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Bebop Spoken There

Dee Dee Bridgewater: “ Our world is becoming a very ugly place with guns running rampant in this country... and New Orleans is called the murder capital of the world right now ". Jazzwise, May 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.


16462 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 342 of them this year alone and, so far, 54 this month (May 18).

From This Moment On ...


Mon 20: Harmony Brass @ the Crescent Club, Cullercoats. 1:00pm. Free.
Mon 20: Michael Young Trio @ The Engine Room, Sunderland. 6:30-8:30pm. Free.
Mon 20: Joe Steels-Ben Lawrence Quartet @ The Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. £8.00.

Tue 21: Jam session @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free. House trio: Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

Wed 22: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Alice Grace Vocal Masterclass @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 6:00pm. Free.
Wed 22: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 22: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.
Wed 22: Daniel Erdmann’s Thérapie de Couple @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Thu 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 23: Gateshead Jazz Appreciation Society @ Gateshead Central Library, Gateshead. 2:30pm.
Thu 23: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Thu 23: Immortal Onion + Rivkala @ Cobalt Studios, Newcastle. 7:00pm.
Thu 23: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests: Jeremy McMurray (keys); Dan Johnson (tenor sax); Donna Hewitt (alto sax); Bill Watson (trumpet); Adrian Beadnell (bass).

Fri 24: Hot Club du Nord @ The Gala, Durham. 1:00pm. £8.00. SOLD OUT!
Fri 24: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 24: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 24: Swannek + support @ Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle. Time TBC.

Sat 25: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Bywell Hall, Stocksfield. 2:30pm.
Sat 25: Paul Edis Trio w. Bruce Adams & Alan Barnes @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:30pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sat 25: Nubiyan Twist @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 25: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 26: Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Sele, Hexham. 12:30pm. Free. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Alice Grace @ The Sele, Hexham. 1:30pm. Free. Alice Grace w. Joe Steels, Paul Susans & John Hirst.
Sun 26: Bryony Jarman-Pinto @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Clark Tracey Quintet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Saltburn Big Band @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 26: SARÃB @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Violinist Elaine and her Jazz Rascals launch their CD Live at Durant Hall tomorrow night (Sunday May 1) at Barn Asia Restaurant, Waterloo Square, St James Boulevard, Newcastle NE1 4DN.
Doors open at 7:30pm. The entertainment - described by Elaine as 'surprise" - is from 8:00pm. The Rascals are on at 9:00pm. Admission is £5.
Although food is available, it isn't a pre-requisite and a few drinks whilst chilling out and listening to this young and exciting band seems to be a good way to spend the evening.

William, Kate, Harry James & Robert Crais

It's been a good day. Still on a high after yesterday's wedding - a million people lining The Mall (personally I counted at least another 50!) made me feel good and wishing I was there. Today I Metro'd down to South Shields in, by Tyneside standards, sub-tropical temperatures. I needed a pint and something to read. First charity shop I entered had a vinyl Harry James for 75p. A couple of live 1940 broadcasts from the Southland Café, Boston and the Hotel Lincoln in NYC. Vocals by Dick Haymes and the Ray Harley like trumpet of the leader made this a must buy. I still needed some reading material which came about via Robert Crais' The Monkey's Raincoat. Just when I thought Raymond Chandler was gone forever I find a book by Robert Crais who is very much in the maestro's mode - "I'll bet you were the third prettiest girl in Eleventh Grade." She smiled and said, "Second actually." Reading material sorted I dropped into the South Shields branch of J.D. Wetherspoon's. To my delight they were still in patriotic mode wih union jacks strewn across the ceiling and a pint of an appropriately named ale from York Breweries (can't remember the name but it was 4.8% and tasted lovely!) Rounded off the day listening to the vinyl - James could blow and Corky Corcoran's tenor wasn't bad either!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jazz on the Quayside

A new venue has been found for the Thursday night Bridge Jam session - it will now be based at the Offshore 44 Pub on the Quayside (under the Tyne Bridge). Prices are lowered - £4 for listeners and £3 for students and free for musicians who get up and jam or M.U. cardholders. Plus, everyone who enters will be welcomed by a free beer or glass of wine. More good news is that service will be resumed next Thursday (5th May). The jam will start at 8pm and finish at 1am. Harley.

A Few Jazz Weddings

This being the day of "that wedding" I thought I'd list a few Jazz Royalty weddings. The list is far from complete and additions are welcome. Andy Champion----------Zoe Gilby Bert Courtley-------------Kathy Stobart Bob Cooper---------------June Christy Cecil Bridgewater--------Dee Dee Bridgewater Dave Barbour------------Peggy Lee De De Pierce-------------Billie Pierce Herb Geller---------------Lorraine Geller Jess Stacy-----------------Lee Wiley Jim Tomlinson-----------Stacey Kent Jimmy McPartland------Marian McPartland John Coltrane-----------Alice Coltrane Johnny Dankworth------Cleo Laine Jon Hiseman------------Barbara Thompson Keith Ingham-----------Susannah McCorkle Laurie Holloway--------Marian Montgomery Lew Tabackin-----------Toshiko Akiyoshi Louis Armstrong--------Lil Armstrong Louis Bellson------------Pearl Bailey Mike Westbrook--------Kate Westbrook Nigel Stanger-----------Germaine Stanger Paul Bacon--------------Liz Bacon Ray Brown--------------Ella Fitzgerald Ray Wetzel--------------Bonnie Wetzel Red Norvo--------------Mildred Bailey Stanley Turrentine------Shirley Scott

Neon @ Gateshead Old Town Hall. April 28

Stan Sulzmann (soprano & tenor saxophones), Kit Downes (piano), Jim Hart (vibes) & Tim Giles (drums) This Gateshead performance was Neon's first in the north east. All four members of the quartet have played in other line-ups in the region and veteran saxophonist Stan Sulzmann remarked how he had recently performed at Gateshead's Sage and across the river in the upstairs room of the Bridge Hotel with Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra (he was keen to sing the praises of VOTN). This Town Hall gig was to illustrate another facet of his writing and playing in the company of three top class musicians of a younger generation. The two sets had the feel of a chamber jazz concert with a quiet, percussive approach from pianist Kit Downes, Guildhall graduate Jim Hart on vibes and the busy, inventive drumming of Tim Giles. Tunes were taken from the recently released CD Catch Me (Edition Records ED 1024). Jim Hart's writing was to the fore, none more so than on Passwords and The Last of the Leaves (the latter a reflective piece celebrating the joys of autumn and here we are in heatwave spring time!). Sulzmann played beautiful soprano on his own tune Nepanees and the one none original of the night was an excellent group effort on Monk's Bye-Ya. Russell

The Bridge Is Down!

