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Bebop Spoken There

Steve Fishwick: “I can’t get behind the attitude that new is always somehow better than old”. (Jazz Journal, April 15, 2019).

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.


16527 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 407 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (June 12).

From This Moment On ...


Thu 13: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 13: Indigo Jazz Voices @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. £5.00. Upstairs.
Thu 13: Musicians Unlimited @ Dorman’s, Middlesbrough. 8:00pm.
Thu 13: Jazz Guys @ Tynedale Beer & Cider Festival, Corbridge. 8:00pm.
Thu 13: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 13: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guest band: Musicians Unlimited

Fri 14: Mark Williams Trio @ The Old Library, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland. 1:00pm. £8.00.
Fri 14: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 14: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 14: Strictly Smokin’ Big Band @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. ‘Ella & Ellington’. 7:30pm. £18.00.
Fri 14: Customs House Big Band @ Customs House, South Shields. 7:30pm. Donations (online, min. £3.00.).

Sat 15: Keith Barrett & Andrew Porritt @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 12 noon. Free. A Cullercoats Festival event.
Sat 15: NUJO Jazz Jam @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Sat 15: James Birkett & Emma Fisk @ Sunderland Minster. 7:30pm. £15.00., £8.00. (u16s free). ‘The Great American Songbook’. A Bishopwearmouth Choral Society event, conductor David Murray.
Sat 15: Jude Murphy & Dan Stanley @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 16: Jason Isaacs @ Stack, Seaburn SR6 8AA. 1:00-2:45pm. Free.
Sun 16: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. £10.00.
Sun 16: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 16: Gaz Hughes Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 16: Jazz Jam @ Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St., Durham. 8:00pm. Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Mon 17: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 17: ‘Tower of Power’ @ The Library Bar, Saddler St., Durham . 7:30pm.Free. A Durham University Jazz Society event. All welcome.

Tue 18: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Victoria & Albert Inn, Seaton Delaval. 12:30pm. £13.00. ‘Jazz, Sausage ‘n’ Mash’…’with Onion Gravy’!
Tue 18: Jam Session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Stu Collingwood, Paul Grainger, Tim Johnston.
Tue 18: Libby Goodridge & Ben Davies @ The Lost Wanderer, Leazes Park Road, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £6.00. Triple bill, inc. Goodridge & Davies (jazz).

Wed 19: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 19: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 19: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Charlie Parker Sculptures

David Brownlow drew my attention to this Guardian item on Julie McDonald's bust of Charlie Parker.
Fascinating stuff.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Zoe Rahman Trio @ Gateshead Old Town Hall

Zoe Rahman (pno), Oli Hayhurst (bs), Gene Calderazzo (dms).
I think I'm in love! The moment Zoe (pictured left with Pam Young of Jazz North East) spoke I was captivated by her easy manner and when she opened with an Abdullah Ibrahim theme that sinuously wound itself around my heart the trap was sprung.
This was a gig with so much going for it. Zoe taking the scenic route exploring the highways and byways of harmony in Ellington, Stevie Wonder and some lesser known composers.
A classical technique punctuated with forearm smashes - Czerny meets Mick McManus! - meant sensitive quests and frenetic machete wielding thrashes. Total empathy with a rhythm section who received and returned Z's message of love simultaneously.
Oli's bass-lines, rich and full, Gene's kit-work both melodic and rhythmic and inventive searching for and finding the truth that It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing.
Zoe dedicated this, the final number before the inevitable encore, to Chris Yates - emotional.
Afterwards, when Zoe confessed that she went on Bebop Spoken Here, my already reeling senses waved the flag of sweet surrender.
Come back soon.

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie's (Rosie Malone's, South Shields.)

Olive Rudd (vcl), Herbie Hudson (tmb), Jim McBriarty (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms).
Still the stompingest Dixie band around. Today was a fun afternoon. Two birthdays - a guy of 79 and a girl considerably younger. Both light fantasticked in front of the stage.
Probably never heard of Jelly Roll Morton yet showed their appreciation in their own way.
Olive sang one of my favourite Gershwin songs - Soon - I hope she sings it again - Soon.
Later, Says My Heart, Backyard, Blue Skies... all good stuff.
Jim blew the volcanic ash from his clarinet to great effect on Tin Roof Blues whilst Herbie slipped, slided, growled and slurred his way around the deep south.
Grand afternoon.

A Blast From The Past

Colin Aitchison, our man in Hong Kong, sent me this reminder of days of yore.
I wonder what year it was.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A STAR IS BORN - They often are at The Chilli....

