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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gateshead International Jazz Festival Triple Bill - Sunday March 25

Robert Mitchell (pno); Tom Mason (bs); Richard Spaven (dms). 
(Photo courtesy of The Sage.)
This was the first of a triple bill and it set a high bar. I first heard Mitchell at Live Theatre when his phenomenal technique almost eclipsed Matana Roberts. Later, he showed at The Cluny and I recall the late Chris Yates gasping in awe at his technique - we all were!
Today that dynamic technique hasn't vanished, The hands move as fast as the average windmill in a tornado - maybe a little faster - and the ideas keep pace. Bass and Drums stay in the race. Wish I could remember the name of the nocturnal, classical, reverie he played, It didn't swing but, in its, own way, it did.
Lance. 
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Zoe Rahman (piano) Idris Rahman (clarinet) Gene Calderazzo (drums) Davide Mantovani (bass).
(Photo courtesy of llze Kitshoff.)
It just shows what women can do in jazz!  Two great concerts with women at the helm, Gwyneth Herbert on Saturday and Zoe Rahman on Sunday.  And both ladies have such engaging personalities, it was a joy to be there.
Zoe is touring the UK to mark the release of her fifth album Kindred Spirits, so most of the numbers were from that recording.  Zoe had an Irish Grandmother and the tunes were influenced by melodies of Ireland and the rhythms of jigs and reels, as well as the sounds of Indian music, which was especially noticeable on the clarinet.  And I’ve never seen such a ‘physical’ musician as this clarinettist, he swayed and stepped, legs wide apart, as if the clarinet was simply part of himself, which I suppose it is.
Numbers played included Go Where Glory Leads You, with a light rippling piano and Indian influenced clarinet;  My Heart Dances, which involved a sort of jig on the piano, eastern influences on the clarinet, drums and clarinet swapping bars, and a lively drum solo for good measure.  Then came Rise above, and There are People Here ,which featured a strong tune on the clarinet and a good solo from the bass.  These are all skilled musicians but Zoe shines out as the person at the helm.  Zoe told us that her Bengali father had passed away this week but was with us in spirit.  The show must go on, as they say.
All three levels of Hall 2 were full, so many people were glad that the show went on. 
Ann Alex. 
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Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet), Walter Smith III (tenor saxophone), Sam Harris (piano), Harish Raghavan (double bass) & Justin Brown (drums).
(Photo courtesy of Mark Savage).   
American trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, not yet thirty years of age, has worked with star names before his eighteenth birthday and been placed in several prestigious polls – featuring in the top twenty trumpeters in Downbeat’s readers’ poll, achieving a 4 star rating in the magazine’s Best CDs of 2011 for his latest release When the Heart Emerges Glistening and Jazz Times’ critics considered him Best Trumpet 2011 ahead of Terence Blanchard (one of his teachers) and Wynton Marsalis and the critics’ picks saw his CD bettered only by releases from Sonny Rollins and Joe Lovano. An impressive cv by any standards. 
Akinmusire’s festival appearance was his second visit to The Sage having previously worked as sideman to Jon Escreet. The quintet format for this latest concert appearance recalled an earlier era of front line horns listening then trading to and fro. Youthful pianist Sam Harris sketched chords, all the time looking to insert a line here and there. Bassist Harish Raghavan and Justin Brown (drums) exuded class throughout but the focus was on Akinmusire and tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III. Bandleader Akinmusire has assimilated the sounds of modern jazz trumpet – Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, the brilliance of Lee Morgan – to find a voice of his own in a crowded trumpeters’ market place. His next visit to Tyneside cannot come soon enough.
Russell              

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