisle Park. Its 200 years since the park first opened and they were having "a bit of a do".
On the way to the bandstand I spent a a few minutes listening to the new manager of the Aruba pub which was formally known as The Bank. They are starting live music night on a Tuesday. He's good guitarist, playing al fresco.
Quite a good turn out for what turned out to be a band containing representation from the Jazz In The Afternoon/V.C./River City bands. First time together for this particular line up but all went well. Great to hear Bill Smith again and regulars Bill Brooks and Fred Thomson.
Rushing, as I was, for the bus I could not stop to hear a great rock band playing at the Swan pub near the bus stand - sorry no pictures of them...
John T.


If your tastes stretch further than the (these days) widening parameters of jazz into rock and, in particular, southern Irish Folk Music then you may be interested in following up this link.
It was passed on to me by the blogs creator, a gentleman of the south (Ireland) whose tastes do cross those musical borders.
I don't know his name (is it Jeremy?) but he has a moustache, a wife, and is often at the Cluny or the Corner House on jazz nights.
Basically, the blog centres around the 40 year history of the Foxrock Folk Club with the jazz content mainly attached to Louis Stewart (surprise, surprise). Check it out.

China Coast Jazzmen

A link here to some Youtube clips of Colin Aitchison (our man in Hong Kong) and the China Coast Jazzmen. Colin has also sent some vintage prewar material (Glenn Miller etc.) which is at the end of the Posters and Programmes etc album. Nice one Colin your Pa would be proud of you. Pa himself is on this rare recording from 1952 of the Bernicia Jazz Band featuring Hughie Aitchison, Brian Clarke, Ray Jobling, and others supplied by Colin Aitchison. Lance.

Last Night of the Proms

Whilst watching & enjoying the "Last night of the Proms" I was looking forward to the one Gershwin number, which turned out to be "They can't take that away from me". The Mezzo Soprano who sang it was Sarah Connolly, certainly not the ideal voice for this gem, but the young trumpeter who accompanied her was Alison Balsom, a real talent, and together they brought it off , even interspersed with some scat.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

MJQ (Michael Janisch Quintet) @ Live Theatre, Newcastle.

Michael Janisch (bs/bsgtr), Paul Booth (ten/alt), Jason Palmer (tpt/flug), Jim Hart (vbs), Clarence Penn (dms).
This has been quite a week for live jazz and, with Scarborough on the horizon, it looks set to continue. Tonight there was even a choice! Andy Shephard was 50 miles away out west at Lanercost Priory and it did look very tempting. However, the Michael Janisch Quintet were at Live Theatre - a mere 7 miles from where I hang my hat so MJQ won the day.
The Live Theatre gig, the first of Jazz Northeast's Autumn Program drew a reasonable crowd and I don't think they were disappointed. I certainly wasn't.
This was an imaginative program of mainly original pieces by Janisch, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" and Strayhorn's "Bloodcount" being the two exceptions. "Lost Creek", for me, stood out amongst the originals although all were impressive; a Mingus inspired piece showing where Michael's bass technique came from. As well as playing mighty fine bass he introduced each number with humour and informative content.
LIAMST was a showcase for the U.K.'s Jim Hart whose 4 mallet technique is something special - he himself is something very special - I can't recall hearing a better vibist.
"Bloodcount"; evocative and delicate. Drawing the harmonic properties to the forefront.
Paul Booth, the only other non American and originally from Durham, lost nothing by comparision with his world class colleagues and he blew up the proverbial storm. His saxual prowess is awesome and, as the guy who sold him his first sax, I feel a kind of a paternal pride in his achievements.
Trumpeter Jason Palmer has quickly become one of the most in demand jazz musicians of his generation. The June 2007 issue of Downbeat Magazine cited Jason as one of the Top 25 trumpeters of the Future - I'd reduce that figure considerably. Tonight, Jason Palmer played some exciting stuff reminiscent at times of Miles or Lee Morgan.
Drummer Penn from NYC also excelled. Penn is another widely sort after player and tonight we knew why. He kicked!
Chatting with Paul Booth during the interval he asked if I was going to Scarborough informing me that he's playing with four different bands at the Festival - including MJQ so, on tonight's performance, take my word for it, Scarborough is the place to be next weekend.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Keith Nichols' Blue Devils with Jeff Barnhart @ The Saville, North Shields.