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Doug Fielder (ten), Steve Whitfield (pno), Barry Ascroft (bs), Rob Bates (dms + Gabrielle (vcl).
Last week Frau Gabrielle sang Imagination and we all said that that was PDG. This week, better prepared with dots for all, Gabrielle really wowed the coterie of Chilli aficionados with Black Coffee and Bye Bye Blackbird.
This was no decaffeinated coffee it was roasted, strong and sugar free whilst the blackbird was the one that left the other four and twenty baking in a pie whilst she flew the coop and landed in Birdland alongside Miles.
Catch her again.
Apart from Gaby, Steve Whitfield once again played some power piano whilst Dave too had his moments on standards such as If I Were A Bell, Love Walked In, Night in Tunisia, Cannonball's Nippon Blues, Waltz For Debby to name but a few...
Waltz for Debby, Bill Evans' ode to his daughter is one of the most delicate emotional pieces in the jazz canon. I first heard it sung by Carol Kidd at an Edinburgh Jazz Festival back in the '80s and it brought tears to my eyes. Likewise, listening to Bill Evans' version transports me to Elysium Fields (Metro doesn't go there yet). Coincidentally, the lyricist who supplied the words to Debby, Gene Lees, died earlier this week.
In fact I suspect the thunder I heard in my head may have been Bill and Gene turning over in their respective graves.
This was no elegiac bouquet to a child - this was the regulars at Joe's Place toasting a Lower East Side hooker with a bottle of Green River!
It was up-tempo, it was 3 in a bar - it was 3 in a bed - it swung - it was the best number of the night!
Next week the Alan Glen Trio.

A Loose Look at Loose Grip @ The Cluny, Newcastle. April 27 by Sarah R

John Burgess (ten), Malcolm Macfarlane (gtr), Sean Pentland (bs), Chris Wallace (dms).

Last night, the moon one night shy of the full sphere, my diary looked set to make the ‘lunar’ stomp down the steep cobblestoned bank in the direction of the Cluny on Schmazz night, a night dedicated to delivering jazz/schmazz flavoured goodies on the last Tuesday of the calendar month. Un change de l'ensemble did not matter too much. What would have been a glass d' un Francais quintet a la Renza Bô we changed for shots of Scotch poured out in the form of the Edinburgh-based quartet Loose Grip. After a tardy arrival (mine) caused by a liquid fuel shortage en route, I wander into the undoubtedly welcoming - dare I say cosy? Cosy it was in the eye of this beholder - venue whence, suitably settled with an alternative liquid fuel in a glass, I find myself a little too sober to enter the mid-set musical dialogue between band and listener. Undeniably the authoritative presence of a burly Scotsman named Wallace provided one of the most textural live performances on drums I’d heard for a while. Loose Grip aptly convey his artistry.

They're playing tracks from their latest album, Looking Glass (available on the Fabrikant Records label)

Random thoughts. The Alchemist – offered a peek into each band member’s strengths; .none of whom outplayed the other…Can’t quite get into their definitive vocabulary, despite the undeniably strong players before us.

Ø Guitar – great solos and synth sounding electronics – quiet confidence, knowing what balance is, with occasional structual atmospherics. My favourite key player. (evident on last 2 tracks).

Ø Second half could have benefited from longer playtime. All the edificial tracks (such as Looking Glass and a rousing solo from Burgess) saved till the end. Lovely interplay between Pentland (bs) and Wallace.


Alchemist and Looking Glass
– two strongest tracks.

Nobody likes to hear an arts announcement with issues: funding, grants, cuts. In a climate where jazz listeners are fighting to rescue jazz’s voice up and down the country (Pizza on the Park), we have our own northern campaign to rescue Schmazz from discontinued funding. Posters of previous and forthcoming acts lends too much interest in the rock, indie, emo arena. Though really, it’s hardly much to ask: one evening in a month. Why take away such a special treat? I wouldn’t mind taking these callous accountants in suits and ties and hang them …out to dry.

Sarah R

'Taint What You Do It's The Way That You do it!

Will Smith - one of our Men of Kent (or is he a Kentish Man? I'm never quite sure which is which) sent me this YouTube clip of the Ross Sisters. Almost simultaneously John Taylor - one of our Ashington Men - or is he a Man of Ashington? - sent me the same clip so I figured it must have universal appeal. The song is tailormade (if you'll pardon the pun John) for BUDVIVAR - imagine Debra, Fiona and Nicola, although not Stu and Eric, doing this routine!
From 1944.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gerry Richardson @ The Cherry Tree

Gerry Richardson (Hammond/vcl), Gary Linsley (sax), Paul Smith (dms).
An extended Jazz North East meeting meant I arrived at the Cherry Tree Restaurant (9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond) too late to catch Gerry's brand of jazz/soul/rock/blues as well as missing out on the fine cuisine.
Reports suggest it was an excellent night in fact one person I spoke to said he thought this was the best band to play there yet. If you check out the list of bands who have played the Cherry Tree then you will realise that this was praise indeed.
Still all is not lost.
On the JNE agenda was the forthcoming Remembering Chris gig - the tribute to the late Chris Yates to be held at the Corner House on July 25 - of which Gerry is to be an integral part.
The concert will run from 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm + and features jazz household names such as Alan Barnes, Steve Waterman, Tim Garland, Lewis Watson, Paul Edis, Roly Veitch, Alan Glen and many others all of whom have given their services free as a show of respect and love for the man who devoted a large part of his life to promoting jazz in the North East.
This promises to be an extended afternoon to remember
Tickets are now on sale price £10 from J.G.Windows, Central Arcade, Newcastle and at the Corner House, Heaton Rd., Newcastle.
Two days earlier (Friday July 23), at the Lit and Phil, former Jazz North East Director and broadcaster Alan Twelftree will launch Blue Horizons a book by Chris Yates and published just before his untimely death. The book details Chris' life in jazz and is fascinating reading for all jazz lovers.
Alan Twelftree will talk about the book - interwoven with his own memories - and illustrate it with musical examples.
This event is free.
Both occasions will, I am sure, do Chris proud.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bebop Spoken Here Tonight - BUDVIVAR and HARLEY JOHNSON TRIO - Splinter @ the Bridge.

