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Bebop Spoken There

Charles McPherson: “Jazz is best heard in intimate places”. (DownBeat, July, 2024).

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.


16590 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 483 of them this year alone and, so far, 29 this month (July 14).

From This Moment On ...


Sun 21: Paul Skerritt @ Hibou Blanc, Newcastle. 2:00pm.
Sun 21: Salty Dog @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 21: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free. Sun 21: The Big Easy @ The White Room, Stanley. 5:00pm.
Sun 21: Ben Crosland Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Mon 22: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 23: Nomade Swing Trio @ Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury. 7:30pm. £10.00. Tickets from Tully’s of Rothbury or at the door (cash only). A Coquetdale Jazz event.

Wed 24: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 24: Nomade Swing Trio @ Café Needles Eye, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. 6:00pm. Reservations: 01670 641224.
Wed 24: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 24: The Ronnie Scott’s Story @ The Fire Station, Sunderland. 7:30pm.
Wed 24: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 24: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Thu 25: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 25: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Garry Hadfield (keys); Noel Dennis (tpt); Richie Emmerson (tenor sax); Adrian Beadnell (bass).
Thu 25: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.

Fri 26: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 26: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 26: Bailiwick + Sleep Suppressor + Christie/Chan @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm (doors 6:30pm). ‘Experimental evening of jazz, punk and jazz-punk’.
Fri 26: Nomade Swing Trio @ Repas7 by Night, Berwick. 7:30pm. Free.
Fri 26: Stuart Turner @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Free. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Fri 26: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Fri 26: Bold Big Band @ Old Coal Yard, Byker, Newcastle. 9:30pm. A Newcastle Fringe Festival event.

Sat 27: BBC Proms: BBC Introducing stage @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 12 noon. Free. Line-up inc. Abbie Finn Trio (2:50pm); Dilutey Juice (3:50pm); SwanNek (5:00pm); Rivkala (6:00pm).
Sat 27: Nomade Swing Trio @ Billy Bootlegger’s, Ouseburn, Newcastle. 2:00pm. Free.
Sat 27: Mississippi Dreamboats @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sat 27: Milne-Glendinning Band @ Cafédral, Owengate, Durham. 9:00pm. £9.00. & £6.00. A Durham Fringe Festival event.
Sat 27: Theon Cross + Knats @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 10:00pm. £22.00. BBC Proms: BBC Introducing Stage (Sage Two). A late night gig.

Friday, December 31, 2010

End of year sadness. - Colin Johnson RIP

I have just heard that Colin Johnson who, many will remember played keyboard at the Porthole when Roy or George Laing was off, died suddenly yesterday. He was a good pianist who consistently underrated his talent and Mike Gilby reckoned he had perfect pitch. I know we will miss him at the Porthole on Wednesdays. I am not sure about the funeral arrangements.


As we approach the year end I'd like to take this opportunity of thanking all those who have helped us to knock up 100,616 page views (with 4 hours to go) this year.
So thank you Russell, Bill, Ann, Liz, Jerry, Roly, Colin, Brian B, Adrian, George, Sarah R, Miles, Tommy Henderson, Maurice Summerfield, Hil, LondonJazz, Ashington Jazz Club, and other contributers and advocates.
And to those who have yet to comment please throw away your inhibitions and make it one of your New Year's Resolutions for 2011 to let us have your thoughts.
PS: Apologies if I've overlooked anyone.

Zoe Gilby Quartet @ Queen's Hall, Hexham. December 30th

Zoe Gilby (vocals), Mark Williams (guitar), Andy Champion (double bass) & Richard Brown (drums) Arriving in Hexham there was a distinct lack of activity. Walking up the hill to the Queen's Hall I didn't see a single soul. The 4x4s, so beloved of Tyne Valley residents were nowhere to be seen. Perhaps the well heeled welly brigade were off skiing somewhere. The trees in the grounds of Hexham Abbey were adorned with simple white lights, there's none of that multi-coloured bling tat round these parts you know.
The Queen's Hall usually has an art exhibition worth looking at, so I wondered around the ground floor gallery, noticed a sign saying ''exhibition continues upstairs'' and duly climbed them to be met with a locked door to the first floor gallery.
Hmm. Is Hexham closed on a Thursday?
I wandered into the cafe fully expecting to be met by an empty room and so I was, almost. No punters, just Zoe and ''the boys''. The bar wasn't doing a roaring trade. A bottle of Allendale's Golden Plover seemed like a good idea although at £3.50. a bottle it made it seem like being at The Sage! I opted for a plush low-level sofa as the band prepared for the the bar.
The set started with No More Blues. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, the audience did materialise. Ms.Gilby had them just there, right from the off. In the absence of Noel Dennis (trumpet/flugelhorn) the spotlight fell on guitarist Mark Williams. Tunes from the latest CD Looking Glass featured on the set list. Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me, A Song For You (atmospheric bowing from bassist Andy Champion), Round Midnight (Williams quite brilliant, Joe Pass would have been proud), May I Come In (deep sonorous vocals), George Milburn's Take It Easy (But Take It) and others were performed with panache.
Drummer Richard Brown featured on Caravan producing everything you would hope for on the number (the rattle, the crash, the rhythm) and Gilby's vocals were full of imagination and improvisation. The highlight of the evening came at the end. The closer, Centrepiece, is a highlight any time, any where, but this was, well, something else. Gilby's vocals are great, regular readers can be in no doubt about that, but the last couple of bars produced a remarkable succession of notes in double quick time that I think Gilby herself didn't know she had in her locker. Amazing, absolutely amazing. Russell.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

CD Review - Jazz at the Marquis - the Maine Street Jazzmen.

Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl); Ray Harley (tpt); Jim McBriarty (clt); Malcolm Armstrong (pno); Alan Rudd (bs); Ian Hetherington (dms); Olive Rudd (vcl). Plus, Mike Humble (dms); Gavin Lee (clt); Colin Haikney (pno).
Buddy's Habits; Climax Rag; How Could You Leave Me; Mahogany Hall Stomp; Some of These Days; Shimme Sha Wabble; Panama Rag; Blues for Jimmy; Sweet Georgia Brown; Wolverine Blues; Howd'ya Like To Love Me?; Bye Bye Blues. Apologies if this week seems dedicated to the Maine Street Jazzmen but it's just the way the tummy rumbles.
This, the fifth CD by the Maine Street Jazzmen, was perportedly recorded live at the Marquis of Granby in Sunniside where the band play Thursday nights. If this was indeed the case then they were the quietest jazz audience I ever heard and this is music that gets the feet tapping and the crowd roaring their approval - strange.
However, the lack of audible appreciation doesn't diminish the content even if it does take away the feeling of 'being there'.
Ray Harley is featured and his trumpet playing does stand-out although his sidekicks and the guests are no less important and all have their moments in the sun(niside).
Olive only has two numbers but Howd'ya Like To Love Me is an absolute gem. The Burton Lane song that I think began life in an Alice Faye movie suits Olive and the band to a tee.
Herbie also sings and plays growly trombone and jazzy harmonica.
A good example of one of the top Dixieland outfits playing today.
Available at gigs or from

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's

(Personel as per previous).
What can I say about today's session that Russell didn't say yesterday 'cept that I'm doing it without a hangover - tomorrow might be a different story!
The tunes may have varied but the same punchy drive that makes the Maine Street Jazzmen a Dixieland band who can walk tall anywhere in the world was evident.
From the opening Royal Garden Blues to the closing Bad Penny Blues they kept the assembled horde of ne'er-do-wells and hobbledeyhoys entertained and, if there were any complaints it was only the lack of real ale on the pumps - the manager assures me this will be resolved.
Ray excelled on Bad Penny as well as blowing an inspired cadenza on Basin Street. Herbie was at his most Kid Oryesque whilst Jim not only played suave clarinet but hit us with some Trumbauer-like alto.
The rhythm section kept it in the alley with a lowdown dirty mean drag that didn't drag at all but jumped up and said 'get on the floor there and shake your butt!'
Olive sang Swing That Music - it, the band, and she did just that."
With Russell and Graphic Artist Bill in attendance it also served as the Bebop Spoken Here AGM!

