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Bebop Spoken There

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11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

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SEPTEMBER

IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON

THURSDAY 24

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

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

FRIDAY 25

SouLutions Sistas - Hoochie Coochie, Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. 8:30pm (7:00pm doors). £10.00. SOLD OUT!

SATURDAY 26

Boys of Brass - Tyne Bank Brewery, Walker Road, Newcastle NE6 2AB. Tel: 0191 265 2828. 7:00pm. £10.00. + £1.37 bf for table for two. Other packages available. See www.tynebankbrewery.co.uk.

SUNDAY 27

Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. Tel: 0191 691 7090. Free.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

WJRK – 1984 to 2013

(By Roly Veitch)










In 1984 Newcastle based jazz trumpeter and vocalist Mike Durham formed his band the West Jesmond Rhythm Kings specifically to play the classic hot jazz of the 1920s. His band was totally dedicated to this unique repertoire, performing songs well known and obscure (invariably including the verse) all played with neat, polished and sometimes quite complex arrangements often in various contrasting sections and including breaks, harmonised passages, accented rhythmic figures, clever intros and endings, in fact all the 'tricks of the trade' used in the music of that era. This was no run of the mill, busking jazz band. The ensemble soon built a considerable reputation leading to jazz club and festival gigs all over the UK, abroad in France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Ireland and twice to the Chicago area of the USA.
I came into contact with Mike more in recent years due to my gigs with Keith Stephen (who played tenor banjo with Mike for many years) and with saxophonist and clarinettist Steve Andrews. It led to some very enjoyable sessions, on acoustic guitar and the occasional WJRK booking, deputising on tenor banjo. In the course of this I realised just what a great band WJRK was. My mother has some of their CDs (Jazz Lips, Jubilee Stomp, Shake 'em Loose) and they are never off the turntable.
As everyone knows Mike tragically passed away in March. He will be hugely missed for his contribution to jazz as a player, organiser and promoter. The band members have decided the time is right to draw the curtains on his beloved WJRK and the weekend of May 3 to 5 they fulfilled the band's final engagement at The Isle of Bute Jazz Festival. This delightful, long running festival, situated in the idyllic surroundings of Rothesay, featured many bands of contrasting styles, traditional to modern. WJRK played at The Victoria Hotel, The Pavillion Jazz Club, The Sunday morning church service at United Church of Bute and the jazz picnic on the Sunday afternoon. The line up for these final sessions was Brian Chester tbn, Derek Fleck clnt, Phil Rutherford sousa (all long standing band members). Ollie Rillands was on drums, myself tenor banjo and the band was admirably fronted by Edinburgh cornetist and vocalist Jim Petrie. All in all a very enjoyable but also a moving and poignant occasion. I like to think Mike would have approved of our efforts. Mike's wife Patti and her family came over from Glasgow on the Sunday to join the band for the final session.
Roly Veitch.
(More photos to follow)

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