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Bebop Spoken There

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11,767 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 907 of them this year alone and, so far, 44 this month (August 11).

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August

Tuesday 11: Happy Birthday Dave Hignett & Peter King (80).

Thursday 13: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

John Escreet Project @ The Sage Gateshead - January 20th

John Escreet (piano), Matt Brewer (double bass), Nasheet Waits (drums), Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet) & David Binney (alto sax & electronics). A couple of years ago Yorkshire lad John Escreet upped sticks and headed for the Big Apple. Would the pianist be able to cut it or even maybe slay some mighty dragons in the jazz hot house that is New York? A nine date European tour with some of America's finest jazz musicians, calling-in at the Sage last night, would, no doubt, provide some answers.
The Northern Rock Foundation Hall was well attended (many of those present being that strange beast - the 'non-jazz' Sage patron never to be seen at a jazz gig elsewhere in the region). Escreet's Project took to the stage to warm applause and played three tunes without pause; delicate, tentative, explorative pieces with new trumpet whizz Ambrose Akinmusire exhibiting a different approach to many of his contemporaries in showing no inclination to knock 'em dead with bedazzling bugling. His preference was to reveal a superlative tone with squeezed half-notes and long, measured intervals.
John Escreet wrote all of the material performed on this tour, some of the compositions so new they went untitled. The first set closed with 'Wayne's World' a number to be found on Escreet's debut CD.
Bass and drums - Matt Brewer and Nasheet Waits (Waits was with Jason Moran at the Sage eighteen months ago) - proved to top class. Still in their twenties, they have, as their fellow Americans would say, 'awesome' technique and then some. How do they assimilate so much at such an early stage in their careers?
Altoist David Binney had been relatively subdued until this the first set closer. He fired-up the Apple Mac to throw some electronics into the mix and then the reedsman showed why he is held in high regard by many musicians and listeners alike.
A good, at times challenging set. Escreet offered more of this difficult music for the second set. The band, sight-readers all, were committed to the task, the leader himself content to be part of the unit, in no way dominating proceedings. His style is his own; sparse and percussive with contemporary classical elements competing with Junior Mance-like bop phrasing. There seems little doubt he will survive in the Big Apple.
The final composition of the evening 'Magic Chemical' typified the performance as a whole - full of twisting, changing time signatures and swing-time passages. The concert is an early contender for Gig of the Year 2010. The new material heard during the tour will be recorded in New York next week for future release. Russell

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