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Bebop Spoken There

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11,767 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 907 of them this year alone and, so far, 44 this month (August 11).

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Tuesday 11: Happy Birthday Dave Hignett & Peter King (80).

Thursday 13: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Friday Evening.

Mike Gordon reckoned 549 and counting weekend passes had been sold for this, the ninth Scarborough Jazz Festival held in the newly refurbished Spa Complex. The centre of the hall now had theatre seating flanked by cabaret style tables. Personally, I preferred it when it was all tables but, logistically, I suppose this way more concertgoers can be accommodated and there were few - if any - empty seats. Likewise the old, long, bar has gone to be replaced by a smaller, more impersonal bar in the foyer/reception area. However, we can't stand in the way of progress!
The Hadouk Trio. Didier Malherbe (duduk, flutes, ocarian, soprano); Loy Ehrlich (hajou, gumbass, keyboards); Prabhu Eduoard (tabla).
The Festival commenced with an unusual French trio playing equally unusual instruments. They produced strange, ethereal sounds - moody and atmospheric - gradually building to a climax. All players par excellence - the tabla player taking it beyond excellence! This was interesting, possibly unique and certainly different.
Liz Fletcher sings 'Liz' and a tribute to Alan Plater. Liz Fletcher (vcl); Alan Barnes (alt/ten/clt); Gareth Williams (pno); Geoff Gascoyne (bs); Steve Brown (dms).
Sandwiched in between the French Bread was some English Mustard in the form of Liz Fletcher. We were now back on more familiar, easier accessible, territory. Liz who, after some of her own songs, was joined on stage by Festival compere and reedsman extraordinaire (which doesn't mean 'extra ordinary') Alan Barnes, was in good voice. Willow Weep For Me sang Liz whilst, behind her Barnesy and the trio blew Things Ain't What They Used to be! It worked.
The rest of the set was, in the main, devoted to the lyrics of Alan Plater and what lyrics! A superb session with good vocals and a driving rhythm section (when you look at the names could it be any other?) and, of course, the inimitable Mr Barnes cooking on clarinet, alto and tenor.
Orchestre National de Jazz. 'Shut Up And Dance'. The second French band of the evening brought the  first day to a close with an explosive performance of pieces written by New York drummer/composer John Hellenbeck. This was powerful stuff - Mingus meets Wagner in the City of Glass. Orchestrated dissonance, animals running wild was how someone sitting next to me described it. She also said that French is the language of romance I'd like to know more about her lovelife if this was her idea of romance!
Each of the ten young players were given a feature and all were magniifique.

It was compelling, it was mindblowing at times mournful, at times jolly like a back street French cabaret. All the soloists were impressiive but particularly outstanding was Eve Risser who delivered the most amazing piano solo. Percussive chords, virtuoso runs, Eve attacked the keyboard with a vengeance her shape as angular as the lines she was playing - a delight to see and hear.
And so ended day one. Mike Gordon must be pleased and deservedly so.

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