Harley Johnson (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms).
Debra Milne (vcl), Nicola Weaver (alt/vcl), Fiona Littlewood (ten/vcl), Stuart Findon (ten/vcl), Chris Finch (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms/vcl).
The evening began with a bang in the form of the Harley Johnson Trio. This was possibly the loudest version of Softly as in a Morning Sunrise I've ever heard! It was also one of the best.
In fairness, I was sitting next to the stage and I got the full brunt of Harley's percussive pianistics and Eric's percussive percussion which, once my senses became attuned, was the best seat in the house.
It was a good set of mainly originals by the 18 year old pianist - Monk's Rhythm-a-ning being the only other non-original - Day Dream, Oh Dear! Oh Dear! and Eric's Conclusion the titles.
Eric and Harley display an amazing empathy with each paraphrasing the other. However, I felt it was slightly overdone causing it to appear as a rehearsed 'spontaneity' which I know it wasn't.
Nevertheless a good start to the evening by the triple generation trio.
Eric and Jim, who had been a tower of strength midst it all, stayed on for Budvivar's set of predominantly bop based themes.
An instrumental, Oleo led to their staple repertoire of Four, In Walked Bud Nica's Dream, etc.
Debra was in good voice tonight although Stu Findon didn't seem to be kicking as blisteringly powerful as usual. Tonight he was more Getz than Rollins.
Fiona played some nice things on There Will Never Be Another You and Nicola had a lovely alto chorus on You Go to My Head.
Chris Finch, undeterred by Harley's tour-de-force, did his own thing playing some good idiomatic solos and nice block chords.
Debra, the horns and Eric turned choir for Centrepiece which worked well as did the final Hit That Jive Jack - it always does.
A splendid night.
Next week it's Nick Pride and the Pimptones.

Tonight's Splinter @ The Bridge...

A double header tonight with BUDVIVAR and the HARLEY JOHNSON TRIO.
Doors 19:30, start 20:00.
A unique 7 piece and an even "uniquer" pianist. Not to be missed.


Hilary Gilby (mother of Zoe) celebrates her birthday today (I think celebrates is the word) let's all join in wishing her MHR.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Big Noise From Heaton Manor

Not really a jazz event but who knows what jazz/classical/rock musicians of the future didn't start on that journey today?
The Heaton Manor Big Noise was a project aimed at starting a community band within the semi-palatial confines of Heaton Manor School.
During the day, pupils, teachers and Heatonians young and old took part in various workshops aimed at moulding the participants into a cohesive unit which they duly did and in the evening, the Heaton Manor Big Noise played their first 'gig' having only met each other musically at 10:30 that morning.
The evening concert saw the finished product give a polished performance.
They were followed by the Ouseburn Voices, the Chilli Road Band and the Swing Bridge Singers.
The Year Six Panners from Chillingham Road School impressed with a varied repertoire that included Blue Moon, Samba D'Orpheus, La Bamba and the Bond Theme.
The Chilli Road Band was itself, like the Year Six Panners, led by Paul Fletcher and played in its inimitable style. A bonus was the addition of Alastair Lord - musical co-ordinator of the Big Noise - who blew some scintillating trumpet choruses with the CRB as did Steve Nash.
Tom the Trombone has a nice smooth style - understated yet effective and Fergus the Flute also had his moments.
The culmination was les tout ensembles - singers and all - playing/singing I'm A Believer arranged by Paul Fletcher.
It was a stimulating experience for all concerned and hopefully a giant step(s) for mankind.
PS:I got to blow a few choruses as part of the CRB.

No Jazz Here But...

Keith Armstrong has sent me this link to some football poetry!
Football poetry on this site?
Well as it's from Dr Keith Armstrong - remembered for an evocative Chet Baker offering some time back - I'm posting it.
Keith has been promising an Ode To Lester Young since Lester played for King Oliver (or so it seems) but alas he has yet to deliver so, by linking to this take on the 'beautiful game', I'm in effect calling in my marker then maybe soon Lester will leap in - at the moment Lester seems to have left town.

Bliss in the Night

There's a nice middle of the road jam session going on here (think of those Braff/Dickenson Vanguard's and you've got the picture). Jon-Erik Kelso and others blow the cobwebs off some fine standards.
More from Jazz Lives here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Bill

Seeing as how it is St George's Day, Billy Shakespeare's birthday - amongst others - I thought I'd play one of the Bard's Greatest Hits. Martha Tilton does the vocal and the images are so evocative.

