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Bebop Spoken There

Piers Paul Read: "Bruce Reynolds and Biggs shared an interest in Sex, Jazz and Hemingway." - (The Train Robbers by Piers Paul Read, Coronet Books 1979.)

George Shearing: "Speaking about Johann Sebastian Bach I think he'd be a real jazzer if he were alive today. I mean any man who has two wives, twenty kids, gets kicked out of the church for being too harmonically radical and drinks beer can't be all wrong can he?" - (Crescendo March 1984.)

Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance

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Today Thursday July 19

Afternoon

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Maine St. Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Holywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NJ. 8:30pm. Free.

Alexys de Alfaro: Guitar Dreams with Coco Vega - Prohibition Bar, Arch 3, Brandling Street, Gateshead NE8 2BA. Doors 7:00pm. A ‘jar on the bar’ gig. Guitar & percussion.

Alter Ego - St James’ & St Basil’s Church, Fenham Hall Drive, Newcastle NE4 9EJ. 7:30pm. £10.00.

Jesse Bannister Quartet - Jazz Café, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. £10.00. (£8.00. concs.). JNE.

Northern Monkey Brass Band - Jubilee Park, Spennymoor DL16. 6:00-9:00pm. Free. Big BRASS Bash (Durham Brass Festival).

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm.

Tees Hot Club w. Donna Hewitt (alto); Josh Bentham (tenor); Dave Archbaid (keys) - Dormans Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 9pm. Free.

Jazz Jam - Fire Station, High Street West, Sunderland SR1 3DT. Tel: 0191 594 7241. 8pm. Free.

Billy's Buskers: Plug in and Play - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 7:00pm. Free.

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

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tim Garland Quartet @ Sage Gateshead – October 21

Tim Garland (tenor, alto saxophones, bass clarinet), Ant Law (guitars), Jason Rebello (keyboards), Asaf Sirkis (drums, percussion).
(Review by Steve Tolstoy/photo courtesy of Pam Young).
It was clear from the off this was something of a homecoming for Tim Garland. Turns out he used to teach music in Newcastle, lived in Whitley Bay for a time and recorded at Sage Gateshead while they were still finishing off the roof. This was home turf and it showed in his relaxed demeanour and infectious enthusiasm.
It was also obvious that this wasn’t a headliner and his band, but a real live super-group. His excitement at them ‘kicking your (his) ass each night’ was palpable, overflowing regularly through the night, whooping and clearly into their solos, leading the applause as he provided genuine backing with his various percussion objects. When you consider he played with Chick Corea for seventeen years, that these musicians plainly still blow him away ought to tell you something.

He set the scene for opener Best Day of your Life, maybe a slight exaggeration but a good day and a glorious band who put on a great show. It began with soprano and acoustic guitar before bursting into a fusiony, Latiny groove which flowed through the whole set, some beautiful real piano from Rebello.
Following the solos he took it back to the melody in the first of regular moments of jouissance, generally as he took it back to the head, reflecting what a great writer of melody he is.
Part of the dynamics of this group is the absence of bass which they address in various ways between them. Being something of a philistine in this regard, and with nothing emulating a Hammond, I wasn’t sure how it would all hold together, but they had it covered, and then some, Ant Law, possibly due to the absence of Hammond, taking on the bulk with his not quite so secret weapon, the eight string.
Some guitarists play bass like a guitarist but not Ant Law, and in a band with such loud echoes of Return to Forever and Weather Report, he’s mixing it with the best there’s ever been.
A duo followed with an extended sax intro before some chord textures on Fender Rhodes, but had he not told us in advance, I don’t think I’d have recognised it as Good Morning Heartache, which is maybe how it should be.
Most of the gig was taken from their excellent current album One, referring to ‘the unifying power of music’ and the next piece was Foretold from the album, sans Egyptian percussion but with some tampering to his tenor.
It featured the remarkable Asaf Sirkis on drums and percussion, effortlessly keeping the whole thing together, seemingly able to hold down multiple complex rhythms in tandem, gradually escalating to a percussion bombardment, Laws’ eight string laying down the bass incessantly throughout.
Next up Tyne Song dedicated to a working river (with equally famous fog) as he gloated he’d been talking about it on his nationwide tour but now it was right outside. It’s a great piece featuring a lovely subtle side to Laws’ playing, slowly turning up the heat before Tim came back in, utilising the full range of the sax.
Set one concluded with Sama’I for Peace, soprano evocative of exotic cultures but loads of plain old fusion, another Fender Rhodes solo, and all his solos throughout, on acoustic and electric were brilliant and thoughtful, before another drum outburst sent us to the break satisfied but with the relish of more to follow.
More of the same doesn’t remotely do justice to a night of great musical variety but works as a qualitative statement.
Eternal Greeting he told us referred to the infinite potential for improvisation, particularly with musicians of this calibre, though he explained it far more eloquently than I can, betraying an inquisitive intelligence. He’s also really hip, more so as he moves into the coolest decade, your fifties (obviously).
Putting his whole body into it he was like Sonny Rollins, Ant Law bringing a Spanish influence on acoustic, no doubt reflecting the reverence its composer has for Chick Corea.
Following Colours of Night, he asked Rebello to demonstrate the Fender Rhodes sound (actually on a Roland) and he played the theme from Taxi by Bob James, informing us the instrument was developed for traumatised veterans returning from Vietnam, and how ironic that it became a mainstay of Jazz-rock,. Although I suspect most people now think of Bob James as one of the architects of smooth Jazz, I was reminded how widespread it was in Jazz-funk.
We got some conical singing/ scatting from Sirkis which I’ve heard Trilok Gurtu do and somebody in Shakti (though presumably not John McLaughlin) but he seemed particularly skilled at it. He also does a little on the album.
Blues for Little Joe for his son who was in the audience though he’s no longer little, was a great group performance, and they all finished together.
A bass clarinet solo version of Black is the Colour of Her Hair, with some effects making it sound quite exotic though he forewarned us that classical musicians refer to the instrument as the ‘random note generator’.
Prototype for Bill Bruford who, he told us, played with Yes, Genesis and Earthworks though, since he was in King Crimson on and off for over twenty years, my guess is Robert Fripps’ probably now looking for Mr Garland. ‘We want to hear some more guitar’ he spoke for all of us, though he wasn’t expecting Happy Birthday for his fiftieth two days earlier as his wife brought out a cake. Then we got some more guitar and this man knows his progressive rock guitarists, his perfect clean sound justifying his position as one of the finest Jazz guitarists in the land, and one with a keen ear for exploration.
One for the son meant the encore needed to be one for the daughter; Bella Rosa renamed Rosa Ballerina to avoid confusion with a Newcastle restaurant of the same name, and in F sharp to reflect the pitch of her screaming at birth.

A handful of empty seats so next time, which probably won’t be too long, we must make sure it’s a sell-out.

1 comment :

Hugh said...

Excellent review, Steve, for a superb gig. Could well be lining up for my choice for gig of the year...

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About this blog - contact details.

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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