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Bebop Spoken There

Tineke Postma: “ I had a huge crush on him [Sting] when I was a teenager ". Jazzwise, June 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.


16476 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 356 of them this year alone and, so far, 68 this month (May 24).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 30: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 30: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests Josh Bentham (sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Garry Hadfield (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass);

Fri 31: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 31: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Fri 31: Borealis @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm. CANCELLED!
Fri 31: Redwell @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.


Sat 01: Enrico Tomasso’s Swing Company @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington. 12:30pm. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club.
Sat 01: Play More Jazz! workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle. 1:30pm. Tutor: Steve Glendinning.
Sat 01: Hop, Skiffle & Jump: The Story of Skiffle @ 1719, Hendon, Sunderland. 6:00-9:00pm.
Sat 01: Edison Herbert Trio @ The Vault, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free.
Sat 01: Lindsay Hannon’s Tom Waits for No Man @ Dry Water Arts, Amble. 7:00pm. £15.00.
Sat 01: John Garner & John Pope @ Victoria Tunnel, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 01: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 02: Musicians Unlimited @ West Hartlepool RFC, Hartlepool. 12 noon. Two sets (12 noon-1:00pm & 2:00-3:00pm). ‘Sunday Big Band Blast meets WHRFC’s Classic Car Show’.
Sun 02: Smokin’ Spitfires @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 12:45pm. £7.50.
Sun 02: Mark Williams Trio @ Central Bar, Gateshead. 2:00pm. £10.00.
Sun 02: Sax Choir @ The Globe, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 02: New Century Ragtime Orchestra @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 2:30pm. Free. A 'Jar on the Bar' gig. A 'pint sized' NCRO gig/rehearsal session feat. Dave Hignett, Jim McBriarty, Gavin Lee, Keith Stephen, Phil Rutherford with special guest drummer Nick Ward.
Sun 02: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 02: Anth Purdy @ The Quakerhouse, Darlington. 6:30pm. Free. ‘Swing Jazz Guitar’.
Sun 02: MSK @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 03: John Garner & John Pope @ Yamaha Music School, Blyth. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Mon 03: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 04: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Ben Phillips, Paul Grainger, Abbie Finn.

Wed 05: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 05: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 05: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stop Press

Roy Willis on road to recovery expected to be out of hospital tomorrow.

The Three Faces of Ruth

Tonight, Ruth Lambert fronts Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs) and Rob Walker (dms) at Jesmond's Cherry Tree Restaurant.
This is the ideal setting for one of our favourite divas - a congenial atmosphere, nonpareil backing from Paul, Mick and Rob, and food that will make your taste buds do the Lindy Hop.
Expect some tasty tunes too from Ruth's latest album.
Ruth has been a busy girl of late wowing them at the Bascule on Thursday, stepping back in time on Friday at the Fell and tomorrow big banding at All Saints Church in Cleadon - each gig displaying a different facet of her style.
Tonight however, has the look of a good night particularly as it is the last of the 'two courses for £10' menu until after Xmas. Next week it is the Xmas Table d'hote menu with Mo Scott and Stu Collingwood's Trio - that sounds/tastes pretty good too!

Update on New Century Ragtime Orchestra

Just to let you all know that the next appearance of the NEW CENTURY RAGTIME ORCHESTRA will be at a new venue for us, the Trinity Church Centre on Gosforth High Street, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 4AG this Saturday evening, 5 December, starting at 8pm.
As ever, the show will be fronted by ace saxophonist Steve Andrews and will of course feature Caroline on vocals and cornet. For those of you who were deprived of Caroline’s vocals at our last concert, I’m pleased to report that her voice is now very much back in business! Further details can be obtained from the church office on 0191 285 6130 or It would be great to see you there.
Phil Rutherford.

USE IT - OR LOSE IT - Jazz at the Saville.

Hello everybody – please do read all of this!
On Friday December 11 at 8.00pm we hold our celebrated Christmas Extravaganza: this year it's KEITH NICHOLS with the WEST JESMOND RHYTHM KINGS. Our theme will be “The Good Old Good Ones”.
The WJRK, augmented by the celebrated Mr Nichols, will play a session that reveals two very different interpretations of this phrase: in the first half, a selection of classic jazz pieces from the 1920s repertoire of Oliver, Morton and Armstrong, followed in the second half by a programme of “traditional jazz favourites” – the tunes for which we most frequently get requests, played more in the Barber/Colyer Bilk style of the 1950s.
In the true spirit of Christmas, Mr Nichols will make his own special gift to the audience in the shape of his inimitable piano and vocal renditions of the works of Mr Thomas Waller.
There will also be our celebrated Grand Christmas Raffle, with more than a dozen prizes of seasonal goodies, wines and spirits and the odd CD or two.
We hope that there will be a really strong turnout for this event: in the last twelve months, we have lost a fair amount of money, but a mere 15 more paying customers per concert would have seen us breaking even. The cash reserves we had carefully built up over the preceding two years have now been just about exhausted. We hate to utter gloomy thoughts at Christmastide, but with costs set to rise in the New Year, with the loss of help from the North Tyneside Arts Support Team - sadly made redundant as the Council struggle to balance their budget - and with no continuing support from Arts Council England, we really need a boost in audience numbers in the months ahead if we are to continue to present overseas bands and UK bands from outside the North East. So, do make the effort to get along to the Exchange, maybe drag a friend or two along with you, spread the word whenever you can, and hopefully we can keep the flag flying for high-quality traditional jazz at the Saville Exchange. Like our American cousins say, it really is a case of “use it or lose it”……….
Lastly, the latest word on Box Office arrangements is that the phone number will remain the same (0191 643 7093) but there will be no-one on hand at the Saville Exchange to take advance bookings in person. Also, the Council inform us that from January onwards it will not be possible to reserve specific seats - while we have no fears of anyone being turned away for lack of space, we can only advise you to arrive early if you want to be sure of sitting with friends or in your favourite spot. Doors will be open from 6.00pm.
With best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a splendidly jazzy New Year,
Mike Durham.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


It’s no exaggeration to say that jazz in the region has lost an absolutely pivotal figure with the sudden death of Jazz North East Secretary Chris Yates. Chris was on his way to the Profound Sound Trio’s gig at Gateshead Old Town Hall last Thursday when he suffered what seems to have been a massive heart attack, from which he never recovered. Although he had not been in the best of health over the past year or so, this was totally unexpected, and the news has come as a terrible shock to his family and to his countless friends. Chris joined the committee of Jazz North East in 1973, becoming its Secretary later the same year, and in the 35 years since then he remained the region’s foremost organiser of and advocate for jazz through times when the music was booming, and times when every other promoter regarded it as commercial suicide. There can hardly be a single significant jazz musician in the UK who didn’t get a booking from him at one time or another, and a whole host of international stars were also brought to Tyneside through his efforts. From veterans like Earl Hines to today's stars like Ken Vandermark, everybody knew and respected Chris. I haven’t the slightest doubt that the remaining members of the Jazz North East committee will want to organise some kind of tribute to Chris, and that there are musicians up and down the country who will want to be associated with this. In the meanwhile, I know that I speak for huge numbers of people when I express my condolences to his wife Laura and his children, and say “Thanks Chris, jazz everywhere owes you an immense debt of gratitude”.
Paul Bream.

CHRIS YATES - The Saddest Day.

This is probably one of the saddest postings I've ever had to make but the news, just received, that Jazz North East Supremo Chris Yates has died of a massive heart attack on SATURDAY evening is just that.
I doubt if there is anyone in the jazz fraternity both local and national who didn't know Chris.
Chris Yates' involvement with the music he loved can be traced back to his younger days in Hull and Scarborough then in Newcastle. That journey is beautifully described in his recently published book of reminiscences "Blue Horizons".
Chris wasn't just a part of Jazz North East he WAS Jazz North East and I know that none of the fellow members of that fine organisation would dispute it.
In 1983 he asked me to become a part of that team and I did so for a number of years then, only this week, he welcomed me back to Jazz North East. Little did I know that that was the last contact I would ever have with him.
He was a gentle, rather beautiful person, whose dedication to jazz covered all genre from New Orleans to Free. Apart from "Blue Horizons" he was a regular writer and reviewer for a variety of Jazz Magazines including "Jazz UK" and "The Jazz Rag".
The recent "Gig of the Year" post on this site was instigated by Chris and, as he became more computer literate late in life, was a regular site visitor.
Chris was on his way to Gateshead for the Profound Sound Trio gig at Gateshead Old Town Hall on Thursday when he collapsed.
Despite the efforts of Stephen and the paramedics he died on Saturday evening.
I'm sure everyone will join with me in passing on our condolences to Laura, Stephen and Kate. Somehow, going to the Corner House is never going to be quite the same no matter who is performing.
Rest In Peace,
PS: Chris died on Saturday not on Friday as I previously announced.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gig of the Year - The story so far....

