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Bebop Spoken There

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

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

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Expect the Unexpected – Jam Session @ Salsa Cafe, Sunday February 23

Stuart Mckie (Guitar); Paul Grainger (bass); Michael Howard (Drums)
(Review Ann Alex)
You never quite know what will happen at jam sessions, do you? It was a quiet start with the players as above and only myself to clap alone as audience, but by the end of the session we’d had an extra drummer (Jeff Armstrong); Chris Finch (keyboard) who brought a friend, Jessica, with him to help as a sort of roadie; Ray Burns with his voice and guitar but minus mouth organ; and to cap it all, a flamenco Guitarist who remained Anonymous. Plus, as usual, people enjoying meals and a couple of extra jazz fans.  I wonder where all the sax players were?
I had entered at 3.30pm as the trio were playing a more than competent version of Autumn Leaves.  The good thing about intimate sessions like this is that you can listen to the musicians discussing how to arrange their playing, always interesting.  The band continued with standards such as The Way You Look Tonight; A Foggy Day In London Town; Georgia On My Mind; encouraging each other with plenty of solos.  Enter Chris with the keyboard and a tune I didn’t recognise, then I found myself treating (is that the right word?) the audience to a song, All Of Me. A change of drummers, and Ray Burns sang about how he intends to marry Sweet Lorraine. A very pleasing voice, highish and passionate, and without a microphone as well.  All The Things You Are with a bass solo well worth a listen, and 4’s traded between piano and drums.  After the break, up steps the anonymous guitarist, taking centre stage with a long flamenco piece with Michael on drums and myself beating and clapping out the rhythms.  I didn't know I could do this until I did it!  The guitar then managed to lay down a Spanish riff which everyone could join in with.  Back to jazz, with Smile; How Deep Is The Ocean; Bye Bye Blackbird from yours truly, a couple of standards, and we all made our way home, musically satisfied until next week.
Ann Alex

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