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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.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Alter Ego @ Empty Shop, Durham - December 1

Keith Robinson (alto), Niall Armstrong (tenor, flute), Dave Hignott (trumpet, flugelhorn), Andy Hawking (keys), Tony Abell (bass), David Francis (drums).
(Review by Steve T)
In an attempt to keep the wife from the door, that's the exit, and with so much going on over the next three weeks, I decided to make this gig one [set] only. I thought musicians/promoters gave our bank accounts a break in December! 
I wasn't sure if I'd seen this band before and I'm still not; maybe I saw them under another name. I'll get my coat.
With natives of places like Blyth and wildest Northumberland on stage, I felt like a Teessider in need of a translator. This linguistic problem was remedied by a set list handed over in the interval. Beauty became Budini, Don't Leave Paris became Dog Leap Bounce. Thereafter I seemed to get the hang of it.  
The rhythm section were solid, the keyboardist slipping seamlessly between a Fender Rhodes electric sound and something close to acoustic piano. No over-indulgence whatsoever from bass and drums, the former taking three solos in the first set alone but with no padding, no needless flash, each solo serving the melody and the piece.
Some Latin, some funk, three first set originals from Niall and you couldn't separate them from originals by McCoy Tyner (Blues on the Corner), Neil Larson (Sudden Samba) and Kenny Garrett (Computer G).
The horns were a revelation, a background in Big Bands a given but I was amazed to find they didn't feature routinely in the same Big Band. The solos, counterpoint and harmonising were all great, the remaining two coming in behind the soloist to give an extra lift. During Niall’s Mustard Mash all three riffed behind the piano solo taking it even higher.

Not quite full to capacity, but cracking thirty by the break, meant a bit more space for the people there. No reflection on the band whatsoever. I'd forgotten how grateful the Empty Shop regulars are, beaming smiles like they can't believe they've landed in a city which has this. A cold night in that 'calm before the storm' period, though your co-host Alison thinks it is Christmas every day, at least in December. Clearly lots going on around the Uni too, with some dressed like Bruce Wayne at a society event and others like his alter ego. I'll get that coat.

Is it still the coolest regular Jazz night in the region? You need to check it out and make your own mind up, but you may need to get there early or you might find yourself listening with the smokers outside the Fighting Cocks, where you'll need a coat, and maybe even someone with a cape.
Steve T.

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