... Joshua Redman Trio/Guy Barker Orch @ The Sage. (Chris Yates) Sheila Jordan @ The Sage (Evening perf.) (Roly Veitch, Hil Gil & Alan Rudd). Sheila Jordan @ The Sage (afternoon perf.) (Chris Finch & Jim McDowell). Norma Winstone @ The Sage. (Debra Milne). Alan Glen Trio @ The Chilli (local) (Chris Finch & Harley Johnson) Music of Duke Ellington + Billy Strayhorn (featuring Northern Sinfonia, Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra and Tim Garland) (Jim McDowell & Harley Johnson) Julian Arguelles Trio + John Abercrombie @ The Sage. (Harley Johnson). Chicago South Side session with Matthias Seuffert (Germany) and René Hagmann (Switzerland) at Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival. (Mike Durham) Virtuoso Jazz Trio @ Ashington Jazz Club. (John Taylor) Vasilis Xenopoulos @ Blaydon Jazz Club. (local) (Derek Cogger) Vasilis Xenopoulos @ Cherry Tree Restaurant. (Peter). Sonny Rollins @ The Barbican (Derek Cogger & Ron Ainsborough). Laurie Holloway Trio @ Leeds College of Music. (Liz). Ryan Quigley Sextet - Scarborough Jazz Festival. (Lance, Eric Stutt & Mike Gibson) Tomasz Stanko @ The Sage. (Fred Grand). Any Brian Bennett gig (Barry Aitchison). Any Clare Teal gig. (Sue Vickers-Thompson). Duology @ The Bridge. (Russell). Zoe Gilby & Andy Champion @ Blaydon Jazz Club (Hil., Roly) Jon Taylor @ Blaydon Jazz Club. (Eddie Carson). Budvivar @ The Chilli. (Allan). Gilad Azmon @ The Sage. (Toots) Mark Williams Trio @ The Bridge Jazzathon. (Robert Laing). Send us your choice asap. Lance.


Dutch pianist/singer, Pia Beck, died Nov. 26 aged 84. Her lifelong partner Margo died in June.
I recall hearing the Pia Beck Trio on Radio Hilversum in the 1950s and finding her to be a fine Shearing type pianist. I don't remember her singing so much back then but this YouTube clip reveals her to be no slouch. In fact check her out on 'Tube" there's a few examples of her talent - a very engaging personality.
Although she lived in Spain for many years she seems to be still held in high regard in her homeland, Holland.
May she rest in piece.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ruth Lambert & Broadway Melody @ The Fell.

Iain MacAulay (tmb/tpt/vcl), Derek Fleck (ten/clt), Brian Chester (pno), John Carstairs Hallam (bs), Stevie Doyle (dms), Ruth Lambert (vcl).
This was a different Ruth to the one we know and love who recently took the Saville by storm at her recent CD launch. This was a woman in search of her roots and finding them.
There were times when I thought of Lee Wiley or Connie Boswell as Ruth reached back in time to songs like "Mean To Me", "Stormy Weather", "Don't Get Around Much Anymore", "All of Me", "Sunnyside of the Street" and others from the mauve decade.
Despite no proper rehearsal, Broadway Melody coped admirably with the changes of key necessary to accomodate the singer and soloed effectively with Iain having a particularly lush(er as in Don) sound. Derek was totally in period with his clarinet and tenor solos - a big round tone on the latter instrument.
On piano, Brian bore the brunt of the accompanying chores and didn't put a noticeable finger wrong - at times his keyboard voicings were quite imaginative particularly on "Santa Baby".
I've loved this song since I first heard Eartha sing it and, more recently, Caroline Irwin. Ruth's version is a worthy addition.
However, for me, the highlight was - wait for it 'cos you're never gonna believe it! - "Jingle Bells". Ruth told me later that she FORGOT THE WORDS! Louis said the same when he invented scat - whatever, in both cases the rest is history. Ruth sang an improvised chorus that almost re-wrote the song. Put it out on record Ruth and it will top the Xmas (jazz) charts!
Talking discs, this is the first gig I've ever been to where the artist hasn't arrived with a box of CD's! Ruth has two out yet ne'er a word crossed her lips and "S'wonderful" and "Taking a Chance on Love" are on them!
The chanteuse can be heard again at The Cherry Tree Restaurant on Monday with trio backing and at a church hall in Cleadon on Tuesday with the Custom's House Big Band.
Superb night.
PS: Omitted to mention Stevie Doyle depping on drums who kept it tight and the ever reliable John Carstairs Hallam who aided and abetted him in this mission. Appreciated.
PPS: Talking of the Customs House Band, best wishes to guitarist Roy Willis, hospitalised yesterday.

Chilli Road Band in Concert.

Prior to the gig at The Fell I myself had a gig with the Chilli Road Band. This was an end of term concert for the pupils of the local school and was a fun evening - particularly for those with school connections which several of the band have.
Prior to the band playing, Kate, one of the trumpet players, compered and coralled the children on stage to perform their songs, solos, dances etc.
There were times when even a hardboiled cynic like me (my wife's description) was close to tears watching the youngsters do their thing - singing, dancing, playing violin, guitar etc. It didn't matter whether they were good bad or indifferent what stood out was the sincerity with which they put their heart and soul into it - X-Factor look out in ten/twenty years time. Unfair to single anyone out however, I was taken by the very young girl who sang "Over The Rainbow" totally unaccompanied. She took a strange direction in the middle eight yet managed to find her way back to base in the last eight something one or two adults of my acquaintance probably couldn't manage!
The band came on and did their set and to my ears sounded even better than at the Baltic probably because of the indoor accoustics.
Some photos have arrived from trumpet player Steve Nash of the Baltic gig.

Zoe and Andy Live!

Video of Zoe Gilby and Andy Champion Duo at Blaydon Jazz Club this Autumn. Click here. (For part one.) It's terrific! Lance. (Video by courtesy of


Russell, who is well informed on these matters, informs me that, not only is RUTH LAMBERT singing with BROADWAY MELODY at Gateshead Fell tonight but, in the adjoining cricket club, a BEER FESTIVAL is taking place (until Sunday).
Sounds good!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Charles and Friends @ The Black Horse, Boldon.

Charles Gordon (kbd), Ken Hewitt (ten/alt).
After the profoundness of the Profound Sound Trio I felt in need of something to sooth the savaged breast. The Black Horse at Boldon provided just such sanctuary.
Currently Charles Gordon holds court although he only had one friend tonight in the form of Ken Hewitt and a built in rhythm section.
It's predominantly jazz funk with such as "Watermelon Man", "Light My Fire", "Give Me The Night" seemingly the staple fair although they did do a few ballads such as "Nearness of You" and "My Funny Valentine". Because of the lack of a live drummer the formula works best in the funkier groove and both guys played some good stuff - Ken with a touch of the Grover Washington's and Charles in Herbie Hancock/Ramsey Lewis mode.
Having known them both from my days working in Newcastle's premier music store it was nice to hear them in situ and I enjoyed it.
At closing time I was invited to 'have a blow' - I suspect they wanted the bar cleared - and I fumbled my way around "Ain't Misbehavin" "Canteloupe Island" and "Green Onions".
Thanks guys.
Charles and Ken jam here every Thursday and sitters in are welcome.
The only problem is remembering the name of the pub as Boldon has a Grey Horse, a Black Horse, a Black Bull and a Red Lion and it is essential to co-ordinate the animals and the colours.
The Black Horse is the one on Rectory Bank and is run by former frontman of the Punk band the Toy Dolls, Pete Zulu (or is it Zulu Pete?) He is also a highly respected chef.
PS: I've just counted - 3 gigs in one day no wonder I'm tired!

The Profound Sound Trio @ Gateshead Old Town Hall

Andrew Cyrille (dms), Henry Grimes (bs & vln), Paul Dunmall (ten/sop/bagpipes).
What can I say? Three brilliant players who, in a single set lasting just over an hour, took free improvisation to a new height. So intent were they on their marathon solos that not a word was spoken. Instead they delved deep into their innermost soul. Searching, probing and finally exploding with a cascade of notes which, in the case of Dunmall, shot from the instrument with the speed and multi-directional aim of a box of firecrackers after someone had simultaneously lit the blue touchpaper on all of them.
Not content with tenor and soprano he also delivered sheets of sound on the bagpipes.
Whilst all this was going on, Cyrille and Grimes went off down their own journey into the unknown. Grimes swapping the big fiddle for the little fiddle and producing some sounds that Stephane or Yehudi might have disputed actually came from a violin.
Master percussionist Cyrille, not to be outdone had his moments in the spotlight displaying his prodigious technique to great effect. On one occasion he was on the verge of swing but he checked himself in the nick of time
With all this going on it is not surprising that the audience, almost to a man, were vociferous in their applause.
You might note I said "almost"...