Enrico Tomasso, Ben Cummings (tpt/vcl), Keith Nichols (tmb/pno/vcl), Mark Foulkes (alt/clt), David Hornblower (alt/bar/sop/clt), Johnny Boston (ten/clt), Jeff Barnhart (pno/vcl), Martin Wheatley (bjo/gtr), Jerome ? (bs), Richard Pite (dms).
An hour and a half later I'm beginning to get my breath back - talk about exhilaration! Keith Nichol's Blue Devils gave a very well attended Saville Exchange audience exhilaration to spare.
The delights were many - too many to list - although, high on at that list if there were such a list would be Jeff Barnhart's rendering - rendering as in tearing apart - of "Sweet Georgia Brown". This was simply the best two fisted piano playing I've heard for many a long year. The effortless way he strode through the keys in the manner of pianists past was truly awesome.
He also chanted that old twenties Bing Crosby classic "I Left My Sugar Standing in the Rain (and my sugar melted away"), "Sunday" and others although perhaps the most amazing piece was the four hands, one piano, duet with Keith Nichols on "I Can Dream Can't I?".
Then there were the two trumpets - Enrico and Ben. Both featured extensively; Enrico in the fine old Armstrong tradition, Ben marginally more modern. Top class technicians and full of the joys of swing.
Jonny Boston - perfect name for a musician (or a private eye!) he did BG on clarinet and Hawk on tenor brilliantly. A singer/composer in his own right I'd also like to hear Jonny in a small band more modern setting.
Mark Foulkes had a lovely round Johnny Hodges sound on alto. Unmiked, as were all of the front-line, it was purity personified. David Hornblower (another fine name) played excellent bari as well as alto, clarry and sop.
Keith himself had his moments on trombone whilst the rhythm of Martin, Jerome (or was it Jeremy?) were idiomatically perfect.
Richard Pite? What can I say except "Is there a better drummer for this style of band?"
I don't think so.
Is there a better band playing in this style?
I don't think so.
Is there a better band?
That's a hard one.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Frank Brooker, Anne DeVere & Bill Harper @ Blaydon Jazz Club

Anne DeVere (vcl), Frank Brooker (ten/clt), Bill Harper (pno), Andy Champion (bs), Roly Veitch (gtr), Bill Shield (dms). + Zoe Gilby (vcl).
This was the night of 1000 delights - well perhaps not quite 1000 but certainly a good few.
Frank Brooker on tenor got things rolling with a booting "Indian Summer" then followed up with Zoot Sims' "Red Door". Frank hangs his hat around the modern end of mainstream - blows straight down the middle, no frills, every note counts: a joy to listen to.
Likewise Bill Harper, Roly and Bill Shield. All three have mastered the art of accompaniment and soloing and they did it well. However, without taking anything away from anyone, for me, Andy Champion's bass solo on "Red Door" was just about as good as it gets. Im-press-ive!
Next up to the plate was Anne DeVere, like Bill Harper, a firm favourite at Blaydon before they tunnelled out of England.
"Spring is Here" cool, laid back and perfectly pitched. A James Taylor song that I didn't know - "Don't Let Me Be Lonely" - full of anguish and heartache and beauty. Finally a Frishberg - "One Little Taste" such a dark sided lyric - it's about an alcoholic.
Frank returned, switching from tenor to clarinet for BG's "Seven Come Eleven" and Barney Bigard's "A Lull at Dawn". Great clarinet sound.
The set finished with Frank back on tenor for Benny Carter's "Only Trust Your Heart."
Time to buy raffle tickets from the irrepressible Ernie and to do a bit networking with Derrick Cogger, down from Belford, Cathy and John from Ryton, Norma from Riding Mill, Scotty Adair, Hil and John - seems like everyone was there including Zoe Gilby.
Raffle prizes distributed, the second set kicked off with Frank playing 'Trane's "Impressions". How many guys do you know these days who are playing Benny Goodman on clarinet one minute and Coltrane on tenor the next? Roly also played a nice chorus or two here as he did on the next number...
"Easy Living" - has there ever been a better ballad for tenor? Frank did it justice bringing to mind the classic version by Wardell Gray.
Zoe, who was once mentored by Anne, stamped her brand on "I'm Beginning to See the Light". It's highly stylised and I don't think anyone but Zoe could pull it off. Frank also had moments on this one. "One Note Samba" was another typical Z that she put over with class.
Talking class - Anne Devere simply oozes it and her "It's Morning" made more than the singer 'dewy-eyed'. When Anne admitted she was emoting at the memory of departed pussy cats it drew a big 'aah'.
"Whisper Not" had good solos all round whilst "Don't Explain" saw Frank playing the blues. Russell thought this to be Anne's best number even though her voice was, by her own admission, becoming a little frayed around the edges. I thought it added to the ambience and I think I agree with him.
Finally "Forget About Living" with it's slightly risque lyric.
A truly enjoyable night.
Next week: Roy Williams & John Hallam.

