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Bebop Spoken There

Dayna Stephens: "I always tell them [students] there will never be anyone who will play it [EWI] as technically proficient as this cat [Michael Brecker] did." - (JazzTimes June 2019).

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Today Tuesday June 25

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jam Session - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, 59 Westgate Rd., Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel. 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. Free. Trio Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

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

Sunday, January 01, 2017

CD Review: Alex Levine Quartet - Towards the Center

Alex Levine (guitar); Marcus Elliot (tenor); Ben Rolston (bass); Stephen Boeegehold (drums).
(Review by Lance).
This one hit the street in October last year (yes 2016 is now in the past!) but, just as it was nearing the top of the pile, a blockbuster would drop onto the player pushing the Alex Levine Quartet back down the queue.
Towards the Center isn't a blockbuster - it's too subtle for that - and certainly doesn't deserve to be overlooked so, belatedly, here it is.
It's dedicated to the visionary musician, poet, and artist, Henry Grimes who provided Levine with immeasurable creative wisdom and guidance during many hours of private lessons both playing and in conversation. 
One of Levine's all-original compositions on the album, Adama, is inspired by Grimes' poem Adama and Porquory. The poem and the composition is a spiritual history of human beings beginning with total harmony, unity of purpose and understanding, to disorder and conflict, and disparate human mythologies created to define the inexplicable forces that have shaped our universe.
Phew!
This takes 2:43. which sure puts the Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works (90:00) into perspective. Having said that, beautiful as the piece is I don't think there is enough mood change to convey the poem's intention. Nevertheless, outstanding bass playing from Rolston both as a soloist and intertwining with Levine, combine to make for an introspective and compelling track.
Putting the spiritual history to one side and listening to all  13 tracks without the distraction of human mythologies and inexplicable forces it is an excellent session by four superb musicians. Elliot can mix it with the best. Like Levine, he plays with a knowledge of the past and an eye to the future. Levine's compositions are a credit, not just to his mentor Grimes, but to his own creativity. The interplay between guitar and tenor is mutually complemental and I'm sure there will be more from them.
Boeegehold's drums fit the mood and hold it all together.
But perhaps Michael Malis, in his notes, made the moist relevant comment re the album's title.
"When we seek recognition we look outward. But when we seek wisdom we look Toward the Center."
Lance.

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