Another great night, yet sadly the last for the Bridge Hotel as they no longer want the weekly Thursday jam session held there. In the meantime, an alternative venue is being arranged.
The house band: Omid Ramak, Mark Williams and John Pope did wonders on Solar and Giant Steps; with a nice mid-tempo latin feel. As the jam got under way, tunes such as Well You Needn't, Beatrice, Softly As In A Morning Sunrise, Straight No Chaser, There Is No Greater Love and Beautiful Love poured out nicely. One of the many highlights of the night (I'm told!) was during Straight No Chaser where Fiona Littlewood and myself were trading with scat singing. The cider did justice to my throat after holding that last note for a whole 12 bars!
There were two free improv sessions; one with featured bassist Ivan Scutt doing some rapping. I've encouraged him to listen to Soweto Kinch. This may sound like a cliche, but that's why it's true when people say you never know what to expect in a jam session.
The night finished with The Way You Look Tonight and featured Omid Ramak (Drums), Mark Williams (Guitar), Claude Werner (Tenor Saxophone) and Laurence Blackadder (Bass). So as far as I'm aware, no jam session next week until further notice by Omid. But if a new venue has been found he will let people know; best to check out his facebook group "Jazz and Jam Session".

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Blues Band @ The Sage.

Paul Jones (vcl/hca); Dave Kelly (gtr/vcl); Tom McGuinness (gtr/vcl); Gary Fletcher (bs/vcl); Rob Townsend (dms).
Hall Two was three tiers full sold out - as was the Tyneside Blonde Bitter these blues guys know a brew that is true. However, Farne Island Bitter proved a suitable substitute as we w(h)etted our appetites for some blues.
It has to be said that the Blues Band do what they do well - it may be a watered down version of the Jesse Fuller, Roy Brown, Little Johnny Taylor numbers they do but it's diluted enough to be accessible to everyone hence the full house.
All but the drummer had solo vocal features and all scored heavily. Paul on I Can't Stand The Rain, Dave on I'm Busted, Tom on I Got My Eye on You and Gary on ? Dammit this was when the ink in my pen ran out!
Rob Townsend was a tower of strength and, if I found a weakness it would be my personal preference for a piano in a blues band.
It was a good gig and the crowd loved it.

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie's

Steve Andrews (sop/clt); Neville Hartley (tmb/vcl); George Richardson (pno); Alan Rudd (bs); Mike Humble (dms); Olive Rudd (vcl).
With the advent of Spring, not only does a young man's fancy turn to love but also to holidays hence today's line-up at Rosies.
The front line were all away leaving two to do the work of three!
No easy task but with Steve Andrews (pictured) playing post Bechet soprano and clarinet the burdon was eased. Add Neville Hartley in Teagarden mode and the problem was solved.
Olive provided the vocal touch with a special treat - Singing The Blues.
All in all it was an enjoyable afternoon.

Gasbook Googling! Ruth Lambert Quintet - Jazz in the Café – Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 27/04/2011

Ruth Lambert (vocals), Graeme Wilson (sax), Paul Edis (piano), Neil Harland (bass) and Tim Johnston (drums).
…and the answer is: music by Victor Young, lyrics by Ned Washington and featured in the 1944 Ray Milland film, “The Uninvited”. The question, which arose midway through the first set, was: who wrote Stella by Starlight? This started symphonically then swung into an optimistic take on love not always heard on tonight’s Lambertian tour of the Great American Songbook. True, the set had opened positively (“so lucky to be loved by you”) with the sweet high-notes of Time After Time, but then the lyrics moved through resigned acceptance (“Fish gotta swim”) to emotional confusion (“I should hate you, but I guess I love you”) to the confrontational Love Me or Leave Me and the downright lachrymose Cry Me a River! Kurt Weill’s latin-ish exhortation to Speak Low seemed apt amidst all this deliciously rendered angst!
Ruth remembered being taught, by her mum, to sing Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man at the tender age of seven – a model pupil, one assumes, who has gone on polishing her range and technique ever since as illustrated in the phrasing of this bluesy number and in the quick-fire delivery of Between the Devil and the Deep, Blue Sea. Two endings in the first set – the closing notes of Speak Low and the scat ending (with VERY high final note) to West Coast Blues (the set-closer) gave some indication of her vocal range. She sounds great with a big-band, with tonight’s fab four, duetting with just piano (beautifully on Cry Me a River while the rest of the boys propped up the bar), or just with drums on the rousing intro, later, to Night and Day. I suspect the drip-drip-drip of a leaky tap while bathing is accompaniment enough, never mind tom-tom drums!
And how the fab four did play! Tim Johnston was to the fore in Night and Day and was the driving force “towing” a frantically percussive Caravan which got loud applause in the second set. Elsewhere he brushed us sensitively through blues and ballads. Neil Harland had a number of well-received solos and Paul Edis was inventive as ever with nods, at various points, in the direction of Chattanooga, the bazaar (not bizarre!) and, on Here’s That Rainy Day, a “rainy” film-set complete with Gene Kelly. Graeme’s solos underlined the assertion that things mellow with age – I’m not talking about the lad himself, but his treasured tenor sax which has more patina than a good edition of The Antiques Roadshow – and boy, is it mellow! And soulful, as on Mean to Me (more focus on the bittersweet nature of love in song!) and Ellington’s I’ve Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good (and again!!). At the end of Night and Day the audience demanded an encore and Ruth (“impatient to be free”?) said “just a quick one” but in fact we got a long enough version of Once I Had A Secret Love to enjoy solos from all the instrumentalists and more vocal gymnastics from Ruth herself. Fabulous! ….and finally, Love Me or Leave Me was Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn from the 1928 Broadway show, “Whoopee”. OK, Ruth, no prizes needed for my diligent Googling: the show itself was reward enough! Jerry. p.s. Lovely beer (Allendale) and welcoming staff (complimented by Ruth at the end) both add to the attractiveness of this venue!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Boots Mussulli - unsung hero.

One of the less remembered altoists these days is Boots Mussulli who died in 1967 aged 50. Boots was, like those other great modern altos Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Lennie Niehaus, a product of the Kenton band. 
He left Kenton in 1949 after 5 years to join the legendary Charlie Ventura Bop for The People Septet
The sides with Kenton and Ventura are well known but recordings under his own name are not so familiar therefore it was a delight to come across some on YouTube - is there anything that isn't on YouTube?
Listen to Rubber Boots - nice agile alto playing. Check out Mutt and Jeff for some baritone (and alto) playing that proves Mulligan and Chaloff didn't have a monopoly on the larger horn.

Music Training May Keep Aging Brain Healthy.

Jon-Erik Kelso drew attention to this comforting item on Facebook.

The Blues Band @ The Sage Tomorrow Night

The Blues Band, fronted by Paul Jones on vocals and harp, are in Hall Two at the Sage tomorrow (April 27 - 8:00pm) in what should be an unmissable occasion for those lovers of the 12 bar format.
With Paul will be Dave Kelly (gtr/vcl); Tom McGuiness bs); Gary Fletcher (bs); Rob Townsend (dms).
See ya there.

Can you help Anna?

Anna, who during her stint at York Uni was heavily involved in the city's jazz scene, has sent the following plea;
"Am in a bit of a quandry, and thought that if anyone might be able to help, it would be one of you sax-playing folks!
My cousin is getting married early June, and she has asked me to perform something on the sax at the reception venue as she and her husband arrive. Now, there will not be a piano at the venue, so I'm looking for something that will either sound fine by itself solo, or something where a backing track could be used.
She has said that she'd like something quite lively, but I know that she does not want anything jazzy, so have been trying to investigate into the more classical side of things (am trying to see if she can clarify more about what she wants).
Has anyone else been in a similar position, and might be able to point me in the direction of a/some non-jazzy lively piece(s) for solo sax (perhaps with a backing track), suitable for a special occasion such as a wedding?
No worries if you don't feel that you can't help, but sometimes you don't know until you ask, do you?
Thanks very much for your time, folks; I appreciate it.
Best wishes,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kyle Eastwood Band @ The Sage Gateshead.