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Lambton Arms, Eighton Banks. 29th December

Olive Rudd (vocals), Ray Harley (trumpet), Herbie Hudson (trombone, harmonica & vocals), Jim McBriarty (clarinet & saxophone), Malcolm Armstrong (keyboards), Alan Rudd (double bass) & Mike Humble (drums) The Lambton Arms on a dank, winter's afterrnoon usually offers a panoramic view south into County Durham. On this occasion mist rising up the valley sides denied this pleasure.
Once inside it was a pint of Morland's Original Bitter. Nursing a hangover, I decided to nurse the glass. The band struck up on time just as I was looking around for somewhere to lie down (I couldn't find anywhere suitable). Trumpet ace Ray Harley sounded loud (maybe it was loud just inside my throbbing head). Then veteran trombone man Herbie Hudson gave it a blast. He too sounded loud. I looked at my pint. Later, I thought. Meanwhile the tunes (loud tunes) came thick and fast; Bye Bye Blackbird, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Olive singing Some of These Days, Ice Cream (my head was screaming) and others. I decided it was time to get acquainted with my pint. It didn't taste too good. I hasten to add it was me, not the quality of the beer at the fine establishment that is the Lambton Arms.
I hung on in there, there was after all the interval raffle with the prospect of a decent prize (having a lie down seemed like a winner).
The second set started (prizeless) with a couple of requests in the form of Yellow Dog Blues and Darktown Strutter's Ball. Harley and Hudson were once more pounding in my head. In truth, Harley's playing was superb throughout and he really did strut his stuff on the latter number. Olive was in fine fettle and the band went out on South Rampart Street Parade (excellent piano from Malcolm Armstrong) and Bourbon Street Parade replete with an impromptu Dolly Brollies parade from one or two regulars.
On leaving the pub (pint finished), the mist had lifted, the view was great and my spirits had lifted. It had been a good afternoon albeit in something of a haze. Today in South Shields the band can be heard at Rosie's (2:00 pm). I'll be there and I promise to give the band my undivided attention (with pint in hand, of course). The Maine Street Jazzmen's latest CD Jazz at the Marquis featuring Ray Harley was recorded 'live' at the Marquis of Granby in Sunniside. It sounds good. I think a review is due. Russell

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Farewell to the Good Doctor Billy Taylor.

I never got to hear Dr Billy Taylor play live although I heard him on disc many times and also read a number of his essays on jazz both historical and theoretical. In a lot of ways he was the most erudite jazz person of them all whilst at the same time being an introvert when it came to telling the world of his importance to jazz and its students.
There's a host of his work available. I've just been listening to a lovely version of There Will Never Be Another You but whether it be standards or his own anthem to freedom - I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free - Billy Taylor is ranked up there with them.
Billy Taylor died yesterday, Dec 28, 2010 - aged 89.

Jazz Esquires @ The Porthole

Miles Watson (tpt/vcl), Andy Lee (alt), Tony Winder (ten/clt), Terry Dalton (tmb), Roy Gibson (pno), Laurie Brown (vbs/dms), Stan Nicholson (bs), Robin Douthwaite (gtr), Ray Walker (dms). Teresa Armstrong (vcl), George Laing (piano). Close your eyes and you could, with a bit of imagination, imagine this was a Buck Clayton Jam Session - as the song says - Imagination is funny...
Yes it required a lot of imagination today...
However, to be fair, Laurie did announce that they were trying out some unchartered charts so full marks for effort.
Poor Butterfly, it has to be said, was still in the caterpillar stage but I'm Beginning To See The Light and Mean to Me (with a vocal by Miles) sounded good and any fragility in the ensembles was more than made up for in the soloes.
Laurie swung things along on vibes whilst that musical maverick Andy Lee stumbled delightfully through the changes.
George Laing played intermission piano with Over The Rainbow and Applehoney before Teresa gave out with Bewitched and Out of Nowhere.
The afternoon rounded off with Just In Time (for me to catch the ferry). Photos.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wishes for the New Year

I'd like to take this opportunity of inviting north-east jazz fans to suggest bands/musicians/singers they'd like to see appearing locally in 2011. Send us your wish lists although don't be too ambitious. For starters here's mine: Simon Spillett, Paul Booth, Karen Sharp, Mornington Lockett, Lew Watson, Bobby Wellins (tenors) Ryan Quigley, Bruce Adams (trumpets) Paul Towndrow, Pete King, Nigel Hitchcock, Jason Yarde (altos) Brass Jaw, Gillespiana, NYJO (bands) John Surman (bari) Brian Kellock, Leon Greening, Jason Moran (piano) Martin Taylor,Dave Cliff (guitars) Angie King, Sarah Ellen Hughes, (vocals) These are just a few thoughts but let us have yours and who knows... Lance.

Lead is Gone - Bigga Blue

  • Ann Alex forwarded me this YouTube clip of Goring based blues band Bigga Blue featuring her friend and, I quote, 'Titan Bluesman' Stu Weetman. Stu also knows Ruth Lambert and says to say 'Hi Ruth' - 'Yes he woke up this morning and said say 'Hi Ruth to Ruth', He said I woke up this morning etc...'
  • It's good earthy blues and worth a listen or three.
  • Lance.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Below (l-r): Paul Gamblin, Billy Calboutin (drummer in photo).
Six good men were lost to the north-east jazz world in 2010. Jacky Denton, Mike Gilby, Stan Martin, Ernie Graham, Paul Gamblin and Billy Calboutin. Unfortunately this is the only photo I have of Billy Calboutin who was a fine drummer. Paradoxically, the guitarist at the front of the photo is the late Eric Gamblin - father of Paul Gamblin pictured in the photo to the left whilst the bass player is Ray Jobling - featured on the previous post with the Bernicia Jazzband!. There will be others whom I have inadvertantly missed out for which I apologise.
Also national and international figures such as John Dankworth, Martin Drew, Jack Parnell, Herb Ellis, Hank Jones, James Moody, Lena Horne etc are covered in the various jazz magazines - they are no less missed.
(Photos of Paul Gamblin and Ernie Graham courtesy of Eddie Carson)

Trouble in Mind - The Bernicia Jazz Band

Another gem from Colin Aitchison with his dad Hughie on trumpet. The vocal on Trouble in Mind is by Ray Jobling, the southpaw bass player with the Bernicia Jazzband who also played in various incarnations of the Panama Jazzmen including the original.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Xmas books

Did okay for books this Christmas - 4 to be exact - everyone a winner. In no particular order, although this first one is the one that gave me the most pleasant surprise - Johnny Lonely by Pete Tanton. Pete, you may recall, is Extreme Measure's ace American trumpet player who wowed the Bridge audience a couple of weeks back. If he writes half as good as he plays then this is going to be one helluva book. At first glance it looks good... watch this space.
Jack Harvey's A Darker Shade of Blue is crime fiction with a jazz tinge to it - right up my alley.
Blowing My Own Trumpet by Kenny Ball is an autobiography of the trad legend who played The Sage earlier this month and as one who has followed his career from way back this too should make me start burning the night oil.
Away from the jazz The Biggest Ever Tim Vine Joke Book has already had me splitting my sides with laughter.
Thank you Santa - you done good this year and that's apart from the Calvin Klein Bomber Jacket!

