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Bebop Spoken There

Hugh Masekela: “I advise every kid to check out their past because without a past you are in limbo.” (Songlines December 2017)

Leo Richardson: “I think your image is really important. You look at those old Blue Note recordings and you look at the liner note, the booklet and they’re in the studio and they’re wearing shirt and ties. They used to wear suits all the time.” – (Jazzwise December 2017/January 2018)

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 them all 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

Today Friday December 15

Afternoon

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazz Café Christmas Party - Jazz Café. 8:00pm. Julija Jacenaite & Alan Law (8:00pm), Mo Scott Band (9:00pm). £10.00. (£8.00. advance).

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regent Farm Road, Gosforth NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 258 4111. 7:30pm. First night of two. A guaranteed sellout.

Kentucky Cowtippers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

Ray Dales - Traveller’s Rest, West Auckland Road, Cockerton, Darlington DL3 9ER. 8:30pm. £8.00.

The Standards - Bar Loco, Leazes Park Road, Newcastle NE1 4PG. 7:00pm. Free. South American band playing a Greenpeace benefit.

CoSYJO - Washington Arts Centre, Biddick Lane, Fatfield, Washington NE38 8AB. Tel: 0191 561 3455. 7:00pm. £6.00. (£4.00. concs.). CoSYJO (City of Sunderland Youth Jazz Orchestra).

Smokin’ Spitfires - Platform 1, Station Street, Bedlington NE22 7JW. Tel: 01670 828808. 7:00pm. £5.50. Enhanced line-up (The Mighty Smokin’ Spitfires) with David Blakey (trumpet) & Lloyd Howell (drums).

Steve Bone - Al Forno, 81 Skinnergate, Darlington DL3 7LX. 7pm.

Sophie Armstrong: Jazz at Christmas - Maltings Theatre & Cinema, Eastern Lane, Berwick upon Tweed TD15 1AJ. Tel: 01289 330999. 7:30pm. £13.00.

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

Monday, October 12, 2015

CD Review: Colin Towns’ Mask Orchestra – Drama

(Review by Russell)
The Mask Orchestra’s new album, the seventh release in its quarter century existence, is a sprawling work across two discs drawing inspiration from the world of theatre. The CD is Colin Towns’ response, and contribution to, major British theatre productions. Drama – a succinct title – is realised by a wonderful array of British jazz talent. Veteran, established and emerging names are to be found in all sections of the band which must make life a lot easier for the bandleader as he writes material knowing that he can call upon some of the finest musicians available to him.      
Colin Towns stated it was important that the musicians knew the synopsis of each play so they would have an understanding of the composer’s inspirations and intentions. Meeting theatre director Terry Hands opened doors for Towns; visiting theatres, discovering many texts and ultimately collaborating with directors.
Drama opens with classic works; Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The compositions feature a raft of soloists, the latter hears Julian Siegel’s baritone motif with a firing trumpet section behind him. Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead has a demonic sense of fun about it (Andrew McCormack, piano), Equus a Modernist filmic/theatrical quality. Arrangements throughout are never too far from suggesting a sense of urgency. Hysteria (Terry Johnson, playwright) closes the first CD with a three way tenor exchange between Tim Garland, Nigel Hitchcock and Julian Siegel.
Two of Peter Shaffer’s plays make it onto the recording, Equus, on disc one, and on disc two The Royal Hunt of the Sun. The music for the latter takes as its starting point the Art Sphere Theatre, Tokyo production (Terry Hands, director, 1994). Percussionists Stephan Maass and Joji Hirota duel (opening and closing the composition), Gateshead born Chris Montague, a singular emerging guitar talent, suggests an Americana feel, and Peter King has a blast on soprano giving way to the orchestra’s tumbling momentous finale.
Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest would suggest all things American and it doesn’t disappoint. Barnaby Dickinson (or is it Jack Nicholson?) plays crazy trombone as Peter King switches to alto, Montague finds a disturbing chord or three and the ensemble
retains a collective sanity amidst institutional bells, alarms and on-street sirens. Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen (Emma Lucia, director, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, 2013) doesn’t allow a slackening of the pace with more superb, frantic ensemble work featuring the trumpets of Rory Simmons, George Hogg and Graham Russell. Jane Eyre offers some respite; Simon Allen’s soprano solo a calming influence.
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (Terry Hands, director, 2003) comes in at nineteen minutes and forty nine seconds. The composition features so many soloists it is easier to indicate that almost all step up; a proud brass band emerges expertly combining the sounds of the British colliery band and a French Quarter marching band. Veteran Alan Skidmore, tenor, leads the way for the reeds, a contemporary big band at its best.
Colin Towns’ Mask Orchestra has three concert dates this week: Thursday 15 Manchester at the Royal Northern College of Music, Friday 16 Southampton, Turner Sims Hall and at LSO St Luke’s, London, Saturday 17. Colin Towns’ Mask Orchestra Drama is out now on Provocateur Records PVC1044.       
Russell.          
George Hogg, Graham Russell, Henry Lowther, Rory Simmons (Trumpet/flugelhorn)Barnaby Dickinson, Tom White, Harry Brown, Roger Williams (trombone); Peter King, Simon Allen (alto/soprano); Tim Garland, Alan Skidmore, Nigel Hitchcock (tenor/soprano); Julian Siegel (baritone/tenor/soprano/bass clarinet/clarinet/flute); Stephan Maass (percussion/electronic percussion); Andrew McCormack (piano); Arnd Geise (bass); Chris Montague (guitar); Ralph Salmins (drums);  Colin Towns (keys); Joji Hirota (percussion).    

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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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