Kyle Eastwood (bs/bs.gtr); Graeme Flowers (tpt/flg); Ben Castle (ten/sop); Andrew McCormack (pno); Martyn Kaine (dms).
A well attended Hall Two showed their appreciation of a solid couple of sets by the Eastwood Band and were rewarded with an encore - the only non original of the night - Big Noise From Winnetka! Admittedly it bore little resemblance to the original Bob Haggart tune but it was fun. Prior to this we'd had a good opening set - in particular, Supermac, on piano, had set the world aflame on an original entitled Cosmos. The horns were flying too on this number and, Ben Castle, himself the offspring of an illustrious father, had some powerful exchanges with Graeme Flowers.
Kyle played impressively on what appeared to be a quarter size bass as well as alternating with a couple of bass guitars.
Martyn Kaine - educated in Whitley Bay - drove the ensemble from the back of the bus as well as contributing punchy solos.
The overall feel was of contemporary Blue Note with Flowers reminiscent at times of Freddy Hubbard.
Very enjoyable.

Thin Red Line @ The Bridge Hotel. 17th April

Petter Frost Fadnes (tenor & alto saxophones), Rus Pearson (double bass) & Paul Hession (drums)
Saxophonist Petter Frost Fadnes visited the Bridge Hotel in spring of last year in the company of Gateshead's Chris Sharkey in the trio Geordie Approach. His return this Easter Sunday was with Yorkshire's veteran free jazz drummer Paul Hession and bassist Rus Pearson. The trio performed several composed pieces with much space for improvisation, all of which can be heard on the debut CD Alignment. Alto was particularly telling with bass and drums alternating between rhythmic passages and all out improv. A well earned encore proved to be the highlight of the evening with Fadnes taking no prisoners in a vicious blowout - those familiar with ACV's Without Bones will get the picture. 
Video of gig.

World Class Concert at Gateshead Old Town Hall this Thursday

One of the most impressive quartets ever to play at Gateshead Old Town Hall will  take the stage this Thursday, April 28.
NEON, comprises Stan Sulzman on saxes, Jim Hart on vibes, Kit Downes, piano and Tim Giles on drums.
Those who heard Sulzman with the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra at the Bridge recently will need no reminding as to his brilliance on whatever sax he elects to play. Jim Hart sometimes appears as a drummer but, on this occasion, he is on vibes and I have no hesitation in saying that I think he is the best vibist in the world. I first made this statement at the London Jazz Festival - and Gary Burton was in town!
Kit Downes is fast building a reputation as a pianist/compose par excellence and with Tim Giles driving them forward it will be a truly memorable event promoted by Jazz North East in conjunction with Gateshead Council.
The gig starts at 8:00pm and tickets are £10 and £8 (concessions).

The Ghost of Marsden Grotto - Colin 'Kid' Dawson.

South Shields born trumpet player Colin 'Kid' Dawson is featured in tonight's Shields Gazette. Colin who, as a child protege, was well known on the local trad scene has picked up a couple of prestigious awards on the Continent - a French award; Prix de l’Academie du Jazz, for swing jazz album of the year, and also the German Record Critics Award.
The album in question is Message From Mars by his band Echoes of Storm and includes an original penned by Colin - The Ghost of Marsden Grotto inspired by a legendary local poltergeist.
Gazette article.

Tonight @ The Sage - Kyle Eastwood Band.

Looks to be a treat in store for jazz/funk fans when the Kyle Eastwood Band take to the stage in Hall Two of The Sage, Gateshead.
Don't know the exact line-up but one thing is for sure - bass-playing Kyle won't be carrying any passengers.
I heard them at Scarborough a couple of years back and, if memory serves me right, the band included such big hitters as Graeme Blevin on Tenor, Graeme Flowers (tpt), Andrew McCormick (pno), Martin Kaine (dms) and of course Kyle on double bass and bass guitar.
Details in sidebar or to book -
8:00pm start.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Jazz Frolics

Brian Bennett sent me this shot of himself on banjo, with Brian Chester (tmb), Paul Susans (sousa), Derek Fleck (clt) and various aliens "entertaining" folks in North Shields. There's also a couple of photos from Hardwick Park, Sedgefield click here. Lance.


What a joy to be able to be at the Jazz Café for nearly the whole of the Sunday session, from 4.30pm till 10.10pm. Goodness knows what time it finished. Café boss Keith was in fine form, discussing politics and music with anyone who’d listen. The musicians too were in fine form, especially Pete Gilligan on piano, improvising wonderfully, trilling, striding, flowing, always tuneful, and playing more notes in four bars than seems humanly possibly; and Mark Williams on jazz guitar, playing well (an understatement) with hints and riffs of classical, rock, in fact riffs from all over the place. As Pete said to Mark before one of their tunes, ‘muck about, but we’ve got to play the riffs in time’. I hope Pete doesn’t mind me quoting him, but I think it’s a wonderful summing up of jazz at its improvisational best.
And to my delight, the afternoon began with a woman singer, Lucy Caplan, who had a strong gutsy voice, very friendly personality, and sang Desifinado in Portuguese (our editor thought it needed to be in a key a tone higher but what does he know!?). Lucy also treated us to Sunny; Sway; Black Coffee; and Moondance. She allowed loads of space for Pete’s solos as well. I hear a rumour that these two are preparing for a gig, so that’s something to watch out for. Be there!
Then, to more delight, came Claire Kelly to sing, accompanied by Mark, a tenderly sensitive version of I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face; and Love Me or Leave Me.
And so the music continued in a relaxed atmosphere with people slipping in and out to smoke, buy sarnies, and people chatting to Keith at the bar. Musicians came and went. The bass player (Paul Grainger) and tenor sax (Doug Fielder) were there most of the time, Pete gave up his piano to a skilled younger player (Colm Rooney) for a while, and later the bass was replaced by a bass guitar (Willie Angus), and Alan Law popped in to play alto sax. Lucy sang again and the microphone kept cutting out, but, unfazed, she carried on with a Blues in C and Take the A Train.
Other numbers heard included In a Sentimental Mood; How Insensitive; Petite Fleur; It Had To Be You; But Beautiful and many others. I was sorry to leave before the end, but when I heard the song about the A Train I was reminded of the Metro that I needed to catch. Somehow, Take the Tyne and Wear Metro just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
Catch it all for yourself next week!
Ann Alex.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I know this is a jazz blog, but I’m sure readers won’t mind a brief review to follow up Lance’s item, especially since Lance was there (yes, at a folk do!) for part of the time
The four Mummers were resplendently dressed as St George on his horse; a green dragon who also played the doctor; a rather sexy witch with a cobweb attached to the back of her hat; and a Friar Tuck. They did the play to an appreciative audience in the Alum house, then, I’m told, stopped the karaoke in Rosie’s with their play and played to a happy audience in the Stag’s Head. The witch then took ill (did she cast a spell on herself by mistake I wonder?) and had to go home.
Meanwhile, we singers and musicians stayed in the Alum house and had a great time playing, with performers dropping by throughout the afternoon. There were 3 fiddles, small pipes, and a hurdy-gurdy, besides the usual flutes, whistles, mandolins and guitars. Four of us sang chorus songs (ie songs with a chorus, not chorus as in jazz songs). Folkies had come from Jarrow, Hebburn, North Tyneside and Sunderland, as well as local South Shields people. One singer had even dropped by from Worcester, via Newcastle. He was colourfully dressed in green and white, with a striped tie. I thought at first that he must surely be a supporter of Celtic football team. There was even a clog dance. There’s nothing quite like the hard, sharp rhythm of clogs on a wooden floor.
So now you know what folkies do on a bank holiday. The South Shields folk club is closed for the next 2 Sundays, so it’s jazz time for me again. It’s all music! I ain’t never heard a horse sing it. (probably a misquotation)
Ann Alex.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Emma Wilson Meets Henry Lowther.

