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Bebop Spoken There

Guy Barker: "You have to play it [the trumpet] every day or you just won't be match-fit." - (Jazz Rag, Winter 2019.)

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Today Friday December 13

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux CarréJazzmen - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. ‘Christmas Jazz Lunch’. Details from 0191 252 9429).

Dean Stockdale Trio - The Merry Monk, 30 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening.

Jazz

‘An Evening of Swing & Sparkle’ - National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL. Tel: 0191 515 5555. 7:30pm. £35.00. Rat Pack evening inc. 4-course meal.

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regents Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 284 3700. 8:00pm. £12.00. + bf. First night of two.

Chris Dean's Syd Lawrence Orchestra - Yarm School, Stockton TS15 9EJ. Tel: 01642 786023. 7:30pm (6:30pm doors). £18.00. + £1.80. bf (£15.00. + £1.50. bf). 'Mistletoe & Miller'.

Blues, Funk/Soul etc.

Baghdaddies - Cobalt Studios, Boyd Street, NewcastleNE2 1AP. £10.68 (inc. bf). ‘Big Xmas Knees Up’.

Swamp Hoppers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

George Shovlin & the Acoustic Radars feat. Pat Rafferty + George Pallas & John Wilkins - Whitburn Cricket Club, East Street, Whitburn SR6 7BZ. Tel: 0191 529 3187. 7:30pm (7:00pm doors). £7.50. admission by ticket only (from www.wegottickets.com). 'The Bents Road Sessions'.

Dead Skunk Skiffle & Blues Orchestra + Stetson Five - Station East, Hills Street, Gateshead NE8 2AN. 8:00pm. Free.

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

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Mark Williams & Joel McCullough @ Ushaw Durham Jazz Festival. August 27

Mark Williams (guitar) & Joel McCullough (guitar)
(Review by Russell/photo courtesy of Fiona Haughton)
Jazz guitar. There is something about an intimate jazz guitar gig in a small space. Two of the finest guitarists around played a duo concert in the inviting Francis Thompson Room to an attentive, full house. Two men from Belfast, playing jazz guitar, studied together at Newcastle College, then went their separate ways. One made his home on Tyneside, the other worked in Manchester. Years later they reunited on Tyneside and picked up where they left off…playing jazz guitar.

 The inaugural Ushaw Durham Jazz Festival booked Mark Williams and Joel McCullough to play a set of standards. What a gig! And it had yet to start! Unassuming, approachable, Williams and McCullough ensured they had liquid refreshment at hand (Brown Ale – see photograph), pulled up a chair – the audience settled into large sofas – and started to play. All the Things You Are. Perfect. Egos left at the door, two friends playing, appreciative of one another’s abilities. Then I’ll Be Seeing You. It couldn’t get any better. Then again, try a couple of Steve Swallow’s compositions – Ladies in Mercedes and Falling Grace.

John Scofield is rarely absent from the set list and this Durham gig was no different. And a marvellous Ladybird, heard earlier in the day in the same room in the Early Bird Band’s set, promised to be the highlight. Williams eased his way into Tadd Dameron’s tune with McCullough’s languid bass line accompaniment of A* quality. A glance, if that, and the duo swapped roles, McCullough showing what he could do with the tune. Wonderful.                   
In their youth, the two lads from the streets of Belfast would attend jazz clubs to hear one of the true greats. They spoke about the times they listened to Louis Stewart. In memory of the man, Williams and McCullough played first an Irish folk tune She Moved Through the Fair followed by Darn That Dream. Perfect.

Russell.

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