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Bebop Spoken There

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11,644 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 779 of them this year alone and, so far, 43 this month (July 11).

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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.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Bill Harper Remembers - Part One.

Hi Lance, I'd never looked at the fact that I'd set some sort of record for supporting some of the world's greatest jazz soloists but, as you say, it is an era which regrettably has gone, so maybe I have a record which will never be broken. Looking back through my diaries, I was amazed to find that I had worked with more than 80 world class players, many at the Corner House and also many other venues organised by Jazz NE, plus my time working with Frank Brooker at Festivals throughout the UK, NI & Belgium. I will always be grateful to Jazz NE  who, in 1983, gave me the opportunity to be in the company of a veritable "treasure chest" of great US stars, the first one being Art Farmer.
Of course it wasn't all down to me-- I was surrounded by great local players like Sid Warren, Willie Payne, Mike Gilby, Derek Dixon, all sadly no longer with us, & a little later the power house engine room of Adrian Tilbrook & Peter Stuart, without whose support I would at times have been struggling badly & I will always be in their debt.
Art Farmer was a lovely man with a quiet sense of humour who was surprised to see that I had the changes, introduction & ending for 'I Remember Clifford" & he smiled when I told him that I had taken them down from his original recording with Benny Golson. I worked with him later at the Rosehill Theatre (Whitehaven) which was in the middle of nowhere, out in the sticks. After playing to a packed house, the trio was preparing for the long trip back to the NE when he popped his head through the dressing room door & said "Come on you guys-- lets hit the jazz spots in town". A great sense of humour!!!
Of the many trumpeters that I have supported, Warren Vache is my personal favourite. For tone, technique & musical invention, he is unsurpassed for me & in spite of a fearsome reputation, I found him to be a likeable intelligent man. He could be extremely aggressive & abrasive & didn't tolerate fools gladly but Anne & I spent a couple of days with him on a gig at Ulverston & I have to say we enjoyed his company immensely. His recollections on his career plus the hilarious events that took place at the gig would fill a small book--- maybe later!!! Of course I can't talk "trumpets" without mentioning the gentle giant Bruce Adams who is without doubt the most extrovert player I've ever worked with. Blessed with a phenomenal technique & a sense of humour to match, he is as easy as an old shoe & an absolute joy to work with. He is a good friend & we do see him from time to time over here as he has a summer residence 80 kilos away.
(end part one).
Bill Harper.
(In the photo above Bill is far right with Dennis Healey (dms); Sid Warren (ten); Al Grey (tmb); Derek Dixon (bs) and Willie Payne (gtr) - Lance).

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