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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

Archives

Today Monday September 25

Afternoon.
Jazz in the Afternoon - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
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Classic Swing - Marquis of Granby, Streetgate, Sunniside NE16 5ES. 0191 4880954. 1pm. Free. New mainstream gig w. Bob Wade (trumpet); Olive Rudd (vocal) and other familiar faces.
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Alastair Lord (trumpet) & Kris Thomsett (organ) - St. Nicholas Cathedral, St. Nicholas Square, Newcastle NE1 1PF. 1:05. Free (retiring collection).
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Evening.
?????
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Greg Abate & Paul Edis @ Gala Theatre, Durham - November 11

Greg Abate (alto); Paul Edis (piano)
(Review by Brian Ebbatson/Photo courtesy of Jerry Edis/Collage courtesy of Brian Ebbatson)
Friday lunchtime at the Gala in Durham and an audience of 100 await expectantly the return of New England reedman/flautist Greg Abate and Northeast keyboardist Paul Edis. They launched straight into their programme of seven extended numbers and it was clear from the start that the prevailing spirit behind the music was Greg’s mentor and recording partner Phil Woods who passed away in September last year. Five of the pieces played were either from collaborations with Woods, from tributes to him, or tributes by Woods to fellow musicians.
They began with a favourite Abate opener, Jerome Kern’s All the Things You Are*, Greg stating the opening phrases on alto before launching into the melody and into an extended alto solo, Paul picking out chords and harmonies behind him, urging him on, before Greg hands over to Paul to plot his own path through the possibilities of the song. Greg came back with further elaborations on the theme culminating on a soaring and dipping finish.
The pace is slower for the next piece, The End of a Love Affair, which Greg features as a duet with Phil Woods on Kindred Spirits. Greg opens again but quickly Paul and he are taking lines in turn. As the solos develop a bluesy feel emerges, each player quoting parts of the theme as they develop their solos. They close with more exchanges before Greg finishes in a swirl from the bottom to the top of the register.
Between numbers Greg explained (if I heard him properly) that after visiting the North East last year he had left his flute on the tube in Glasgow. He had recovered it but because of the exigencies of his touring arrangements this year (he had left Cheltenham at 5.00am this morning and had to leave for Maidenhead early on Saturday) he had left it and his tenor at his Leicester base, a pity as his flute playing last year was exquisite.
On his 2015 CD Motif the flute features on the next number, his own composition Morning of the Leaves, a beautiful jazz waltz, Greg summoning up the mood of spring (or was it this autumn?) on his alto, quoting as we went along from Softly as the Morning Sunrise, Paul matching his lyricism on keys.
Greg now returned to Phil Woods and their recent joint CD (Woods’ last recording) Kindred Spirits, with Harold Arlen’s A Sleeping Bee, another beautiful melody. Greg begins with a delicate intro, a short bridge, then picks up the pace to introduce the full song line. Paul supports on piano as Greg stretches out once again with an intense but controlled solo, then Paul takes to over with his own explorations. Greg returns ranging to the lower registers before finishing on another bluesy, boppy flourish around the theme.
Greg reflected on the challenges of playing as a duet without bass and drums support, and how this helps reveal more from the material. Harder work for both, but perhaps a promise for even more exciting music at the Jazz Café in the evening with the full quartet.
Now the concert was in full swing and the final three numbers brought the audience to repeated rapturous applause. Greg jogged Paul’s memory with the chords and riffs of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird Suite before they set off through Bird’s masterpiece. Brilliant solos from both, phrases traded, quotes from amongst other numbers prompted by their improvisations, The Lady is a Tramp. It felt as if this is what they had been building up to in all the previous numbers.
A ballad, Moonlight in Vermont followed. Paul opened improvising on the chords, Greg took the theme, Paul picks up on his suggestions and takes the melody forward, before both take long solos, again quoting from other songs prompted by their improvisations. It’s as if they are picking up ideas from deep in their imagination and knowledge of the music, a sort of collage that had me musing of George Braque pictures or Kurt Schwitters assemblages.
The final number was Cedar’s Blues, another piece from Kindred Spirits, a tribute by Phil Woods to Cedar Walton. It’s a good paced blues, space for striding piano and almost funky alto, perhaps derived from Greg’s time with Ray Charles. Both players are clearly enjoying themselves, throwing phrases back and forth to each other as they develop the piece. Paul’s solo reminds me again of Horace Silver or was it Wyn Kelly? They come back to what we think is the final phrase, then suddenly Greg morphs the piece into Blue Monk, both stretch the theme out with lengthy solos building up to as real climax as Greg returns to Cedar’s Blues for a long drawn out swirling finish.
Brian E
*(Greg can be heard playing All the Things You Are here.


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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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