Saratoga '81

Colin has sent this audio/visual clip of the Saratoga Jazzmen from 1981. Line-up is Peter Gascoigne (tpt), Gordon Solomon (tmb), Jimmy Ruddick (clt), Roly Veitch (gtr), Bill Brooks (bs), Marshall Walker (dms). The tune is Weary Blues, the venue the Corner House, Heaton, and the still photos are from our Local 802 Gallery.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Young Blood

Contrary to the belief held in some circles that jazz is an old man's music it is nice to see and hear so many outstanding young musicians coming through the ranks in the north-east. The heartening thing is that many of them are capable of playing in older styles such as swing and bop as well as the more contemporary forms.
Impossible to list them all or where the definition 'young' ends however, some of the young players who have impressed include those graduates of 'Jambone' - Harley Johnson (keys), Loretta Tosson (tenor), Ivan Scutt (bass). Violinist Elaine Binney has impressed with her Grappelli-like improvisations at the Jazz Café as has guitarist Matthew Office and drummer Omid Ramak. Dan Reed is another up and coming stickman and Lloyd Wright is making all the 'Wright' noises in a variety of settings.
At a very high level drummer and ex-Berklee graduate, John Hirst has cut it with big bands, small bands, vocalists and his own jazz/rock trio HCW. The other members of HCW - Christos Worsley (bass) and Edd Carr (guitar) are also pushing a few boundaries.
Then there is - ah what the heck! there's too many of them to name them all but I musn't forget vocalist Gaby who has, on occasion, set the Jazz Café on fire.
Remind me on of anyone you think worthy of mention - they should all be wearing Tangerine shirts because that's where the future is I'm told.
Sorry I should have said 'Orange' but that would have seemed like a commercial.

Singin in and out of the Rain

Well here it is Christmas Day - turns up every year just like Singin' in the Rain which I watched for the zilionth time (in case I forgot the words - not the words of the song but the script!) Still it is a good film particularly the Broadway Melody section with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse - those legs, that tune, those legs.)
Film over, Coq Au Vin digested, I found some more music on YouTube. My dear friend Sarah Ellen Hughes singing But Not For Me at the Imperial Wharf Jazz Festival. Watch out too for the Jazzcotech Dancers - Nicholas Brothers in the making.
Click here and Merry Christmas Sarah.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Seasons Greetings from the New Century Ragtime Orchestra!

This cold weather can’t last forever, can it? Hopefully not, as the NCRO have their customary concert at Gateshead Old Town Hall on Saturday, 22 January 2011 featuring as usual piano maestro Keith Nichols (London) and vintage percussionist Nick Ward (Birmingham) along with NCRO stalwarts Caroline Irwin on cornet and vocals and Keith Stephen on banjo and guitar (all the way from Newbiggin-by-the-Sea).
As ever, the show is presented by our inimitable saxophonist Mr Steve Andrews (from a mystery location in darkest Cumbria) and the show starts at 7.30pm.
Gateshead Old Town Hall is a great venue with a bar, café and free parking nearby, and it would be splendid to see you there if you can make it.
Tickets (£12) are available from Dave Kerr on 0191 281 4011 or or the venue’s box office on 0191 433 6965 – even on the door, perhaps, if there are any left!
With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
Phil Rutherford
(The New Century Ragtime Orchestra)

My Favourite Jazz Solo of the Year.

I've been to countless gigs and heard countless solos yet, amazingly, one has stayed with me above almost all of the rest - Karen Sharp blowing tenor on Get Out of Town at the Scarborough Jazz Festival.
It was a solo of Gonsalvesian length yet, like Paul Gonsalves' epic solo at Newport '56, it never flagged but built up logically and constructively without resorting to crowd-pleasing honks and screeches.
Running it close was the two versions I heard by Tim Garland of Killer Joe; the most recent being last Sunday at the Bridge Hotel.It was a difficult decision but Karen's better looking than Tim!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

King Street Jazzmen 1 Maine Street Jazzmen 0

I headed up King Street en route to Rosie's for the Thursday afternoon session by the Maine Street Jazzmen. However, twixt them and me were Brian Bennett's King Street Jazzmen A.K.A the Perdido Street Jazzmen and other names I would not care to repeat! To escape, I nipped into Evans but I wasn't fat enough, I couldn't afford to go into Pound World, so I had no option but to reveal myself to Brian's Chester and Bennett, Derek Fleck and Phil Rutherford who was hiding behind a sousaphone.
The Bennett Brian gave me his banjo and thrust me amid the motley crew. In for a penny, in for a pound, I suggested Anthropology in Bb - no takers so I consented instead to pose for the above photo knowing I will be subject to blackmail for the rest of my life.
I returned the b-a-n-j-o to Brian and they stomped off with Dinah which I must confess sounded good. (Why do people pick on banjos?)
Little did I know this would be the only jazz I would hear today!
I'd checked the Maine Street website earlier but no cancellations were announced so I looked forward to listening to their brand of Dixieland.
Alas, the weather had caused them to Call The Whole Thing Off. This was unfortunate as there were quite a few disppointed faces including a couple of new ones.
Still all was not lost thanks to some congenial company.
The band hope to be back next Thursday but tonight's gig at Sunniside is also off.

Greetings From Hong Kong

To all friends and colleagues, Wishing you A Merry Christmas & A Happy & Prosperous New Year in 2011. From Colin, Jeannie & The Boys In The Band.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I've Got a Thing About "I've Got a Thing About Spring"!

Trawling my way through Spotify - I was on a British kick - and, after Tommy Whittle and Jimmy Skidmore, moved on to Kenny Baker where I heard a delightful tune played by a Kenny Baker Quintet that was entirely new to me - I've Got a Thing About Spring.
Intrigued, I searched further but the only other version on Spotify was by Billy Ternent. I Googled and got nothing. So I'm appealing for info ie further recordings, lyric, music, chords, composer etc.
It has an early 30's feel to it so I guess those period gurus such as Mike Durham, Keith Nicholls, Dave Kerr (bit modern for Dave), Steve Andrews, John Carstairs Hallam, Roly etc might be able to help.
I'd welcome info from anyone.

Melody Maker Update

I've been perusing at length Colin Aitchison's on-line collection of vintage Melody Makers from the 40's and 50's when the MM really was the musician's bible - a bit like Bebop Spoken Here today (I wish!). So far Colin has posted the following complete issues - including the small ads - (lead story cited): 15/3/41 - Ken 'Snakehips' Johnson killed in the blitz. 26/4/41 - Al Bowlly killed in the blitz. 11/4/42 - Death of Charlie Christian. 11/7/42 - Death of Bunny Berigan. 21/8/43 - Tommy Dorsey sacks his whole band plus, inside, Gene Krupa jailed on drug offences. 3/1/53 - Fletcher Henderson dies. 23/5/53 - Death of Django. 2/1/54 - Rosemary Clooney to broadcast with the BBC Showband. This is a trip down memory lane for those of a certain age and a history lesson for younger readers. Look out for more. Lance. PS: Some pages didn't enlarge for me.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.

Despite the return of the snow as of yet there have been no gig cancellations announced for today or tomorrow. However, organaisers, if your gig has fallen victim please let us know so that we can save any inconvenience. Lance.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Cool Yule and a Boppy New Year

Best wishes to all our site visitors and contributers with apologies to those whose picture didn't make it - it was purely a random choice.

Thoughts on 2010 - Part 2 - Away Days

All my jazz listening wasn't done purely in the North-East there were sporadic trips to London which made for some diversity of sounds.
The Ian Carr Celebration Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall was an evening to remember with former members of Nucleus, Michael Garrick and other Ian Carr associated bands. Sadly no representatives of the Emcee Five.
A couple of visits to Pizza Express - one to catch Lee Konitz the other as Bebop Spoken Here's representative at the Pizza Jazz Awards - both were good nights. Cleveland Watkiss and Norma Winstone were the big winners at the latter event.
Norma cropped up again last month at The Barbican as part of the London Jazz Festival and was superb. Likewise Chucho Valdes' Afro-Cuban-Messengers at the same venue and the Cedar Walton Trio at Ronnie's. Walton had a sensational Italian tenor player - Piero Odorici.
A couple of trips to the King's Head at Crouch End were worth the bus journey. The first was for Simon Spillett's Quartet. Superb tenor playing but, sadly, the last time I would hear Martin Drew. The second visit was for Pete Long's Gillespiana - a truly amazing band playing Dizzy's big band scores.
Punctuating these gigs were visits to The Spice of Life - my favourite jazz spot in London (at least on a Wednesday) - any singer with jazz pretensions has to make it here to be a player so needless to say the standard is incredibly high.
More thoughts to come...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Garland/Champion/Tilbrook @ The Bridge - The Late Set.

