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Bebop Spoken There

Danny Gatton: "I was tired of playing in beer joints. I wanted to do something tangible like building cars. But once you do music it gets into your blood. You can get away from it for awhile but sooner or later it comes back to you." - (Down Beat April 1991).

Tal Farlow: "There were times when I would stop [playing guitar] and do sign painting." - (Downbeat December 5, 1963)

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Today Wednesday August 23

Afternoon
Vieux Carre Jazzmen - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
New Orleans Jazz at the Village Hall - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Rd., Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.
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Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. £1. 8pm.
Billy's Acoustic Blues - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free (weekly).
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Peter Gilligan Quartet: Empty Shop Durham - May 5.

Pete Gilligan (keys); Mark Williams (gtr); Paul Grainger (bs); Russ Morgan (dms).
(Review by Stephen T)
I was determined this would be a concise review; the band are all well known to readers of Bebop Spoken Here so a quick review and a bit about the venue. Oh well, best laid plans and all that.
Some time ago I told Paul Edis that the Empty Shop (ES) in Durham hosts the ' coolest ' regular Jazz night in the region. He hadn't played there at the time but has since though I don't know if he agrees. The venue is Durham’s best kept secret and boasts an international crowd (is that the pc way of putting it?) of students, professionals, tourists and well-behaved locals. Its selectivity is maintained by a hidden location, a locked door, the ringing of a bell and being checked out before entrance is granted.
On Jazz nights the door is open and you'll be greeted by Carlo (bottom right), a very amiable chap who has developed a passion for Jazz since the night started. There's no home comforts like paint, fancy furniture or carpets, though there is a rug for the drum kit, but inside you'll be welcomed by his delightful girlfriend, Allison (bottom left), and a wide range of reasonably priced beverages, including for vegetarians and vegans. An establishment with principles and this extends to the music policy too.
There' a Jazz group on every first Thursday of the month in association with the Jazz Co-op and another in between which could be any act who can play 2 forty five minute sets and Tony Eales, roving oracle of all things Jazz in the North East has arranged some excellent stuff, including Sue Ferris and Infusion.
At the seminar on the Philosophy of Improvisation (part of GIJF) Paul Bream spoke on the difficulties of promoting Jazz in the North East but ES has a different problem; trying to keep numbers down so they don't have to turn people away. This is why they introduced the second night, to try to spread the audience; they do virtually no advertising and have increased the cover charge to £5 for non-students.
It holds about 100 but only about 40 where the bands play, there's a side room but its use is discouraged because people tend to feel less a part of it and conversation can become a little loud. But never fear, Tony is always on the prowl like Inspector Shutit.
The captive audience includes a lot of students though in Durham many second and third years remain in summer, many stay following graduation and many lecturers are regulars. However, numbers inevitably drop during holidays but we always manage to attract a reasonable crowd by the end, sometimes by opening windows so passers-by can hear the sounds.  
On Thursday, we were pretty much full from the off.  Peter Gilligan is one of several outstanding pianists/keyboardists we're lucky enough to have in the region. I'm more accustomed to him playing the Jazz Cafe piano but modern keyboards can emulate just about any sound, including a decent approximation of an acoustic piano but, following opener Straight no Chaser which I thought had an almost Hammond sound, he unashamedly had it sounding like an electric piano reminiscent of Joe Sample in the Crusaders, a breath of fresh air when there's still some stigma regarding electricity.
His charisma, the relaxed informal exchanges among the band between pieces and his obvious enthusiasm is infectious as he bobs up and down on his piano stool, his legs bobbing up and down beneath and his head bobbing up and down on his shoulders. Two young lads at the front had beaming grins on their faces throughout both sets like they couldn't believe they were watching this at a tiny venue in the centre of Durham for £4. My own introduction to Jazz(Funk) was at a disco about ten seconds walk away in the mid/late seventies but that was just 7" and 12" lumps of plastic.
For a selection of the music they played I'm claiming immunity under the Surman Amendment, but in a suitably unpredictable set they played stuff by Kenny Baron, Renee Thomas, Joe Henderson and a Brecker. But for me they were at their best getting funky and ever so slightly rocky, not least on a Mark Williams original Tubes, his playing reminding me of Larry Carlton. The amiable Irishman is an invaluable mainstay of the local scene and with an album on the way, his trio booked at ES for July and a duo guitar set at Ushaw, there's much to look forward to from him. In relative terms I felt he let rip a touch more than with Leash but only insomuch as this band operates somewhere between the mainstream and Jazz Funk while Leash are more fully blown Jazz Rock Fusion, with greater opportunity for a heavier guitar sound. Both great local bands though.
The greatest applause went to drummer Russ Morgan when he chucked his sticks and played toms and hi-hat. Another rousing drum solo set up another Jazz Funk number which had everyone moving and went into overdrive when Mark again switched his pedal to Larry Carlton for another blistering solo.
Last piece and Mark was away again, Russ spurring him on and the leader and bass keeping the ship steady. The drummer switched to brushes for another fine bass solo from Paul Grainger; no mean feat in my mind to never play a boring bass solo, indeed, he never played a bum note all night.
Mark must have been playing around with his pedals again as I had to look between the keyboard and guitar to see who was making these strange sounds. It put me in mind of Ringo Starr talking about Tomorrow Never Knows, saying the guitar sounds like a piano and when somebody suggested they just play the piano he said the piano sounds like a guitar.
After some uncertainty whether we were getting an encore we were in for another treat. Rousing drums and yet more solid guitar before bass and keyboard came in and Mark was out for another great solo from the leader, then back in behind another fine bass solo, keyboard and guitar seemingly operating telepathically giving an abject lesson in unobtrusive comping. A splendid finale to a splendid set.
Mark's back with his trio in July so try your best to get there.  As Tony announces each time, live Jazz is good for you.
Stephen.
Any band looking for a mid-month Thursday night contact Carlo by googling (other search engines are available) Empty Shop Durham.



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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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