Rosie Malones. Maine Street Jazzmen.

Olive Rudd (vcl), Herbie Hudson (tmb), Derek Fleck (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Ian Forbes (dms). + Peter Holdsworth (tpt).
It seems as though the transfer window is still open on the jazz scene with the news that Derek Fleck is leaving the Maine Street Jazzmen for health reasons! Actually he is having eye trouble making driving difficult and will concentrate on gigs nearer home. McBriarty minor is said to be the replacement.
Today was a good foottapping session with a rousing "Louisian-I-A" rounding off the first set.
Prior to this Olive sang a number new to me - "Just Singin' The Blues" - nothing to do with either Bix or Tommy Steele - possibly Billie or Maxine. Good number.
Our girl also gave "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" a good workout.
Peter Holdsworth sat in for "Undecided" in the key of C - an unusual key for this tune. Nevertheless, the band coped. As Malcolm Armstrong remarked, "You've got to be prepared for things like that when you come to South Shields!"
Other numbers included "Lazy River", "Dancing at the Mardi Gras", "Careless Love" and "Blues My Naughty Sweetie etc."
Although circumstances decreed I could only stay for the first set I was pleased I made the effort. A CD of the Hampton Hawes Trio Vol 1 from Alan Rudd. Thank you Alan my 30 year void has been filled!

Art Pepper

The most emotional evening - musically speaking - I can recall was hearing Art Pepper live at the old University Theatre, Newcastle. This was the most compelling performance I'd ever heard. Talk about a man walking on eggshells! Whether on alto or clarinet you reached out to him; willing him to make it. Of course he did even though at times it was agonisingly beautiful and painful (in the nicest possible way). This was an artist baring his soul in public. No coasting or running the changes but a guy reaching out beyond the comfort zone for something that maybe wasn't even there but going for it anyway.
I left that concert on a cloud and became number one fan (me and many many others) from that night on. Sadly, he died not that long after and I was as upset as you can ever be over someone you didn't know yet felt you did know. He was the best.
Apart from a wonderful legacy of music he also left a wonderful lady behind - Laurie Pepper who strives to maintain awareness of her late husband. I'm pleased to think of her as a friend via Facebook.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Budvivar/Take It To The Bridge @ The Chilli

Debra Milne (vcl), Stuart Findon, Fiona Littlewood (ten/backing vcl), Eddie Nickson (gtr), Chris Finch (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms).
Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Paul Gowland (ten), Barrie Ascroft (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms). + Harley Johnson (pno).
Another stonker from Budvivar who turned in their usual punchy hit 'em where it hurts performance. Both Stuart and Fiona were on top form with Stuart, as Russell described him, in Tough Texas Tenor mode and Fiona offering a lighter contrasting sound. Paul Gowland made it a three tenor horn section when he joined them on Silver's "The Jody Grind".
Debra sang in her easily identifiable style and has to be given a medal for bravery in choosing to sing Monk's "Ask Me Now". The gal's got guts - she made it! Debs also shone on "If I Were A Bell".
On piano Chris Finch - although as committed to Hampton Hawes as Harley is to Monk - had a few monastic excursions of his own on "In Walked Bud" whilst Eddie, in his last gig with the band, also kicked in with some forceful guitar solos. Jim and Eric kept it all together with some effective stoking in the engine room.
Eric was particularly impressive on "Green Dolphin Street" - imaginative cymbal work.
With the departure of Eddie it will be interesting to see how Budvivar restructure.
It was definitely a Dolphin night as, earlier, Dave and the gang did Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance" to great effect.
"Blue Bossa" and "Bloke's Blues" had some cool trumpet from Dave who also threw away some vocal lines on Dolphin. By this time Paul Gowland had joined Dave in the frontline although Paul's finest moment came late on for a sumptuous version of "Darn That Dream".
To finish off, the inevitable and eagerly anticipated, sit him by Harley who excelled on "Four" and "A Train" which also had a Dave 'Scat Man' Weisser vocal.
It was a good night. Next week it's the Alan Glen Trio.
PS: With Harley and Chris and Alan Glen around, I tend to forget about Barrie who, in his own unassuming way, plays a lot of piano too. Big hand for Barrie.