R.I.P. Gene Lees

The death yesterday of Gene Lees - author, critic, singer, songwriter - was pretty sad for me as I found him to be a perceptive and humorous writer of jazz related subjects.
I'm please to own and to have read - Meet Me At Jim & Andy's : an anecdote ridden book about a 48th St. New York bar that was a hangout for musicians in the 1960s. You can almost taste the booze and inhale the smoke, that's how atmospheric it is. The other one of his many books that I have read is Singers and the Song. This one looks at Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Piaf, Peggy and Sarah amongst others including Johnny Mercer. Another immensely readable book.
Also many articles in Down Beat and, of course lyrics such as Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars and Waltz For Debby.
Gene Lees was 82.
PS: You know something? I've started reading Meet Me At Jim & Andy's again - it's even better than I remembered!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Words from Dave Weisser - an 'intemperate rant' to Paul Bream (Jazz Alert)

Yo Paul:
I see that you've left our WEEKLY Take It To The Bridge JAZZ WORKSHOP off the week's listing. Surely even you can't have forgotten that we've been going for nearly ten years now. And, commenting on your mention of Alan Glen's gig a few weeks ago (something about "originals"), if you'd been to Alan's gig last week, you would've heard three originals by that estimable pianist, in front of a nearly full room (something even Lance neglected to mention in his review), and a few weeks earlier, his original "Big Deal At Ocho Rios", (the story behind which is hilarious) mixed in with the standards which you hold in such disdain.
So, I guess you won't be there to hear the amazing drummers who've been filling Eric's shoes these last few weeks, such as Paul Wight, Malcolm Dick (between his tours with Richie Blackmore), and again tonight, an amazing young drummer and protege of Malcolm's, Rob Bates. Other special guest band appearances are upcoming, but you can read about them in Lance's blog.
But then, as a lowly 'jam session', we really don't warrant much (parasitic) media attention, especially as it all happens without one iota of grant support, just the good will of the cats who take part.
"Views and comments posted on these pages do not necessarily coincide with my own and are solely the opinion of the post's author.

Two Bass Hit

Seeing as we're in a basso profundo mode some may like to read this interesting and quite perceptive article by Charles Mingus.

PROGRAMME NOTES 21/04/2010— A recital of improvised music by John Pope FEATURING GD & Sultry Nathan

John Pope is an improvising bass player, vocalist and composer based in Newcastle upon Tyne. His extensive performance history covers a wide range of styles and genres, mainly in the fields of rock, jazz and improvised music. Musical rapport, the power of listening and the connections between music and mysticism inform his work as both an improvisor and composer, presented here in two improvising ensembles based primarily around electronic instruments and effects.
GD — Eli Jenkins (Nintendo DS. Effects), John Pope (Vocals, Kaoss Padi & Caroline Pugh (Vocals)
GD perform a set of improvised music featuring electronics, voices and pre-recorded material. This ensemble formed in 2009 at Newcastle University. They create music spontaneously, exploring the possibilities and limitations of the technology they employ and the texture and role of the human voice.
Sultry Nathan — David Carnegie (Drums). Athol Cassidy (Guitar) & John Pope (Bass Guitar)
Sultry Nathan perform improvised pieces created with John’s “Sigils” method of structured improvisation.
A sigil in mystical practice is an image, mantra or other representation of an abstracted idea, simplified and transferred from one language (english) into another (image, sound). In John’s “Sigil” pieces these sig its take the form of cues with appropriate names, which are put into a listed order to create a continuous piece of music. Each cue represents a detailed description of a particular sound-world, but the melodic, rhythmic and other musical content is not prescribed; the improvisors know what kind of sound to make, but must decide for themselves what to do in the moment, through the art of listening and reacting. The listed cues are then moved through one-by-one, cued by the improvisors as and when they see fit. This puts great importance on a shared musical rapport between the players, as the music changes and new ideas must be presented and explored.
Sultry Nathan are a total-improvisation jazz-rock trio formed in late 2008 by John and guitarist Athol Cassidy. The recent addition of drummer David Carnegie to the lineup makes this the debut performance of this incarnation of the ensemble, although both Athol and David have been fequent musical partners of John’s in various situations, including jazz. soul and improv hip-hop!
We hope you enjoy the performance. Thanks for listening!
John Pope.
(The above are the programme notes from John Pope's Post Grad recital at Newcastle University. They are printed in full. I'm told, was an interesting and diverse event. - Lance).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Take It To The Bridge

Dave Weisser (tpt/flug/vcl), Doug Fielder (ten/sop), Steve Whitfield (pno), Barrie Ascroft (bs), Rob Bates (dms) + Fiona Littlewood and Gabrielle ? (vcl).
The 'Sound of Surprise' is never more appropriate than on an evening at the Chilli.
We called in at the Corner House first - The Informer suggested that the Black River Band were playing there - but, no River Bands of any shade were in evidence so it was on to the Chilli.
This turned out to be a good move.
Steve Whitfield was on piano and he did the business loud and clear - powerhouse piano by one of the best.
Dave again played mainly flugel whilst Doug played soprano early on and sounded good.
Drummer Bates and, for tonight, bass guitarist Ascroft, performed admirably solidifying the rhythm section.
Fiona, one of the Budvivarian saxophone players, tonight left the horn behind and exercised her vocal chords - oiled by a small Jack Daniels (if it was good enough for Sinatra...) - on Lester Leaps In and Beautiful Love.
It sounded okay albeit marginally over-powered by the rhythm section.
Then, just when we thought it was time to go home up jumped Gabrielle - Gaby.
Gaby, a charming German lady, sang Imagination with just that - imagination.
One of Lindsey's Sage protégés, Gaby didn't shy from taking chances with the melody and the gamble paid off with a fine rendition of one of Jimmy Van Heusen's finest. I look forward to hearing her again.
Appropriately, the band finished off with Horace Silver's take on Show Me The Way To Go Home - The Preacher.
Enjoyable evening.

Zoe Rahman on Radio 3 Tomorrow (Thursday).