As Bebop Spoken Here's Main Man set off for the snowfields of South Tyneside, Tim Garland's tenor horn did indeed conjure a very bluesy take on Round Midnight. Champion and Tilbrook went with it and we got more Monk (one can never get too much Monk) in the form of Evidence. Bill Evans' Very Early maintained the oh so good down beat mood.
Garland introduced fifteenth century plain-chant and it worked brilliantly. The tenor man drew a parallel between the ancient musical form and Blue in Green in so much as each piece can be said to be modal in structure. Miles' tune (or is it Bill Evans'?) followed and sure enough the point was well made.
A Kirkian blow out, We Free Kings (We Three Kings ?), saw all three musicians taking it home in style. The roaring finale elicited a roar for more from the appreciative crowd. The encore gave us Miles' Nardis. The evening was, as BSH Editor in Chief indicated earlier, a cracking gig. If not up there as a contender for gig of the year it was certainly a great way to end the season of gigs at Splinter @ The Bridge. You're next appointment at the Bridge Hotel is on 9th January 2011 (7:30 pm). Russell .

On The Road with Brian Bennett

Just to remind everyone that The Vieux Carre Jazzmen's Christmas Party at The Corner House goes ahead as planned tonight - special guest Neville Hartley, piano and trombone - everyone welcome. Seasons greetings to all our friends and supporters - have a very merry Christmas and 'All the Best' for 2011. Brian.
PS: (Picture) - Sunday 19 December, 2010. Brian Chester, trombone; Paul Susans, Sousaphone; Brian Bennett, banjo and Derek Fleck, clarinet, performing for South Tyneside Council to entertain the multitude of Christmas shoppers and children in South Shields. Ho, ho, ho! It's a great life if your fingers don't freeze.

Christmas in Hong Kong

If you want a little festive fun Colin Aitchison has sent this clip of the Big Band Bash at Ned Kelly's - it's a hoot! Click here. Lance.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tim Garland, Andy Champion, Adrian Tilbrook @ The Bridge.

Tim Garland (ten/sop/bs.clt.), Adrian Tilbrook (dms), Andy Champion (bs).
It may seem strange to offer up tonight as a 'Gig of the Year' after having left at the interval but that's what the first half was and I'm quite sure the second set would consolidate my opinion.
The reason for my early departure was, purely and simply, - the weather.
As my favoured Sunday evening journey home involves bus and Metro the news that buses were off halved my options so that was the reason why. Apologies to Andy, Adrian and Tim.
The trio opened up with Killer Joe and Tim took Q's KJ to Death Row and back. Tim Garland is a phenomenal tenor player - he blew up an absolute storm. Andy Champion gave him a temporary reprieve and Adrian helped lift the game with some inspired interplay between drums and tenor.
Tim segued into - of all things - Little Donkey! Playing bass clarinet he discovered hidden depths in this otherwise innocuous tune. The opener closed with Invitation on soprano.
The basso clarinetto remained for more Christmas jazz on Oh Come Oh Come Emanuelle - as Cathy, sitting next to me with husband John, remarked - 'That was beautiful' and who could argue - it was.
The set finished with a tribute to Stan Getz on Voyage.
Tim was certainly 'On song' but so too were Adrian and Andy. They made this an integrated trio rather than soloist and support Adrian finding licks and cross rhythms he didn't know he had whilst Andy added the vital third voice both pizzi and arco.
And so it came to pass that I reluctantly left. From the upper room of The Bridge as I walked across the snow covered square I could hear Tim opening the second set with Round Midnight - was it Tim or was it a Whip-Poor-Will high on a hill playing this plaintive refrain? I was tempted to return but self preservation prevailed and I reflected that this had been one memorable set.
As a matter of interest, the trio initially came together at the Remembering Chris (Yates) gig in the Summer. Chris would surely have been delighted that this acorn had grown into such a mighty oak!

Christmas in the Jazz Café

John Rowland (ten), Pete Gilligan (pno), Stu Findon (bs), Fiona Littlewood (vcl).
I arrived at Jazz Café armed with shopping (Jazz Journal and Down Beat) and it looked as though reading them would be the extent of today's jazz content at the Pink Lane Jazzerie - although Keith did spin some nice Lionel Hampton. "Jazz on the marimba remarked one 'knowledgeable' youth!"
Eventually, John Rowland arrived and, together with Pete the Piano, they played All Blues. It was good.
Stu and Fiona showed and with them a goodly throng who appreciated Fi's renditions of Softly As In A Morning Sunrise, Nearness of You, Now's The Time and Four to mention but some.
John Rowland had impressive Ike Quebec moments on tenor and Pete's percussive piano made up for the lack of a drummer. On bass Stu Findon kept it on the straight and not so narrow.
It was a good afternoon with mince pies and other delicacies handed round by mein host.
Merry Xmas Keith.
To add to the ambience my old friend Judith showed.
The ambience disappeared outside when we discovered the dreaded snow had returned!
Still it was a good afternoon and what's a little snow anyway amongst friends?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thoughts on 2010 Part One

After an afternoon spent blowing carols with the Chilli Road Band on - where else? - Chilli Road I thought I'd spend the evening reflecting on the highlights of the past year with a can of Mulled Old Speckled Hen. It wasn't actually mulled but it sounds more Christmas if I say it was and the thought will help me to thaw out. There was a moment after In The Bleak Mid Winter - how appropriate was that title? - when I almost echoed Oates of the Antarctic and said - I may be a little while!
Getting back to the Jazz Highlights 2010...
The highlights? Well there were so many it's almost impossible to draw up any overall ratings so I'll just mention a few that stayed with me.
Vocally, absolutely nothing topped the gig by DARYL SHERMAN at The Saville Exchange. This was an absolute gem with the following evening's gig at Trinity Centre not far behind.
ZOE GILBY, RUTH LAMBERT, MO SCOTT, LINDSAY HANNEN also made their mark. Zoe, in particular is now being noticed nationally.
The best one day gig of the year on Tyneside and, surely far beyond, was the tribute concert to the late CHRIS YATES at the Corner House. An afternoon of memories and music and the perfect send off for MISTER JAZZ NORTH-EAST.
Festival-wise THE SAGE GATESHEAD, as always, shone because of it's innovation and exciting concepts and the concert in the adjoining St Mary's Church by BRASS JAW was as near to perfection as any four instrumentalists playing without a rhythm section could hope to achieve - and they still swung!
Check out their recent CD too!
SCARBOROUGH was a great festival - a rare ambiance with audience and performer. That ambiance was even greater at LOCKERBIE and WHITLEY BAY - the longest running of them all.
Sadly, Whitley Bay is no more, like the SAVILLE EXCHANGE it too has bit the dust although an alternative is up and running for November next year.
At grass roots level, SPLINTER @ THE BRIDGE presented a season of stimulating music by a variety of bands any one of which (well almost any one of which) could be crowned Band of the Year -EXTREME MEASURES versions 1 and 2 CLAUDE WERNER QUARTET, HCW, ACV, PAUL EDIS SEXTET, LEGOHEAD, SAXOPHONICS, VOICE OF THE NORTH JAZZ ORCHESTRA etc.
The MAINE STREET JAZZMEN with vocals by OLIVE RUDD and scintillating trumpet work from RAY HARLEY stomped around the trad venues as did the VIEUX CARRE JAZZMEN.
The CHERRY TREE RESTAURANT in Jesmond continued to present the best in jazz along with good food.
Out in BLAYDON, the slightly off-centre heartland of mainstream jazz, ROLY VEITCH continued to present the best of local - and beyond - talent often featuring his own warm and inspired playing with a cool relaxed vocal thrown in.
More soon...

