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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, January 02, 2017

A Look at 2016

(Lance/photo of  NYE Park Avenue NYC courtesy of Daryl Sherman)
The Gateshead International Jazz Festival, as always, stands supreme. This year, Simon Spillett's Tubby Hayes presentation was everything we could expect from two giants - past and present.
Alex Webb's  Café Society Swing was another that kept us well on the inside. Vimala Rowe an exciting new voice on the scene.
I didn't make the Ushaw College gigs, the Classic Jazz Party at Whitley Bay, or the Sunderland Big Band Festival but those of my agents on the ground who did make it, gave them the thumbs up - in fact - they only wished they'd had more thumbs!
As always, the Jazz Coop promoted jazz and jazz - related music at both a local, national, and international level. They also coordinate with the Empty Shop in Durham which is packing them in on a monthly basis.
Jazz North East did likewise - and I had to miss the icing, Greg Abate!
The Jazz Café had many great gigs both upstairs and downstairs but, the fortnightly, downstairs, jam is now in every aspiring jazzer's diary along with those who've long past the aspiring stage.
Hoochie Coochie is perhaps the unsung hero. Warren books mainly soul/funk bands but, if he thinks they stand a chance, he'll have a jazz act in there.
The Cherry Tree in Jesmond has been a supporter of jazz since Peter Wardle took over a few years back. Gigs for the guys but not always the support such a venture deserves - despite the food being of equal quality to the music!
Roly Veitch keeps Blaydon Jazz Club above water at the Black Bull with a monthly varied program.
The big bands may be dead but they refuse to lie down. Musicians Unlimited, Strictly Smokin' Big Band, Customs House Big Band, Durham University Big Band, New Century Ragtime Orchestra and a few others still carry the flame. Jason Isaacs fronts a great big band and Paul Skerritt fronts a great small band - as do Alice Grace, Ruth Lambert, Lindsay Hannon, Zoe Gilby, Debra Milne and a few others.
One of the most significant figures of 2016 was Paul Edis. Organiser, composer, arranger, performer, educator and promoter of well-supported gigs at St. Cuthbert's Centre, Crook; Gala Theatre, Durham; Newcastle's Lit & Phil and the aforementioned Ushaw College to name but a few - and a fine fellow too!
The trad bands still survive and, often with younger members replacing those that stopped ramblin'.
So, by and large, the north-east is relatively healthy, Down the road a piece, Plenty going on on Teeside and, over in Cumbria, there's also things happening there too. So, I guess this hasn't been a bad year for jazz - at least we haven't had a Jexit!
Lance
PS: Daryl [Sherman] sent the pic to me as I was typing and I thought, Let's use it - I love her!

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