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Bebop Spoken There

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Thursday 20: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Don Forbes Safe Sextet/Septet: The Star, Newcastle: March 20

Don Forbes (trumpet); Paul Gowland (alto sax); John Rowland (tenor sax); Alan Laws (piano); Mike Papapavlou (guitar); Paul Grainger (bass); Jeff Armstrong (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex).
The latest gig by the co-operative hoping to reopen the Jazz Café. The Sextet became a Septet - perhaps they were no longer taking precautions - with the welcome addition of music student Mike.  Two of Mike’s friends were playing cards in the corner which added to the bebop atmosphere.  To say that the band were great is an understatement.  This is an area of jazz that I know least about, although I am learning. I certainly couldn't sing it, but I know skilled, exciting musicians when I hear them, and I heard them on Wednesday.  Rich, fast notes tumbling over each other, shouting saxes and trumpet, piano and guitar beavering all around, underpinned by a sneaky bass and drums beating impertinently  Really, you just have to hear this, words can’t do the trick.
For instance, the first number started with a steady drumbeat, before Forbes, on trumpet, leads in the band. Extended solos for the two saxes and a guitar solo from Mike followed by a chance for Alan, beating time with his right foot as he plays, to shine. The saxes leave the stage to let the others get on with it, try doing that if you play in the Northern Sinfonia!  This stomping number ends with a wonderfully shrieking dissonant chord from everyone. ‘Aw, you are f-----g awesome’ shouted a man from the audience (pub regular I think).
And so it continued, a lone mean throaty sax, followed by guitar, this time with a harder sound, not the usual warm sound of jazz guitar, bass solo and piano, a crash from the drums, you get the idea I hope.  I’m not familiar with this repertoire, but I’m told the set included Island Birdie; a Horace Silver number Liberated Brother; The Soulful Mr Timmins; and, a beautiful calm slow tune which built to a fine climax, Peace, another Silver number.  The final item of the evening had the piano going stompingly  berserk, I thought Alan was about to go through the roof.  Yes, the band did themselves proud.
Ann Alex

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