Friday, December 17, 2010

A couple of things to look forward to at Blaydon.

Well, last night may have been a low point at Blaydon - the cancellation of Roy Williams with the Blaydon Jazz Quartet and the always popular Christmas Party was a bummer which ever way you look at it. However, the future holds at least two good gigs out in Sticksville (my little joke) to look forward to even if we have to wait till March by which time the weather will, we hope, have improved.
March 3 sees the return of that θαυμάσιος tenor player VASILIS XENOPOULOS. Vasi is in the region for a few days so expect to see him elsewhere but he will be at Blaydon first so that if you dig him (and who doesn't?) you can also catch him at other venues.
March 10 - no one man could follow Vasi so Roly, sensibly, booked 16 men and a girl! - The CUSTOMS HOUSE BIG BAND with RUTH LAMBERT.
Make a note in your diaries.

Boost for Brenda

Brenda Sokell, fresh from her successful appearances on the Alan Titchmarsh Show and the release of her single White Christmas is being interviewed for Tyne Tees' North East Tonight program today. Hopefully it will be shown shortly
PS: Brenda wason Titchmarsh again tonight circa 5:40 -6:00pm. ITV 1

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frank and Ella (Todd and Jacqui) - the BBC Big Band @ The Sage.

Jay Craig (leader); Tom Walsh, Martin Shaw, Andy Greenwood, Pablo Mendelsohn (tpts); John Higginbottom, Mike Feltham, Andy Wood, Alistair White (tmb); Sammy Main, Colin Skinner (alt), Dave O'Higgins, Robert Fowler (ten), Claire McNearny (bar); David Patrick (pno); Jeremy Brown (bs); Martin Wheatley (gtr); Matt Skelton (dms); Jacqui Dankworth, Todd Gordon (vcls).
Frank and Ella were, in my opinion - and no doubt the opinion of those who occupied a lot of seats in Hall One tonight - the two greatest singers of the last century.
The question was - how would Todd and Jacqui rate by comparision?
Todd has the voice, the look, the gestures - close your eyes and you're hearing 'Old Blue Eyes' - cept you ain't!
Jacqui doesn't look like Ella, doesn't sound like Ella yet she totally encapsulates the Spirit of Ella (with a touch of Mama Cleo) and for me that edged it.
Don't get me wrong both were excellent but, for me, Jacqui just went that extra couple of centimetres. The two ladies I spoke to on the Link bus gave the nod to Todd so you pays your money...
The two singers went through a fine selection of classics related to both artists - Todd's Tender Trap had me sighing sighs whilst Jacqui's It's Alright With Me was alright with me too.
The instrumental soloists didn't get quite the work-out they deserved although Dave O'Higgins (almost a resident at The Sage!) had some good blasts as did fellow tenor man Robert Fowler. Martin Shaw blew some muted and restrained trumpet on a Billy Byers' arrangement for Basie of South of the Border and a more forceful blast twixt the singers duet on They Can't Take That Away From Me. I'd like to have heard Sammy Main featured but this was a singers night and the rapturous applause that brought them back for the inevitable Lady Is a Tramp kept the customers well and truly satisfied.
All in all it was well worth braving the chill night air for which, after having spent a day indoors without heating, was no mean endeavour.
PS: My heating is now back on!

STOP PRESS: JAZZ TRUMPETER GETS NEW TEETH - Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's.

Ray Harley and his trumpet were missing from the line-up this week, as he was away getting new teeth. I certainly hope it goes well.
And the gig went really well and I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. The band was joined by a guest, Mike Bird from Wakefield, and what a whizz he was on the clarinet! I arrived to the strains of I’m Beginning to see the Light, one of our songs from The Sage class, so I felt at home straightaway.
Then Olive stepped up in great voice to Lock her Heart and Throw Away the Key. Mike Bird struck up with Creole Love Call, accompanied by effective sweet insistent notes played on the piano and good work from the trombone and the other clarinet. Indiana and a very bluesy Basin Street followed. I was thinking that the bass should have a solo; the band must have read my mind for, lo and behold, there was a bass solo during Nobody’s Sweetheart Now. I like the humorous songs that this band does and today was no exception, with Take off Your Skin and Dance Around in Your Bones (ie what to do when it gets to hot for dancing!). Other tunes in the second half included China Boy (with a piano and clarinet duet); and My Girl Sal. Olive’s songs were of special interest to me after my own jazz singing efforts. I watched as she calmly indicated timings to the band, and gave looks and nods to show arrangements with such ease. She did a lively I Got Rhythm; a spirited I Double Dare You; and rounded off proceedings with Bourbon Street Parade. And you get all this good music and singing free of charge!
Ann Alex.


On Monday and Wednesday of this week, the Jazz Singing class from The Sage gave performances at the Jazz Cafe, for family and friends.
Great fun, and good companionship from my fellow singers – we were all in this together, worrying about forgetting words or singing in the wrong key at the wrong speed. However, it all turned out well and leader, Lindsay Hannon, praised our efforts.
About 12 of us sang on Monday and 7 on Wednesday, covering our repertoire of I’ve Got Rhythm; Song for my Father; I’m Beginning to see the Light; Sweet Georgia Brown; and Like Someone in Love, plus songs from previous terms for those of us who’d been around longer.
I can write only of my own experience, but I must say that more than half the pleasure of gigs like this is hearing the way that other singers interpret the songs we’ve all learned. I opted to sing I’ve Got Rhythm; Imagination; and Them There Eyes. I was brave enough to have no words with me, so Lindsay’s training must have increased my confidence. I did have a sheet showing the key, speed and arrangement for each song, which was a great help. Then of course Lance tells me that jazz singers need only a nod of the head and the band will somehow know the arrangement. Thank you Lance, perhaps in the future...
I tried some simple scat for the second chorus of I’ve Got Rhythm, and also a jokey line of words, which no-one reacted to, so I’ll not try the joke again. You learn on the job. Imagination went well and the band praised it, which chuffed me no end. I stumbled over a line in Them There Eyes, which no one appeared to notice at all, as the rest of the song seemed fine.
I write this not to praise myself, but to show that jazz singing classes work to increase both enjoyment and confidence. Before the classes, this time last year, I wouldn’t have had the faintest idea of how to work with a jazz band. And praise must go to the our band, The Blue Jazz Quintet, who have patiently worked with us for some of the sessions as well as accompanying us and doing stonkingly (good jazz word, that is) good instrumentals. So thanks to all who have contributed to what has been a great experience. But I still can’t put up a mike stand, is there an engineer in the house?
Ann Alex.


Roly informs me that tonight's long anticipated Xmas party at Blaydon Jazz Club featuring ROY WILLIAMS has been cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions. Lance.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lockerbie Jazz Festival 2011 - Hopefully!

Received this update from Fiona and the gang at Jazz Scotland re next year's Lockerbie:
"Friday 30 September 30 - Sunday 2 October We are already planning the Sixth Lockerbie Jazz Festival with its successful formula including an all day series on Saturday 1 Oct celebrating youth jazz as well as a big band feature PLUS high profile International stars AND the cream of British and local players We'll keep you up to date as the plans evolve, but in the meantime please forward this email ( to anyone you think woud be interested in our 2011 offering. (NB: All provisional - subject to funding confirmations)."
You can read about last year's festival on Bebop or on page 6 of the current issue of Jazz UK.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Update on Musicon Jazz Festival.