I am talking to - and playing music chosen by legendary trumpeter,composer and arranger Henry Lowther. There are 2 hours of fascinating anecdotes
Henry played Woodstock 1969 with the Keef Hartley Band, he tells us all about travelling into Woodstock, the sights,sounds and smells and the performances! Henry reveals all about the day Eric Clapton talked about forming a band called "Cream"..
Henry has worked as a professional musician for over 40 years ..he's an amazing raconteur and has some great tales!
He also met Miles Davis,and worked with John Mayall's Blues Breakers, Jack Bruce, Gil Evans, Henry Mancini, The Pretenders and so many more...
It's only on the internet so you need to go to and you can hear it on real player, i-tunes or a couple of other formats.
Emma Wilson.
(Forwarded by Adrian, edited by Lance.)
PS: Don't forget that Henry Lowther can be heard with VOTNJO at the Bridge later this year.
PPS: Emma informs me that the show is actually repeated Wednesday 27th April at 9pm! She also informs me that her show (Sunday Speakeasy) is on Every Sunday at 12 noon and 9pm. people can "Like" on her Sunday Speakeasy page on facebook.

Notes From a Jazz Survivor

If you haven't seen this extraordinary documentary on the troubled life of Art Pepper check it out here.
For me Art's alto playing was the best.

Friday, April 22, 2011

800 years on...

Tomorrow is St George's Day and, after 800 years of waiting, it is finally to be celebrated in South Shields. Not that there is any jazz involvement but there will be lots of 'Folkie' stuff going on and I know we have one or two who are into that scene.
The action begins at 1:00pm in The Alum House pub near the ferry landing before moving on to other nearby pubs such as The Douglas Vaults, The Lambton Arms, The Mechanics and Rosie Malone's. The latter venue is a surprise choice as it is an Irish Bar with St Patricks Day memorabilia festooned around the walls.
So, if you want an afternoon of folk music, sword dancers, morris dancers, clog dancers and actors in medieval dress, South Shields is the place to be.
The event has been organised by recently formed folk group The Laygate Mummers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hartley Jams @ Rosie's.

Ray Harley (tpt); Neville Hartley (tmb) Jim McBriarty (clt/vcl); George Richardson (pno); Alan Rudd (bs); Olive Rudd (vcl).
Herbie was away on one of his periodic journeys to Turkey so we had slideman Neville Hartley depping most admirably.
It was a good turnout which was only to be expected on a red-hot pre Easter Thursday.
The band swung merrily along with Jimmy McB compering and throwing in a few vocals in his inimitable deadpan style as well as blowing hot clarinet..
A couple of ladies with their offspring occupied a front row table. The kids - circa 1-5 agewise - didn't seem to mind the music and perhaps, in later years, they may turn out to be jazzers themselves. Possibly in deference to the sprogs and their mums the band kicked off with I've Found a New Baby.
Slow Boat To China followed and it was the sort of day where a slow boat to China sounded appealing although I guess the nearest option would be a boat on the lake in Marine Park. To digress, the number 27 bus I (eventually) reached Shields on was slower than any China-bound freighter. However, enough of the problems of public transport in Hebburn...
Back to the music.
Olive doesn't seem to sing as much these days but when she does she delivers.
Blackbird, Some of These Days, Swing That Music all hit the spot.
Pictured left in the picture above is good buddy Charlie and, I'm guessing, the guy who does stand-in's for Omar Bin Laden.

Struttin' With Some Barbecue in Kowloon.

If you happen to be in Kowloon on May 6 and fancy grabbing some spare ribs whilst listening and dancing to Colin Aitchison and the China Coast Jazzmen then the United Services Club is the place to be. Presumably Colin has been granted some leave by Ned Kelly's.
Beats 'The Mem' at Wallsend hands down!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eastwoods Ancient and Modern plus Art Tatum and Roy Eldridge

Just logged on to KRML - the Carmel based station that provided the setting for the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty For Me. Boy did I hit lucky!
Today's Album of the Day was by the Tatum-Eldridge-Simmons-Stoller Quartet. A Norman Granz Clef recording from 1955.
Tatum and Eldridge prove to be ideal partners - not everyone could handle Tatum's busy background accompaniment but, like Ben Webster and Buddy de Franco, Roy does the business albeit in slightly restrained (by his standards) mood! In Stoller they had one of the most sympathetic drummers around and John Simmons was a pillar.
Not least of the attraction for me was that, included amongst the A list selection of standards, was Moon Song (Sam Coslow) - a tune worthy of being included in more musicians and singers' repertoire.
Make my day? It certainly did!
Whilst on the subject of Clint, eldest son - bass player Kyle - appears at The Sage on Tuesday April 26 with  his jazz/funk band.
Having heard the band at Scarborough a couple of years back and assuming they'll be 'hot' after 4 nights at Ronnie's this should be another occasion when one's day is made!

Nick Pride and the Pimptones - update.

Lots of  exciting things happening for Nick and the Pimps.
Click here for new single video - Waitin' So Long featuring Jess Roberts on vocal. Also info on new album and upcoming gigs.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Yes, I’m still wondering if I was seeing things on television tonight, when Hugh Laurie appeared on Jools Holland’s BBC2 music programme, playing jazz piano. And here was me thinking he was a comedian and television presenter. Apparently he’s been interested in jazz since he was a child. He gave us quite a tasty version of Swanee River, accompanied by bass, drums, guitar, sax (sorry Lance, don’t know if it was tenor or what) and clarinet. I believe he’s even made a record, or did I hear correctly?
Anyway, you can check it all out on Friday, when there’s the extended version of ‘Later’ at 12.10am on BBC2.

Pam Young's photos of Larry Coryell and Mumbai Jazz.

Pam Young has kindly sent me this photo of Larry Coryell taken by Pam at the recent Gateshead Old Town Hall concert featuring Coryell and Mumbai Jazz.
For more photos of the April 14 gig taken by Pam visit the Jazz Today Photo Gallery.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Elaine Binney and the Jazz Rascals @ The Cherry Tree.

