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Bebop Spoken There

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12,000 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1140 of them this year alone and, so far, 87 this month (Oct. 27).

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IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON.

OCTOBER

THURSDAY 29

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Abbie Finn Trio - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity (upstairs). It’s Abbie’s birthday!

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00-10:00pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

FRIDAY 30

Neil William & Ben Holland - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity. Jazz standards from the 1920s & 30s.

SATURDAY 31

Alice Grace & Pawel Jedrzejewski - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. £10.00. Online booking (to book a table). Limited capacity. Alice & Pav join a multi-bill of entertainers (magician etc) to celebrate Prohibition Bar’s fifth anniversary. SOLD OUT!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

JD Allen @ Pizza Express. EFG London Jazz Festival - November 19

JD Allen (tenor), Gregg August (bass), Sebastiaan de Krom (drums).
(Review by Steve T)
The Jazz life can be a lonely one, being what Gareth Lockrane referred to as the jazz kid at school. It was easier in my day when the jazz kid was held in quiet reverence, but I imagine half the gigs I've been to in my life have been on my own.
Having bumped into Lindsay, baritone player from the Durham Gala Big Band, before the MCA Power Trio earlier that evening, we headed off to Pizza Express together for pizza, wine, cworfee (sic) and the second of the this Saturday’s Tenor Titans.

He [JD Allen] didn't even adjust his sax mike when he introduced the band before he was off. Just bass and drums and he kept them busy throughout, perhaps so there was no one to tell him to take the horn out of his mouth, which he barely did for the next eighty minutes or thereabouts.
Allen played right through the first piece and, when the bass took a solo during the second, he comped through that.
Many of the riffs and vamps seemed vaguely familiar and Trane was the obvious first thought, though one had me thinking Caravan. It felt like a genuine stream of conscience coming through in his ideas and all credit to the band; his regular bass player and, particularly, Sebastiaan de Krom, who stepped in for this gig while the regular drummer negotiated the airways.  
A slow blues, still in Trane mode, followed by another slow one starting with JD and bass, then brushes, JD’s sax whispering while bass took the lead providing variety at exactly the right moment. When JD took back the lead, keys blazing, a moment of genuine applause, not just for the bass solo but for the moment.
As it went on, some started chatting, which I never mind and it wasn't clear whether the band did, but I know the venue do. Others danced around in their seats.
Tenor Titans was right but for me Murray clinched it by a whisker, solely on the basis that he has played through the influences and found his own voice. The only possible criticism of JD would be that he's still close to Trane, as a saxophonist, musician, performer and composer.
Having said that, if you're going to be close to anyone, it doesn't really get better than Trane. And that's not to say you don't hear other influences in his music. Tenor titans is right as he's clearly absorbed the other tenor titan, the saxophone colossus.
This was around eighty minutes, around midnight on a Saturday night/Sunday morning of brilliant, compelling, intense, uncompromising music in an amazing venue, harking back to late sixties New York.
As it neared its end, it felt like we were heading for total sheets of sound to last all night, which would have suited me just fine and much of the audience, if I'm not mistaken.

Steve T.

1 comment :

Steve T said...

Listening to a David Murray album (Special Quartet) purely by chance and I was struck by how close to Trane he was on this one. Of course almost every sax/tenor player since has a lot of Trane in there. On this album he's joined by McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones so we'll let him off.

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