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Bebop Spoken There

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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.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Jazz - Sounds of the 20th Century by James Birkett @ The Sage, Gateshead

(Review by Lance)
Jazz - Sounds of the 20th Century  sums up the 20th Century and the current one too! "But", I hear you cry, "Jazz is dead - it's a minority music - like Gregorian chants."
Wrong! Rock and its derivations may rule the waves but all are directly or indirectly jazz based. The Rock guys may turn up the decibels but, at the end of the day, they are doing what jazz musicians have been doing since the start of the previous century - maybe before - improvising..
James Birkett in his one hour illustrated lecture (one hour for the history of jazz? Even the Complete Works of Shakespeare got 90 minutes!) managed to cover a broad spectrum beginning and ending with Louis Armstrong. In between we had YouTube clips, audio, and even the Benny Goodman Quartet - Sweet Sue - played on a wind-up 78rpm gramophone. Apart from the hiss, I thought it had the best sound of them all! I know you're saying, "Well he would, wouldn't he?!".
It was very well attended, deservedly so.
In the time-slot it was inevitable that so many giants had to be overlooked. Bird and Diz. for example. 
James' ref to Miles' My Funny Valentine as a recording that paid scant attention to the actual melody could have also been linked to Parker's Embraceable You or Hawks' Body and Soul..
It was so well done that, the disappointment we may have felt that Professor Birkett himself wasn't going to actually demonstrate Django's style (maybe he has too many fingers) was tempered by a YouTube clip of Django and the Hot Club guys. I'd seem it before but it is so wonderfully atmospheric - the clothes, the cigarettes, the wine, the card game and, naturally, Grappelli - make it well worth watching again and again.
Keith Jarrett played Over The Rainbow (on YouTube) so sensitively that I was terrified to cough! 
Lance

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