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Today

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.

Monday, April 13, 2015

GIJF Day Three: Vocal Workshop with Alice Zawadzki and Other Matters

(Review by Ann Alex/photo courtesy of Ken Drew)
At last I know where my soft palate is situated.  We began the workshop with vocal exercises, hums so that we could feel our soft palates enhancing the sound, then we found our diaphragms for breathing exercises.  We then sang ‘ooo’ on our chosen note, sounding rather like Buddhist monks, quite spiritual, and the sounds tend to come together to form a pleasing whole, surely a sign that human beings have a natural tendency to co-operate, at least that’s my interpretation of it. Then brave volunteers sang solo to the accompaniment of Alice’s fine band of keys, guitar, bass and drums (named on the review of Saturday evening).
Four people were brave enough to submit their singing for feedback, including Jen Errington who did a pleasing version of I Thought About You, deservedly praised.  And we had such fun with the singer of St Louis Blues, a lovely bluesey voice, with us clapping and finger clicking along and singing as well.  All this led us to discuss ways to count in the band, probably the hardest thing of the lot for singers, apart from remembering the words of course. All very enjoyable and useful – thanks so much to Alice and the musicians.
Other Matters
Readers must by now have gathered that other matters mainly concerns the Concourse and the Jazz Co-op stand, although today had me looking eagerly through the fine selection of 2nd hand CD’s which were for sale on the Jazz North East stand.
I entered the Sage at ten to two (did you know that when you say ‘ten to two’ you have the rhythm for swing?  I quote Jim Birkett), to hear what sounded like free jazz, weird really, but it then materialised into a lively exciting version of Well You Needn’t from a woman singer, a real gem from the concourse to take me into the workshop. My meal after the workshop was eaten to the accompaniment of the John Ellis Trio, keys, bass, drums and vocals, starting with a rousing Norwegian Wood, and including Hi Lili Hi Lili Hi Lo, which took me right back to the sad film I saw as a child which has this beautiful song in it. A good jazz/rock combo.
Then came Jambone, the Sage’s own superb youth big band, augmented on this occasion by members of Manchester’s Beats and Pieces band and conducted by Ben Cottrell.  They played for the teatime session, which rounds off the concourse performances at GIJF, quite an emotional part of the festival, as it’s nearly over by this time apart from the evening gigs.  They gradually built up to a wall of sound for the first tune. A typical later tune began simply with keys and a banana shaped shaker, a trumpet solo, then a build up to the tension of ensemble playing, and all this being painted by the festival artist, busy at her easel at the front of the cafe.  Another tune, a steady beat for quite a while, then horns rise out of the sound.  Then a drum solo with wisps of horns playing about, and a strong loud finish.
People arriving for the evening gigs, some of the women in circular skirts with masses of frills beneath, coming for the Americana type music of Davina And The Vagabonds. All quiet when the gigs have begun, except for the sound of the gear being taken down on the concourse stage. I chat to a few stragglers who come to the Co-op stand.
Over for another year.   
Ann Alex.

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