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Bebop Spoken There

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12,127 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1267 of them this year alone and, so far, 109 this month (Nov. 25).

Saturday November 28

HAPPY BIRTHDAY - PETER MORGAN & KATE O'NEILL

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sons of Kemet @ The Bridge Hotel. October 14

Shabaka Hutchings (tenor saxophone & clarinet), Oren Marshall (tuba), Seb Rochford (drums) & Tom Skinner (drums)
(Review by Russell.)
Splinter, the Bridge Hotel’s resident jazz promoter, joined forces with Jazz North East to present Sons of Kemet. The Four Sons pre-gig preparation showed commendable discipline. Band leader Shabaka Hutchings warmed up as reeds players do – in a corner, then on the wander checking out the acoustics (he chose to play acoustically). Tuba player Oren Marshall limbered up with some nineteen sixties’ football style exercises (the ghost of Joe Harvey swept through the room – ‘Pick those knees up, son!’). Drummer Seb Rochford (a high profile example of Newcastle College’s successful jazz degree course) slept on the floor and percussion partner Tom Skinner went down to the bar. 
Come gig time the place was packed.
Oren Marshall’s plumbing gear suggested that we could be in for some street funk. As the band took to the stage it wasn’t lost on this reviewer that Grandmaster Hardy’s New Orleans’ funk outfit - the Northern Monkey - would be about to hit the stage up the road at Hoochie Coochie. Unable to be in two places at once it was time to stay put with a pint of Lord Marples at hand.
The opening number hinted at Caravan before Hutchings broke ranks and blazed a trail from North Africa to the Middle East by way of New Orleans. The coolest of slow grooves - Rochford and Skinner proved conclusively that two drummers can keep out of the way of one another - changed gear with Hutchings’ injection of four star tenor and Marshall’s second line tail-gating teamster blasts. Wow! That was some opening number! A Hutchings’ improvised clarinet folk melody took it down but not for long as the percussionists forced the issue with layer upon layer of 12 inch rhythms. The windows steamed up, trains on the mainline a water colour blur through the night. Stoker Marshall relished his job throwing hot coals at the feet of the seated audience. The assembled grooved (as best one could sitting down with Lord Marples demanding attention) as the Four Sons pumped up the volume.
The tunes were Hutchings’ - Song for Galliano, Burn (the band certainly did!) and Going Home to name but three - though he willingly let the band take ownership of them. The finale risked putting in a call to the fire and rescue service. The Sons of Kemet could have been up on a charge of arson. Spontaneous combustion was a distinct possibility. Fortunately everyone got out alive. What a gig! Ask the survivors – they will tell you how it was. Splinter’s gig next week (Sunday 21 October) features the music of Graeme Wilson. For ‘Graeme Wilson’ read ‘guaranteed treat’. Jazz North East’s next concert - Moss Project: Short Stories- is at the Lit & Phil (Monday 29 October) in a joint promotion with the library.
Russell                                    

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