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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Dee: "I feel my generation had one advantage over today's players in that we were not musically educated in colleges, so we all sounded different. I could tell who it was just by the sound." - (Jazz Rag, Summer 2020).

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11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

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SEPTEMBER

IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON

SATURDAY

Happy Birthday Katy Trigger & Mia Webb.

SUNDAY 20

Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. Tel: 0191 691 7090. 12 noon. Free.

Riviera Quartet - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. A limited number of seats are available which MUST be bought in advance online. £7:50 or £5:45 live stream only.

THURSDAY 24

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Billie Meets Kurt @ The Globe Jazz Bar - February 9

Gabi Heller (vocals, percussion); Steve Glendinning (guitar)
(Review by Ann Alex/photos courtesy of Kaveh Enami).
A drink was spilt over my notes and then my birthday intervened to prevent this review being done as quickly as it should, but no matter, this Jazz Coop presentation may well qualify as my Gig of the Year, yes, it was just sooo good. Gabi had done loads of research for this. You’ve heard of illustrated lectures, well this was an illustrated gig. Gabi presented the thesis that Billie Holiday and Kurt Weill could possibly have met sometime during 1934-1950 in New York, maybe at the Cafe Society, which was the first integrated club. Just imagine, Weill, a middle class, Jewish immigrant, a socialist, twice married to his singer Lotte Lenya, and Billie, black, born to a teenage mother, raised in care, with addiction problems, and both of them immensely talented.

 Anyway, their various songs were presented to us with great understanding and feeling, and Gabi managed to make Billie’s songs her own, no mean feat. And Steve’s playing was so good that it defies description, heartfelt, skilled, always matching Gabi’s interpretations. Good Morning Heartache, a spirited version rather than being utterly depressed, which maybe portrayed Billie’s addiction issues; I’m A Stranger Here Myself  (immigration and stranger to love); a song called, I think, Crazy In Love; Weill’s song Here I Stay, with scatting as it should be, keeping close to the guitar chords. Lover Man followed, and Tell Me More and Then Some, with shaking percussion and a long effective solo from Steve. The first set was rounded off with a clever medley of songs about boats and boat travelling immigrants.
The second set opened with travel songs, I’m Travellin’ Light and Weill’s Show Me The Way To The Next Whisky Bar (great fun), then a heartfelt Don’t Explain; All Of Me; and a beautiful slow, sad, September Song. Strange Fruit, the song I liked best, had edgy chords on a small zither and on the guitar, ending with Steve playing a single chord with fingers up and down the guitar. (Sorry about the lack of technical explanation). Weill’s Speak Low was followed by a well-earned encore of God Bless the Child, which Gabi somehow made her own.
I’d looked forward to this gig and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
Ann Alex 

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