Elaine Binney (vln); Peter Skeen (gtr/vcl); Keith Mills (bs); JaeBrooks (dms).
My enthusiasm for Elaine and the Jazz Rascals has been well chronicled in these pages and, indeed,  'alerted' elsewhere!
I'm pleased to say that tonight's Cherry Tree session did nothing to  change my opinion.
They opened with their version of Take Five which seems to be becoming their signature tune just as the Bavette Steak - Frites, Béarnaise sauce is, at least in my eyes, the chef's signature dish!
Not surprisingly the majority of the material, a mix of originals and standards, came from the band's first CD - Live at Durant Hall - but there were other gems such as the Grappelli-like work out on Swing 42, an unusual version of Over The Rainbow, All Blues and Watermelon Man. Watermelon was missing from the menu but Scotch Egg with Beef Hash, Watercress and Brown sauce made for a suitable substitute starter and my dessert - Creme Brulee with Biscotti biscuit was as delightful as the brief blast Elaine and the Rascals had on Work Song.
I'm delighted to say that both tiers of the restaurant were full.
The official CD launch is on Sunday May 1. Details.
A great band, a great venue.

Farewell to Bill Shenton

I'm sorry I have to tell you of the death of my saxophone/clarinet playing brother Bill Shenton on 10th April in hospital in Carlisle.
Bill was almost 86 and was renowned in the Carlisle area for his jazz. He played with John Cowan and the Lairds of Dixieland, The Gelt River Jazzband,and the Victory V Jazzband as well as his own Bill Shenton Band with his son Peter and his two grandsons on keyboards and drums.
His New Orleans type funeral took place today, April 18th at Carlisle Crem and was a fantastic celebration of his life My daughter Lisa has compiled a tribute to him on her blog and the Cumberland News are preparing a video for release on their web site shortly
We will be dedicating the proceeds of the Victory V's Great Whittington Jazz Picnic to the Alzheimers Society as a tribute to Bill.
The date of the picnic will be Sunday 7th August but I will confirm this later, nearer the time
RIP Bill Shenton
Ray Shenton.

NeWt + 1 on Radio 3 ronight.

Those who enjoyed the recent Splinter @ The Bridge gig by NeWt + 1 can relive the experience tonight at 11:30pm on BBC Radio 3.

Tonight at the Cherry Tree

Tonight's star attraction at the Cherry Tree Restaurant (9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond tel 0191 2399924) is Elaine Binney and the Jazz Rascals.
This is an exciting little band led by a superb violinist - Elaine Binney. With Peter Skeen on guitar and vocals, Keith Mills on bass and Jae Brooks on drums prepare yourself for an evening of musical delights to complement the culinary ones.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ACV - Splinter @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle.

Andy Champion (bs); Graeme Wilson (ten/bar); Paul Edis (keys); Mark Williams (gtr); Adrian Tilbrook (dms).

What is there left to say about ACV? They constantly deliver the goods in an original and appealing manner. Andy Champion's bass technique is awesome and comparable with many better known names both here and abroad. 
Mark Williams combines sensitivity with unbridled wildness, Graeme Wilson delighted us not only with his tenor playing but also some gutsy baritone. On piano, Paul Edis can fit into any musical context whether it be with his own trio, his sextet, as an accompanist or with this ensemble where he had some thought provoking solos. Adrian Tilbrook holds it all together never faltering enjoying what he's doing.
Enjoyment in fact is the common denominator shared by both band and audience.
As a plus it was also a very well attended gig.

Ray Stubbs All-Stars @ Central Bar, Gateshead.

Ray Stubbs (vcl/harp); John Hedley (gtr); Max Whitehouse (bs); Brian Ferry (dms); Ray Snowdon (keys).
They've added a dance floor to the upper room at the Central although no one was dancing which was a shame as the one thing Stubbsy's band makes you want to do is dance!
"You can talk", said Ray, "It's not a folk club."
Well you could talk but you wouldn't be heard as the waves of sound rolled out.
This is high volume blues and none the worse for it - subtle don't live here no mo'.
Like the urban poet that he is Ray took us down the highway's from Chicago to LA via every other big city on the way.
Loved Jesus left Chicago - (he's Alabamy bound turning the muddy water into wine - priceless!)
Ray wailed like a banshee on blues harp, howled like a wolf on the vocals. Junior Wells, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley - even Bob Dylan, Eric Burdon and War - all contributed material which led me to wonder why, instead of singing about Chicago and New Orleans, someone doesn't sing about say Byker and Newcastle?
"Born in Byker lived in Walkergate, Yes I was born in Byker and lived in Walkergate, Drank in The Engine, Brown Ale was my mate etc."
Just a thought.
On Strat, John Hedley came at you head-on with adrenaline pumping licks straight from the Southside - phew! Keyboards were with him every mile with bass and drums driving the '53 Cadillac on a roller coaster ride from Gateshead to the Mississippi Delta.
Come back soon - we love you guys.
Link to bilshk site.

Jam Session @ The Bridge Thursday April 14.

Omid Ramak, David Carnegie, Rob Bates (Drums), John Pope, Ivan Scutt (Bass), Mark Williams, Tim Knowles, Matt Office (Guitar), Harley Johnson, Colm Rooney, Chris Finch (Keys w/ Chris Finch also on Trumpet), Fiona Littlewood, Lindsay Hannon, ? (Vocals), Stuart Findon, Claude Werner, ?, Paul Gowland (Tenor Saxophone)
I arrived at 6pm for the 6.30pm opening. Sat downstairs with a pint of Stella, listening to some Stan Getz on my mp3 and had a close encounter with a young prostitute who wanted money for a bus ticket; no need to go into more detail!
The show didn't kick off until 7.30ish and began with a few tunes from the house band - Omid, John and Mark. This included Blues for Pat (Metheny) and All The Things You Are. As the house band disembarked to allow musicians from the audience to jam, there was only Myself, Ivan and Matt to deliver the goods. But half way through the song, in walked Rob who crashed straight on drums with style. More musicians were arriving and the tunes were pouring out: including a free improv session, re-working of Scarborough Fair and classics such as Autumn Leaves (with Mark Williams in heavy metal mode), You Don't Know What Love Is, Mr PC, Oleo, Bright Size Life (Metheny), Alone Together, Doxy and the night finished with Willow Weep For Me.
A great night, great crowd of musicians and jazz followers and I'm even told by Omid that the bar upstairs will be open for service as of the next Thursday. So it was defintely worth the effort to make it down.
Harley J.

Sammy Rimington @ The Fell @ The Legion Part 2.

Yes, Panama certainly did get things going as an interval pint of Guinness beckoned. The second set paddle steamer took us from one continent to another - from Panama to Hindustan. Rimington played hot clarinet inspired by receiving One Sweet Letter From You wirh pianist Ian Wynne excelling once more. Red Wing stoked the fires with yet hotter clarinet and piano. Too hot on deck, the band went down below for a beer or two as Jim Blenkin played some stately trombone on He Touched Me. Stopping off in New Orleans there was a brolly parade with Paul Barbarin's Second Line, perhaps the touch stone for all present. The Rae brothers - Mac on drums and Dave on banjo - kept a firm hand on the tiller and Rimington's occasional vocal excursions complimented his first rate clarinet and alto work, none better nor more appropriate than on I Sing Because I'm Happy. As I wandered home over the High Level Bridge high above the Tyne River I'll swear I saw that paddle steamer heading off way down yonder.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Child Is Born

Congrats to Noel and Louise Dennis on the birth of a daughter Eliza Rose Dennis. Born 10:24pm on 15/4/2011 (Dad's birthday).
Noel's lyrical trumpet playing can be heard on the Roly Veitch album mentioned a couple of posts back and it would seem the romanticism his playing evolves works off the bandstand too (or is that two?)
Congratulations from Bebop Spoken Here.
Lance & Co.

CD Review: Tommaso Starace Quartet - Blood and Champagne.

Tommaso Starace (alto); Frank Harrison (piano); Lawrence Cottle (bs); Chris Nickolls (drums).
Tommaso and a slightly different quartet are being presented by Jazz North East at the Corner House, Newcastle, on May 25.
Any one who loves modern jazz that is provocative without being musically aggressive are urged to write the date in their diary - underlined in CAPITALS. I just know this is going to be one of the year's outstanding gigs.
In the meantime, grab a hold of this CD.
Starace is that rarity amongst contemporary musicians who place values on harmonic structure, melodic development and the realisation that it really doesn't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.
Swing doesn't mean Benny Goodman it means that indefinable quality that tells the listener that the player is au fait with the jazz idiom even if he's playing out of tempo in 9/8 or exploring Chopin!
Blood and Champagne is a perfect example of a modern alto player that has, by and large, escaped the influence of his predecessors. If I were to quote influences I could perhaps cite Herb Geller, Frank Morgan, Sonny Criss but these would be very slight - a phrase here a mood there - hardly worth mentioning.
Whether on alto or soprano Tommaso is very much his own man.
He soars assertively when needed, cajoles and caresses with molto lyricism on the ballads and demonstrates unequivocally that it is possible for contemporary jazz to be accessible.
Laurence Cottle on bass, Frank Harrison, piano, and Chris Nickolls, drums keep the faith - what a rhythm section!
The music is a mix of originals and standards - in my eyes the perfect recipe.
Find out more...

Jazz Today on Radio 3

Alton Purnell BBC Radio 3 The essential Discs of this New Orleans pianist today Saturday 16th April at 1600 (4pm).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sammy Rimington @ Jazz @ The Fell @ Gateshead British Legion.

Sammy Rimington (clt/alt/vcl); Peter Wright (tpt); Jim Blenkin (tmb); Ian Wynne (pno); John Robinson (bs); Dave Rae (bjo); Mac Rae (dms/vcl);
My first visit to the new venue and the first time I'd heard Sammy in 30 years (Breda Jazz Festival 1981 The hair was longer then - photo right - but at least he still has some!)
He played New Orleans style clarinet - thin and reedy but with agility. On alto the tone was fuller with a wide vibrato reminiscent of early Benny Carter or Otto Hardwick.
The band, specifically chosen from local trad men, did the business with Ian Wynne impressing on piano and the final number of the first set - Panama - gave an indication that things were warming up but the number 54 bus was due so I departed with a degree of reluctance. However, there will be an exclusive review of the second half shortly...

Jazz Café Photos from Ali Ramsy

Lindsay Hannon (vocalist pictured) has sent me 7 stunning shots taken by her friend Ali Ramsy of an evening at the Jazz Café.
The photos are really iconic and depict perfectly the attractively derelict ambience of the place.
Thank you Ali, thank you Lindsay.

Swingin' @ The Swallow Hilltop, Carlisle

Drummer Ian Stocks tells me he is playing monthly gigs at the Swallow Hilltop, Carlise. On Friday April 22 Don Fairley (tmb); Alan Smith (tpt); Gavin Lee (reeds); Colin Haikney (keys); Brian Hughes (bs) and Ian Stocks (dms) will present an evening of jazz. The following evening, Saturday April 23, It's the rhythm section plus vocalist Christine Milburn and an evening of swinging standards.
Both gigs kick off at 8:30pm and there is no cover charge. If you live it that area sounds like the place to be.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Larry Coryell & Mumbai Jazz @ Gateshead Old Town Hall.

Larry Coryell (guitar); Ned McGowan (flute); Ronu Majumdar (Indian flute); Rajesh Rajbhatt (tabla).
Was it jazz? a question posed by one or two. I think so. Was it good? I know so!
Of course it was jazz - with Coryell in there pitching it couldn't be any other. In fact it was quite an amazing session with, for my money, Majumdar's Indian flute playing getting the gold. The things he could do on those keyless flutes was simply amazing. McGowan's much vaunted contrabass flute was, in effect, used sparingly and didn't really add much to the gig unlike his concert flute playing which was melodic and, at times, aggressive. The two flute blasts were exciting. Was McGowan improvising? I don't know and I don't really care - he is a supreme flautist.
Rajbhatt produced some stunning rhythms and tonal variations on the tabla.
As for Larry - well he did everything that was required integrating easily into the ragas and playing a couple of features that showed he is still a player.
The ensembles were frenetic. Flutes intertwining with guitar, tabla firing staccato off beat rhythms,  one number could have been a jig written by the offspring of an Indo/Irish marriage.
I went with reservations - I left without them!
Good gig and thanks to Gateshead Council, Jazz North East and Gem Arts for making it possible. They were rewarded with a good turn out.

Stop Press! The Studio @ Hartlepool Folds!

The long-running Sunday morning session at The Studio in Hartlepool by the Musicians Unlimited Big Band is no more.
I understand The Studio has fallen victim to the recession and, as such, all bets are off and the venue has ceased trading. 

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's

Ray Harley (tpt); Jim McBriarty (clt/sop); Herbie Hudson (tmb/hca/vcl); George Richardson (pno); Alan Rudd (bs); Mike Humble (dms); Olive Rudd (vcl).
Another splendid afternoon washed down with Cumberland Bitter. The Maine Street men and woman have the dixieland repertoire honed down to a fine art - and it is art. If the Condon Gang had still been around they may have sounded like this and Ray Harley is a player very much in the Billy Butterfield mould.
It's straight down the middle 4/4 swing no changing of time signatures for these boys - not that there is anything wrong with that!
Olive sang well on Keepin' Out of Mischief Now despite suffering from a larynx related problem - still sounded good.
It was pleasant, it was fun, it was what jazz is all about - six guys swinging on recognisable tunes.
Another great Thursday fix.

Tonight I want to be here there and everywhere!

Never has there been such a clash of gigs as there is tonight! At Gateshead Old Town Hall Jazz North East presents, in conjunction with Gateshead Council and Gem Arts, LARRY CORYELL'S MUMBAI JAZZ. Eastern and Western cultures - hopefully the twain will meet in sympathetic fusion.
In one of the nethermost suburbs of Gateshead - Blaydon - ROY WILLIAMS apears in a belated Xmas Party with the Blaydon Jazz Quartet.
Still in Gateshead (just), The MAINE STREET JAZZMEN are at Sunniside's The Marquis of Granby.
In Newcastle's Bridge Hotel there is a JAM SESSION with MARK WILLIAMS, JOHN POPE and OMID RAMAK, this is opening night so if the others don't appeal give them some support.
Oh yes and... best see the sidebar for the rest!

Calypso in Crook! Edis, Shoulder and Veitch at St.Cuthbert’s Centre, Crook.