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's

Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Jim McBriarty (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Tommy Graham (dms), Olive Rudd (vcls & Raffle tickets).
Another stomping good afternoon with the Maine Street Mob. No startling innovations or earth shattering flights of fancy - just solid, straight down the middle dixieland.
Both the frontliners soloed well; Jim seemingly effortlessly produced some clichéless runs with that Peanuts Hucko type sound so suited to this music.
Herbie, versatile as ever, switched from harmonica to trombone to vocals with ease.
Tommy, Alan and Malcolm provided the firm foundation whilst our girl Olive ran her vocal chords around such gems as "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland" - I'll be on the next bus Olive - "All of Me" and her beautiful rendition of Bix's "Singin' The Blues".
Sadly her magic didn't extend to the raffle tickets...

More on Sonny Rollins at the Barbican.

(This comment, I decided is worthy of a seperate posting - Lance.)
We endorse everything said about the Mark Toomey Quartet at the Cherry Tree. A wonderful evening of jazz and a credit to the local jazz scene.

With reference to the Sonny Rollins Concert at the Barbican, which we and the family had the privilege of being there, it was the best jazz concert I have ever been to, for many reasons.

"The living embodiment of a great tradition" was Geoffrey Smith's description as he welcomed the band to the stage. How many musicians get a standing ovation before they actually get onto the stage, and at 79 years old give a performance with such enthusiasm and most of all, the creativity, was something to be seen (and heard of course)?

The fullness of his tone was all there and the band with him was first/world class. Bob Cranshaw on bass, Clifton Anderson on trombone, Bobby Broom on Guitar, a percussionist called Victor.Y.See Yuen, and a sensational drummer in Kobie Watkins; all having a ball and thoroughly enjoying backing the great Sonny Rollins.

Having said that, Sonny was very gracious and featured all of them throughout the concert, having the great respect for each other reciprocated, not allowing ego's to get in the way of what was great music.

Some of the tunes played were 'Someday I'll find you'', "They say that falling in love is wonderful", "St.Thomas" and of course "Don't stop the carnival", every tune being fully explored and no stone unturned (in improvisational terms), before Sonny would take it out.

He played one set lasting approximately 90 minutes finishing with the aforementioned 'Don't stop the Carnival' and again receiving his second standing ovation of the night lasting many minutes but returned only to give a wave to the standing adulating audience.

Following that, you felt that the audience almost danced out of the Barbican with huge smiles on their faces with the haunting melody of 'Don't stop the Carnival' still ringing in their heads, knowing that they had all seen and witnessed one of the worlds greatest musicians still playing at a level beyond comprehension. Long may the 'Carnival' continue, and we hope Sonny Rollins continues to give the world so much pleasure listening to the sound of genius improvising tenor saxophone.
Ron Ainsborough.
(Photo courtesy of Derek Cogger).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And Gentlemen in England now abed, shall think themselves accursed they were not at the Chilli tonight.

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Barrie Ascroft (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms).
Harley Johnson (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms.)
Dave, Barrie, Eric + Willie Angus (bs), Judith (vln), Matt (gtr).
Tonight came pdc to being my gig of the year! Harley (pic. left), undeterred by the limited exposure on Blue Peter, took his gentle aggression out on the Duke Ellington songbook giving his unique interpretaions of such Ducal classics as "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart", "Sophisticated Lady", "C Jam Blues" - with quite an incredible intro and theme - "I Got It Bad" and "Take The A Train" - I may have overlooked a couple.
This was Duke meets Monk on neutral ground with Harley stage managing the end result which was pure Harley. What got me was that by the end of the first tune my pulse rate had gone up several notches as he made the Ellington songbook his own. Not only that but the obvious enjoyment he gets from playing is infectious and transmits itself not just to the audience but to his fellow musicians.
Harley seems to bring something extra out of Eric and his game is raised. Less flambuoyant, Jim kept track of the changes beautifully although a little more volume wouldn't have gone amiss.
A great set that just floated by.
Earlier, Dave and the gang of four did Duke Pearson's "The Chant", "Good Bait", he sang "Invitation" and "God Bless The Child" and blew a mix of muted and open horn throughout.
For the jam, Judith played violin, Matt, a talented youngster, played guitar and Willie Angus did the business on fretless.
Coming after Harley's explosive "A Train", "You go to my Head was a little prolonged albeit with nice solos allround. The final Blues in F (Blues for Duane) saw Judith cut loose with a fiery chorus or two that set a high benchmark for the guys.
It was a magical night - just so much going on musically the place should have been packed. It wasn't but whoever wasn't there, and it's a long list, must surely relate to Henry V's speech on the eve of Agincourt...
...And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day." (William Shakespeare).
PS: NEXT WEEK's NEWS - "Hot House Dragons" will be doing the guest spot next Wednesday with Take It To The Bridge. You've already heard some of them last night, as this is the project of Willie Angus, who plays guitar in this band, and Judith on violin, along with Matt, whom you also heard on guitar last night. They also bring along a double-bass player, whose name escapes me, and the ambience is sorta "Hot Club Of France" vibe.

Ronnie Scott Celebration on Radio 4

Russell has pointed out to me that on Thursday 3rd December Radio 4 is putting out 'The House that Jazz Built' (11.30.a.m.). A half hour programme celebrating 50 years of Ronnie Scott's.
Mmm - 50 years in half an hour? Perhaps we'll hear Stan Tracey's "Under Condensed Milkwood." Still, when it comes to jazz and the media, 'Beggars can't be choosers" is the expression that springs to mind.
Our mentors, '', just today bemoaned the fact that the London Jazz Festival, the most successful ever, with 250 events in ten days didn't receive any TV coverage. We could equally argue the same re the Sage Gateshead, Scarborough and other jazz festivals.
Perhaps ITV and BBC realise their product is so bad that, as jazz enthusiasts move on a higher plane than day to day TV caters for, they don't bother trying to woo us anymore.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mark Toomey Quartet @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond.

Mark Toomey (alto), Jeremy McMurray (pno), Peter Ayton (bs), Kevin O'Neill (dms).
Laid back alto playing from Mark who flew bird-like through the changes on a choice selection of standards and originals.
These included, "East of the Sun", "Autumn Leaves", "Stella By Starlight", "There Will Never Be Another You", "All The Things You Are" - complete with the now obligatory Charlie Parker intro - more Yardbird with "Parker's Mood" and finally, Sonny Rollins' soundtrack theme for the Michael Caine film "Alfie". Now before you throw-up I'm not talking about the song that Cilla used to sing but the actual film theme called "Alfie's Tune", a catchy ditty reminiscent of Rollins' "Doxy".
Talking of Rollins, there was a couple in the audience who had actually been at the great man's recent concert at the Barbican. He described it as the greatest concert ever and hopefully he will elaborate further within these pages.
Getting back to tonight, There were a few nice originals that revealed Mark to be no mean composer. The opener, "High Spirits" was one and another one, "Don't Get Me Wrong", was exceptional! As well as Mark, who played out of his skull, Jeremy too had some outstanding moments - he hit the spot on the aforementioned "DGMW" - and drew some appreciative applause when he played along with a recording of Stu Collingwood that was going out over the tannoy! Somebody ought to get these two guys together for a real live piano duet - move over Rawicz and Landauer (remember them?)
Peter Ayton gave a sound performance on bass whilst Kevin, relatively subdued because of the intimate setting, nevertheless did what was asked as well as keeping the occasional round of fours going.
Of course going to the Cherry Tree on a Monday night isn't just about music - the icing on the cake, so to speak, is the food.
Tonight I had to decide between, Cream of Leek and Potato Soup; Pickled Herring with Potato Salad and Dill; Warm Partridge, Apple and Walnut Salad; Smoked Chicken with Winter Slaw or Salad of Brie, Figs & Walnuts with Honey Mustard Dressing and that was just for starters. I went for partridge figuring we've got Bird on the stand might as well have one on the plate.
There were another 5 choices for main course but, rather than have you salivating over your pc I'll just say that I opted for Seabass with Buttered Leeks, Tarragon Crush & Mustard Butter Sauce which, like the Partridge, was absolutely delicious.
From 5 desserts I picked another winner in the Warm Spice Sponge with Plum Compote.
It's a hard life but someone's got to do it..

THIS WEDNESDAY (Nov.25) @ The Chilli

The Harley Johnson Trio makes another welcome appearance. Not, as first reported with John Pope, but with regular Chillimen Eric Stutt and Jim Crinson. Should still be a great night as well as an opportunity for those who have yet to hear the wunderkind perform. Harley intends to devote his hour-long set to the music of Duke Ellington. This I gotta hear! Lance. PS: Don't forget to catch Harley Johnson a.k.a Thelonious Ellington on Blue Peter tomorrow (Tuesday Nov. 24) BBC One 4:35 pm.

