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Bebop Spoken There

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Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Today Saturday January 18

Afternoon

Jazz

Early Bird Band - Lit & Phil, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SE. Tel: 0191 232 0192. 11:00am.

Evening

Adrian Cox Quartet - Watchtower Gallery, West End, Berwick TD15 2HE. 8:00pm. £10.00. Cox touring new CD ‘Now is Spring’.

Blues/Funk/Soul

Ray Stubbs R & B All-Stars - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Alex Baker Quartet @ The Forum, Darlington. March 30

Alex Baker (tenor saxophone), Dean Stockdale (piano), Amy Baker (electric bass) & Stephen Fletcher (drums)
(Review by Russell).
The Forum on Borough Road, tucked away behind Darlington Civic Theatre, presents a range of arts activities across the week including music, cinema and workshop sessions. Early Sunday evening Darlington Jazz Club opens for business. Jazz musicians from the north east and occasionally further afield play two sets to an attentive audience in the bar. This week’s guest Alex Baker (tenor saxophone) was on home ground. A local lad now living in Sheffield, Baker met up with bass playing sister Amy and the ‘award winning’ drummer Stephen Fletcher (Baker was to gently tease Fletcher about his recent success) One hour before the gig Baker made the acquaintance of pianist Dean Stockdale. 
The jazz world is perhaps unique in matching musicians at a moment’s notice and making it work. The club organisers, well aware of Stockdale’s abilities, knew they had nothing to worry about, it would be good, the one question being: how good? A pint of Yard Dog (Ferryhill’s Yard of Ale Brewery) at hand and a chat with one or two regulars as the quartet ran through a couple of charts and before we knew it the first set started bang on time. Bessie’s Blues, This was going to be good! Solar. Two tunes in, it couldn’t get any better, could it? Mature, full toned tenor playing, it is worth travelling a distance to hear Alex Baker. 
A tenor and drums intro to the next number made for one regret – the whole of the north east’s jazz community should have been at the Forum to hear it. Fletcher (the award winning drummer!) and Baker taking Giant Steps. Stockdale and Amy Baker got on board Baker’s Trane and positively kicked ass (as the Americans might say). Superb bass playing (if Amy isn’t you’re favourite bass player it is simply because you are yet to hear her), chords and more from Dean ‘McCoy’ Stockdale, Three numbers into the set and the gig had leapt to the top of the Gig of the Year list! In a Sentimental Mood took it down, the musicianship up there. The interval. The consensus – fantastic!
Second set, more great piano from Stockdale on  Afro Blue and again on Moment’s Notice. A ballad was called for. Naima showcased Baker (Alex). Majestic tenor playing, rhythm section right there. A gig celebrating the music of John Coltrane, certainly. A gig celebrating the great tenor playing of Alex Baker. More Trane – Impressions. A gig of exceptional quality, the quartet should do it again, soon. The next Darlington Jazz Club date is Sunday April 13 with guests the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band. The third Darlington Jazz Festival runs from April 24-27. Tickets will sell out. Visit the Forum’s website www.theforumonline.co.uk Check Bebop Spoken Here nearer the time for a full festival preview.          
Russell.           

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