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Bebop Spoken There

Poncho Sanchez: "When I perform it's my life story." - (DownBeat October 2019).


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 Thursday September 19



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

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.



Alexito & Loco Machine - Revoluçion de Cuba, Cloth Market, Newcastle NE1 1EE. Tel: 0191 917 7076. 6:00pm. Free.

Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra - Arc, Dovecot St., Stockton on Tees TS18 1LL. Tel: 01642 525199. 7:00pm. £12.00. + £0.10. bf. ‘Jazz & Tapas’ (booking essential). Guest: Alice Grace.

Bradley Johnston Quartet - St James' & St Basil's Church, Fenham Hall Drive, Fenham, Newcastle NE4 9EJ. 7:30pm. £8.00. (£4.00. student).

Sudden Jazz Quintet - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. Free (donations).

Eclectic - Tees Hot Club, Dorman’s Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 9:00pm. Free. Rick Laughlin (keys); Alan Thompson, Dan Johnson, Sue Ferris, Josh Bentham (saxes); Ian Halford (drums).

Maine Street Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Hollywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:30pm. Free.

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm. £2.50.



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

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bob Belden Unveils a Dark Narrative of Manhattan On Second Animation Project for RareNoise Records

(Press release)
Following on the heels of Animation’s 2010 RareNoise debut, Asiento (the group’s live take on Miles Davis’ 1970 fusion landmark, Bitches Brew), and 2011’s Agemo (a radical remix of the six tracks from Asiento utilizing the new 3D60 surround sound technology), saxophonist-composer-bandleader Bob Belden tells his own story on Transparent Heart. With his new Animation lineup consisting of young students he recruited from his own alma mater, the University of North Texas (23-year-old keyboardist Roberto Verastegui, 24-year-old bassist Jacob Smith, 32-year-old trumpeter Pete Clagett and 19-year-old drummer Matt Young), Belden unveils a dark narrative of Manhattan as seen through the musical diary he has composed over 29 years of living in the Big Apple.
An imposing electronic noir masterwork, Transparent Heart travels from Belden’s initial awestruck impressions of New York City (“Terra Icognitio”) to his feelings of foreboding (“Urbanoia”) and hope (“Cry in the Wind”) as a city dweller on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, to the pervasive angst of post-9/11 Manhattan (“Seven Towers,” “Provocaterrorism”). He also addresses the mass exodus of artists from the city (“Vanishment”) and concludes his musical memoir with the clash of the social classes manifested in the Occupy Wall Street movement (“Occupy!”). Drawing on elements of electronica and the prevailing influence of Miles Davis’ turbulent post-Bitches Brew electric phase, Belden has concocted a powerful, provocative suite of music that is charged by the intensely driving, highly intuitive playing of his energetic young Animation bandmates.
This record is not a jazz record, it’s about my life in Manhattan,” says the Grammy Award-winning composer-arranger-producer. “And things have been very tense here since 9/11. In essence, the music on Transparent Heart is a reflection of that, and not of jazz tradition or jazz history. So what you have here is a way of looking at Manhattan through music.”
Belden explains that the concept for Transparent Heart has been in the making for more than 30 years. “My first trip to Manhattan came in 1979 when I was with Woody Herman’s band. I’ll never forget seeing all the tall buildings and how they created a canyon effect. That’s ‘Terra Incognito.’ Then after moving here in 1984, I lived in a hardcore neighborhood where you look out your window every day and you see somebody selling a piece of clothing that they stole to buy a rock of crack, you see women prostituting themselves or children selling drugs on the street because their mommy and daddy need the money to buy crack. And you hear about people getting stabbed and killed in your neighborhood all the time. That’s ‘Urbanoia.’”
“Cry in the Wind,” with Clagett’s muted trumpet carrying the melancholy theme, comes directly from another personal experience. “One night I was sitting at home – my studio apartment was on the ground floor of the building I lived in – and I heard the voice of a woman crying for help. So I took my phone out there, saw this woman who had apparently just been stabbed, and called 911. I asked her, ‘Can I help you?’ and she reached up and grabbed my hand and wasn’t going to let go until the ambulance got there. I was able to help this woman live because I cared. So this tune is about hearing the cries in the wind that you hear all the time in the city. There’s always somebody here in desperate need of help. And you can hear that extreme sense of loneliness and helplessness in this song.”