Listening to 'Late Junction' on BBC Radio 3, I heard that Zoe Rahman is to be interviewed on the programme tomorrow (Thursday) night.
'Late Junction' is on at about 11pm each night and normally features 'World' or Folk music.
They featured a track of Zoe playing piano with an Indian drummer which was wonderful.
Thought this might be of interest.
Ann Alex.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On The Boardwalk

Lewis Wingfield, seen here playing a vintage Gibson arch-top guitar, joined the Vieux Carre Jazzmen for their gig last Friday night at the Boardwalk Bistro, Whitley Bay. Apart from bringing the house down, he also managed to bring down the average age of the VCJ by a considerable margin.

Ashington Jazz Club Silver Jubilee

Ashington Jazz Club, having returned to its original venue at the Elephant , North Seaton, Ashington, will celebrate its 25th. Anniversary on Wednesday, June 6th.
This is a great achievement for the Club and has been possible due to the enthusiasm and determination of Jimmy Charlton and Bill Stafford over many years and more recently John Taylor. The Club has been supported throughout by loyal members who have turned up regularly to enjoy our love of the music.
The members owe much to the wonderful North East musicians and bands who have entertained on the first Wednesday of each month despite other attractions, namely Wednesday evening T.V. football.
The Club has survived.
We have been able to listen to our preferred music delivered to us by many gifted and talented local musicians supplemented from time to time with visiting guests and vocalists and the Club offers its gratitude to all those who have contributed to our love of Jazz Music. We may have had evenings of poor attendance due to events beyond our control but never have we had a poor evening of music which has always been presented to us with professionalism and always of high quality. Over many years there have been too many bands, groups and individuals to name here who have contributed to our enjoyment, but if you are reading this, the Club sends thanks to you all.
Over the years we have sadly lost many quality instrumentalists and friends but the Club will never forget their company and friendship as they all played an important part in our lives and the success of our Club. We hope the Club will continue for many years to come but in the current climate of ageing musicians and members I am not optimistic. Meanwhile, let’s keep the music playing. In the words of that great lyric “How do you keep the music playing, how do you make it last…?
If we had the answer we could all look forward to the time when we can recline and listen comfortingly in our Rocking Chairs.
Peter S (Founder Member)
May 5: Vieux Carre Jazzmen with guest Johnny Handle
June 2: The 25th. Anniversary Concert - The Jubilee Quintet with Noel Dennis, Graeme Wilson, James Birkett , Roly Veitch and Neil Harland.
All Welcome.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Paul Edis Trio + Roly Veitch at The Cherry Tree.

Roly Veitch – guitar and vocals; Paul Edis – piano and flute; Mick Shoulder – bass and Adam Sinclair – drums.
Take Paul’s trio, add Roly’s guitar and vocals and what do you get? Musically the most varied (and arguably the most successful) programme I've yet seen at The Cherry Tree. There was something for everybody: standards, bossa nova and twelve-bar blues. The musicians really seemed to gel and to get a kick out of playing together creating wonderful combinations of sound - flute and guitar on the bossa nova, Meditation; piano and bass on Emily and piano and guitar on Just One of Those Things.
It was delightful.
      The roll-call of composers and lyricists was impressive too, featuring Rodgers and Hart, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin whose beautiful Ah loves you Porgy was, for me, the high-point of the evening.
      The first set opened with the trio playing a request, Satin Doll,  Roly crooned away our “cares and woes” with Just You, Just Me and Bye, Bye Blackbird. Paul gave his flute an airing on the aforementioned Meditation and Mick was to the fore in Emily
Paul’s arrangement (Bill Evans influenced?) of  Singin’ in the Rain is one  that I would dearly love to hear in a quieter atmosphere as, by this time, main courses were in full swing. My Funny Valentine was next up and the set closed with more fine vocals from Roly on that optimists’ anthem, Wrap your Troubles in Dreams.
In the second set we were treated to Yesterdays, Say it Isn’t so” (another good solo from Mick), the Gershwin love song (Porgy) and Johnny Mercer’s Harlem Butterfly. Roly said "We could only guess at where Paul got his title for Big Jug Blues from" (a pub on Claypath, Durham City, Roly, actually!) but the number drew warm applause anyway. Just One of those Things completed the evening apart from an encore which I missed while paying the bill!
The food normally gets equal billing with the music in these reviews so my apologies for the brevity of what follows: it was, as ever, excellent and, between four of us we sampled a good cross section of the menu. If you’ve never been yet, why not? - Photos.

Corner House Update from Brian Bennett

Commencing Monday 3 May 2010, a cover charge of £3 will apply at the function room door and the voluntary collection will cease. 
The function room bar will be staffed and open for drink sales and the room will be prepared in advance, white linen covers will be on all tables. A finger buffet will be available every week and the Corner House will donate a £20 Meal Voucher and a bottle of wine for the weekly raffle. It is hoped that this new arrangement will benefit all concerned, band, hotel and customers. 
Brian Bennett
Vieux Carré Jazzmen


Popular vocalist, ex NYJO singer and follower of Bebop Spoken Here, Sarah Ellen Hughes, has won the prestigious Jazz Voices Competition in Lithuania. Click here for LondonJazz details - hope she got back before the volcanic dust arrived. Visit Sarah's own site for note by note description of the Lithuanian Experience.
PS: Check out her CD Darning the Dream - it's on Spotify.
PPS: You can catch Sarah Ellen Hughes at The Maltings, Berwick on June 4 (not 2), The Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond on June 28, and Bishop Auckland Town Hall on June 29. This is part of her CD launching tour and can, of course, be heard in other civilised parts of the UK.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

