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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.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Liberation Music Orchestra @ Cadogan Hall. EFG London Jazz Festival – November 20

(Review by Peter Jones).
Who are the Liberation Orchestra, and why do they exist? Well, there’s currently 12 of them, and their full name supplies at least a clue to their origins: the Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra has been going since 1969. From the outset, the late bassist and composer worked with pianist, composer and arranger Carla Bley, with the idea that jazz could be used to highlight social and political abuses around the world.
Introduced by Haden’s widow Ruth Cameron, this EFG London Jazz Festival gig featured material taken largely from their wonderful new album Time/Life – the last one to which Haden himself contributed. You might have expected some anguished speeches about recent events in the USA. In fact no mention was made, nor did it need to be: as they trooped on stage they looked less like an orchestra than the shell-shocked remnants of a defeated army. After all, every principle they have ever stood for or made albums about – human rights, political freedom, the environment, an end to poverty - is about to be trashed on their own doorstep.

 What was left to do but simply play music? They began, as the album begins, with Blue In Green, the frail-looking 80-year-old Bley sketching patterns in the air to cue the band. The Davis/Evans composition is a perfect choice for this ensemble: with its unusual 10-bar structure, it feels somehow infinite because it never resolves musically and your ears can’t tell where one chorus ends and the next begins. Time/Life, the album’s title track, is typical of the Orchestra: Matt Wilson’s bleak military snare drum was followed by a long, mournful tenor solo by Tony Malaby, and then there was a gradual build-up with French horn, tuba, trombone and trumpets joining in one by one to create waves of brass on an ever-ascending chord sequence.

In the circumstances, playing America The Beautiful might seem provocative. However, it was an idea of Haden’s to use patriotic corn like this in conjunction with songs like We Shall Overcome. Context is all. In truth, America The Beautiful didn’t always sound so beautiful (maybe it should be re-titled America the Post-Factual). It sounded dark and uneasy to begin with, as Wilson rapped out a funeral march, with some nice trumpet from Seneca Black, followed by a traditional waltz-time rendition of the tune. Earl McBride’s tuba then coughed into life and played a somewhat comical solo, which had the effect of making everyone on stage smile and relax for the first time in the evening. The tune continued with a discordant harmonic sequence, out of which emerged a more tuneful final chorus.

This was a potentially tough gig for Oles, having to replace Haden on the bass, but he responded magnificently, with a number of solo spots, particularly the impressionistic intro to Song for the Whales.


The Orchestra has survived the departure of Charlie Haden. One hopes very much that it will survive the eventual departure of Carla Bley. If we never needed it before, we sure do need it now.
Peter
Vincent Chancey (French horn), Tony Malaby (tenor saxophone) Earl McBride (tuba), Seneca Black (trumpet), Michael Rodriguez (trumpet), Loren Stillman (alto saxophone), Chris Cheek (tenor saxophone), Marshall Gilkes (trombone), Steve Cardenas (guitar), Matt Wilson (drums), Carla Bley (piano), Darak Oles (double bass)

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