Details of the Musicon Jazz Festival - AKA The First Durham Jazz Festival are announced here.
The 3 day event begins on Friday March 5 with a performance by Alan Barnes and the John Horler Trio. Saturday has the Paul Edis Trio with Vasilis Xenopoulos plus a host of local bands and musicians including pianist Harley Johnson's new quartet.
Sunday has John Etheridge giving a solo recital.

It’s A Cracker! Jo Harrop and Paul Edis Trio at the Cherry Tree – 13/12/2010

Paul Edis (piano), Mick Shoulder (bass) and John Hirst (drums). Q: What do you get if you cross a stereo with a refrigerator? A: Cool music. That was the gag in my cracker at the start of the evening, and the answer part of it was prophetic! Two sets of cool music – standards and seasonal standards, beautifully played and sung and, as ever, excellent and inventive food. The boys kicked off with Santa Claus is Coming to Town then Christmas was put on hold until nearer the end of the first set as Jo opened with a smoky, bluesy Mood Indigo.
An up-tempo Anything Goes contrasted mood and style just as the piquant home-made piccalilli set off the treacle-cured salmon starter. Ain’t Misbehavin’ (with the first of several bass solos from Mick) was followed by The Way You Look Tonight. Jo then, metaphorically, got her teeth into Billie Holliday’s God Bless the Child while I literally did the same with luscious flakes of cod, salty, chewy chorizo, razor-clam and haricots. If razor-clam was the answer in a cracker, the question would have been: What do you get if you cross a scallop with a squid? A wonderful union of taste and texture. And what a song – wonderfully textured too - my favourite of the evening!
Next up was You Took Advantage of Me followed by Santa Baby. This last was a request and had Jo protesting that she might not remember all the words, but she did, and it was great! Jingle Bells managed to sneak into Paul’s solo, too – Christmas was busking out all over! Merry Christmas, appropriately closed the set. Christmas was still present in the no-man’s-land between sets in the shape of chestnuts – not roasting on an open fire, but perched atop Chocolate & Alnwick rum cake. Marvellous! Set two steamed off with Night Train followed by My Favourite Things. I Can’t Give You Anything but Love came up only one song before You Don’t Know What Love Is, which, taken together, sounds like a divorce in the making! Too Close for Comfort was sandwiched between them.
A high-risk choice, after our Arctic turn, was Let it Snow….but the audience loved it: replete with fine food and with plenty of Black Sheep behind the bar, I think they’d have welcomed a lock-in! Rudolph sashayed into the piano solo this time – a case of "don’t bring Rudolph – he’ll come by himself"? At Last (Etta James?) was my second favourite of the night – so beautiful. Then we were whisked away to April in Paris and urged to C’mon Get Happy, but instead of Judgment Day we got "happy golden days" as Jo finished with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. A nice balance of seasonal fare and spicier stuff – a bit like the food! A special mention for John Hirst, depping at short notice, who had few chances to showcase his skills but brushed his way through the evening helping Mick and Paul provide the platform for this talented singer.
Photos. Jerry.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jo Harrop Returns to the Cherry Tree Tonight.

A welcome return by Jo Harrop to the Cherry Tree Restaurant, Osborne Rd., Jesmond takes place tonight 7:45pm. Good food - good music. Book 0191 2399924. Lance.

Brenda Sokell on Alan Titchmarsh Show tonight 5-6pm.

Brenda Sokell - the Singing Pensioner - performs White Christmas with CHELPS tonight on ITV1 5-6pm. This is to launch her new single. Let's make it the Christmas Number One. Lance.

Extreme Measures - Take 2.

EXTREME MEASURES: Pete Tanton (trumpet & flugelhorn); Mark Williams (guitar); Stu Collingwood (keyboards); Stuart Davies (bass); David Carnegie (drums)
By some strange incidence - minus the 'co' - this was the first time I'd heard David's band and, with the recent arrival of Pete Tanton, it was obviously my lucky day! You're right Lance, he certainly was the new star over the manger last night; his wonderful phrasing shining on David and the other 3 kings as they delivered their rare gifts with perfect timing; Stu's bright gold piano sound - power chords that some piano players can only dream of, beneath chromatic blizzards of brilliance - Evans meets Jarrett meets Martial Solal; Mark really has found himself with the 335 - significantly a gift from someone special - as he double bends the 10's gauge, enveloping us in swooning billows of fast-fingered frankincense - Frisell plays Metheney plays McLaughlin; Stuart Davies' modest bass lines like myrrh, not easily discernible yet as essential as breath itself for our quasi-religious experience - his witty composition Double Bubble really brought home the Full English to me! But let's not forget who built the shelter, this stable of comfort and joy - David Carnegie, such a master of percussive fluidity you barely know he's there, and his arrangement of God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen - such inspired mirth has rarely been heard since Coltrane reworked My Favourite Things - More of a case of the Jim Naughtie - did I hear "Gerry Mentalmen"! The new album, including Best Laid Plans, Inconvenient Truth And Stu Collingwood's Nautical, had already been perfectly roasted but the departure of the sax player burned the turkey and will be re-served in March with all the trimmings from last night's performance - eagerly awaited. George M.
(Who supplied the photo).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In Royal David's City - Extreme Measures @ The Bridge

Pete Tanton (flg/tpt); Mark Williams (gtr); Stu Collingwood (pno); David Carnegie (dms); Stuart Davies (bs.)
Extreme Measures! It might have been thought that the loss of tenor player Gary Turner would have completely screwed things up but, just as David coped with previous changes in personel, as ever, he's found someone new.
In this case Pete Tanton a rather superb flugel/trumpet player from, I believe, Alabama. His lyricism is something else - this is how a flugel should sound! With, I presume, only limited rehearsal time, Pete waltzed the charts putting his clearly identifiable stamp on them. The north-east is going to get to know and remember this guy.
Apart from being a cool cat with a horn Pete is also a published novelist - check Johnny Lonely out here.
Tonight however, it wasn't just Pete - Mark Williams on an Epiphone 335 style long neck guitar proved just why he seems to be holding the guitar chair in just about every other band you see! Stu's Collingwood and Davies played their part to perfection whilst the leader - soft spoken and friendly off-duty - is transformed into a drumnastic demon, a percussive professer, a skin specialist once he gets behind the kit.
The result is a jazzier rather than a rockier band and a band not above a little seasonal jollity. They came 'a wassailing' on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - not that these merry gentlemen were resting thank god. They took England's Carol on a sleigh - or should that be slay? - ride to Downtown Lapland and didn't spare the reindeers.
Prior to this the material had consisted of pieces from the band's forthcoming CD due for release in the new year - I can't wait!

Of All The Gin Joints in Newcastle...

Pete Gilligan (pno,bs); Eric Stutt (dms); Sarah Travena (ten); Matthew Office (gtr); Stuart Finden (ten, pno, bas); Fiona Littlewood (vcl, ten); Gaby (vcl).
The Jazz Café reminds me of Rick's in the film Casablanca. I'm not sure why - Keith ain't no Humphrey Bogart!
It's the cosmopolitan edge. In the film, Rick says 'I'm a citizen of the world' and you get that feeling in the Pink Lane Jazz Joint.
This afternoon there were Japanese, Portuguese, Mancunians and a Germanic vocalist.
Let's talk about Frau Gaby.
Gaby, one of Lindsay Hannen's protéges, is an ever improving talent.
Today, her chosen works were; I'm Beginning To See The Light, Love Me Or Leave Me, Get Out of Town, Lullaby of Birdland and God Bless The Child all done with great sensitivity. On the swingers Gaby's scat choruses were a blast.
Gaby - Der star!
Earlier, Fiona had demonstrated just how much she too has developed as a vocalist on There Is No Greater Love, Straight No Chaser, Corcovado, Gee Baby Ain't I Good To you, and My Baby Likes to Bebop.
Midst it all Sarah was blowing great tenor, Pete was kicking D dim 7ths into Clayton Street - ably abetted by Eric on kit. Stu Finden put in some basswork and Matt Office had a few moments of glory on guitar.
Casablanca it ain't but it's pretty damn close!
Play it Pete!
PS: When Colin Aitchison sent me a Ned Kelly's tee shirt he requested a photo of me wearing it at a local jazz venue hence the above picture taken by Rick or rather Keith.