PAUL EDIS (piano and flute), MICK SHOULDER (bass), ROLY VEITCH (Guitar and vocals).
Crook rarely features in "Be-bop….", this 150 year-old hall had probably never hosted a jazz gig before and things seemed to start inauspiciously when Paul was attacked by his own flute a few bars into Have You Met Miss Jones! Although the flute came Out of Nowhere (well, off the top of the upright piano, actually), never a beat was missed and the evening seemed to get thematically sunnier as the darkness fell outside. Then, when Roly (nice vocals) said I’m Old-Fashioned, we all agreed to be old-fashioned too!
Eden Ahbez’s Nature Boy then brought an air of wistful enchantment with soft vocals and a magical flute solo (it was worth bringing it, after all) from Paul. Next up, My Funny Valentine took us from wistful to whimsical with some fine interplay between piano and guitar.
The mood changed again with the tender, what I thought was an Edis original but turns out to be by Johnny Mandel (see comments), Emily, which opened with solo flute echoing around the beautiful, high-beamed hall and which featured an excellent bass solo with flute long-notes in the background – a new combination on me! The set closed with Jerome Kerr’s Look for the Silver Lining exhorting us to "find the sunny side of life" which, with such tunes (and pizza to come at half time), is pretty much where we were at anyway!
After the interval Roly performed two dialect songs – one for the Mags and one for the Mackems – which went down really well considering we were so far south! Then we REALLY swung into the second set with It Don’t Mean a Thing…..where the bass solo again got deserved applause. After which it was back to sunshine (sitting on a rainbow) jazz with I’ve Got the World on a String, followed by Bye Bye Blackbird on which Roly crooned and Paul trilled and soloed as if four and twenty piano styles had been baked in a pie and turned out hot!
It was all good, but my favourite number was when the Caribbean sunshine came to Crook via Roly’s original, Calypso Jim: beautiful guitar and flute on this one and, thanks to a tricky ending which caught us all out, TWO lots of applause! Roly crooned us through The Wee Small Hours of the Morning culminating in a piano lullaby before the tempo went up again (way up in the middle-section) On the Sunny Side of the Street. "…Of life…" in the first set, "Of the street" in the second – but always the sunny side! Prolonged applause demanded an encore and the evening closed with more melodious flute on All the Things You Are.
I’m due in Nice tomorrow – but there’s so much sunshine in Crook that I might just cancel!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Roly Veitch Trio - Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams*

When I'm at a loose end as to what to listen to whilst blogging I sometimes close my eyes and pick the first CD my paws land on. Like a fisherman who throws a fish that is too small back into the water I sometimes move on to the next one.
Tonight I did just that. I'd landed on Stanley Turrentine's The Common Touch a fine album but it was getting late so I moved alphabetically on. The Roly Veitch Trio - Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams.
Why not? I hadn't played it for a while and, as I soon discovered, it has most certainly, like good wine, matured with age - vintage 2006.
Quite a unique trio record. Guitar and vocal (Roly); Trumpet and flugel (Noel Dennis); Double bass (Neil Harland). If this disc had been around in the 1950's I rather feel it would have provided the background to as many romantic encounters as did Frank's Songs For Swinging Lovers and that is some comparision to make!
Thinks - perhaps I should keep it in the car stereo just in case although this time round I can hardly Blame It On My Youth...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Syd Dale, the Squadronaires and more.

Back in October 2008 we had some interest in The Squadronaires and Syd Dale and there were posts by Liz as well as drummer/vibist Laurie Brown (How are you Laurie Brown haven't heard from you for a while?)
Now, 30 months later, Ian Dale, son of Syd, has added to the comments as well as giving me details of a website dedicated to Syd Dale -
Well worth a visit for those interested in this man of many talents.
PS: It dates before the days of Syd Dale but interesting, nevertheless, is this autographed photo of the original wartime Squadronaires sent to me by that indefatigable historian Colin Aitchison.

Jim Birkett w. Maine St. Jazzmen @Ashington Jazz Club Wednesday 6th. April 2011.

A full house welcomed the return of MSJ with guest Jim Birkett. Into the second number one of our
older members remarked "They mean business tonight" and how true that was. This active band blend together like rum and coke and the respect they have for each other is evident in the quality of music the band presents to Jazz enthusiasts in the North East, where we have many accomplished musicians and singers who do not get the credit or exposure they deserve at a national level.
Herbie Hudson had brought together the regular group but included Paul Smith on drums and Colin Haikney on keyboard. Both made excellent contributions to the evening as did the front line crew who played with energy and style and with empathy on slower melodies. Jim Birkett and his guitar played with the group from the beginning as though he had always been a MSJ member and delighted us all with his personal renditions of I Can't Give You Anything But Love, One Note Samba, Polka Dots and Moonbeams and Lullaby of Birdland. Throughout he was ably supported by a superb rythmn section with Alan Rudd on bass;Paul on drums and Colin on keyboard. Herbie enthralled us with his harmonica as always and his vocals.
With Jim McBriarty on clarinet, sax and vocals this is a very versatile group.
Ray Harley swung as only he can - great. Olive came on stage for a couple of numbers (not often enough Olive) and gave a polished performance.
Throughout the evening our members showed their appreciation as we do in Ashington as we like to listen here and express ourselves.
An unexpected contribution to the evening came from a youthful couple from Newcastle who came to Jazz Dance which was different and applauded. It is good to see an interest from our youth at any time.
We must  mention Mr. & Mrs Ron Pollard who also danced for us in the style that we remember so well and would love to take part if we had the energy.Thanks to you both.
We look forward to a repeat on the first Wednesday in May. See you there and thanks for coming.
Peter S.

News Flash! Budvivar Breaking up.

Popular north-east bop band Budvivar have decided to split. The band have agreed the formula has run its course. They play their last gig on Saturday at Lichfield in Staffordshire.
I look forward to continuing to hear the various individuals at the Sunday afternoon Jazz Café Jam Sessions.

We're in the Shields Gazette tonight!

Bebop Spoken Here is featured in today's Shields Gazette.
Link to LondonJazz.

Elaine Binney, the Jazz Rascals and the Mystical Monkey Paw.

"In 1911 the Mystical Monkey Paw foresaw the future; 'it will be 2011 when the jazz stars will collide once more. Elaine, inspired by Hendrix and Grappelli will lead Mills, Skeen and Brooks into a whirlpool of musical fortitude.
Inspired by 20th century jazz they aim to breathe an interesting edge to pieces from olde whilst creating new noises free from genre restricting shackles.
one violin, one guitar, one bass, twelve drums..."
Thus The Oracle hath spoken - to see it all come true visit the Cherry Tree Restaurant* at number 9 on the Road known as Osborne in the hamlet of Jesmond on Monday the 18th day of April in this year of jazz 2011. Musical magic will fill the evening air from 7:45 post meridian.
*Cherry Tree 0191 2399924.

Ralph Sharon on Drummers.