Early Oscar + Barney & Ray

One of my Facebook friends is a guy called Brett or is he a brett called Guy? Anyhow, he goes by the title of "The Jazz Video Guy" and is responsible for a lot of original YouTube material including this one of the Oscar Peterson Trio in the early '50s. Check it out. Apart from the music, the still photos are magnificent.

Madeleine Peyroux

As I didn't make it to the Sage on Sunday night for Maddy's concert - only Third Level tickets left - I will refer interested parties (and I'm always interested in a party) to Londonjazz's review of her gig at the Royal Festival Hall 2 days earlier. I would guess they were pretty much identical.
PS: More Festival reviews here. (Including Jo Harrup).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band with guest Sammy Rimington @ Gateshead Fell Friday Nov. 20

Dave Rae bjo, Mac Rae kit, Chris Smith bass, Jim Blenkin tbn, Peter Wright tpt, Eric Brooks, piano, Sammy Rimington clt/alto This was a very well attended session and a very enjoyable one. The Rae Brothers play a gentle, infectious brand of New Orleans jazz which has a certain rhythmic lilt that draws you in from the first number. It’s not hard to see why they are so popular at jazz clubs and festivals around the UK and abroad. They are also very popular monthly regulars at The Fell. For this session, they were joined by Sammy Rimington, a star of the New Orleans circuit who came to the fore with Ken Colyer’s famous band back in 1960 when he was only 17 years old. He was with that band about 5 years. Since then Sammy has worked with Chris Barber, Capt John Handy, Kid Thomas and a host of internationally known old style players both in Europe and the States. He is a very fluent player both on clarinet and alto with an intuitive sense of drama, rhythm and the building of a solo. His unique ‘feel’ for the music shines through and his playing was a delight that was well appreciated by the large audience. The repertoire was standard traditional fare – When You Wore a Tulip, Bugle Boy March, I Get the Blues When it Rains, The Other Line (Bourbon Street Parade), etc. All in all a grand evening and everyone went home happy. What more can you want? All credit to Ron & Joyce Pollard, Lance Cousins and the helpers at this club who have done a fantastic job in successfully keeping it going. It is one of the best traditional jazz clubs in the UK and right on our doorstep. The late Ray Brown, who started it off, would be very proud. For more info visit (Rae Brothers)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Message from Facebook or was it God?

"Facebook is planning a redesign which will eliminate the boxes on your profile, and will stop sending you concert notifications. iLike will alert you by email when Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, or another artist you like announces a concert near you."
(As long as the concert is near me and not them!)

Blues For Night People

It’s 4 AM Maybe later Time means nothing To an all-night waiter. Ham on rye Eggs over easy Southern fry Spoon is too greasy. ----- After hours Up on the stand Combo jamming Maybe Birdland. One last chorus The saxophone sings A trip to the Moon On gossamer wings. ----- Down in the street A hooker sighs Time for bed Alone no guys. Maybe not yet Not whilst she’s able To cop off with a John Lay a line on the table. ----- The patrolman cometh He’s seen it before The waiter, the muso, The drunk and the whore. A plumber wakes up To the morning’s light One man’s day is Another man’s night. ----- Lance. (Inspired by Charlie Byrd's great disc "Blues For Night People" My favourite guitar recording. )

Friday, November 20, 2009

Melody Lingers On

Liz drew my attention to this review of Melody Gardot's recent appearance at the London Jazz Festival - sounds like the girl came through good. LondonJazz seem to agree too. Lance.


Because of poor advance ticket sales this Sunday's forthcoming gig by Led Bib due to take place at The Cluny has been cancelled. Lance. PS: You win some you lose some - click here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Chilli Road Band @ Baltic Square

The Chilli Road Band, not to be confused with Take it to the Bridge, the band that plays at the Chillingham on Wednesday nights, is a vibrant community band based, as the name implies, in and around the Chillingham Road area of Heaton and includes several pupils, teachers and parents from Chillingham Road School - where the band holds regular rehearsals - as well as other locals and the odd interloper from further afield (me!)
It's not an out and out jazz group although it has a fair number of jazz pieces in the repertoire - "Blue Bossa", "Canteloupe Island", "The Chicken" being typical examples and all 3 were given an airing - literally - tonight in an open air gig at Baltic Square on the Gateshead side of the Millennium Bridge.
The event was a fundraising fire-walk in which the participants, each of whom had to guarantee a minimum of £100 sponsorship for the privilege of walking across some burning logs, did just that. There were quite a number of them, in fact they were queuing up, and as far as I know there were no fatalities. It looks like the organisers - MacMillan Cancer Support - did okay and so they should for it is a deserving cause.
Getting back to the band, it is good to see young, talented musicians getting a taste of ensemble playing in such a loose band rather than the rigid formality of some musical organisations.
At tonight's gig there were about 25 players of varying ages playing a variety of steel pans/drums/percussion as well as a horn section of saxes, trumpets, trombone, flute, clarinet...
Despite the horrors of playing unmiked in the open-air the sound seemed to carry reasonably well and even the occasional music stand swept away by the prevailing mini-tornado didn't faze the players.
Available for weddings, bar-mitzvahs and firewalks.

Lee Konitz to gig in Birmingham (UK)

Could you mention on your website the upcoming gig in Birmingham with Lee Konitz and Dan Tepfer, the young pianist with whom Lee has been playing and recording in New York? It's on *Tuesday 1st December* at 8pm at the CBSO Centre, BerkelyStreet, Birmingham B1 2LF. *This is their only gig in UK*. Tickets are £15, full price and £13concessions available from the CBSO Centre Hotline 0121-767-4050 or Tony Dudley-Evans
Artistic DirectorBirmingham Jazz
(A possible 'Gig of the Year'? - Lance.)

Call the Firehouse Five Plus Two!

Last night, just as I was about to set off for the Chilli to hear Dave Weisser's Take it to the Bridge and Budvivar, the fire alarm sounded.
I live on the top floor and occasionally the alarm sounds and it is a false alarm (residents tend to ignore it). I opened my front door to be confronted by a smoke-filled corridor. This time it was for real. My neighbour had gone out a few minutes earlier - hadn't she? - and smoke was billowing from under her front door.
At this point I did what my hero (Stan Laurel) would have done - panic! I rang the door bell, I banged on the door. I knew there wasn't anyone at home. I flew down the stairs and out onto the street.
A neighbour, on the ground floor, wondered what the commotion was about. 'Fire!' I said. 'Yeah, right' she said. 'Fire, for real!' I said. Mobile in hand she called 999 (the local fire station is just around the corner). We stood outside, I looked up - I thought LPs, my CDs, my books - I was just about to dash back into the burning building when three fire engines raced round the corner, crews donning breathing apparatus, leaping from their tenders, hauling hoses, wielding axes ('Here's Johnny!').
Foolishly, I said 'I'll show you where the fire is'. Fearlessly, the firefighters pushed past me and entered the inferno. Much banging and clattering ensued - the door went in (Johnny was clearly enjoying his work). After a while our heroes emerged onto the street. A grill pan over the cooker hadn't been switched off. Damage to my neighbour's home was minimal - a case of smoke without fire ! Thanks to the Firehouse Five Plus Two I'll make it to the Chilli next week. Russell

Sheila Jordan @ London Jazz Festival

Dont know if you heard this - from London Jazz Festival here's the link. Roly.

Press Release from Vieux Carré Head Office

Vieux Carre trombonist, Lawrence 'Salty Dog' McBriarty, has reputedly negotiated a six figure Naming Rights deal with a potato crisp company. Speaking from his penhouse* loft in Harlow Green, Lawrence said, "In spite of the wealth and fame, it won't stop me from performing with the VCJ at the Corner House on Monday nights".
Brian Bennett.
* Not sure whether this should read 'penthouse' or 'henhouse'.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Budvivar @ The Chilli

Debra Milne (vcl), Stuart Finden, Fiona Littlewood (ten), Dr. Nicola Weaver (bar), Chris Finch (pno), Jim Crinson (bs gtr/gtr), Eric Stutt (dms).
Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Barrie Ashcroft (pno), bass and drums as above. Plus Harley Johnson on one number.
Budvivar, with baritone sax Nicola replacing guitarist Eddie Nickson, played a stomping instrumental blues for their opening number tonight with the three 'man' frontline producing a beefy sound that was inversely proportionate to their sylphlike stature - okay so maybe Stuart was marginally less sylphlike than the girls but the sound was good all round as were the solos.
Debra came on and her set included "Beautiful Love", "Love Me or Leave Me" - great sax riff on this one - a lesser known Rodgers & Hart which has suddenly gone off my radar and "My Funny Valentine".
This latter tune had some interesting tempo changes but may have benefitted from richer harmonies from the 'sylphs'.
Stuart was at the top of his game tonight blowing some gutsy solos (also playing bass guitar when Jim went six string) but it has to be said that Nicola and Fiona also did the business. Fiona playing a warm introduction to "There Will Never Be Another You" and Nicola booting the big horn home in her various soli. Chris Finch, Eric Stutt and Jim Crinson kept the horns up to speed as well as having their own moments of glory.
The final "Well You Needn't" had Debra vocalese-ing with the saxes for the out chorus and it worked.
A good set although personally I felt cheated when they didn't do "Hit That Jive Jack" - I'm putting in my request now for the December gig.
Stuart and Fiona stayed on stage for the jam and, after a couple, Harley came on for "Blue Bossa" which saw him keep the ball in the air in his own inimitable manner aided and abetted of course by Eric's call and response drumming.
Earlier Dave sung, among others, "Willow Weep for Me" - a tune I had to admit that, although I knew it well, I didn't know the name of the composer. This turned out to be Ann Ronnell. Ronell, according to Wikopedia, was romantically involved with George Gershwin at the time she wrote this, her most famous song, and speculation, based on the striking similarities in the song to the blues-inflected style of Gershwin, was that Gershwin actually wrote the song and gave her the copyright as a gift (just thought I'd throw that in to make up for my previous lack of knowledge!)
Whether it was Ann or George who wrote it I'm sure they'd have been proud of Dave's version.