Stepping Out in Café Society.

Jazzers of Jesmond look to have some tasty offerings being served up on Monday evenings.
The Cherry Tree Restaurant on Osborne Road is starting a regular Monday night gig. The first one, on Monday 21st September, features the Paul Edis Trio with Graeme Wilson as guest. Doors open 6.30.p.m., performance starts 7.30.p.m.. £10.00.(inc.2-course meal). Tel: 0191 239 9924. Presumably the other regular nights continue as usual. Louis Restaurant , also on Osborne Road, continues with its regular Monday night session. The next three weeks look like this:- Monday 14th - Rich Sutton
Monday 21st - Anna Reay Duo
Monday 28th - Johnny Heenan & Friends.
Before you know it, Osborne Road will be reminiscent of 52nd St. in its heyday.
Thanks to Russell for the above information.

A Nostalgia Trip with Colin Aitchison.

Colin has put together a collection of 40s/50s onwards, mainly big band clips, on YouTube that are well worth taking a look at. I was delighted to see and hear Johnny Desmond singing "Polka Dots and Moonbeams with the Ray McKinley Band of the 1950s. There's even a clip of Ivy Benson and her all-girls band. Ivy could play a fair bit alto à la Jimmy Dorsey.
Nice one Colin.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Victor Gaskin Meets Colin Aitchison

Here are some pictures for the Hong Kong section, but they were actually taken in Singapore at the Four Seasons Hotel, of a sit in I had with Victor Gaskin a bassist who played for Ellington, etc, in fact he was at Newcastle City Hall when Ellington did his 70th, birthday tour, small world.
The trio playing is Wei Xiang (hope the spelling is right) on piano, great young piano player, swings like hell but also very modern, who won a scholarship at Berkley. Can not remember the name of the girl...... The group photo is Wei Xiang, Eddie Chan (Owner of the Southbridge Jazz Club, Singapore, (check out his Web site:Jazz at Southbridge) Myself and Victor, nice guy, and we had a good chat about his time with Ellington. The date of these pictures is May, 2004 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore. ---------------------------
Here is a picture of the Imelda May Band outside Ned Kelly's, the guy 2nd from the left is Steve Rushton (Drums) who took over the chair in the Syd Lawrence Orchestra when Ronnie Verrell passed away...a fine drummer and a good friend, as we worked together for many years at Pontin's & cruise ships, he also does a lot at Ronnie Scott' can check out Imelda May on her web site, the band plays a mix of rockabilly, jazz, pop, and they say is one of the up and coming pop bands that also plays jazz at the concerts....picture taken in 2008, also if you search Steve Rushton (Drums) quite a few clips come up.
Colin A.
PS: Regret I am working on the night of the Tim Garland concert but will send press cuttings (if any.)

Jazz Anecdotes.

Talking with Derrick Cogger, that well known Belford Boulevardier and trumpet player, he suggested we have a few jazz anecdotes on this page so I'll kick off with this one and hope others will follow.
The late Brian Fisher and myself had met up for a lunchtime pint in a Sunderland pub. As a matter of interest I'd brought a copy of a pre-war Melody Maker that I'd just acquired. After looking through it Brian placed it on the pub seat which was one of those long benches that stretch from wall to wall. It had a shiny covering which caused the MM to slide through the gap below the back of the bench and out of sight beneath the seat.
As the front was panelled, the only way to retrieve the precious Melody Maker was to stand on the seat and reach down to try and pick up the old newspaper. this proved quite a difficult task and aroused the curiosity of the barmaid.
"What's he doing?" she asked Brian as the top half of my body once more disappeared behind the seat.
"He's looking for a 1937 Melody Maker," he replied.
The barmaid shook her head.
"He won't find one - the pub wasn't built then."
Do you have a jazz related tale to tell?

Supérieur Marc Ducret

I note via LondonJazz that Marc Ducret has been voted France's "Best Group or Artist" in the French Jazz Awards. Ducret appears at JNE's "On The Outside" Festival in Gateshead Town Hall which takes place on October 9/10/11.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Struttin' With No Barbecue - Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Corner House

