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Bebop Spoken There

Camila Meza: "Some tonalities or chords are colors to me: G major is blue, D major is orange and B minor is totally yellow." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Monday June 17

Afternoon

Jazz

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Tenement Jazz Band - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:30pm (doors). Free (donations).

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

Friday, August 19, 2016

CD Review: Fred Hersch Trio - Sunday Night at The Village Vanguard

Fred Hersch (piano); John Hébert (bass); Eric McPherson (drums).
Review by Dave Brownlow.
Hersch, rightfully acknowledged as one of today’s jazz masters is, like good wine, maturing with age! His choice of challenging material inspires himself and his cohorts to enthusiastically respond with vitality and sensitivity – especially, here, in the freer atmosphere of  this March 2016 session at The Village Vanguard NYC, scene of so many classic recordings.

Rogers and Hammerstein’s A Cock-eyed Optimist (an unusual vehicle for a jazz group), after an ‘impressionist’ intro, bounces cheerfully along, yes, even optimistically, with Fred spinning long lines in the upper registers of the piano.
Serpentine, the first of four originals, is a minor-keyed piece in an out-of-tempo ‘free’ style where all three contribute equally.
The Optimum Thing based on the chord changes of Irving Berlin’s The Best Thing For You opens at a brisk tempo then accelerates to a gallop. (On other nights, I’m informed, it decelerates!) This contrafact is a similar idea to Lee Konitz’ SubconsciousLee which uses Cole Porter’s What Is This Thing Called Love for its chordal base.
Calligram - an avant-garde piece dedicated to French pianist Benoit Delbecq who writes his scores in graphics. Clusters of atonal notes á la Cecil Taylor, and seemingly unconnected, lines of music abounding. McPherson’s drums clatter away in the background in the Elvin Jones style - Make of it what you will!  Blackwing Palomino (the name of a brand of pencil) is Hersch’s fourth original. A cleverly-chorded bluesy piece which swings along with a logically developed piano solo and great support from bass and drums. Again, McPherson is prominent throughout with a constant commentary of stylish rhythm.
Lennon and McCartney’s For No One is given a slow rendition far removed from the Beatles’ own take. Hersch knows the sad lyrics about a breakup and delivers a performance which draws a sympathetic response from the audience.
Kenny Wheeler’s Everybody’s Song But My Own is a wonderful tribute to the trumpeter who died last year. This is a song which everyone seems to know because it is based on a musical device known as ‘The Circle Of  Fifths’ which has been used by composers from time immemorial. Kenny Wheeler’s title ironically points this out !
Jimmy Rowles’ The Peacocks is a ballad the melody of which uses many chromatic intervals and is difficult to play – that’s why it’s not often heard. The trio gives a masterly performance with some shimmering interplay between the keyboard and percussion – one of the highlights of the album.
Fred Hersch always closes a set with a Monk piece – this time it’s We See which bounds along with impish humour. His own chordal choices show respect for the original, amply enhancing the performance to great audience reaction.
Valentine is the unaccompanied encore. This is quite an exquisite melody (to which Norma Winstone added some powerful lyrics on a previous duo setting) given a simple but emotional performance by the pianist to round off another great CD.
Overall then, a fine album with nods to the past, present and future
Available now from Palmetto-Records.com or Amazon or download it from itunes.
Dave Brownlow

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