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Bebop Spoken There

More from Jazz Monthly:

John Postgate: "Oscar Peterson played a good solo in 1954..." - (Jazz Monthly August 1960)

Bill Evans: "A composer writes something, and an orchestra interprets it--he spends maybe six months writing 10 minutes of music, but a jazz musician spends 10 minutes of playing 10 minutes of music, and he performs it himself". - (Jazz Monthly July1960).

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Today Saturday October 21

Afternoon

???????

Evening

Tees Valley Jazzmen - Sadberge Village Hall, 5 Beacon Grange Park, Sadberge, Darlington DL2 1TW. 7:30pm. £9.00. inc cheese & biscuits, BYOB.

Mat Maneri/Evan Parker/Lucian Ban: Sounding Tears - Sage Gateshead. 7:45pm. £13.50.

The Exiles - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. £5.00. Line-up: Dave Hignett (trumpet), Niall Armstrong (tenor sax), Mike Cunningham (piano), Hazel Hanley (double bass) & Paul ‘Sid’ Wight (drums).

George Shovlin & the Radars - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm.

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

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Interview with Michael Lamb

Bebop Spoken Here spoke to Michael Lamb, leader of the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band ahead of tonight’s gig at Blaydon Jazz Club:

BSH: SSBB seems to be going from strength to strength, tell me about its beginnings and how it has developed.
SSBB started when I was still at school in lower sixth – that’s about 15 years ago! It was a collection of friends playing all the wrong instruments for a big band, but I guess I got the bug then. We slowed down for a few years while I was studying; then as my musical network expanded everything started to ramp up. The band’s quality is in its component musicians – I’m honoured to have some of the best musicians in the region playing in the band today.

BSH: How about yourself? What or who inspired you to take up the trumpet as opposed to saxophone, guitar or even sport!
I honestly couldn’t tell you – I remember being offered the opportunity to play an instrument at school and declared one day that I’d like to play the trumpet! I did listen to a lot of Louis Armstrong and Chet Baker when I was growing up, and really got into big bands through the Basie band and Buddy Rich.

BSH: SSBB has a large pad. Do you get charts from inside the band alongside the imported ones?
We’re knocking on 400 charts in our pad with about another 200 waiting to be added! There are several arrangements by band members in the pad, the most recent of which is a chart composed by Pete Tanton named ‘To Heaven Overnight’ - we’ll be featuring that in gigs soon. The majority of the pad is bought in, but my aim when purchasing music is to find material that will stretch our playing and our audiences. The band is originally rooted in big band swing, but the range of music we love playing now is vast, both in terms of style/ genre and composer. Our pad boasts some of the best classic tunes played by bands like Miller, Ellington and Basie alongside a huge number of amazing contemporary charts by composers and arrangers like John Fedchock, Bob Mintzer, Callum Au, Kenny Wheeler, Adam Bartczak to name a few.
You can’t nail the Mintzer without knowing the Miller! 

BSH: Away from the big band you occasionally pop up at jams. Is this a release valve to get away from the responsibility of being a bandleader or do you just enjoy blowing anyway?
Absolutely! It’s lush to just turn up and play without having to organise music, book musicians, find a room, build the PA, direct the ensemble. It’s also a release in terms of the musical form – big band music can sometimes be viewed as restricting, arrangements need to be followed for the group to function. That’s obviously not always the case in a small band or in a jam.

BSH: Favourite trumpet player/ big band (apart from SSBB)
I’m a big Chet Baker fan, there is something about the fluidity of his playing which appeals to me. To select one big band which is a favourite is impossible – The Buddy Rich and Basie Bands swing like nowt, I love compositions and arrangements by guys like Chris Walden, Bobby Watson, Tom Kubis, Tim Davies and a current favourite is a fella based in Denver named Adam Bartczak. I feel his music really fits with our philosophy – material that takes the long tradition on big band music and develops it for a new audience, challenges the bands playing (both personally and as a unit) and therefore improves it, and makes punters think about, but still enjoy, what they’re listening to without alienation.

BSH: Next SSBB gig our readers should look out for is, in fact, tonight (Sunday, March 20), at the Black Bull, Blaydon. A great, albeit small, venue. Does this inhibit the band in any way?
I personally love it - big band, small room! It can be tricky when the back wall is only 10 feet away from the end of your horn and there are 19 musicians all going at it, but the atmosphere at those gigs is always ace! These venues and clubs are generally also receptive to a more varied repertoire.

BSH: Other gigs?
We’re always at the Millstone Pub on the last Thursday of the month for a free gig, so that one is next. After that we’re at Sage Gateshead on 15th April playing a full gig, Hoochie Coochie on 19th June and at the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh on 10th July. All the details for those are on our web site at www.strictly-smokin.co.uk
We’ve also just released a new CD, which is on sale at gigs from Sunday. It’s a live disc from our gig at Hoochie Coochie in December 2015.

BSH: Thanks Michael I’ll look forward to hearing the new album.

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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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