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Bebop Spoken There

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

Calling Signals & Raymond MacDonald/David Stackenas @ The Bridge Hotel. December 10th.

Raymond MacDonald (alto & soprano saxophones, whistling) & David Stackenas (guitars). Guitarist David Stackenas had a teaching/performance engagement at Newcastle University during the week and he stayed on to play a short set with Raymond MacDonald in the upstairs room of the Bridge Hotel. Stackenas plays acoustic guitars, often prepared, sometimes table - top. He has a prodigious technique combined with a robust approach (with or without a plectrum) which, at times, threatens the very survival of the instrument.
His style and technique have, to this listener's ears, certain elements of the country blues picker. MacDonald (recently on Tyneside to participate in the annual On the Outside Festival) listened to Stackenas, searching for an opening. His sound palette ranges from the reflective to all -out blowing, full of gutteral gestures and spittle (the Scot's occasional whistling served as a marked contrast to that which had gone before).
A good set. Calling Signals: Frode Gjerstad (clarinets & alto saxophone), Jon Corbett (trumpet, valve trombone & conch shell), Nick Stephens (double bass) & Paal Nilssen - Love (drums) A long - established quartet, albeit with one or two changes in personnel, Calling Signals come with quite some pedigree in the world of free jazz/improv. Norwegians Frode Gjerstad and Paal Nilssen-Love have helped establish a 'free' scene in their homeland and over the years have played with a 'who's who' of the music.
British double bassist Nick Stephens worked with legendary drummer, the late John Stevens, as indeed did Gjerstad. Stephen's compatriot Jon Corbett cut a figure resembling that of a trad trumpeter down at the Dog & Duck; north east readers will be able to picture Peter Wright (of the Vieux Carre) other readers will know of National Treasure Digby Fairweather - well Corbett sounded nothing like either of them!
Corbett's best work was in tandem with Nilssen-Love; the trumpeter firing volley after volley of notes as Nilssen-Love played with absolute authority behind the kit.
Tynesiders have been fortunate this year to hear, variously, drummers Paul Lovens, Mark Saunders, Gunter Sommer and now the outstanding Paal Nilssen-Love. Nick Stephens demonstrated his credentials in this exalted company and Gjerstad was particularly effective on alto, his clarinet playing was less inventive although this allowed Nilssen-Love space to fill with sticks and brushes, hitting an additional battery of things both metal and wood.
After the gig MacDonald said how much he had enjoyed playing the room. The Bridge beer offering on the night was exceptional; Big Lamp, a great micro brewery, supplied a seasonal beer called Embers (5.5 abv), it was quite simply, perfect.
Russell.

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