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Bebop Spoken There

Sting: "It was great. They [the River City Jazzmen] all wore blue suits. The band had been together for about twenty years, which was the same age as the suits." - (Melody Maker Sept. 22, 1979).

Archive

Daily: July 6 - October 27

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden - Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA. Tel: 0191 478 1810. Screenings at intervals during the day. Part of Akomfrah's exhibition Ballasts of Memory. Exhibition (daily) July 6 - October 27. 10:00am-6:00pm. Free.

Today Monday October 21

Afternoon

Jazz

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden (see centre column).

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool - Tyneside Cinema, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6QG. Tel: 0191 227 5500. 3:00pm/5:30pm. Screening of Stanley Nelson's documentary film (2019, cert. 15, 1hr 55mins).

Evening

?????

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When Harry (Connick jr.) Met Roly (Veitch).

Keith Crombie's 'Jazz Cafe', still going strong in Newcastle, is the stuff of legend. Someone should write a book about it. There are countless anecdotes.
One memorable event took place on the 11th June 1993. It was one of those experiences as a musician you never forget.
That evening we had a quartet playing there - Bill Harper pno, Clem Avery bass, Miles Nicholas drms and myself gtr/vcls. Miles was a great drummer who had recently completed the music diploma at Newcastle College, he later emigrated to Australia and I often wonder what happened to him. He had a wonderful ability to 'swing'.
Also present that evening was the very young Paul Booth (with dad Eric) - even then he was amazing.
Well the word had gone round that some of Harry Connick's band may be dropping in for a blow - they had a concert at Newcastle City Hall that same evening. There was a palpable air of anticipation and excitement. Would anything happen?
Well sure enough, later in the evening, some strangers with instrument cases began to appear. The word had gone round too as there was a big crowd  - it was buzzing.
After having a drink and checking out the place they were soon over to chat to the band and keen to play.
I remember first up was a wonderful bop altoist - a tall, handsome negro called Brad Leali. What a great guy he was - he just absolutely loved to play. He actually gave me his contact details and said if ever over in NY to look him up. A year or two later I was watching some American TV show and I saw his name in the credits as MD.
Brad was soon getting the others up to play - the entire saxophone section were there. I don't have the names unfortunately but believe me they were all fantastic - a brilliant baritone player in particular. All they wanted to do was play on all evening.
Some members of the rhythm section came too, among them the guitarist. He just had a brief sit in but we had a long chat about gear etc. His name was Russell Malone - he went on to fame with Diana Krall and now has an international career in his own right.
A bit later in the evening, and in the midst of all this frenetic activity, a hooded figure appeared. Someone trying to hide his identity or just being trendy? Yes - it was Harry.
Eventually he joined in playing some drums, some bass, some piano.  He didn't say much but was there quite a while enjoying the scene before slipping away back to his hotel.
But the sax section played on, and on, and on,  joined by Paul Booth who even then could hold his own.
No one wanted to stop - I remember it was about 2.30 am when things began to wind down a bit. Even then Connick's boys wanted to play on. Phew!
Over the next few days there was quite a bit publicity about it. I dont know who did it but there were photos and write ups in the local press with headlines such as 'Harry drops in for a jam', 'Jammin' with a legend' etc.
So there it was - a memorable experience at the good old Jazz Cafe. I've often wondered about Brad Leali, what is he doing now etc. He was such a lovely person and I think he was the moving force who made it all happen.
Roly.

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

Hello Miles. What a surprise. Indeedy, still a local lad. Born in Blaydon, live in Blaydon - will probably pop off in Blaydon. Glad you are doing well - I heard you had a lot of success in Australia with the trio.
Very best wishes and I wish you continued success.
Roly

Miles Nicholas said...

Good lord! That brings back a boat load of memories. Roly! How are you? Hi Lance too! That was an amazing, surprising evening alright. I remember some fantastic playing that night not least from you, Roly. Harry's players were wonderful and Harry was also a pretty handy multi- instrumentalist. He advised me (after doing a very passable Art Blakey impression on my drums for a few numbers) that I should get some Zildjian cymbals.... Which I dutifully did later.

The evening seemed to stretch on and on and has always been a good story to trot out every now and then. Thanks for your kind comments. I went to Australia with Kyrie Miskin (trombone) and Duncan O Neill (guitar) both from the jazz course in Newcastle. We had a very successful busking band that turned into a bizarre indie pop band played all over Aussie radio and TV. Came back to the UK last year. In London writing scores for film and TV. Hope you're well, sir. Still Newcastle way?

Lance said...

Keith Crombie names the baritone player as Dave Schumacher and the tenor player as Jerry Weldon both of who can be seen/heard on YouTube as can altoist Brad Leali.

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance