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Bebop Spoken There

Anat Cohen: "With the tenor, it's so iconic with jazz. With the clarinet, I can improvise, but it doesn't have to be called jazz." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Tuesday June 18

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Lickety Split - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB.Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

River City Jazzmen - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NW. Tel: 01670 813983 (info). 8:00pm. £5.00. (inc raffle). Line-up inc special guest Don Fairley (trombone).

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Milestones @ The Stockton International Riverside Fringe Festival. August 1st

Jazz Action’s annual bash at the Georgian Theatre is an eagerly anticipated highlight in the jazz calendar. The weather on Teesside was good, people were out in their numbers and there was a larger than usual crowd for the first set at noon.
Budvivar, making their Georgian debut, had the unenviable task of setting the standard. The band - Debra Milne (vocals), Chris Finch (piano), Mike Clarke (electric bass), Eric Stutt (drums), Stuart Findon & Fiona Littlewood (tenor saxophones) – served up good wholesome Sunday lunch jazz fayre. Thelonius Monk and Horace Silver were on the menu and a vocal dessert really did Hit That Jive, Jack. A good humoured set, good piano from Finch and top marks to Mike Clarke depping on bass.
Legohead, a three piece, could be described as a ‘power trio’ but they’re much more than that. Lloyd Wright (guitar), Jon Proud (electric bass) & David Francis (drums) are as tight a unit as one could wish to hear. The material is there own, full of melody with a groove. Proud and Francis have it nailed and Wright has all the chords and more. A great set from a great band.
Miles Ahead is the Milestones’ workshop band, tutored, principally, by Adrian Tilbrook and Andy Champion. A cast of thousands - well, a dozen or so, many of whom were on stage for the first time following seven weeks of woodshedding - performed with great credit.
A funky Summertime, then Four, then more Miles were taken in their collective stride. Caroline Bagley, something of a veteran of the Milestones’ hothouse at the age of twenteen-something, featured on the ballad But Beautiful backed by the rhythm section. This was one of the highlights of the day. Guitarist Jack Bartley played well-crafted solos and violinist Tracey Hyman was fearless in taking an exposed solo on Summertime. The full band roll-call: Caroline Bagley (alto & baritone saxophones), Susie Roberts (alto saxophone), Jud Downes (trumpet), Tracey Hyman (violin), Jack Bartley (guitar), Andy Shearer (guitar),Mark Jackson (piano), Angus Milne (double bass), Alex Shearer (bass guitar), Katie Lamb (percussion) & James Torvaney (piano).
Tyneside based musicians were well represented throughout the day and the fourth set featured HCW. Led by drummer John Hirst (a Berklee graduate), the trio is yet another of the region’s emerging bands writing original material. Bassist Christos Worsley and guitarist Edd Carr completed the line-up. Worsley is an understated class act and Carr is a superb stylist; lyrical yet capable of unleashing stunning fusion lines. Orange and Violet, Long Distance (a new number) and Billy Cobham’s Red Baron were but three of the tunes in their set.
The Stockton crowd built throughout the afternoon and plenty were in to hear Horn Dogs. Now this is a band! Formed by trumpeter Graham Hardy to play the music of New Orleans (and Hollywood and TV Land!), this is a cracking outfit with top notch musicians clearly having a good time. The opening bars of the first tune lulled some into thinking this was going to be a sedate, indeed funeral affair. Ha! A flick of the switch and we were off – What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Blazin’! The best of N’Orlins mixed with Hardy compositions (Horn Doggin’, Melon Felony and Big ‘n’ Brassy) and a rollercoaster ride through the likes of Flash!, Hey Jude and a sci-fi medley had the crowd roaring with delight. A great set. For the record: Graham Hardy (trumpet), Alistair Lord (trumpet), Graeme Wilson (tenor saxophone), Eddie Bellis (trombone), Kieran Parnaby (trombone), Brendan Murphy (bass drum), Alex Testin (snare drum) & Phil Rutherford (sousaphone).
We were past half way and the heavyweights were beginning to arrive. The first bout featured Chilean tenor sax master Mr. Claude Werner. His quartet features some of the big hitters on the scene. The superb drummer David Carnegie, the superb double bassist Laurence Blackadder and yes, the superb new guitarist on the block, Lloyd Wright. The combo plays Werner’s compositions. The material ranges across Rollins to Coltrane to Werner. Contemporary certainly – Kids, Chant and Good Old Days - but somehow Werner does it all with an old school swagger. Ideas flowed and flowed some more. Quite exhilarating. Quite brilliant.
The second heavyweight contest followed on from Werner’s set.
ACV, they came, they conquered. Andy Champion (double bass), Adrian Tilbrook (drums), Paul Edis (keyboards), Graeme Wilson (tenor saxophone) & Mark Williams (guitar) are ACV. Fail in Wood (the title track from the debut album), New Peculiar, Never Ever, And You Do were all given a workout. Dark, portentious, loud, then louder. Champion, trance-like, directs, works like a Trojan and works the boys in the band like dogs. They seem to like it. The money must be good. No, the music is good, damn good. To top it all Noel Dennis got up to blow down the walls of the Georgian on Without Bones. This will live long in the memory.
Time for a breather and a pint of Theakstons.
Time for Alter Ego. What a great band. The project is to explore the lesser known tunes of the Blue Note/bop era. Keith Robinson (alto saxophone), Niall Armstrong (tenor saxophone), Dave Hignett (trumpet), Andy Hawking (keyboards), David Francis (drums) & Andy Champion (double bass) set about it with relish. Solos all round with Bobby Watson’s tunes at the heart of a very good performance.
Nine hours later…the final band took to the stage. Funk Regulators once more had the honour of closing the festival. A big hit last year, this year proved to be no different. Soul. Soul With a Capital S is what we got. Great rhythm section, brass and reeds. Lucy took the vocals, don’t ask her What is Hip? And Dan on alto sax new the score, All ‘n All this was a fitting finale to a great day in Stockton.
Thanks to Adrian Tilbrook of Jazz Action for making the whole thing happen. Stockton August 2011 can’t come soon enough.
Russell

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