Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Giovanni Guidi: "So many jazz albums today are all original compositions, and five minutes after the record is finished, you can't remember a single song. I think it's a problem." - (JazzTimes Oct. 2019).

Archive

Daily: July 6 - October 27

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden - Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA. Tel: 0191 478 1810. Screenings at intervals during the day. Part of Akomfrah's exhibition Ballasts of Memory. Exhibition (daily) July 6 - October 27. 10:00am-6:00pm. Free.

Today Friday October 18

Afternoon

Jazz

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden (see above).

Classic Swing - Jesmond Royal British Legion Club, West Jesmond Avenue, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 3EX. Tel: 0191 281 0736. 1:00pm. Free.

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

Evening.

Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things - Forum Cinema, Market Place, Hexham NE46 1XF. Tel: 01434 601144. 7:00pm. £8.30. - £5.80. Film (2019, 89 mins) directed by Leslie Woodhead. Swing Bridge Trio in Café Bar following screening.

Dave O’Higgins & Colin Oxley - Great Broughton Village Hall, Ingleby Road, Great Broughton TS9 7ER. 7:30pm. £20.00. ‘O’Higgins & Oxley Play Monk & ‘Trane’. Oxley replaces Rob Luft.

Paul Taylor - Ushaw College, Durham DH7 7DW. Tel: 0191 334 5119. 7:30pm. Free (donations). An Ushaw Piano Festival event.

Jazz Lads - Saltburn Cricket Club, Marske Mill Lane, Saltburn TS12 1HJ. Tel: 01287 622761. 8:00pm. £5.00.

Guisborough Big Band - Saltburn Golf Club, Guisborough Road, Saltburn TS12 1NJ. Tel: 01287 622812. Time TBC.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool - Tyneside Cinema, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6QG. Tel: 0191 227 5500. Time 8:30pm. Screening of Stanley Nelson's documentary film (2019, cert. 15, 1hr 55mins).

Blues/Soul etc.

Ray Stubbs R & B All Stars - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

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

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Jazz Christmas Carol @ Ushaw College. Dec 17

(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew).
County Durham’s jazz fans turned out en masse for this stellar occasion at Ushaw. The ‘never miss’ were joined by the ‘rarely miss’ and ‘others’ swelled audience numbers to such an extent that the majority of seats in the imposing Exhibition Hall were occupied shortly before the eight o’clock start. Alan Barnes’ A Jazz Christmas Carol attracted an audience of hardcore fans, musicians (‘night off’ entered in the diary months ago), and, no doubt, enthusiasts of Charles Dickens.
The Alan Barnes’ All Star Octet was just that – ‘all-star’. Last week’s announcement of this year’s British Jazz Awards (poll winners and the top five) couldn’t have been more opportune. Barnes himself won best clarinet, Mark Nightingale top trombone and Clark Tracey, drums. The other five members of the Octet – Karen Sharp and Robert Fowler, reeds, Bruce Adams, trumpet, Dave Newton, piano and Simon Thorpe, bass – placed in the top five in their respective categories.

Barnes played the part, attired in Victorian night clothes, looking a right old Dickensian! Brandishing a candlestick holder, bandleader Barnes extinguished the flame, the reading would now commence. Spectacles perched, our Dickensian read passages, stopping from time to time as a thought occurred, sharing an idea, an observation, unfailingly hilarious. The jazz? Ah! Music of such quality, the nonchalance of it all masked their mastery. The band members laughed along, whether they were hearing the joke for the first time or the umpteenth. The audience loved it, some scarcely suppressing a giggle in anticipation of a one-liner. Barnes’ long-time sparring partner Bruce Adams, himself a wit, chose to hold his counsel, steadfastly refusing to rise to the bait – Barnes describing a Dickensian feast of turkeys, hams, suckling pigs, and more, looked along the line at the ‘portly’ trumpeter (A Barnes’ description) asking: Has anyone been to lunch at Bruce’s house?

The jazz was superb. The Ghost of Jacob Marley (along with the Ghosts of Christmas, Past, Present and Yet to Come) the musical/literary device linking sections, featuring members of the band/cast. The Start of It heard a three clarinet frontline intro of Barnes, Karen Sharp (later cast as an unlikely Bah Humbug on baritone) and  Robert Fowler. To the left of Barnes stood Sharp and Fowler, then Adams and trombone master Mark Nightingale. Taking the opportunity to extol the talents of one of the world’s great trombone players, Barnes looked at Dave Newton seated to his right and wondered out loud why he wasted his time tinkering at the piano! Hoots of laughter, cue Mark Nightingale, one of the great trombone players.

Picking up the bass clarinet Barnes said: I don’t know what this is, but earlier I caught Dave Newton smoking it. I confiscated it and found I could get a tune out of it!  And how!
The frontline played acoustically. The cavernous Exhibition Hall, with its ornate vaulted roof, posed no problems in projecting the sound. The purring rhythm section (the bearded professorial looking Newton, the smiling bassist Simon Thorpe and the lugubrious award-winning Clark Tracey, drums) offered a master class of its own. And so, we came to The End of It. Barnes closed the book, spectacles to one side, the band went out swinging on  God Bless Us Everyone.

Dickens done, Barnes’ All Star Octet left us with a few Christmas tunes (Bah Humbug!). The Christmas Song, the rhythm section boys soloing by way of introduction on Winter Wonderland and a sprinkling of Blue Monk on Santa Claus is Coming to Town. A five-star entertainment, Merry (Bah Humbug!) Christmas!                                        
Russell.
Alan Barnes (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Karen Sharp (tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet), Robert Fowler (tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet), Bruce Adams (trumpet), Mark Nightingale (trombone), Dave Newton (piano), Simon Thorpe (double bass) & Clark Tracey (drums)

1 comment :

Hugh said...

Summed up artfully, Russell - a great gig; the album is a cracker too AND there is still time for Santa to deliver it to your Christmas stocking! Available for a miserly sum of £10 here: http://www.woodvillerecords.com/A-Jazz-Christmas-Carol.htm

Blog Archive

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.

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