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Bebop Spoken There

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

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Today Tuesday June 18

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Evening

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Martin Wheatley and the Boisdale Blue Rhythm Band - Boisdale, Canary Wharf.

Ollie Wilby (ten); Martin Wheatley (gtr); Martin Litton (pno); Pete Morgan (bs).
I was ushered to a front row table, as requested, and delighted to hear some fine pre-Bud piano. As the pianist had his back to me I didn't recognise him although later, in conversation, he identified himself as Martin Litton - a pianist I'd heard several times under the auspices of Mike Durham. Martin told me he is doing a Mary Lou Williams tribute at Whitley Bay later this year.
Tonight, in his solo spot, to the total indifference of everyone but me, he delighted with, among others, In A Mist, Prelude to a Kiss and a blistering ragtime number that began with a classical fanfare - was it Chopin's Revolutionary?
Whilst the band were preparing I admired the decor of the Whisky Bar and Restaurant (I was drinking beer - Youngs Bitter). The walls were adorned with paintings and photos of jazz legends such as Louis, Bessie, Billie and a host of blusmen. Incongruously amid it all was Chairman Mao - who was renowned for his thoughts! In the Gents there was a picture of Che Guevara (or was it Fidel Castro?) - so maybe it was the Revolutionary that Martin played...
Les tout ensemble opened up with Hoagy's New Orleans - a lovely melancholy tune that saw all four solo with feeling.
Tenorist Wilby - a new name to me - has a lovely sound which I can best describe as North of Pres, South of Bean. Martin Wheatley, last heard a The Sage in a Goodman Sextet recreation was in Eddie Lang, Carl Kress mode with lots of chordal passages in his solos. Bassist Morgan, not to be confused with several other Pete Morgans, swung whether playing pizzicato or arco.
I applauded loudly which managed to persuade others to do the same - or maybe they thought they were clapping the chef!
I sometimes think the jazz/dining places are in a difficult niche trying to please both the diners and listeners.
Nevertheless, to their credit, the band didn't let it phase them - after all, they were getting paid, the diners were paying!
A choice selection of standards included, Somebody Loves Me, Dancing in the Dark, Gone With The Wind, All God's Chillun' Got Rhythm, Topsy, It Could Happen To You, Just You Just Me (with the Spotlite riff), In a Sentimental Mood and Blue and Sentimental - a request from yours truly.
It was a magnificent example of middle period chamber jazz that should have been heard by many more.
Lance.

1 comment :

Martin Litton said...

Nice to meet you at Boisdale. The stride piece I played was Willie the Lion Smith's version of Chopin's Military Polonaise.
Nice to know someone was listening intelligently.

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