Jazz Yorkshire Awards

I've just stumbled across the 2010 Jazz Yorkshire Awards with a few items of local interest to us up here in the North East.
James Hamilton picked up a couple of awards - Big Band of the Year - the James Hamilton Jazz Orchestra - and Composer/Aranger of the Year - James Hamilton.
James you may recall fronted a storming set at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle with the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra. His composing and arranging skills were well in evidence on that night.
Boston Spa was voted the Club/Venue of the Year. Keith Stephen's Hot Club Trio, The Swing City Trio and the Fenner Sisters have all played their in recent months.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Days Ahead.

Just a few reminders of what's happening in the region this weekend.
Tonight BUDVIVAR are at the Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle - circa 9:30pm. The same venue has the now indispensable SUNDAY AFTERNOON JAM SESSION which kicks off around about - think of a number - and continues until - think of a higher number.
In the evening (Sunday) - 8:00pm to be precise (ish) - EXTREME MEASURES rock the Bridge Hotel. This is their latest line-up with Pete Tantum on trumpet replacing tenor saxist Gary Turner - a big move and I look forward to passing judgement...
Also on Sunday evening the GENE JARRED BIG BAND play Redcar Jazz Club which is another exciting prospect - as Fat's sang - I Wish I Were Twins!
Monday afternoon has the JAZZ IN THE AFTERNOON mob at Cullercoat's Crescent Club whilst Monday evening sees JO HARROP back at the Cherry Tree Restaurant, Jesmond. Don't miss this one - Jo is something else - the PAUL EDIS TRIO provide the musical support.
Over at Heaton's Corner House Hotel the Monday night residents, the VIEUX CARRE JAZZMEN, Turkey Trot their way up to Christmas.
Oh yes - and on Monday BRENDA SOKELL - winner of the Singing Pensioner Competition on the Alan Titchmarsh Show on ITV1 (5:00pm) returns to the show for the release of her single - White Christmas - recorded with the CHELSEA PENSIONERS.
Let's back-up Brenda and buy/download the disc and get her into the charts for a Christmas Number One!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tonight - Goodbye Saville Exchange. You've been a good old wagon...

Tonight sees the last jazz concert at the Saville Exchange for the forseeable future. As detailed in an earlier post Mike Durham has reluctantly called it a day after 8 years of presenting local, national and international classic jazz.
This grand finale features the Vieux Carré Jazzmen, West Jesmond Rhythm Kings and Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazzmen.
Stomp off is 8:00pm.
Thanks Mike for everything - you tried - boy did you try.

RIP James Moody.

We knew it wouldn't be long but it was still a shock when the news came through.
What a beautiful player he was, whether on tenor, alto or flute James Moody had such a lovely sound. He played Newcastle Jazz Festival and the Corner House both superb gigs. As well as his playing his sense of humour also shone through.
James Moody died December 9 aged 85.
He will be missed the world over.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Rosies is now Refined! Maine Street Jazzmen Defy the Weather

Ray Harley (tpt); Herbie Hudson (tmb, hca,vcl); Derek Fleck (clt); Brian Chester (pno); Alan Rudd (bs); Mike Humble (dms).
The weather improved although whether that had anything to do with retired Weatherman Derek Fleck is totally inconsequential as I don't care what the weatherman says when the weatherman says it's raining - I'm not complaining, just rambling on!
The aforementioned ex-weatherman Derek was depping for McBriarty, the younger, whilst the Amos to his Andy - Brian Chester (photo) - stood in on keys for Malcolm Armstrong who was snowbound (ish) in Ponteland.
It was good to be back midst the Cumberland Bitter and the Tin Roof Blues after last week's cancellation and despite the changes of personel they got a good sound - Savoy Blues in particular had the Kid Ory feel about it that didn't hurt a bit.
Sweet Georgia Brown was as good as any instrumental version going the rounds and Olive's When Your Smiling, Some of These Days and All of Me more than made up for her failure to sell me a winning raffle ticket (verdict: singing great, raffle ticket selling could do better.)
Ray Harley and Herbie were their usual exuberant selves, Derek Fleck as inscrutable as ever, Brian Chester, a dark enigmatic figure modulating melodically in the background whilst the cucumber cool bassist Ruddered the ship into Mike Humble's propulsive launch pad.
Yes! - Rosie's on a Thursday is the hottest ticket in town. BSH correspondent Ann Alex thought the clientele more refined than on her last visit - I think it was because someone had shaved!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Jack Hamilton Quartet @ The Latino

After this afternoon's celebration of the life of Mike Gilby it isn't surprising that many vintage photos have come to light including this one of Mike playing vibes at the Latino Club, South Shields. I'm sure there will be more. Lance.

Farewell Mike Gilby - you went out in style.

You can't really rate funerals as best ever but, if there was such a league table, today's send-off for multi instrumentalist Mike Gilby would certainly be high on the list.
Musicians, friends, fans and family gathered at Whitley Bay Cemetary/Crematoreum. In the current sub-zero climate this could have seemed like the coldest place on Earth but, given the warmth that was exuded twixt the gathered throng, it wasn't cold at all - well not very!.
As we awaited the arrival of the star, Graham Hardy - a former student of Mike's - played a long plaintive, melancholy, unaccompanied version of Days Of Wine And Roses. Somehow it seemed just so right.
Eulogies to Mike were read by his three children, Zoe, Scott and Mike and long time buddy Scott Adair. all four were overtaken by emotion and we respected them all the more for it - if you feel it don't try and hide it.
The formalities over, all adjourned to the Queens Head for drinks, buffet and music. If everyone there had brought their instruments it could have been the greatest big band session ever heard in the north-east!
As it was, Zoe, as was appropriate, kicked things off with Andy Champion on bass and Mark Williams on guitar. Zoe singing a slightly risque song that she assured us her dad would totally have approved of - and he would too!
Beginning to see the light/When Lights Are Low followed and all three performers were at their absolute best.
Graham Hardy, played a delightful Have You Met Miss Jones? and was just easing into Joyspring when I got a call from 'Head Office' which meant I had to leave just as the music was taking hold.
It was a great afternoon and it was with great reluctance that I said goodbye.
Mike wouldn't have been at all grumpy!

Customs House Big Band with Ruth Lambert @ All Saints' Church, Cleadon. December 7th.

