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Bebop Spoken There

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13,218 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 637 of them this year alone and, so far, 45 this month (May 11).

Coming soon ...



May 20: Vieux Carré Jazzmen at The Holystone (Indoors!)
May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club. 8:30pm start.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 21: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).
June 23: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club. (Revised date).

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Safe Sextet (-1) @ The Jazz Co-op. June 4

Don Forbes (trumpet), John Rowland (tenor saxophone), Peter Gilligan (piano), Barry Ascroft (bass) & Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell/photo courtesy of Minnie Fraser)
The Safe Quintet. It doesn’t have the same ring to it. Four of the Safe Sextet’s regulars –  Gowland, Grainger, Law and Wight – were otherwise engaged…better offers (aka filthy lucre) and a European jazz jolly. One or two deps were drafted in…old  stager Mr Barry Ascroft (the archetypal ‘You hum it, I’ll play it’ piano player) working as a depping bass player on this gig, Safe Sextet alumnus Peter Gilligan (piano), and a half-decent depping drummer, Mr Russ Morgan.
The Globe – Jazz Co-op HQ – was open for business. The downstairs bar resembled Key Largo, not in terms of hoodlums (Edward G & co), nor the reluctant hero (Bogie), rather the numbers…an under-employed bartender and a couple of barflies. The upstairs room, the jazz room, awaited an audience. The Wylam Brewery was the hand-pull. So, Wylam Gold Tankard it was – at a sensible £3.50. a pint.
The Safe Sextet’s soundcheck received a modicum of applause. The audience arrived in ones and twos, Don Forbes & co were ready to go but not before a classic one-liner. The monitor positioned front left of Russ Morgan wasn’t playing ball. Our depping drummer couldn’t hear the piano and, as sound engineer Minnie Fraser tweaked matters technical,   Morgan quipped: Don’t worry, I don’t really want to hear him [Peter Gilligan] anyway!
Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise opened with bandleader Don Forbes going for it. Nardis, then Hocus Pocus featured old school tenor man John Rowland, Buddy Tate-style. Hang on a minute…this wasn’t Emcee 5 material, nor Stan Tracey. Matter not, the tunes were fine and the line-up dandy. The all-seated quintet played for an hour and more before the boss – trumpeter Forbes – suggested a short intermission.
A slightly longer than shorter intermission, a winning raffle ticket (!) and we were ready to go again. A good humoured bunch, the band winged it at times…grab a solo, debate a final chord, it came together well. One time Safe Sextet pianist Barry Ascroft did the job as Baz does – without any fuss, Peter Gilligan sounded great on the house upright and as drummers go, ‘first call’ can be applied to Russ Morgan. A brace of Forbes’ tunes stood comparison; Blues for the Boys, written with ‘the old place’ (25 Pink Lane) in mind  and all who played there, then Rico. Forbes couldn’t remember who Rico was, it didn’t make any difference to Morgan – what a solo! It had been a canny night. The Safe Sextet (-1) went out on Come Rain or Come Shine with a fleeting reference to Singing in the Rain in the final couple of bars.
Another fine trumpet player will be at the Jazz Co-op on Railway Street on Thursday 9th June. Ex-pat American Pete Tanton will be jetting in with his Riviera Quartet. The mode of transport could be pertinent: 'Twas on the 9th of June, 1862, on a summer’s afternoon. Roads in Newcastle city centre will be closed to traffic from 6:30pm to accommodate the several thousands of runners taking part in the Blaydon Road Race beginning at 7:15pm. The elite, the club runner and the straggler will be streaming past the Globe’s front door for the best part of an hour, so if you’re Gannin’ alang Scotswood Road be prepared for a short/long delay.  
Russell.                

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