The darkly propulsive title track echoes the hard-hitting production that Bill Laswell brought to Herbie Hancock’s 1983 hit single “Rock It.” As the native of Goose Creek, South Carolina recalls, “When I moved to New York City, I was totally into Laswell and was experimenting with multiple drum machines and making demos that were using that robotic kind of drum sound. And nobody in jazz dug it at all. They hated Laswell, they hated ‘Rock-It,’ so they thought I was an idiot. Over time I reshaped the underpinning of the song. I recorded it with Joe Chambers a year and a half later, then we recorded it in 2000 with Tim Hagans and now we just recorded it again with this edition of Animation.”
“Seven Towers” is Belden’s reaction to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. But as he points out, “9/11 wasn’t just about the Twin Towers, there were seven towers there that were affected. And this tune recreates my own timeline of 9/11, from the time I was first aware of it to the time when the second plane hit the South Tower. I was there. I watched it happen downtown and have video footage that I shot. So in a sense, it’s a real personal, autobiographical piece. It starts with the NORAD radio broadcast, where they’re trying to determine what that object is in the air. They call the Pentagon to find out, and it turns out that it’s an airplane that has struck the North Tower. And you hear the NYPD and NYFD respond. It’s very haunting.”
“Provocaterrorism” deals with the immediate aftermath of 9/11. “A lot of the small businesses that were so dependent on the whole World Trade Center complex just died after the terrorist attack. It was the beginning of a Darwinian approach to economic survivability in Manhattan. And ‘Vanishment’ refers to the exodus of artists and musicians who couldn’t afford to live there anymore to a point where the localized creative culture in Manhattan is gone now. There are people now who work here in the clubs but who don’t live here. And you have this influx of college students who have no real attachment to the city. So suddenly, the Manhattan of post-9/11 is very different from the Manhattan that existed when I moved here in 1984.”
The final track, “Occupy!,” is the most intense and harrowing of Belden’s musical memoir. His turbulent ode to the Occupy Wall Street movement is imbued with the sounds of screams and violence in the streets during clashes between protesters and police. “All the crazy social engineering and social displacement in Manhattan is summed up in the occupy movement,” he explains. “These are people who are angry and frustrated and they have nowhere else to address their grievances, so they take to the streets. They are essentially declaring war on Manhattan. And the other occupy movements in other cities are declaring war on Manhattan in absentia.”
For Belden, Transparent Heart is his method of using music as a tool to get people to think about social issues. “Why can’t music be returned to its place as a social engineer or a reflection of society that might provoke thought? That’s in the great tradition of Wagner, Debussy, Satie, Copland. Stravinsky was a provocateur. Shostakovich is my role model for this because he was able to put into music the terror of the Soviet empire. That’s where I’m coming from. This record is not about tunes and solos and arrangements, it’s a way of telling a story that has something to do with my life.”
Adds the acclaimed producer, “What I learned from doing Miles From India (2008) and Miles Español (2011) is that I’m not Indian and I’m not Spanish. And I can’t tell Miles’ story anymore. With  Black Dahlia (2001) I was telling Elizabeth Short’s story. Transparent Heart is my story.”
Animation will be returning to the UK in late September to play more  live dates,  they recently played  various shows in  London,  where they received critical praise from both the media and public. . This included an “Ambisonic” presentation, which will be repeated again.   The  UK’s leading Jazz magazine, Jazzwise stated that the “Ambisonic live experience  is a taste of things to come in the live jazz arena as the sound of Belden’s sax, keyboards or spoken word samples were pinged around the eight specially positioned speakers that surrounded the audience.”
 Transparent Heart  new studio album released September 25th.

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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: I look forward to hearing from you.

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