Essential Viewing

Harley Johnson's Blue Peter performance goes on air Tuesday 24th November on BBC 1 at 4.35 pm. Put it in your diary now! Lance.

Sonny Rollins - My One and Only Love

Jeff Clyne R.I.P.

I received the sad news this morning via Paul Bream, LondonJazz and other sources that Jeff Clyne died suddenly on Monday November 16.
Regarded by many as the British Basso Supremo it is impossible to list all of his achievements but for me it is seeing and hearing him as part of Nucleus and the Rendell/Carr Quintet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Graham Hardy Quartet @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant.

Graham Hardy (tpt/flg), Mark Williams (gtr), Neil Harland (bs), Rob Walker (dms).
The Cherry Tree's admirable Monday night policy of presenting quality jazz and good food at the right price is one that must be applauded and is worthy of support.
Tonight's musical menu saw the Graham Hardy Quartet lay down impeccable versions of "Bye Bye Blackbird", "'Round Midnight", Clark Terry's "In Orbit", "Long Ago & Faraway", "The Touch of Your Lips", "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and others including a delicious version of "The Star-Crossed Lovers" - Ellington's take on the Romeo & Juliet affair. Graham played flugel on this bringing out the pathos and poignancy of the young lover's doomed romance.
Mark Williams yet again displayed incredible fluency soloing with ease and inventiveness throughout. Some of his chords were surely created in heaven and rubber stamped by the devil!
Neil, as ever, unobtrusive and always swinging, keeping the pulse beating and Rob Walker adding the vital spark to the unit.
Of course at The Cherry Tree there is more than music to digest. There is food of the highest quality and it would ill-become me not to mention tonight's two-courser.
For my starter, on the owner's recommendation I opted for Smoked Chicken & Celeriac Soup with Truffle Oil. It was a good tip. I kept on the chicken run for my main course choosing Pan Fried Chicken with Tarragon & Brown Bread Sauce. Again delightful.
I should also mention that the Jazz Concert menu offers a choice of 5 starters, 5 main courses and 5 sweets (perm any 2 courses from 3).
Really amazing value with or without the jazz.
Next Monday it is the Mark Toomey Quartet. Mark on alto with Jeremy McMurray (pno), Peter Ayton (bs), Kevin O'Neil (dms).
Mark is one of the best Parker style alto players around so it looks to be another good night.

Gig of the Year

Chris Yates has come up with the following suggestion: Nominations for the Gig of the Year.
Chris's own suggestion is:
"Gateshead Jazz Festival March, 2009 : the double bill of JOSHUA REDMAN TRIO and GUY BARKER JAZZ ORCHESTRA. The Joshua Redman Trio would have been my 'Gig of 2009' by itself, but sharing a concert with Guy Barker's terrific Jazz contest, as they say."
I'll have to think about mine.
Also, perhaps two categories a general one and one involving local (local to you) musicians rather than 'visiting firemen'.
As local can mean anywhere from Newcastle to New York (and 'Old York') state clearly where the gig took place.
Please email suggestions to

Tonight - 'Hims' Ancient and Modern

There is a treat in store tonight for modern/maainstream enthusiasts at the Cherry Tree Restaurant on Osborne Road, Jesmond.
The Graham Hardy Quartet, that is Graham waxing lyrical on trumpet and flugel horn, Mark Williams eulogising on guitar, Neil Harland selecting only the most effective bass notes and Rob Walker keeping it together and driving it along on drums.
Coupled with a two-course meal for a tenner this looks like a lovely way to spend an evening.
If your tastes run to more traditional fayre the the Vieux Carré Jazzmen serve up their brand of New Orleans Hot Pot at the Corner House Hotel in Heaton.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tomasz Stanko Quintet @ The Sage, Gateshead.

Tomasz Stanko - trumpet, Jakob Bro - guitar, Alexi Tuomarila - piano, Anders Christensen - bass, Olavi Louhivuori - drums.
Some years ago I read a collection of short stories by William Price Fox - "Southern Fried". They are magnificent tales of the American deep south - seek it out, I think it has been re-printed with 6 extra stories.
The particular story relevant to tonight's little adventure is a one called "The Rope". It's a story centred around a group of down and outs who challenge each other to name the worst place they have ever slept in. The winner was a doss house which had a room with a rope stretched across the middle - no beds - just a rope. The idea was that the 'guests' draped themselves across the rope and then tried to sleep. The most comfortable position was in the centre of the rope but if you were late arriving it meant you had to make do with the end of the rope and had to try and sleep at an angle. Not easy.
Tonight, I opted for a £7 standing ticket on Level 3 in The Sage's Hall 2. This was only marginally more comfortable than I imagine the rope to have been and possibly contributed to my cup not running over with joy.
Roz Rigby introduced the quintet who last night had been part of the London Jazz Festival and tonight were performing, possibly, as part of Polish Week in Newcastle. I wondered idly if they were having a Newcastle Week in Poland!
The first 20 minutes were of a dirge like nature; probing, introspective, long drawn out notes that suggested a lament to a fallen soldier or a departed love, possibly the introduction to a dream and indeed sleep did beckon but I fought it and won (or did I?).
The set was played non-stop without interval or announcement and there were moments when it came beautifully and excitingly to life. Tomasz does have a wonderful tone (so he should playing all those long notes) and when he chose to despatch some Miles-like runs he displayed an impressive technique and nobody slept.
But, having fortified myself by listening to his earlier quartet recordings I realised that I was really at the wrong concert. The fault is entirely mine.
Piano, bass, guitar and drums had their moments but by and large their role was supportive.
The attendance was good with Levels 1 and 2 close to sold out hence my being up there where the air is rarified.
Next time I'll opt for a seat in the stalls.

Zoe Gilby Quintet @ Saltburn Jazz Centre - Friday 13th November

Zoe - vocals ; Andy Champion - double bass ; Noel Dennis - trumpet & flugel horn ; Richard Brown - drums ; Mark Williams - guitar. As Mark Williams and I arrived in Saltburn tonight, darkness rained heavily on the small seaside town yet, lucky for some, the Community Centre was bathed in a welcoming ecclesiastical light with a large banner proudly announcing : JAZZ CONCERT TONIGHT ; "Are you sure this is the place?!"
Inside, all was cosily organised with table-clothed and glowing-candled settings, arranged in sweeping arcs around a 'giant 4 poster bed' of an artists' area. Quoting from Saltburn's Community website: "The hall was completed in April 1910 as a Primitive Methodist Chapel. It is an historic building with Grade II listing constructed of glazed brick and a slate roof. It is heated by gas fired central heating radiators." Fascinating stuff and what's more, it was literally packed with expectant jazz fans - such a contrast to The Georgian Theatre Stockton - the warm welcome from the organisers even extending to drinks being pressed into the hands of the band as they arrived - such a human touch, nice! This was a passionate 'back with a vengeance' performance, after Zoe's 3 week absence due to a throat infection and, surprisingly, in a venue that projected the sound of the band without any clashing echos, although it may be worth considering a PA when beyond a trio, to let Zoe's voice dominate the mix on all sides. I'd not heard the announced "Zoe Gilby+quartet" with a trumpet/flugel frontline before but I was soon impressed as Noel pulled a variety of lively chromatic rabbits out of the hat with his cool Chet Baker kind of blue magic! Zoe's standards were high as usual and, nearing the end of the 1st set, I got another chance to attempt to work out the duo arrangement of 'Nice Work if You Can Get it', as the rest of the band were sent to get the interval drinks. Unfortunately it is for sure, 'Nice Work' but I just can't 'Get It' - how do they do it? With the voice/bass counterpoint, the extended melody harmonics - could be Lydian Dominant meets Abbott & Costello: it's just SO clever and pulls out all the tricks in Andy's amazing conjurer's cabinet. Zoe's a great fan of writer Dave Frischberg (Fresh-Mountain) and, rallying those like-minded women in the hall who expect equality to be weighed in their favour, ordered up her sweet in the 1st set with her slinky delivery of Peel Me A Grape - "....Don't just do it, jump to it!" So it was in Set II that those who are fed up with being told to avoid what those kill-joy scientists tell us just might kill us, got another rare heartfelt Frischberg number - 'Forget About Living' with its list of all the things we like that are bad for us, concluding that without a bit of excess, " might as well be dead!" A sort of Dorothy Parker reversal. I just love their treatment of 'Caravan' and tonight we got a deftly delivered drum solo from Richard Brown of the highest order - you were there with him on camel-back - a great sound. Meanwhile Mark Williams is thankfully never predictable - every solo he takes, he takes it easy but he really does take it! This was a showcase performance of the highest order.
George M.

An Invitation to The Boiler Room (Bridge Hotel, Newcastle.)

Hey Folks,
It would be great to see more of you come down! You're missin' out on a good night and plenty of good music and good fun to be had. Hope to see more of you on Tuesday! This will be the penultimate gig and then we're finished during December. We will aim to be relaunching during January so come down these last two weeks!
Chris Tippy Geehan.
(Admission £2 but if you bring your instrument and have a jam it is free.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Trinity Jazz - It's a Sin to Tell A Lie but Fats Lives!

Mike Durham (tpt/vcl/narration), John Crocker (Ten/clt), Keith Nichols (pno/org/vcl), Keith Stephen (bjo/gtr), Bruce Rollo (bs), Pete Soulsby (dms).
A tried and tested formula by the musicians involved pleased another well-attended session at Trinity Church, Gosforth - this time held in the church itself to enable Keith Nichols to play "Sugar" on the mighty church console.
This was an evening, devoted to the life and times of Fats Waller, that rolled pleasantly along. The legends and annecdotes related by Mike and Keith Nichols, old-hat to regular jazzianardos, were new to many of the parishioners and rewarded with the appropriate chuckles and occasional guffaw - not too many of the latter as, after all, we were in church.
Musically there was much to offer. I've already mentioned Nichol's organ-playing but it was his stride piano and the workout's he gave to such Waller comps. as "A Handful of Keys", "Viper's Drag" (but surprisingly not "Alligator Crawl") and others that hit the jackpot.
John Crocker, romped happily through "Honeysuckle Rose" on tenor and "Sweet Sue" and "Dinah" on clarinet. His tenor-playing has that richness Waller's man Gene Cedric had and is totally in period.
Mike Durham provided the trumpet lead necessary to recreate the sound of Fat's Rhythm as well as donating some throwaway vocals.
Perhaps the relatively unsung heroes of the night were the rhythm section. Keith Stephen did the Al Casey bit to perfection with Bruce and Pete solid in both support and solo.
Fats wrote some lovely tunes and tonight they were given the treatment they deserved.
"I've Got My fingers Crossed", "Blue Turning Grey", "Ain't Misbehavin'", "Milkman", "Louisiana Fairytale" etc. all gems.
An ambitious program has been proposed for next year including an unmissable Daryl Sherman with Digby Fairweather - March 13.
Up next is the New Century Ragtime Orchestra on Dec.5.
Well done Trinity Church, maybe jazz is 'parochial' after all.

Name That Tune

Colin Aitchison sent me this ten minute video clip of Flip Phillip's 80th birthday bash. It has Flip on tenor, Phil Woods, alto, Randy Sandke, trumpet, Herb Ellis, guitar, Scott Hamilton, tenor, Carl Fontana, trombone, all jamming on ............
This is the question Colin poses. Name the tune before it gets to the end when all is revealed.
You have to listen closely to the changes played by Derek Smith on piano.
Clue - not a regular jamming tune.

Tonight @ Trinity Church, Gosforth...

... a Fats Waller tribute with Keith Nichols, John Crocker, Keith Stephens, Mike Durham, Bruce Rollo and Pete Soulsby. Tonight's recital is in the actual church rather than the centre to enable 'Fats' Nichols to recreate some of Waller's work on the 'Mighty Wurlitzer'. Another 3 figure audience is anticipated so the Gosforth Gang are doing something right in their promotion of 'The Devil's Music'. Lance

Friday, November 13, 2009

Vasil Xenopoulos Rides Again - Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond.

Vasilis Xenopoulos (ten), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms).
Different venue, different audience, same band, same tunes? This would be the easy way out but not for Vasy, Paul and Co.
Totally different set list yet equally as enjoyable.
Given that the quartet were playing for diners they began swinging gently along on "Witchcraft" with Vasy playing chorus after chorus incorporating a brief sortie into "Desifinado" before handing over to Paul who kept the mood going. "One Note Samba" and "Wave" provided the obligatory Bossa Nova moments with an original(ish) "Blues For Geordieland" going down the 12 bar route. An almost, but not quite, tongue in cheek version of "Honeysuckle Rose" built up to a blast on "Killer Joe".
Even unmiked, Vasy still has this wonderful sound that clings to the body of the instrument before erupting in a glorious cascade of audio colours.
As the room filled up and the rhythm section was augmented by knives and forks and plates and chitter chatter so the band moved through the gears accordingly and by the interval they were leaving the Earth's gravitational pull - Destination Mars.
At this point I will digress and let my tastebuds describe my Sirloin Steak.
"8 oz of heaven cooked to our preferred medium rare status and served with French Fries, tomato, mushroom and garnish. This was a culinary orgasm. My compliments to the chef he is to haute cuisine what Vasilis Xenopoulos is to le jazz moderne."
Service too is excellent and, above all, the owner is knowlegable and jazz friendly. How many restaurateurs do you know who can wax eloquently about Ellis Larkins (an American Paul Edis) or still recall the magic of seeing Sinatra at the Royal Festival Hall?
Back to tonight. The second set saw the band in orbit - "Smile", the bluesiest instrumental version of "Georgia on my Mind" that you are ever going to hear in a Jesmond restaurant, "Love For Sale", "Canteloupe Island", "The Nearness of You" - so evocative it sent pictures of loved ones past present and future floating across the crowded room.
If I seem to have neglected the rhythm section I hope they'll forgive me. Paul Edis fingered up his usual storm although perhaps marginally undermiked. He got in some good Garner licks (or was it Fats?) on Honeysuckle and a lot of his own brilliant and imaginative solos on the others. Mick and Adam, because of the diner situation were relatively subdued tonight although it didn't prevent them keeping it all together.
As I left "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing" kept the joint jumping and it crossed my mind that "The Cherry Tree Restaurant on Jesmond's Osborne Road is as close to a big city jazz venue that we've had in Newcastle for many years.
The paradoxical thing is that most of the audience are probably only fringe fans yet the ambience is jazzier than in many of the other out and out jazz places.
Long may it reign which it also did outside (rain).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grecian 2009 Blow Wave. Vasilis Xenopoulos & The Paul Edis Trio @ Blaydon

Vasilis Xenopoulos (ten), Paul Edis (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Adam Sinclair (dms).
Vasy (Xeno? Mr X?) is one of those players you remember come what may. The sound is warm without being hot, cool without being cold. Tonight It captured the Blaydon audience from the opening notes of "Gone With The Wind" to the closing bars of "Wee" (a.k.a. "Allen's Alley") this is what a saxophone should sound like; aggressive, launching an attack, mellow when romancing a ballad. In the latter field, "Don't Explain" oozed sensuality as Vasy caressed and totally seduced the tune as Billie Holiday and Dexter Gordon had done in days of yore.
Our old friend, "The Way You Look Tonight" reared it's lovely head once more and the comments from last night's Alan Glen gig apply equally here. This tune is made for swinging even if Jerry Kern didn't intend it that way. Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Guy Lafitte are just some of the tenor players who've given it an unforgetable workout. Vasy's version is right up there with the best of them. Other gems included "Blues in the Closet", "All The Things You Are" (done in 3/4 time) an attractive Vasy original in "A Rose in Spanish Harlem"and Wes Montgomery's "Road Song".
There were also originals by Paul, including a rather moving "Dedicated to Duke" that brought to mind Strayhorn's "Passion Flower".
As is expected these days, Paul's performance on piano was superb, his solos and baroque interludes being outstanding.
On bass, Mick Shoulder was as dependable as always whilst Adam Sinclair slotted perceptively into the ineveitable round of fours and eights as they appeared.
If you missed out on tonight or enjoyed it so much you want a repeat prescription for happiness then Vasilis Xenopoulos appears tomorrow night at The Cherry Tree Restaurant in Jesmond. Couple music like that with the Cherry Tree cuisine then I for one am up for seconds!