Peter Wright (tpt), Laurance McBriarty (tmb), Gavin Lee (clt/alt.sop), Brian Bennett (bjo/gtr), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl).
Another day at the office for the Vieux Carré Jazzmen who strutted their tried and tested formula before a well attended Corner House - perhaps they, the audience, thought it was this week for the banquet!
Then again it could be the return of Peter Wright or the guest appearance of Gavin Lee - hero of yesterdays action at Roker Park.
Tonight, Gavin supplemented his armoury with alto and soprano and played some nice things. "Sleepy Time Girl" had the relaxed feel that a tune of that title demands and Gavin did it justice. "Petite Fleur" is one of those tunes that have been done to death but, being a request... Gavin cut it okay on soprano playing very much in the Bechet mode.
Fred sang "Embraceable You" and Brian wisely exchanged banjo for guitar.
A tune I'd never heard before, "Tuck Me Up in my Old Kentucky Home" proved to be a delightful thing that bore no resemblance to the similarly titled Stephen Foster tune.
The VC have a wartime gig at Frosterly coming up and they honed up "The White Cliff's of Dover" in readiness for the invasion. I wasn't sure whether to clap my hands or stand to attention and salute.
AC2 Lance.

R.I.P. Johnny Graham

If you live beyond the bounds of South Tyneside the name Johnny Graham may not mean much but to those who knew and worked with him he was top class. Johnny was a drummer who worked mainly in the dance band and club environment although in his younger days he played like and bore more than a passing resemblance to Gene Krupa. In the photo he is pictured with long time musical associate, organist Johnny Cram. The jazz content became more pronounced through his son Tommy known for his work with Tommy Moran and recently, on Thursday lunchtimes, with the Maine Street Jazzmen at Rosie Malones in South Shields.
Johnny died on Sept. 1, aged 79.
Missed by all who knew him.

Jazz in the (Bank Holiday) Afternoon

Barry Aitchison, brother of 'our man in Hong Kong' Colin, has sent me this link to some snaps he took at Crescent Club, Cullercoats on Monday August 31. Lance.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Giants of Jazz @ Roker Park.

Mick Hill (tpt), Don Fairly (tmb), Gavin Lee (clt), Brian Bennett (bjo), Phil Henderson (sousa), George Davidson (dms).
The last time I encountered a band that styled themselves as "The Giants of Jazz" the line-up included Dizzy, Monk, Sonny Stitt & Kai Winding. As all of the above are now dead the only living Giant of Jazz I could think of was Sonny Rollins. My heart went pitter patter and I hurried to the park in Roker, Sunderland.
Alas, when I saw Brian Bennett, I realised that Rollins wouldn't be mounting this bandstand although Sonny Rollins (79 on Monday Sept. 7) with banjo accompaniment does offer some intriguing possibilities.
Speaking with Brian he explained that the term "Giants" referred to the band's expanding waistlines. He explained he was only depping and had had to stuff a pillowcase down his trousers before he was allowed on the stand.
They kicked off with "Alexander's Ragtime Band", followed by "When You're Smiling", "Lazy River", "I Want a Little Girl", "At the Jazz Band Ball" and so on - all good tried and tested standards.
Mick Hill gave a strong lead and soloed with panache. He reminded me at times of Ray Harley, his big strong tone leading them to the promised land. On trombone, Don also played with a more modern approach than is the norm for trad bands.
Clarinetist Gavin Lee is probably the most New Orleansy of the frontline and he weaved in an out of the ensemble with the skill and technique of an Irving Fazola. Gavin also plays at Corner House on this coming Monday night with the Vieux Carré Jazzmen.
Banjo, sousaphone and drums did the necessary and, despite the cold, wet, afternoon it was a good session and, because they were unamplified, there was the added bonus of being spared the pseudo - Satchmo vocals so beloved of British tradsters.
The final park gigs of the season takes place at Carlisle Park, Morpeth (or is it Morpeth Park, Carlisle?) next Sunday Sept. 13 when the RIVER CITY JAZZMEN play 2 sets (2:30 pm & 3:45 pm and, on the same afternoon from 1:00 pm CONTRABAND smuggle their brand of smooth jazz into Newbiggin.

Hampton Hawes on 3

Yesterday, all my troubles were so far away as I was listening to Alyn Shipton's Radio 3 feature on Hampton Hawes.
An excellent selection of 11 discs including an early trio recording of "I Got Rhythm". The reason I quote this particular track is that I once owned the LP that it came from. I say 'once' as I loaned it out and I can't remember to whom I loaned it to! This was about 30 years ago so I don't suppose he/she'll come forward now. It was Hawes' first trio recording for Contemporary and is, arguably, the finest piano trio recording ever made (I did say 'arguably'!)
But they were all good selections by Alyn including another fave of mine - Art Pepper's "Surf Ride".
Hampton Hawes was a wonderful and ultimately tragic player.

Blog Archive