Peter Morgan (MD & bass trombone), Ruth Lambert (vocals), Paul Riley-Gledhill, Michael Lamb, Ken de Vere, Kevin Eland (trumpets), Gareth Weaver, Chris Gurgi-Smith, Michael Fletcher (trombones), Jill Brett & Elaine Willis (alto saxophones), Alan Marshall & Tom Quillian (tenor saxophones), Bill Brittain (piano), Roy Willis (guitar),Tom Pattison (bass), David Francis (drums) The Parish Hall of All Saint's Church in Cleadon can best be described as ''homely''. In the Late 2010 Ice Age it was a pleasure to be seated with a warming cup of coffee amidst baubles and tinsel. The stage was somewhat crowded before the band assembled. Two Christmas trees flanked the rhythm section resulting in the other band sections having little option but to set up on the floor of the hall.
The opener, In the Mood, did just that - it got the audience in the mood. Now this isn't usually a tune I'd wax lyrical about, however, on this occasion you should have heard the trumpet section - wow! They were on the money from the off.
Basie's Ya Gotta Try is a tune to talk about (make that any Basie tune). Tenor duo Alan Marshall and Tom Quillian traded on this one and it was but a taste of things to come. Tunes came thick and fast.
The introduction of vocalist Ruth Lambert raised the temperature to Fever pitch. Lambert's versatility was evident with a change in tempo on a beautiful reading of Embraceable You. An instrumental version of Stardust, a favourite, apparently, of altoist Jill Brett, was given a different treatment by the band in that it was taken at a brisker tempo. Do I hear cries of sacrilege? I think I would agree!
Now then, talking of taking things at a lick, Old Man River was just the business. It flew with drummer David Francis in command throughout - great stuff. Witchcraft demonstrated the band's excellent ensemble playing with Jill Brett featured. The inevitable intrusion of all things festive into the world of big band jazz closed out the first set. My Bah Humbug tendencies were about to be exposed but I need not have worried. MD Peter Morgan produced Stan Kenton's arrangement of Twelve Days of Christmas. This was more than alright! This was typical SK, full of strange, colourful voicings. An hour had flown by.
It was time for mince pies, wine and other delights. Interval raffle prizes were numerous and I won one!
Second set highlights were many. Tuxedo Junction featured the brass muting and plunging with Bill Basie Brittain and Roy Freddie Green Willis prominent as tenor man Tom Quillian scorched a bluesy solo. Messrs Brittain and Willis came up trumps again on Jersey Bounce as trumpeter Kevin Eland fired an exhilarating volley into the stratosphere.
Ms.Lambert returned to the stage to sing some Cole Porter. Microphone fixed on stand, Lambert looked a million dollars, the epitome of the big band era singer. Night and Day (what a tune!) and My Heart Belongs to Daddy were a delight, so too, Almost Like Being in Love with singer and band at full tilt.
Big band composers/arrangers were included in the set list - Bill Holman (Bright Eyes), Gordon Goodwin (arr. O Tannenbaum) and the Customs House Big Band's very own Bill Brittain (arr. Let it Snow).
To conclude, two other vocal higlights - Lambert sang Santa Baby (afterwards she asked me if I'd enjoyed it. Ruth - that really is a silly question!!!) and for an encore belted out Alright, Okay,You Win. The latter had me thinking that Lambert duetting with the late, great Joe Williams would have been something else!
Peter Morgan's band has developed into a most accomplished outfit and if there is more to come then big band fans are in for a treat. The next opportunity to catch the band is on Tuesday 1st February at the New Crown Hotel in South Shields. It is an open rehearsal session starting at 8:00 pm. Admission is free and the beers aren't too bad at all. The band's next concert performance is on Thursday 10th March at Blaydon Jazz Club. Check with Bebop Spoken Here nearer the time for details. Russell.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Crowds Came to The Wake but the Corpse Refused to Die. The Three 'B's @ The Sage

There was a buzz about The Sage tonight that has been missing at more recent jazz concerts. There was a sense of occasion about it and I spotted a few faces that I'd never seen at a jazz gig since say the 1970s at the New Orleans Club.
All three levels of Hall One were near full with the only empty seats being those poor souls snowbound and unable to face the bleak midwinter. This meant nigh on 1700 bums on seats!
First up was the Big Chris Barber Band - all eleven of them. The leader himself did the introductions in his bumbling indecipherable manner that left none of us any the wiser as to who was who! I will do my research. Details here.
As has been the bandleader's wont since King Oliver was a lad they kicked off with a swingy version of Bourbon Street Parade before going into a couple of early Ellington numbers - Rent Party Blues and Jungle Nights in Harlem.
For me this was the highlight of the evening apart from the later piece of early Duke - Merry-Go-Round.
In between we had some six piece trad including Petite Fleur a number associated with Monty Sunshine. I found it strange that Chris didn't mention Monty's death a week ago.
The set finished with all eleven going out firing on The Saints.
Set two brought Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band to the stage. They kicked off with Memphis Blues and That Da-Da Strain. Acker played in his distinctive full-toned vibrato keeping mainly to the chalumeau register of the clarinet. Stranger on the Shore (naturally) and That's My Home slotted inbetween various stories - some of them quite hilarious like the man and his dog in the desert without food.
He kills the dog and eats the meat until all that's left is the bones. The man says, "Poor Rover would have loved them"!
All in all, it was an enjoyable set with the only regret being that Acker didn't name the sidemen. The trumpet player did look a little like Enrico Tomasso.
I'm on the case.
Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen were a star studded band.
Bobby Worth on drums, Roy Williams, trombone, Hugh Ledigo (piano), long time Ball associate Andy Cooper (clarinet), Bill Coleman (bass) and Peter Woodruff (?) (trumpet). Kenny himself played mainly flugel. Ledigo impressed with his swingy version of Bach's Toccata in D Minor proving what Jacques Loussier, George Shearing and the Swingle Singers had already hinted at years earlier that JSB was possibly the first ever jazzman.
In truth, all three leaders are no longer the master craftsmen they once were yet, despite advancing senility(Joke!), they are still entertainers who can hold an audience and send a full Hall One home with a smile on their face.
We will probably ne'er see their like again.
Earlier, on The Concourse, Years One and Two of the Sage Youth Jazz Course played a set that reminded us that jazz is a living thing and whereas Barber, Bilk and Ball may be riding slowly off into the sunset there is a brand new group of youngsters coming over the horizon who won't be taking prisoners - hear their version of Mister PC .
PS: See comments for personel details.

Monday, December 06, 2010


There's a saying that everything happens in threes and this week would seem to be a case in point.
Take tomorrow night at The Sage, Gateshead, where we have the Three B's - Kenny Ball, Chris Barber and Acker Bilk. Tickets are reported to be going very fast for this trad extravaganza. So, if you were one of those who looked for an alternative to The Beatles back in the 1960's this is the place for you.
Later on - Friday to be exact - another triple trad bill takes place at The Saville Exchange, North Shields. This one is both joyous and sad. Happy jazz from the Vieux Carré Jazzmen, West Jesmond Rhythm Kings and Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band but sadness also inasmuch as it is the final Mike Durham promotion at the venue.
Big Bands too are out in triplicate with the Customs House Big Band at Cleadon All Saints Church Hall on Tuesday (Dec 7) whilst at the City Hall, Newcastle, on Friday (Dec 10) Jason Isaacs does it his way in front of the Dave Connelly Big Band and on Sunday night, if you happen to be in Hong Kong, there is a big band bash at Ned Kelly's Last Stand.
However, if Kowloon is a too far away then the City of Sunderland Youth Jazz Orchestraare at Washington Arts Centre on Thursday and Friday evenings from 7:00pm.

Claude Werner Quartet @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. December 5th

Claude Werner (tenor saxophone), Lloyd Wright (guitar), Laurence Blackadder (double bass) & David Carnegie (drums). (Photo by Adrian Tilbrook.) Splinter @ The Bridge hosted a return visit by Claude Werner on yet another freezing cold night in Newcastle.
The top tenor man was on form and in good humour from the off. The tunes were written by Werner and his band was up to the mark.
Recent recruit Lloyd Wright was given space to develop several outstanding solos, although on at least one occasion the use of his pedal board didn't quite produce sounds compatible to the collective sound.
Bassist Laurence Blackadder and drummer David Carnegie played brilliantly all night on one good tune after another. Three Stories, The Silenced, Kids and Things I Can't Explain were highlights of the first set. Werner's approach is full of swagger with a dash of Rollins and an undercurrent of Trane flowing throughout.
After a short interval (it was too cold to hang around) the second set offered yet more good stuff. Chocolate Fudge Cake, Drawings Across the Street (something to do with an affair of the heart), Nostalgia and Good 'Ol Days were played with great sensitivity and at times, burning passion. A deserved encore came in the form of A Chant.
Werner announced that this gig was to be David Carnegie's last with the band. David has many other musical commitments and his friend Claude said, jokingly, something like ''more lucrative!" DC will be a hard act to follow. Russell.

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