Newport Jazz Festival 1959

Click here if you want to hear some Basie, Blakey or Dakota Staton from Newport 1959. Lance.

Duology + 2 @ The Bridge Hotel. November 11th.

Duology: Michael Marcus (clarinet) & Ted Daniel (trumpet, flugelhorn & Moroccan flute) +2: Charlie Collins (drums) & John Jasnoch (electric guitar & oud). Free jazz is an unpredictable art form yet it was odds on that last night's gig upstairs at the Bridge Hotel would be a winner.
Michael Marcus and Ted Daniel have been working together for some time (their debut duo recording 'Duology' was recorded in New York in 2006) and their offer to visit Newcastle as part of a UK tour was accepted without a moment's hesitation.
Marcus has performed on Tyneside in recent years in the company of free jazz veteran Sonny Simmons and here he was with another from the 'fire music' era of the New York loft scene - Ted Daniel.
The opening piece featured Daniel, unaccompanied, on Moroccan flute. A sensitive, single note fanfare reaching all four corners, it invited John Jasnoch to pick up the oud (for the first and only time during the performance), Marcus his Bb clarinet and the eccentric that is percussionist Charlie Collins to complete the quartet.
The two-set performance featured Marcus and Daniel reading written parts (yes, 'free' can incorporate written, structured elements!) with Sheffield's finest Jasnoch & Collins working sympathetically throughout.
Jasnoch is an unheralded talent - think Joe Morris (recently at the Cluny) and Bill Frisell - giving the impression that he is quite content to remain so (a guitarist's guitarist). Collins, a visually striking figure, is a great listener, responding to and influencing developments happening around him. Marcus and Daniel demonstrated a thorough understanding of the jazz vocabulary reaching back to the syncopated sounds of New Orleans through to bop and beyond. Ted Daniel played trumpet (open and mute) exhibiting a prodigious technique with lyrical passages reminiscent of Clifford or Miles and blistering valve work of which Dizzy would have been proud.
The Bridge Hotel is a great place to hear free jazz (Michael Marcus remarked afterwards:'Nice room') and it struck this listener that much of what was heard last night would have made sense to fans of Alan Barnes, Bruce Adams, Steve Waterman and the like.
The concert was an 'On the Outside' event presented by Jazz North East. The next in the series, again at the Bridge Hotel, on December 10th, features Calling Signals, a meeting of British and Scandanvian improv heavyweights including Frode Gjerstad and Nick Stephens. In addition there is an unmissable gig just across the High Level Bridge on Thursday 26th November in Gateshead Old Town Hall featuring the Profound Sound Trio (Paul Dunmall, Andrew Cyrille & Henry Grimes).

Summer's in Bordeaux - un memoir de Dave le Rave

You mentioned Guy Lafitte - Well, in my Army days, I was stationed near Bordeaux for two years as a Medic, and got to be friends with a young trumpeter/university student named Jean-George Bulcourt, whose band sometimes played at the base enlisted men's club.
He made it possible for me to join a wonderful jazz club, "Le Bahut", situated in a basement which had been a 13th century wine cellar in what was once the Roman quarter of Bordeaux, where at the beginning of the night, a two-bar electric fire was required to warm up the 'cave' and its piano!
I sometimes got to sing with Jean-George's band and, one night, who did appear but the wonderful tenor player Guy Lafitte!
Other regulars included Gerard Olimpe, drums, and Jean-Marie Grenuolou, bass. Also a regular, whose name escapes me, was a baritone player who had played with the mambo king Perez Prado, and I felt very lucky to be allowed into this secret world of jazz; I was only seventeen, and the experience changed my life!
They used to play "Parisian Thoroughfare", which I found out years later was Clifford Brown's! In 1976, we took a band from Newcastle, called "Friends Of Jazz" (I know, that name gets used all the time) over to San Sebastian Jazz Festival, and Jean-George arranged accomodation for all seven of us as we passed through Bordeaux, in two show houses on a brand new estate being built by the company he was working for. He also had a little get-together for us and his neighbours around his pool in Medoc, where we all played, and he even got out his old trumpet and joined in.
As I said, we stayed in empty show houses, fully furnished. Imagine Scotty's surprise in the morning, to be walking around in his 'skivvies' and to have the door open and a lady estate agent come into the place with prospective buyers. "No, the drummer isn't included with the house!"
(Originally a 'comment' I felt this was worthy of a posting of its own.

Blaydon Tonight - A Grecian Delight

Two Block Busters tonight (Thursday Nov. 12). That knockout Greek tenor player Vasilis Xenopoulos is at Blaydon with Paul Edis Trio. Vasy's playing is as good as it gets - he blew a knockout set here last year after earlier wowing them at the Side Café - and with Paul's trio it is an unbeatable combination. Not to be missed even though I may be late myself. You can also grab them at The Cherry Tree Restaurant in Jesmond on Friday. Click here for some MySpace Trio recordings by Paul Edis Trio.
----- Budvivar make their Jazz Café debut tomorrow night. Their innimitable style should be just what the Jazz Café, situated on Newcastle's Pink Lane, needs on a Thursday night. Lance.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

There May Be Other Nights Like This But...

Alan Glen Trio: Alan Glen (pno), John Pope (bs), David Carnegie (dms). Take It To The Bridge: Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Chris Finch (pno), Barrie Ascroft (bs), Eric Stutt (dms). + Harley Johnson (pno) & Dan ? (gtr).
The stars have rarely shone brighter than tonight at The Chilli. The Alan Glen Trio, making their monthly pilgrimage to perform their miracles before the eyes and ears of the disciples in the upper room, have seldom played better on a host of good tunes familiar and otherwise.
"How Deep Is The Ocean?" - the question became academic as Alan has more depth to his playing than any ocean - "The Way You Look Tonight" swung along superbly as the Jerome Kern tune invariably does when in the hands of such a master practitioner of the black and white art as Alan. "The Touch of Your Lips", a gentle mover, saw some clever bass work from John Pope. John's playing has moved forward in Giant Steps and tonight he was the revelation of the band despite the handicap of some less than perfect amplification. David Carnegie - what more is there to say? He drives when driving is called for and takes a back seat when sensitive brushwork is the name of the game - except, of course, for his powerhouse drum solo finale.
A great set.
Earlier, Chris Finch occupied the piano chair for the second week whilst Barrie played bass. They both did good.
Dave had some vocal moments on "Secret Love", "A Foggy Day", blew both muted and open horn on "Straight No Chaser" as well as throwing in some muddy water/hollow log lyrics that we may be familiar with. He was also generally entertaining with his inter-round summaries.
For the final set a young guy called Dan sat in on guitar and had a nice solo on "Autumn Leaves" although he too struggled a little with the amplification.
Then, just when you thought it couldn't get any better on came Harley for "Well You Needn't".
Perhaps he was offloading his frustrations from last week at The Cluny or maybe he was champing at the bit having had to wait until the last number to start kicking but when he kicked he sure as hell kicked.
This was Monk meets Keith Jarrett meets Harley Johnson. Spurred on by Eric's empathic drumming this brought the evening to a close although I think everyone wanted it to last forever.
As someone remarked, "Where else can you get a hundred quidsworth for a pound?"
Only a hundred? Cheapskate.
It's priceless.
Lance. PS: Admiring remarks were passed on the TITTB poster. Perhaps Dave can scan me a copy and reveal who the artist is.

The Boiler Room @ The Bridge Hotel. November 10th

Kettle Quartet: Matthew T. Forster (tenor sax), Dan Byrne - McCullough (guitar), Matt Browell (electric bass) & Chris Geehan (drums) & guests. Last night's session simmered nicely and on occasion threatened to boil over as the boys on the stand (where's the girls, guys?) worked up a head of steam running through a choice selection of tunes to a small but appreciative audience.
Tenor man Forster improvised impressively on 'I Got Rhythm', Byrne-McCullough knows his way around a Scofield tune and bass and drums kept the pan at boiling point visiting 'Autumn Leaves', 'Blue Bossa', 'Take the A Train' (Richard sitting in on guitar playing good Freddie Greene/ Wes Montgomery style), 'So What' and others.
A guest alto saxophonist joined the quartet and on the last number of the evening, Zawinul's 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy' - alto and tenor weaved harmonic lines to great effect.
The Boiler Room is a good night out with the opportunity to support developing, promising musicians in much the same way as Dave Weisser has done for many a year with Take it to the Bridge. Hear the Kettle Quartet and friends Tuesdays throughout November. Russell


