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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Puddy: "Eventually we paid our entrance money [to Eel Pie Island] and fought our way to one of the many bars where we could buy our Newcastle Brown and retire to the back of the heaving dancefloor. There must have been lights somewhere, but my memory remains of being in some dark cavernous wonderland." - (Just Jazz July 2020)

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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.
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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Alister Spence Quartet + Watts and Weston @ Lit & Phil Feb. 8

Alister Spence (piano & keyboards), Raymond MacDonald (alto & soprano saxophones), Joe Williamson (double bass) & Chris Cantillo (drums) + Trevor Watts (alto & soprano saxophones) & Veryan Weston (piano)
(Review by Russell)
The Lit and Phil hosted a return visit by pianist Alister Spence. The Australian decided to forsake a southern hemisphere summer for a British winter to tour once again with his international quartet – Scot Raymond MacDonald, Canadian Joe Williamson and from Sweden Chris Cantillo. Spence’s previous visit to Newcastle drew a full house and this time around there was a similar healthy turn out.
The expectant crowd got in early knowing that an additional treat was in store. Veteran improvisers Trevor Watts and Veryan Weston renewed acquaintance in an enthralling one set performance. No sound check, no rehearsal, just a ‘let’s do it’ attitude. Master musicians, familiar with one another’s musical language, pieces developed intuitively, threading a linear cat and mouse chase into spontaneous composition. Their set was, deservedly, warmly received.
The Lit and Phil had celebrated a birthday the previous day - 220 not out - and the forward looking cultural institution should be congratulated for hosting, with no little enthusiasm, contemporary jazz in an increasingly busy building. The library and its rooms are booked weeks and months ahead with a wide range of events, activities and gatherings - earlier in the day pianist Paul Edis launched a new monthly lunchtime jazz gig with a tremendous turn-out to hear the top-class Zoe Gilby Trio and the following night there is an all-night ghost hunt! Each to their own, as they say.
So to Alister Spence. Think Brubeck and the new generation - Mehldau, EST - add a little bit of Spence (he isn’t afraid to fuse the acoustic with the electronic). Double bassist Joe Williamson is the classic bass player – unperturbed with all that’s going on around him and drummer Chris Cantillo is another new generation player in possession of amazing technique - he will clatter when so inclined and then give it the feather-light touch in the style of James Maddren (another star performer heard at the Lit and Phil and elsewhere on Tyneside). The presence of Raymond MacDonald is a real treat - amiable, unassuming and a first rate musician. Composed, improvised, inside or out, MacDonald is your man. Spence’s compositions tend to be reflective, thoughtful pieces with a slow burning fuse and just occasionally there is an incendiary outburst rivalling the Sydney Harbour New Year firework display and MacDonald is invariably the Guy Fawkes villain/hero.
Sales of CDs all but sold out (the same thing happened during Spence’s previous visit). The concert was a Jazz North East promotion and their next one is next Wednesday (13 February), once again at the Lit and Phil, featuring two rising stars of the British scene; pianist Robert Mitchell and charismatic vibes man Corey Mwamba. An intriguing aspect of this gig will be a solo set by Mitchell during which he will play left hand only. You have to be good to attempt this in public! The two-handed Mwamba will play vibes using four if not six mallets and occasionally none! Get along to the gig - seeing and hearing is believing!
Russell            

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