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Bebop Spoken There

Piers Paul Read: "Bruce Reynolds and Biggs shared an interest in Sex, Jazz and Hemingway." - (The Train Robbers by Piers Paul Read, Coronet Books 1979.)

George Shearing: "Speaking about Johann Sebastian Bach I think he'd be a real jazzer if he were alive today. I mean any man who has two wives, twenty kids, gets kicked out of the church for being too harmonically radical and drinks beer can't be all wrong can he?" - (Crescendo March 1984.)

Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance

Posting a comment

If you experience any problems posting a comment, as I understand some readers are, then email it to me direct, stating which post your comment relates to - lanceliddle@gmail.com. Alternatively, try the Anonymous button but please sign your name!
Apologies for any inconvenience, this is due to circumstances beyond my control.

Today Wednesday July 18

Afternoon

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. £1.00.

Gala Big Band: BRASS for Sir Bobby - Durham Miners’ Hall, Flass Street, Durham DH1 4BE. 7:30pm. £10 Durham Brass Festival.

Reel Brass + Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band - Front Street, Chester le Street, Co. Durham DH3. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Town centre street performance. Durham Brass Festival (Street Ceilidh).

Steve Glendinning & Debra Milne - Dun Cow, Brandling Village, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 4RS. 8pm. Free.

Big BRASS Bash - Timothy Hackworth Park, Shildon. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Durham Brass Festival.

Northern Monkey Brass Band - Timothy Hackworth Park, Central Parade, Shildon DL4 1DL. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Big BRASS Bash (Durham Brass Festival).

Community Hall New Orleans Band - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm £3.00.

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson Street, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

Tyne Valley Junior Jazz Ensemble + Tyne Valley Youth Big Band + Tyne Valley Big Band - Phoenix Club & Bar, Chisholm Place, Hexham NE46 1QL. 6:00pm. Donations.

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

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Road to Hong Kong with Colin Aitchison Part Three

When one door closes another door opens. With Steve's blessing, my next chapter was the cruise ships. I was offered a job on the Royal Cruise Line Ship "The Golden Odyssey".  This was through Nick Ross, who still has a popular big band going on in the UK today. I was with the relief band on the ship on their Vancouver-Alaska sailing.   What a chance to get to see the world and get paid for it. The band backed up Broadway shows and cabaret acts and I must say that this was when my sight reading was at its best.  We were lucky to get one night off each month, plus band calls galore and temperamental cabaret acts. There was a fond memory of a 30 minute chat with Vincent Price on deck while in port at Nagasaki.
When the relief stint came to an end, I was asked to stay on board to join the Mike Fackrell band (Pictured) as their trumpet player. It was during one of the Golden Odyssey's Asian Cruises that I happened to be in Singapore and became friendly with piano player Paul Gostelow. He asked if the band would be interested to take up a 6-month residency in Taiwan. Whether it was my Geordie accent or my poor geography .. I do not know. I urged our the bandleader Mike Fackrell to contact Paul asap as we had a fantastic chance to work at a nightclub in Thailand! It was paradise. After a 10 minute conversation, Mike called me into the room. I will never forget Mike's face and his words .."Colin my boy, you got your "T's" mixed up".The job offer is for Taiwan not Thailand !!
So in 1987, the band left the ship we went on to work in Taipei, Taiwan.  It was a 6 month contract at a nightclub.  It was a little like going back to the days of the speakeasy but more on the posh side and very shady. The drummer in our band was Steve Rushton who went on to take Ronnie Varrells place in the Syd Lawrence orchestra. When the 6 month contact came to and end. most of us decided to stay on in Asia, and Taiwan was a good a place as any to start.
In the 1980's Taiwan was a bit like the wild west. I boldly decided to form my own band. With a Canadian trumpet player Tom Shorthouse, and some local talented Filipino musicians we called ourselves "Foreign Affairs". I played the trombone with this band. Our repertoire was some jazz, pop and slapstick comedy. The locals loved it.  I also formed a Dixieland Band "The Ploughman Stompers" plus the "Tom Colin's Big Band" for the Farmhouse pub for Sunday afternoon jam sessions. The music scene was lively and the bands were very much in demand. Life was good.
It was here in 1988 that I met my lovely wife Jeannie who is from Singapore, but was working in Taiwan at The Ritz Hotel. She tried often to book bands for events at the hotel.
On one of the Farmhouse Jam Sessions I met Hong Kong  bandleader Ken Bennett of The Kowloon Honkers. They were the Resident Band at Ned Kelly's. Ken also managed three bands at Ocean Park. Ken made an open offer that  if I’m across on a visa run or holiday, I could perhaps stand in for him when he was on holiday?  It was another door and another option.  The visa situation in Taiwan was slowly but surely becoming uncomfortable, as the authorities were starting to clamp down on illegal workers. Yet there was no official way to get a work permit! After 6 years I was once again at a crossroads. To go back on the cruise ships (for a New Orleans and Amazon cruise) or to keep my feet on dry land and take a chance for a 2 month summer season in Hong Kong. I decided for Hong Kong, which was then a British Colony
I moved to Hong Kong in 1993, and Jeannie followed a few months later after completing her contract. It was fairly easy for her to get a job in one of the many hotels in Hong Kong.   My first summer in Hong Kong saw me working for Ken Bennett's German Oom-pah band in the daytime, and some Sunday nights at Ned Kelly's. At the end of the summer, it was odd gigs here and there. Jeannie was still in Taiwan completing her contract. I was a stranger in Hong Kong, trying to find a start.
It was my good fortune to meet up with Lt-Col David Kerr who was the CO at the Royal Logistic Corps in Hong Kong. He suggested that with the imminent handover in 1997, more units were being disbanded and it would be a great spot for a small. mobile and affordable band.  Hence in 1993, our quartet "The China Coast Jazzmen" was formed.  There were numerous events over the next 4-5 years and the band made quite a name for itself. 
It was somewhere during this period (1994-5) when I was once again offered a cruise of a life time - a chance to join the old band for a 2 month South American cruise on the SS Rotterdam. It was a lovely old steamship. It was a memorable trip, and where I had a chance to meet Buddy Greco and have a good chat about his days with Benny Goodman. Jeannie ran the business and the bands during my absence and kept things afloat.
With the handover approaching, Ken Bennett decided to leave Hong Kong. It was now my time.  That year, I was asked to be the full time bandleader at Ned Kelly's. It was also the year when our tender to supply bands to Ocean Park was accepted. Added to that, the Peninsula Hotel found our old folio (from a couple of years before) and I was asked if we could supply a quartet for their lobby.  1997 was a good year!
Colin.
Link to Part One.
Link to Part Two.

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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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