...not at The Chilli anyhow. As well as Dave Weisser and the Take It to The Bridge gang it is also that night in the month when the ALAN GLEN TRIO make an appearance. The trio, Alan (piano), John Pope (bass) and David Carnegie (drums) are as good a trio as you will find in a long night's bop. Sheer class! The support by the resident TAKE IT TO THE BRIDGE outfit is also PDG so tell me I'm dreaming when I say it's only £1 to get in.
If you do decide to literally take it to The Bridge (Hotel that is) DUOLOGY + 2 present an intriguing meeting of two great cities - New York and Sheffield. From 'The Apple', Ted Daniel (trumpet) and Michael Marcus (clarinet) whilst John Jasnoch (guitar and oud) and Charlie Collins (percussion) are the boys from Sheffield. This is a JNE On The Outside promotion.
Kick off 8:30 but get there soon as parking can be a problem as I found out last night!
£7/£4 for this one.
Down at the Causeway near Hartlepool, RUTH LAMBERT struts with the JEREMY McMURRAY QUARTET. If you live down that way, and some people do, this will be unmissable.
AND IT's FREE! Think I'll move to Hartlepool - then again...
New Orleansy types can probably get their fix at Springwell Village Hall where the RAE BROTHERS NEW ORLEANS JAZZ BAND usually play on Wednesdays. Ring to check (number in "Things To Come" box in side panel.)
There is also a whisper about a new session/workshop at The Swan, Heworth. I await more info on this one. The whisper has become LOUDER. The band is Ps Jazz and they countdown from 7 pm - 9 pm most Wednesdays. Further details from Mike Diggle or

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

R.I.P. Malcolm Laycock

More sad news on the jazz front. Former BBC Radio presenter Malcolm Laycock has passed away. The big band DJ died on Nov. 8 age 70. I listened regularly to his Sunday night shows which concentrated on the best of British and American big bands. Malcolm Laycock left in July this year replaced by Clare Teal there was some acrimony surrounding his departure and, according to various media reports, reflected badly on the BBC. Obituary. Lance. Families anger at BBC.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Margaret's Memorabilia

Margaret Barnes came up with some memorabilia tonight. 1) 1956 Stan Kenton program. Stan's first tour of the UK. 1a) Miles has provided this insight into how hard these guys worked with this schedule of the '52 Kenton band. I wonder if anyone has a 1953 program of the band's visit to Dublin? ----- 2) In this photo Humph is, we assume, giving the girl a trumpet lesson... CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY HER? ----- 3) This one could be in a marquee or on a boat but with a grand piano it probably wasn't a riverboat shuffle. CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY THE BASS AND PIANO PLAYER? ----- 4) Finally - can anyone tell me about this circa late '50s/early '60s group? Comments appreciated. Lance.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Corner House

Mike Durham (tpt/vcl), Lawrence McBriarty (tmb), Barry Soulsby (clt/vcl), Brian Bennett (bjos), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl).
Circumstances decreed that I could only stay for the first set nevertheless, it was an enjoyable enough experience with Barry doing a passable vocal on "Home" - once he'd cottoned on to which notes went up and which went down. No such problems with his clarinet solo which was excellent.
Fred sang an unforgetable number - the title of which escapes me - and Lawrence blew a fine shouting trombone chorus on the same.
Mike pressed all the right valves on "Bugle Boy March" and Brian B tonight had two banjos with him. This is probably because he is doing so many gigs he fears that one of the instruments may get worn out.
Joking aside, nobody does it better than these guys do on a Monday night in Heaton.

R.I.P. STACY ROWLES - age 54.

I was shocked to discover that Stacy Rowles, trumpet playing daughter of piano legend Jimmy Rowles, has died at the relatively tender age of 54.
Stacy was a very lyrical player in the same way that Chet Baker was without sounding like Chet.
I remember buying a CD of Stacy's thinking she was a singer (which in fact she also was) only to find out she was trumpet player - a trumpet player par excellence which, given her pedigree, is not surprising.
She should have been better known but appeared to be content to limit her activities to California and the west coast.
Her death was through complications following a car accident. Reports vary but Oct 27 is the latest date given.
A sad loss. Obituary.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Friday Night is Mercer Night (on Radio 2).

Liz, and indeed Valerie and Jimmy Mac, has drawn my attention to Friday's (the 13th) tribute by Radio 2 to Johnny Mercer.
One of the most prolific lyricists - and no mean composer - Mercer's contribution to the Gasbook is without question - as I type I'm listening to Richie Kamuka blowing on "Harlem Butterfly" - just one of his many jazz influenced tunes.
The Radio 2 programs run from 7:00 pm until 10:30 pm.
7:00 has Clarke Peters talking and playing examples from Mercer's early days. This may well be the most interesting section.
7:30 is from the Mermaid Theatre and our old friend Curtis Stigers comperes and croons.
9:15 sees Barry Manilow hogging the mic to talk about the melodies he added to some of Johnny's leftover lyrics. This was done at the request of the composer's widow.
Andy Williams' name has also been mentioned in despatches...

Le Jazz Hot et Le Jazz Cool

Thanks to Facebook Friends I've enjoyed some video of the 1958 Cannes Jazz Festival. Dizzy, Lucky Thompson, Ella, Bechet, Eldridge, Coleman's Hawkins and Bill, Stan Getz and more. Sadly the Getz clip, which features 5 tenors - Getz, Hawkins, Byas, Barney Wilen and my personal favourite Guy Lafitte - playing "Indiana", cuts out after Getz's solo.
Click here for Ella singing "Just Squeeze Me".
Merci beaucoup.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

R.I.P. Art D'Lugoff.

Art D'Lugoff ran the Village Gate in Greenwich Village for almost 40 years opening 1n 1958. It was a club that saw plenty talent pass through it's doors and its memory was held in much esteem. On my one and only visit to 'The Village', after buying a jazz CD in Bleeker Street Records, a guy pointed to a store on the corner and said, "Village Gate used to be there". Before I could reply he moved on. If you follow this link you'll find out more about The 'Gate and Art D'Lugoff. Art died Nov. 4, 2009, age 85. Lance.

Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra with Jason Yarde & John Warren @ Darlington Arts Centre. November 6th

Jason Yarde (composer, conductor, alto & sop. sax), John Warren (composer & conductor), Paul Edis (piano), Andy Champion (double bass), Adrian Tilbrook (drums), Graham Hardy (trumpet), Sean Hollis (trumpet & flugel), Shaun Eland (trumpet & flugel), Noel Dennis (trumpet & flugel), Matt Ball (trombone), Alex Leathard (trombone), Keith Norris (trombone), Chris Hibbard (bass trombone), Sue Ferris (tenor sax & flute), Lewis Watson (tenor & sop.sax), Rod Mason (alto sax & flute), Andy Bennett (alto sax), Bill Sneddon (baritone sax). A near capacity audience at Darlington Arts Centre greeted Voice of the North with a sense of anticipation, if not apprehension, as to what lay ahead.
The orchestra had been in rehearsal mode attempting to get to grips with Jason Yarde's compositions (including a suite commissioned by Jazz Action - the north east's jazz development agency) and last night was examination time.
The opening number was somewhat familiar territory to the band as it was John Warren (VOTN's musical director) who took up the baton to revisit 'The Picture Tree' from his 1971 album 'Tales of the Algonquin'.
Jason Yarde followed and upped the ante stretching the band to the limit with compositions old (Jazz Warriors) and new. The band sections concentrated intently on their written parts, counting, almost aloud, glancing along the line to catch an eye, hopefully a reassuring eye, that all was well. Much pointing at charts, heads nodding in agreement, all the while watching Maestro Yarde, dancing and directing the ensemble, coaxing new colours and textures from the ranks.
All was well, loud applause greeted solo contributions and at the conclusion of the first number there was visible puffing out of cheeks from band and audience alike.
This was going to be one great night.
Graham Hardy took the exposed solo trumpet parts and did so fearlessly. The trombone section had last minute changes in personnel and Leeds College of Music graduate Matt Ball was outstanding in several solo excursions. Lewis Watson impressed on tenor, Sue Ferris on tenor and flute. Jovial Rod Mason ran with it, so too Andy Bennett and Bill Sneddon anchored the reeds.
The second set featured the commissioned work 'Four Letter Words for Four Letters Heard'. In explaining the genesis of the piece Yarde unleashed a torrent of four letter words such as 'jazz' and 'love' - a beautiful moment. Thirty five minutes later and the premiered work was done. Voice of the North passed with flying colours - grade A, no, make that grade A* students, one and all.
The boys in the engine room were tremendous - Paul Edis, playing the Arts Centre's beautiful grand piano, was immersed in the music, Andy Champion gave a towering performance and drummer Adrian Tilbrook is the only one I can think of who could nail it as he did from first note to last - absolutely outstanding. Yarde's writing recalls the roar of Mingus and the complexity of George Russell fused with a contemporary mix of funk and hip hop elements.
A memorable night it was and it can be heard again at next year's Gateshead Jazz Festival - tickets on sale now. Photos courtesy Adrian Tilbrook/Andy Mayo.

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