Colin Aitchison has added more vintage Melody Makers from the 1940's. Click here to read a hilarious article on how to be a drummer by pianist and future Tony Bennett accompanist Ralph Sharon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Zoe Gilby Quartet(ish) @ The Cherry Tree, Jesmond

Zoe sang Time after Time and then introduced the band "...Mark Williams on guitar, Andy Champion on bass and Richard Brown on the Tyne Bridge!"
Yes, just as it had done at The Sage Jazz Festival where one of Nick Pride's 'Pimps' had been delayed by an attempted suicide, the Tyne Bridge was closed once again following 'an incident'. This meant that the Quartet were drummerless for most of the first set.
Not that this fazed our girl who promptly went into Some Cats Know. Sung brilliantly, of course, but perhaps a little early in the set for a song whose lyric needs to be digested at a time when the diners were, in my case, digesting Salt and Pepper Squid with Lime and Chilli. To follow, Zoe did A Song For You, Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me - the latter perhaps a request from Richard who was still marooned on the Tyne Bridge - West Coast Blues and Peel Me A Grape.
I followed up with Crane Row Farm Pork Steak in Red Wine Sauce with Fine Beans and Paris Browns. I was beginning to wonder if Richard had actually decided to visit the 'Paris Browns' when - lo and behold - he arrived!
Once Richard was set up we had Tom Waits' Down In The Hole, May I Come In and my favourite from her current repertoire - The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines. Another favourite of mine was the Fig and Pistachio Tart with Mascapone and vanilla.
Other second set gems included I'm Always Drunk In San Fransisco, Darn That Dream, You Turned The Tables On Me and Secret Love.
The perfect evening you might think - Good food, good music, a jug of wine (or rather Black Sheep Bitter) - what could spoil things?
A trio of - I hesitate to call them ladies - who managed to conduct their inane conversations at a volume more associated with mobile phone users on The Metro. I hope one of them displays a little more decorum during the service of the wedding she's going to attend in Bristol (remind me of the date dahling so I don't stray into the exclusion zone) than she did in the Cherry Tree!
As Zoe sang - Some Cats Don't Know!
Fortunately, this is not a regular occurrence at this venue - described elsewhere as The jewel in Newcastle's crown.
PS: I should also mention that when he did make it Richard Brown was superb as indeed were Andy and Mark throughout.
PPS: Next week it's the debut at the Cherry Tree of ace violinist Elaine Binney and the Jazz Rascals.

Vocal treat tonight at the Cherry Tree

Zoe Gilby is tonight's 'Dish of the Day' at the Cherry Tree Restaurant (9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond 0191 2399924). Mrs Champion will be served up with Guitarre a la Mark Williams, Contrebasse d'Andy Champion et Richard Brown a la batterie.
A mouthwatering prospect.
First course circa 7:45pm.
The food's good too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

VOTNJO - Splinter @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle.

John Warren (cond); Rod Mason, Andy Bennett, Graeme Wilson, Sue Ferris, Niall Armstrong (reeds); Graham Hardy, Jon Dunn, Gary Nicholas, Gareth Smith (tpts); Chris Hibbard, Alex Leathard, Keith Norris, Caroline Norris (tmb); Paul Edis (keys); Mark Williams (gtr); Andy Champion (bs); Adrian Tilbrook (dms).
This was always going to be a blast and no one was disappointed!
An evening of originals from the pens of Leader John Warren and saxist Graeme Wilson made for some challenging material that the band met full on and emerged triumphantly.
Impossible to single out any one soloist - they all played brilliantly - they wouldn't be in a band of this calibre if they couldn't. The kudos however, must go to the two composers and arrangers whose material was way above the normal run of 'originals' with attractive themes that stayed with the listener.
The sheer power of the ensemble was awesome without being deafening. This is one band I never tire of hearing and I look forward to a future event featuring legendary trumpet player Henry Lowther.
Photos by Lance.
Photos by Jerry.

Lyndon Anderson Band @ The Central Bar, Gateshead.

Lyndon Anderson - Vocals, Harmonica and Guitar. Davey Dormand - Guitar. Christine Wilson - Bass. Neal Wood - Drums.
A rocking two sets from one of the area's better blues bands. The leader's wailing harp and his blues holloring sounds like he was born in Chicago or a ghetto in Philly.
Davy Dormond, on an assortment of guitars including the increasingly popular baritone (lower pitched than a standard guitar but higher than a bass - it has a mellower sound without losing the cutting edge so essential to a twelve bar thrash) played red rooster riffs and back alley bottleneck that brought the already hot room up to boiling point.
Christine Wilson, on bass, walked the dog effectively yet unobtrusively whilst Neal made sure nobody slept as he drove them forward like a 16 wheel drive on the Devil's Highway.
Only disappointment was the, by comparision, relatively small turnout.
Next week the Ray Stubbs All-Stars.
PS: Thanks to Amanda for providing names and photos on Facebook..


Tonight's Splinter @ The Bridge session features the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra playing the compositions of saxist Graeme Wilson. Doors open 7:30pm for an 8:00pm start. The VOTNJO within the confines of the upper room at The Bridge Hotel is a truly awesome experience and one not to be missed by anyone who claims to be a jazz person.
With a relatively early finish you will have time to listen to Radio 3.
Tonight's Jazz Line-up (BBC Radio 3, 11:30 pm) broadcasts the concert performance of the Buck Clayton Legacy Band recorded at the recent Gateshead International Jazz Festival. Bandleader Alyn Shipton is also in conversation with the one of the band's saxophonists - Matthias Seuffert - about the project. 

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Martin Litton and Spats Langham @ Trinity Centre, Gosforth.

Thomas 'Spats' Langham (gtr/bjo/uke/vcl); Martin Litton (pno).
This was one of those unexpected gems the jazz world throws at you from time to time - I'm pleased to say.
I found it quite refreshing to hear in this, the 21st Century, these quirky early jazz novelties performed by a duo totally committed to preserving the music of a bygone era. The photo of Spats is also an attempt to convey one of the evening's highlights - Emmett Miller's The Ghost of the St Louis Blues. A number that was an absolute delight. However, there were many other stand-out pieces featuring Spat's Al Bowlly style vocals, his superbly chorded acoustic guitar solos and some virtuoso banjo and ukelele playing. I've Got a Date With an Angel was but one of the many other "absolute delights". Duke's Black Beauty performed on banjo was incredible. On piano, Martin Litton completed the duo and his Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin interpretations were quite brilliant evoking the spirit of the composers to perfection.
A most enjoyable evening.

Two programmes of interest today.

For One Night Only - Keith Jarrett: The Cologne Concert (Radio 4, 10:30 am). A half hour documentary telling the story of the live recording of the 1975 solo performance by Keith Jarrett in Cologne.
Jazz Library (Radio 3, 4:00 pm) features guitarist Mike Stern in conversation with Alyn Shipton recorded at the recent Gateshead International Jazz Festival. Topics covered include working with Miles, Bob Berg and the Breckers. In last week's edition of Jazz Library Alyn Shipton's guest was Joe Lovano (Lovano shared the bill with Stern in Hall One at Gateshead's Sage) and this programme can be listened to via BBCi Player until 4:00 pm today.

Notes From a Small Island

Had a call, come over to Peng Chau for a glass of wine and bring your trombone, turned out to be a lot of fun, just Ken Sugawara (Banjo) from Japan, Flavio Davanso (Trumpet) and; Franco Valussi (Clarinet and Tenor Sax) and Colin Aitchison (Trombone and Vocals).
Peng Chau is a small island, no cars, and a very small ex-pat community, most of the people were French or Italian, and a very small wine bar the only one on the island, if you are in Hong Kong, pay it a visit.
Peng Chau, is located off the north-eastern coast of Lantau Island, Hong Kong, which has an area of 0.99 km.
Peng Chau is known for its small island lifestyle, accessibility to fresh seafood, and many temples located around the island (including a Tin Hau temple built in 1792). The tallest point of the island is Finger Hill, which is 95m in height and provides hiking opportunities for those who seek them.
YouTube link.
Colin Aitchison.

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