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Bebop Spoken There

Camila Meza: "Some tonalities or chords are colors to me: G major is blue, D major is orange and B minor is totally yellow." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Monday June 17

Afternoon

Jazz

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Tenement Jazz Band - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:30pm (doors). Free (donations).

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Jazz Extravaganza

(Review by JC/ Photo by Ken Drew.)
From the little I understand about quantum mechanics, apparently a quantum particle can be in two places at the same time. This would have been a useful special power to have in order to get the most out of the feast of musical delights offered by the JNE and Splinter Jazz Extravaganza. For by having simultaneous sessions in two venues listeners were presented with multiple choices, not to say dilemmas, on an hourly basis: to hear top local musicians in an array of diverse combinations or new names from outside the region (plus mystery guests!).
And what a wonderful extravagance it was to have two jazz venues, within a trumpet's blast of each other, packed full of top musicians, going on at the same time.
Having memories of a storming gig a while back at the Corner House I decided to start with the Spillett/Anderson/ Edis Trio at the Jazz Cafe.  Unfortunately Simon Spillett was unwell but even though they were new playing acquaintances, Matt Anderson and the Trio quickly got into a groove and played a very good set.
Next up was the 8pm Corey Mwamba's Improv Mashup at the Bridge which was previewed as 'two hours of different combinations and permutations, some pre-determined, others spontaneously evolving' and added intriguingly 'Nothing is certain...' I wasn't quite clear what a 'mashup' involved but it was starting to sound like a musical version of the Uncertainty Principle. Arriving at the Bridge the room was nicely crowded and it became clear that Corey Mwamba was the conductor for this session. He outlined what was going to happen which might be summarised as in the first part various musicians will go on and off the stage, while in the second part everyone will be on stage together - straightforward enough, you might think.
However, then began fifty minutes of an extraordinarily fascinating musical experience expertly choreographed by Mwamba like an old-fashioned traffic policeman at a busy intersection. With a wave of his hand a musician would appear from the audience while another would slip away again, another wave and some instruments would play and others would stop. The ebb and flow of musicians and the sounds they produced created a striking visual effect which added to the performance. Since I didn't know most of them it was impossible to keep track of all the musicians or how many there were but there was some exquisite vocalising from the female singer who produced an extravagant array of sounds, some of which were echoed and added to by the guitarist and other instruments. Andy Champion explored all parts of his double bass as a source of music and a variety of saxophones joined in, as well as a classical looking instrument I didn't quite recognise (a bassoon, maybe), and much more besides. Corey Mwamba himself caressed sweet sounds out of the vibes with his fingers, leaving the mallets to the second vibes player.  A stunning session to hear and experience live.
Of course, at a session like this it is always a challenge to know exactly what is part of the performance and what is a casual accident. Clearly the two minutes the pianist played on the unplugged electric keyboard was a humorous nod to many such scenes in silent movies and the singer's kick to knock over the microphone seemed like a post-punk reference. On the other hand, when Corey Mwamba bent right over his vibes and started waving his hands in amongst the pipes underneath he had obviously dropped something important.
An extra bonus at the Bridge was the stall selling books and CDs and I picked up a book on Chet Baker while my friend bought a John Lee Hooker box set, a man who had no doubt been involved in the odd mashup himself in his time.
Although there was to be more 'mashing', it was time to head out into the night back to the Jazz Cafe for the 9pm slot. There had been a little bit of a time overrun and the 8 o'clock band were still playing, so we got a taste of the two sax pairing of the Jonathan Silk Quintet - very tasty it was too. This meant that the length of the final set by Paul Edis and guests was a little bit constrained. Because we were at the back of the room and the place was still full (is it my imagination or is the new bar counter quite large?) I couldn't hear the names of who exactly was playing along with Paul but they produced some tight and sparky playing and ended on a jazz-funk note to loud applause. A great finish to a terrific day. Huge appreciation is due to all of the organisers and the musicians who made it possible.
JC

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