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Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Today Tuesday January 21

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Cancelled - room being decorated back on Jan. 28.

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Evening

Air4ce - Cluny 2, Lime St., Newcastle NE1 2PQ. Tel: 0191 230 4474. Doors 7:30pm. £8.00. Ginger Baker tribute featuring regional jazz & blues musicians.

Acoustic Infusion with the Mighty Horns - Forum Music Centre, Borough Road, Darlington DL1 1SG. Tel: 01325 363135. 7:30pm (doors 7:00pm). £5.00.

Blues/Soul/Folk etc.

?????

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

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Bradley Johnston @ Sage Gateshead – Dec 8

(Review by Russell)
Future Grooves (BMus Assessments) at Sage Gateshead – futures determined. Rewind a few years to Blaydon Jazz Club: lecturer James Birkett arrives with a shy teenage guitar player. During the interval they play a couple of tunes together as a guitar duo. The rest, as they say, is history. Bradley Johnston went on to play many gigs and record an album with mentor Dr Birkett, more than hold his own at high calibre jam sessions and find the time to form his own quartet amidst his music degree studies. Last night Johnston kept a most important appointment…
Future Grooves (2015’s degree course student performances at Sage Gateshead) included several final year examinees. Bradley Johnston was one of them. Sage Two, the intimate, multi-tiered cockpit-like performance space, welcomed Johnston to the stage with a huge round of applause. Solo, duo, trio, quartet and horn-augmented octet, BJ had clearly been thinking about his set and how best to present it.
A solo piece to begin the set leading off with Alfie, Johnston in a multi-layered spotlight, alone, the man and his acoustic guitar. BJ invited the engaging Belinda Voshtina to sing a number with him. Switching from acoustic to lightly amplified electric, Johnston recalled the great Joe Pass in his accompaniment of Voshtina on Take Love Easy (a magical never to be forgotten moment). Bassist Paul Grainger and drummer Tim Johnston made it a trio on All the Things You Are and pianist Peter Gilligan completed the quartet (seated at Sage Two’s Steinway) on Michel Petrucciani’s Looking Up (BJ in his element, ideas flowing). To conclude the examination the Lickety Split horn section strolled onto stage – Messrs. Bellis, Eland, Gowland and Marshall. Johnston thanked all of the musicians for giving of their services and said he had to go out with a Pat Metheny number. The American guitar hero has been a major influence and BJ tore it up on See the World. ‘See the World’? It’s as sure as night follows day that Bradley Johnston and his guitar will see the world many times over.               
Bradley Johnston (guitar) with Peter Gilligan (piano), Paul Grainger (double bass), Tim Johnston (drums), Belinda Voshtina (vocals) & the Lickety Split Horns: Eddie Bellis (trombone), Kevin Eland (trumpet), Paul Gowland (tenor saxophone) & Alan Marshall (alto saxophone)
Earlier, several other students gave of their best in front of the assessors and a supportive audience. The performances were for the most part non-jazz sets incorporating familiar rock and pop tunes. Phil Richardson sang and played no fewer than three guitars with his band of student friends. Here Comes the Sun, Lovely Day – hit tunes long before the young man was born! Jack Simpson and the Gastric Band presented a powerful set of guitar and vocals, again focusing on well-known numbers from a previous era: Fleetwood Mac, The Police, Cream. Simpson chose to play a solo acoustic guitar and vocals piece written by Lindsay Buckingham and delivered a positive Message in a Bottle to the three examiners. Cream’s White Room and Badge confirmed Simpson’s blues-rockin’ abilities. Was he aware of the legend that White Room had been written late at night in the waiting room at Newcastle Central Station as Eric, Jack and Ginger were booked onto a midnight train heading south (possibly after a gig at the Club A-Gogo)? Simpson’s bass and drums – Steven Hall and Michael Mather – gave sterling support.
Steph Old offered something different. A vocalist, with Gary Spalding accompanying on guitar, later to be joined by a second voice and a percussionist, Old opted for a more up to date programme. Unashamedly ‘pop’, Old’s voice (sore throat not withstanding), soulful, assured, breezed through Boyzone to Jesse J. Student Johnny Roxburgh acted as MC for the evening. An easy, saloon bar charm – Bobby Darin meets Bobby Darin! – belied his age (twenteen) and the fact that later he too was to give his finals’ performance! The t-shirted Roxborough took the opportunity during an interval break to don a three piece – his band members played the game, all suited for the occasion – and emerged as Johnny Roxburgh and the Pirates. Feelin’ Good (the Newley-Bricusse number given the to-be-expected big band horn arrangement), Straighten Up and Fly Right, a finger snapping Moon Dance, a strong vocal treatment of Sophisticated Lady with the accompaniment of Phil Richardson (acoustic guitar) Roxburgh produced a most entertaining performance. The man can sing! There is more than one big band in the region which could do worse than snap up his services. For the record: first year bassist Steven Hall worked in several of the bands – one to watch. And two of the ‘pirates’ are well known on the jazz scene – tenor man Johnny ‘Blue Hat’ Davis and ‘bone man David Gray.
Future Grooves continues Wednesday and Thursday at Sage Gateshead. Admission free but ticketed, check the venue’s website: www.sagegateshead.com
Russell.

2 comments :

Unknown said...

Great review Russell. BJ set sounds as if it is an I was there moment

Unknown said...

Thanks for your kind words Russell, it was our pleasure. See you soon!
Believe!