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Friday, January 08, 2010

Blue Horizons by Chris Yates

Blue Horizons by Chris Yates. Farthings Design and Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4092-9004-9. £9.99. (The review below was initially posted in September before the sad loss of the author. Out of respect I have not changed the tense. As more copies are now available I have re-posted it.)
Jazz North East Director Supreme, Jazz Journalist and Master of the Adjective, Chris Yates has finally got around to putting his memories of promoting and writing about jazz into book form.
"Blue Horizons" is an entertaining and informative read covering Chris' involvement in jazz from his early days in Hull to the present in Newcastle.
It's an easy read and not at all the brow-furrowing tome one might have anticipated from an academic of Chris Yates standing - I'm pleased to say.
The anecdotes abound as can be expected from someone who has spent maybe 30/40 years rubbing shoulders with the jazz greats.
It has amusing stories that make compelling reading although the author has avoided going down a 'warts and all' path as I'm sure he could have done. I suspect that Chris is too much of a gentleman and has too much respect for the musical past of the artists concerned to wish to tarnish their image.
That he could have done I know first hand having been a part of the Jazz North East team at the time many of the events related occurred.
Even without the warts it is essential reading for those who wish to look back at that Golden Age when the person standing next to you at the bar of the Corner House could easily be Lockjaw Davis or Sweets Edison.
Highly recommended.
Lance.
(Enquiries to lanceliddle@gmail.com) PS: I have just heard that a request for Sydney Bechet's "Blue Horizons" and dedicated to Chris will be played on tomorrow's Jazz Record Requests (5:00pm Radio 3).

1 comment :

Roly said...

I just finished reading it last night - a very enjoyable read. I'm not much of a reader to be honest -when I start to read (in bed usually) I seem to nod off after just a few lines. So I never get anything read!!
But once I started this book I found it quite compelling and so read it all in just a couple of days. I think because I could closely relate to the story - my own induction into jazz was via
60s R&B and folk blues, then local trad bands at clubs, then beyond. And I too have great affection and respect for all styles across the board.
Also a lot of the local JNE gigs I was there of course so it brought back lots of memories. Some nice little anecdotes too.
It's a fine contribution, to local jazz especially, to have things documented this way.
Congratulations and well done Chris.
Roly

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