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Bebop Spoken There

Grant Green Jr.: "One thing that most people--especially jazz cats--don't realise is that all of your jazz standards were once pop standards" - DownBeat July 2018).

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Bobby Sanabria: "Tito Puente was not a very tall man, but when he played the timbales he was a giant among men." - DownBeat July 2018).

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Voting is now taking place for Nominations in the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Please take this opportunity to vote in the various categories including MEDIA where a vote for Bebop Spoken Here would be much appreciated.

Today Saturday June 23

Afternoon

?????

Evening

Get in the Band - 1) Great North Museum (Hancock Museum), 2) Central Station & 3) Sage Gateshead. Times TBC. Free but ticketed. For details visit: www.sagegateshead.com

Eric Burdon & the Animals + Hilton Valentine’s Skiffledogs - Newcastle City Hall, Northumberland Road, Newcastle NE1 8SF. Tel: 08448 112121. 7:30pm. £86.00., £66.00., £46.00.

Teresa Watson Band - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

Dean Stockdale - Zeffirellis, Compston Rd., Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9AD. 01539 433845. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Ray Johnson & Tom Lapworth @ The Jazz Café – October 31

Ray Johnson (trumpet & flugelhorn) & Tom Lapworth (guitar)
(Review by Russell/Photo courtesy of Mike Tilley)
Last night’s Halloween goings-on around town had to be seen to be believed. Ghouls galore, full costume, face paint, the works. Big business types must be cackling all the way to the bank on their broomsticks. The Jazz Café would offer sanctuary. Horror of horrors! A zombie – full costume, face paint – had taken over the bar. The nightmare never ending, the night of the living dead. Meanwhile…
On occasion a jam session or workshop forges a musical alliance. Over the years Dave Weisser’s weekly meeting at the Chillingham has introduced musicians to one another. Ray Johnson and Tom Lapworth met at one of those Wednesday night sessions at the Chilli. Modern jazz standards the common bond, they expressed a wish to perhaps do something, some time. The Jazz Café’s Saturday evening duo sessions seemed like the ideal platform to get together and play a few tunes.
With Johnson living out in the wilds of Northumberland and Lapworth having recently relocated to Leeds, rehearsals were at a premium. Skype offered a ‘next best’ solution. The wonders of technology!  A set list agreed, they would meet at the Caff.
Black Nile, Stolen Moments, Just Friends. Solid material. Lapworth, the junior partner, had been in the woodshed, Johnson had played the dots countless times and alternated between trumpet and flugelhorn. If there were any nerves on the stand it appeared they were with Johnson. By no means reserved, but perhaps, a tad tentative to begin with. In contrast, Lapworth, playing his recently acquired Telecaster, dipped into his copy of ‘A thousand and one chords before breakfast’. Tom Harrell’s sensitive Moon Alley heard a more relaxed Johnson on flugel, the senior man beginning to express himself. Afro Blue confirmed the view that the duo felt more settled. Johnson thought Autumn Leaves was appropriate at this time of year, introducing the number with trumpet muted.
An interval chat with a sage judge on matters jazz suggested Lapworth’s Telecaster was, perhaps, not the best choice of instrument for an up-close selection of standards. Strings and brass can be an exposed duo combination – there is nowhere to hide. To some ears – your BSH correspondent’s – the format and choice of instrument made close listening a rewarding experience. Guitar accompaniment with a plethora of chord changes feeding solo brass excursions succeeded in keeping things ‘on the edge.’ Hats off (witches hats included) to Johnson and Lapworth.
Tadd’s Ladybird, Sting’s Fragile and Miles’ Four set the second set on its way, perhaps at times a little hurried, but good stuff nonetheless. The Preacher hit the heights. Great intro from Lapworth, the blues feel picked up by Johnson. The duo continued to up their game on Stanley Turrentine’s Sugar and topped the lot with ACJ’s How Insensitive. This was sensitive; Lapworth’s chords – one of them a seemingly impossible stretch – and an excellent flugel solo from Johnson. The Jazz Café’s Saturday crowd grew in number, at its peak the place was busy. Johnson and Lapworth should be pleased with the response. For a first public performance things went well. It is to be hoped they do it again. They know better than anyone that gigging is key, let’s hope geographical estrangement won’t be a decisive factor in future. Michael Brecker’s Timeline took us up to eleven. Good to see the guys, until next time…                      
Russell.

1 comment :

ray johnson said...

Thanks Russell spot on critique as usual. Good to see you again.

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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.
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Lance

About this blog - contact details.

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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