HCW - Splinter @ The Bridge

John Hirst (dms), Edd Carr (gtr), Christos Worsley (bs).
Splinter's policy of featuring a variety of bands seems to be working - each band bringing its own following who, hopefully, come back to catch other bands.
HCW pulled a decent crowd tonight and deservedly so. Since I first heard them at the Side Café 2/3 years back they have progressed as individuals and as a band,
Playing mainly original material they approach each tune with an almost suicidal attack plunging into the unknown. It is a journey to end all e journeys but they usually arrive home safely.
John Hirst's drum technique continues to evolve. Some of his solos tonight were breathtaking in their complexity. Likewise, Edd Carr is blowing just about everybody away in the jazz-rock field and Christos, less showy but musically as effective, impressed with his contributions on five string bass guitar (Christos uses a seven string lead and John played a relatively straight forward kit).
They have an E.P. due out that, despite its current elusiveness, should delight their following when it becomes available.
Watch out for HCW - they're on their way.

Who were the young singers on the BBC's Johnny Mercer Tribute?

Who were the young singers on the Johnny Mercer programme besides Melody Gardot and Paolo Nutini? Could you help?
Many thanks,
Graham Lyons

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Sage that Rocked - THE MANFREDS

Paul Jones (vcl/hca), Mike Hugg (pno), Simon Currie (ten/sop/fl), Tom McGuinness (gtr), Marcus Cliffe (bs), Rob Townsend (dms).
Was it Sixties Pop? - yes. Was it Blues? - frequently. Was it Rock 'n Roll? - not 'arf. Was it Jazz? - now and then. Was it great?
It was all of those things and more. Perhaps it was the break from the intensity of contemporary jazz gigs - although there was a lot of jazz played - maybe it was the sheer enthusiasm of Paul Jones who knows that music of whatever genre can also be entertainment but, whatever, I have never enjoyed myself so much for years.
Possibly since the days of the pirate ships.
The hits were there, expanded versions of Sha-La-La, Oh No Not My Baby, Just Like a Woman (using Killer Joe for the intro), 5-4-3-2-1, The Mighty Quinn, Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Do, Pretty Flamingo, Come Tomorrow but, in-between and sometimes during, there were things like Watermelon Man, Senor Blues, Max Roach's Driver Man, Ham and others.
Jones wailed away like a Mississippi bluesman on harp as well as singing and working the packed Hall Two.
Simon Currie blew sax and flute effectively whilst Tom McGuinness of McGuinness/Flint fame had some great bursts on guitar and a vocal on, naturally, When I'm Dead and Gone.
On keyboard Mike Hugg was blues personified. Bass and drums did the business.
The standing, foot-stamping, ovation was well deserved.
I'm going to have to dig out that old vinyl but don't speak to me - my voice is hoarse from the sing-a-longs...


Just one forthcoming April gig to report on.
David Clarke

Thursday 29 April 8.00pm
The Zoe Rahman Trio
Zoe Rahman (piano), Oli Hayhurst (bass), Gene Caldarezzo (drums).
 For the second in our Gateshead Jazz Piano Series we are presenting one of the finest young pianists of recent years. Zoe Rahman first came to wide public prominence when, on the strength of her second album, Melting Pot, she was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. Since then, though steeped in the jazz tradition, her work has also revealed more of her Bangladeshi roots.
 Zoe recently visited the Sage as a member of the Spatial AKA Orchestra, Jerry Dammers’ tribute to Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane, and is also touring with Courtney Pine’s Transition in Tradition Band. Her last appearance for Jazz North East was with the Palestinian vocalist, Reem Kelani.
 It is though with her well established trio that her percussive yet flowing style is heard to best effect, supported and enhanced by the sympathetic playing of Oli Hayhurst and Gene Calderazzo.
 Please note that the pink Piano Series leaflet in circulation gives the wrong date for this concert – 22 April rather than the correct 29 April.
 Gateshead Old Town Hall, West Street, Gateshead NE8 1HE
 Tickets Tickets £10 @ £8 conc. available from : Reception at the Old Town Hall, office hours Monday to Friday; or by phone 0191 433 6965; or online at 
 Further information from :

Tonight's Choice

Suggestion for Tonight.
Paul Jones with the Manfreds at the Sage then cross over the bridge, brother, for Budvivar at the Jazz Cafe.

Post Graduate Recitals @ Newcastle University.

John Pope's Postgrad performance takes place at 11:00 am (Wed April 21) in the new Music Studio located in the  lane directly behind Blackwell's bookshop and the Crow's Nest pub.


Friday, April 16, 2010

From Our Man in Hong Kong

Latest big band videos from Ned Kelly's.


Please note that the ZOE RAHMAN TRIO concert at Gateshead Old Town Hall takes place on APRIL 29 and not April 22 as publicised on this site and elsewhere.
Apologies for any inconvenience.
As part of the Jazz North East/Gateshead Council's Acoustic Piano Series it promises to be an outstanding concert.

