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Bebop Spoken There

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11,612 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 747 of them this year alone and, so far, 11 this month (July 3).

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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.
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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Brand & Sanders + Faye MacCalman 4tet @ Black Swan, Newcastle Arts Centre – May 21.

(Review/photos courtesy of Ken Drew)
A two-Set “Women Make Music” JNE presentation was received with much anticipation heralding, as it did, the return of Sarah Gail Brand - resulting in a decent sized audience.
Sarah Gail Brand (trombone); Mark Sanders (drums). 
These guys need no introduction – although Sarah’s rare visits to Tyneside make this a near possibility - unless your memory takes you back to 2007.  It was noted that her longest established and most empathetic musical relationship is with drummer Mark Sanders, although, sadly for us, they’ve never appeared on Tyneside as a duo until now.  However, Mark performed at the GIJF in 2014 and, prior to that, with Paul Dunmall’s group at Cluny2.  
But it was straight in at the deep end for Sarah, leading with a multitude of rhythms, sounds, gasps and  much physical excursion,  with Mark following her every move through what appeared to be putting the trombone (and her own technique) through its paces.  She combines most enthusiastically an abstract approach to melody along with a tone that varies between great purity and earthiness, but always sonorous.  The duo seemed perfectly aligned and always in-sync whilst each giving the other space to express and explore.  The array of sounds from Sarah was expertly matched by Mark’s equally large array of ‘devices’ which complement the drum kit at which he sat (well, most of the time).  Three separate pieces came from the duo - each full of energy and intrigue, always twisting and turning yet flowing seamlessly. A veritable Masterclass disguised as yet another Free Improv gig in Newcastle.   But the musicianship and the audience’s overall delight gave that one away!  
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 Faye MacCalman (sax); Pete Curry (piano); John Pope (bass); Christian Alderson (drums)
The first set was also eagerly anticipated giving exposure to a new local ‘4tet’. Whilst Faye had performed recently on the same stage (with bass and electronics) prior to Linda Sharrock’s excellent performance earlier this month, this was their first outing as a unit – but you really would not have guessed that.  Nor would you guess (why would you?) that Faye is about to finish her degree and then take that big step into full time music.   The piece they performed worked well throughout.  Mostly led by Faye’s eminently confident sax playing, and occasionally driven by the bass – sometimes rhythmically and other times by loud interjections from one of his strings.  The keys were solid in their support, and the drums were at least that, if not also a pre-cursor to what would follow in the next set.  Overall, I couldn’t say what the style was – apart from nicely (and sometimes surprisingly) varied and truly Improv from start to finish.   Nice one guys – well done!
Ken Drew.

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