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Bebop Spoken There

Art Hirahara: "Playing with people is the most important thing to me, and not playing with people is torture." - (DownBeat August, 2020)

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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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August

Wednesday 12: Happy Birthday Ros Rigby & Don Fairley.

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

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Jeff Barnhart and Friends, Customs House, South Shields Friday August 24

Jeff Barnhart (piano); Anne Barnhart (flute); Mike Durham (trumpet) Derek Fleck (clarinet and tenor sax) Ollie Rillands (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex).
This was a thoroughly entertaining, enjoyable and educational gig.  I say educational because Barnhart gave us lots of information  about the  rag-time aspects of jazz,  and   interesting stories about such characters  as Fats  Waller.  When the rest of the musicians later took to the stage, I realised that  there wasn’t a sheet of written music to be seen.  You really need to know your instrument and your jazz to perform in this way, so well done everyone!
It   all  started  with the irresistible Maple Leaf Rag from 1899, closely followed by Black and White Rag.  Our  feet  were  still  tapping as Barnhart expressed admiration for the grand piano that  the  establishment  had  provided.  At  some  venues,  he  explained,  you just get a PSO, that is a ‘piano shaped object’. This is typical of the man’s wit.  The Entertainer was played as a blues with many variations, then  Twelth  Street  Rag  (1908)  slowly  at  first,  building  in speed, based on only three notes, as Barnhart pointed  out.   Next  came  the  same  tune as it would have been played by Fats Waller 35 years later, with a quick chorus of a song, commenting on the tune itself. All played in the  lively style of tuneful  right hand  and a left hand keeping a constant rhythmic thrust.  At this point Chopin   entered the scene with his Nocturne Opus 9 No. 2, played in the Fats Waller style.  Enter Jeff’s wife   Anne, no mean flautist, with a flowing tune, Water From an Ancient Well.  Other numbers played included   I Got Rhythm (flute and Piano swopping 4’s); At Twilight; and The Joint is Jumpin’.
The friends appeared for the second half, one of them being Mike Durham’s red, white, yellow and blue silk tie, which added lots of colour to the proceedings.  This half was the more usual jazz set-up of tunes with many good solos and also the occasional sung chorus;  the musical ‘feel’ was of the classic jazz.of the 1920s and '30s.  We heard standards such as I’ve Got my Fingers Crossed; Ain’t Misbehavin; Louisiana Fairytale; It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie (dedicated to all politicians, we were told); Yellow Dog Blues (just the piano); Some Day Sweetheart; My Very Good Friend The Milkman (sung by Mike); Shake it and Break it (with wonderfully effective drums).  The well-deserved encore was a romantically witty song When Did You Leave Heaven.  A good evening’s entertainment.      
Ann Alex.

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