Swing City Trio @ Blaydon

Steve Andrews (ten/penny whistle), Roly Veitch (gtr/vcl), Roy Cansdale (bs).
This was one of those nice jazz in miniature gigs in the club lounge. Roly always describes the lounge as cosy - a description that could equally apply to the music. 
Salon jazz of the highest order.
A host of quality standards both vocal and instrumental. In the latter category I Wished on the Moon stood out - it always does for me - Roly's gentle croon bringing to mind his faves Crosby and Bowlly. A first timer was Berlin's Say It Isn't So with Steve rhapsodising a la Hawkins on tenor and Roly successfully walking the vocal tightrope as he did once or twice tonight. All, I hasten to add without mishap.
These day he seems to like playing acoustically into a mic which, to avoid feedback, means low level volume. In other words, if you want to hear it you've gotta listen!
Steve fluctuated back and forth from tenor to clarinet and, on one occasion, penny whistle! - Tishomingo Blues no less. He blew well from the opening Gone With The Wind to the closing Lester Leaps In with Body and Soul and Stars Fell on Alabama, Honeysuckle Rose in which Roly sang the verse just some of the others.
Holding it all together, anchor man, Roy Cansdale, proved that even anchors have hearts with some soft and gentle solos.
If someone had dropped a pin it would have been like a Buddy Rich explosion!
Grand evening.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Isfahan by Johnny Hodges and Duke Ellington

Sarah R likes this version of Ellington and Hodges doing Isfahan on BBC 625 and it does have an exotic feel to it. It's from his Far Eastern Suite.
Strangely that, although it was recorded maybe 40 plus years ago, I can remember seeing it because of  Duke holding the music up for Hodges to read. 
Thank you Sarah.
I looked out of the window, at your suggestion but didn't see any Icelandic 'Lavender Mist' - to quote another Ducal piece.
I think I'm about to sneeze.

Maine Street Jazzmen Strictly for the Birds @ Rosie Malone's

Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl), Mike Bird (clt), Malcolm Armstrong (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Mike Humble (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl).
Plus: Anna Bird (alt), Alexander Bird (tpt), William Bird (cornet).
A nice afternoon out with Mike Bird, of Wakefield, depping for Jim McBriarty and Malcolm back at the keys.
As well as blowing some fine Goodmanesque clarinet on Avalon, The World is Waiting for the Sunrise, and other jazz standards Mike also had his delightful wife Anna blowing alto and their two children Alexander (12) and William (9) on trumpet and cornet respectively they blew a spirited Jazz Me Blues backed by the Maine Stream rhythm section. They got a good sound - little do we know but the future of jazz may be in their hands!
The room was crowded and not without occasional snippets of humour. When Herbie announced that Olive was going to sing Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams one of the barflies said, "I like this one" and began singing Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag!
Our girl was in good voice on I'm Gonna Lock my Heart and Throw Away the Key, My Melancholy Baby and I Double Dare You to mention but some. Herbie too gravelled on both voice and horn on Glory of Love, Travel On etc. A chap reckoned he was the best he'd heard since George Chisholm and, on today's performance maybe he wasn't far wrong.
As always, bass and drums kept the ship on the right course with Malcolm striding powerfully behind it all.
Very enjoyable.
Keep practising kids. 

Who Do I Vote For?

It's all way out west tonight - Jason Isaacs at the Tyne Theatre on Westgate Road, Hot House Dragons at Hexham, Swing City Trio at Blaydon,  or  the Brown/Cameron/Clegg Styncopaters on TV?
After much deliberation, debate and discussion I think I'll place my cross next to Blaydon.

Good Gig at the Chilli This Week

Dave Weisser (flug/tpt/vcl), Doug Fielder (ten), Barrie Ascroft (pno), Mick Danby (bs), Rob Bates (dms). Plus: Debra Milne (vcl), Ollie Milne (alt), Matt Pickering (dms), Judith Thompson (vln).
After last weeks goodly throng things started quietly - the crash barriers had been removed and the customer - me - had a choice of seats. However, not for too long as the audience, almost imperceptibly, grew to a number comparable with the crowd at, say, a home game next season by Darlington Reserves.
Nostalgia in Times Square, Gregory's Here, Close Your Eyes, Dolphin Dance and Straight No Chaser got things moving with some impressive drumming from Rob Bates - a name new to me - who fitted in well. Wearing a Seb Rochford tee-shirt that he acquired at the recent Acoustic Ladyland gig he handled everything that came up with ease and some aplomb. Mick Danby too was on form providing a solid foundation for the soloists as well as some exploratory journeys of his own.
Dave played predominately flugel tonight producing a cool round sound unfettered by mutes. He also sang the verse to Green Dolphin Street a la Mark Murphy.
Judith Thompson added four strings to the front-line on How Insensitive her delicate improvisations belying the tune title. Like the winner of the Grand National she stayed on. The girl swings - her band, The Hot House Dragons are playing at the café in Hexham's Queens Hall Art Centre tomorrow night (Thursday April 15). Catch them if you can.
Amongst tonight's audience were the family Milne  and Mama Milne a.k.a.  Debra sang a chorus on Four. On alto was son Ollie who acquitted himself admirably, as indeed he had done earlier on Good Bait. A friend Matt Pickering sat in on drums - Matt too did good. The ever young looking Debs claimed she was a child-bride and who could argue! Would have liked more.
It was a good night all-round with Barrie once again playing some nice piano - he belonged Wigan originally - so what do you make of that? On tenor, Doug blew in his distinctive style and pulled some good numbers from the pad.
The finale - Coltrane's Mr PC sent everyone home satisfied - we'd had an enjoyable evening.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jazz Traveller

If you ever plan to motor west (or anywhere) this link is quite useful.
Thanks to John Taylor for the link-up.

A New Paige?

I was quite surprised to see Elaine Paige, on Breakfast TV, talking about her forthcoming appearance at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. 
I kid you not. 
I know that no one interprets the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber better than Ms. Paige (after all somebody's got to do it - I suppose) but a Jazz Diva?
I eagerly await the broadcast before passing judgement and, possibly, proclaiming that a star has been re-born.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Preview - The MANFREDS - Sage, Gateshead Sat April17. Hall Two

I quote here from the Sage Website:
"The Manfreds, with original front man Paul Jones, will perform many of their hits and a sterling mix of jazz and blues songs from their best-known albums.Paul Jones, with his unique harmonica sound, will be joined by Mike Hugg on keyboards, Tom McGuinness on lead guitar, Rob Townsend (drums), Marcus Cliffe (bass) and Simon Currie (saxophone/flute). This band of excellent musicians will provide a fine evening of entertainment - with some surprise renditions nestled among the hits!"
I'll go along with that. Paul Jones has always been more of a jazz/bluesman than a popster so it should be well worth lending an ear to.
To convince myself I checked them out on Spotify and the results are electrifying. Down-home blues that simply exudes Mistreating Women, Hootchie Cootchie Men and Mojos in full-time employment, interspersed with some jazzified solos - pass the Thunderbird baby.
Sage website.

Alteration to Schmazz program.

Schmazzmissimo Bream has sent me this update on some changes to the next event at the Cluny. 
French band, Renza-Bo are unable to make the cross channel trip owing to governmental Rouge Ruban. However, at short notice, Paul has arranged the following:

Schmazz presents
John Burgess (tenor sax); Malcolm Macfarlane (guitar); Sean Pentland (bass); Chris Wallace (drums)
Tuesday 27th April | 8.30pm
The Cluny | 36 Lime Street | Newcastle  NE1 2PQ
Tickets £7.00 | £5.00 concessions | £3,00 students from 0191 230 4474
Paul says:
"Coming in at very short notice to replace French band Renza-Bô (whose travel plans fell through), Loose Grip is a powerful but melodic Scottish group led by drummer Chris Wallace. Actually, “loosely Scottish” might be a better description, as the leader is originally from Canada, and has also spent time in the Netherlands, while bassist Sean Pentland hails from the USA, but spent nearly a decade in Scotland before recently relocating to Berlin!" 

Migrating Birds

A little dicky bird, or to be more precise, clarinettist Mike Bird of the Wakefield Family Bird, tells me that he will be dropping by The Porthole on Tuesday (that's today) and Rosie's on Thursday (which is the day after tomorrow). Not only will he have his trusty stick of liquorice with him but also his alto-playing missus and number one son and number two son blowing trumpet and cornet respectively.
Sounds like a real family fun day.
Looking forward.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Graham Hardy's 'Old' Quartet @ The Cherry Tree Restaurant.

Graham Hardy (tpt/flg), Mark Williams (gtr), Neil Harland (bs), Rob Walker (dms).
I never did get to visit New York's Hickory House or The Embers back in the 1950s but I imagine it was not unlike Jesmond's Cherry Tree.
In other words, Jazz For The Carriage Trade or Music to Dine For.
Tonight, the Graham Hardy Quartet's tour continued and, in contrast to last night's experiments in rhythm, it was back to the good old GASBOOK with some tasty morsels either side of the hypothetical footlights.
What better starter is there than Alone Together taken at a nice groove whilst waiting for a Crayfish Cocktail with Marie Rose Sauce and Lemon?
This appetiser arrived as The Quartet went into My Romance - both seduced the appropriate taste-buds leaving them craving more.
I didn't think Mercy, Mercy, Mercy quite worked. No offence guys but it isn't a tune that lends itself easily to early evening Dinner Jazz. - it is a last-setter in these situations even though it was played well.
By Contrast, The Very Thought of You, which Graham blew on Flugel, was as tender as my Loin of Pork with  Mustard Sauce, Creamed Potatoes and Paris Brown Mushrooms - Merci! Merci! Merci! to both band and chef..
The set closed with How Insensitive which could also have applied to a party of noisy Italians (or Greeks or whatever) who made their presence known.
For dessert I opted for Crème Caramel with Pineapple and Rum Soaked Raisins - yo ho ho me hearty's I felt mellow after that!
The mellowness provided a cue for The Quartet to play some Ellington opening up with Graham, once more on Flugel for In A Mellow Tone. Then he did some effective plunger work on Mood Indigo. This was his solo of the night for my money.
Take The A Train had Mark in fine form both solo-wise and 'comping. In fact the fullness of his chords made it sound like the whole Ellington band was blowing behind the soloist!
I had to reluctantly leave at this point after an evening when the Cherry Tree blossomed again (thank you Liz for texting me that quote!)
Next week it's the Paul Edis Quartet with Roly on guitar and vocals, Mick Shoulder, bass and Adrian Sinclair, drums.

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