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Bebop Spoken There

Val Wilmer: "The festival [New York Musicians Festival], an impressive exercise in African-American self-reliance, had come about after the promoter George Wein had moved his annual Newport Jazz Festival to New York the previous year [1972], and paid scant attention to the avant garde." - (Wire June 2020)

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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.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday at the Sage Gateshead Jazz festival Gwilym Simcock and Massed Voices

‘I Prefer The Gorgeous Freedom’ 
The main item of this concert was the large, black–clad, community choir singing this piece,’I prefer the Gorgeous Freedom’ which was a blend of classical and jazz themes on the concept of freedom.  The piece was beautifully sung and accompanied by Gwilym Simcock’s Quartet - Gwilym (piano), Klaus Gesing (sop/bs clt), Yuri Gouloubev (double bass) and James Maddren (drums).  But I suspect that ardent jazz fans would probably have enjoyed the first item of the concert best, which was an extended original piece of exciting playing. This began with the lyrical piano and gently brushed drums and after an effective build-up and climax, returned to the same quiet satisfying ending. 
The rest of the concert, all on the theme of freedom, included a piece written by an internee at Guantanamo Bay, two poems set to music and a spiritual.  The Guantanamo piece was very dark, with brooding sax and sinister drumming which reminded me of the drip of water you’d expect to hear in a torture camp, or the tramp of boots.  I enjoyed the two poem pieces, which were settings of Yeats ‘Isle of Innisfree’ (back to my schooldays) and of ‘No Rack can torture me’ by eccentric 19th Century American poet Emily Dickinson.  The Yeats was very effectively sung by a female solo voice in a folky style.  The spiritual would be recognised by all television watchers as the theme tune of the film review programme, Billy Taylor's ‘Freedon Song’ (‘I wish I knew how it would feel to be free’). 
All told, this was an enjoyable afternoon’s concert, but hardened jazz fans may have had reservations.  For myself as a jazz beginner and a sometime singer, it was a great afternoon.
Ann Alexander.

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