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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

Archives

Thursday September 21

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Rd., nr. Newcastle NE27 0DA. 1:oopm. Free.
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Tees Valley Jazzmen - White Horse Hotel, Burtree Lane, Harrowgate Hill, Darlington DL1 3AD. 1:30pm. Free. 01325 463262.

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Evening.
Maine Street Jazzmen - Potter's Wheel, Sunniside NE16 5EE. 8:30pm. Free.
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Courtney Pine: Black Notes from the Deep - Sage Gateshead NE8 2JR. 7:30pm. £25.60. 0191 4434661.
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Katie Mac (w. 6 piece band) - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. Free.
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Emma Fisk & James Birkett - St. Cuthbert's Church, Shadforth DH6 1LF. 7:30pm.
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Pocket Jazz Orchestra: Jazz & Tapas - No. 60, Arc, Dovecote St., Stockton TS18 1LL. 7pm. £10.
Tees Hot Club w. Alan Marshall (saxes); Kevin Eland (trumpet); Ted Pearce (keys) - Dormans, Oxford Rd., Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. 9pm. Free.
New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton TS18 4AW. 8:30pm.01642 678129.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Stuart Davies & The New Standard @ The Empty Shop, Durham - February 2

Stuart Davies (Guitars, Lead Vocals), Alex Saxon (Alto Sax, Flute, Vocals), Liam Fender (Keyboards, Vocals), Ian Paterson (Bass), Dave Lowery (Drums) + John Waugh (Tenor Sax). 
(Review by Steve T/Photo courtesy of Michael Fenwick).
A new year and the threat of some funk, soul and blues brought out a couple of legends from the Durham and the North East soulful past: big bro John T and middle Fen Michael, the nice one. If we lost a couple of tables worth at the interval who were after something Jazzier, this is the Empty Shop so there's ten more waiting to get in and another ten behind them.
Everything is Everything, by Donny Hathaway, most famous in this country for his duets with Roberta Flack (Where is the Love, Back Together Again), and the slap bass is laid down and the Hammond sound as good as any I've heard.
Star Turn from Harry Connick Jnr and it's clear this is a totally different set to anything we're used to. Jazzhe let the word hang, some solos he offered and often multiple and often extended and always effective.
The leader switched from Fender Telecaster to Gibson 335; serious guitars for a serious guitarist. Shakey percussion thing first with sax, then guitar, then both and it turned into Someday we'll all be Freerecorded by lots of people but I'm pretty sure written by Donny Hathaway, the leader's guitar playing making me think Benson did a version. Wisely he only sang the chorus, Hathaway being the best of that end of soulful singers, which includes Stevie Wonder, Michael Wycoff and Vernon Burch.
Some Herbie, I think from Headhunters, though I confess I don't know (or like) the album as well as I should.  Donald Fagan of Steely Dan fame, the leader at his most comfortable rocking it up on his guitar, followed by some Clapton but, as I've never liked anything by Sir Eric since Blind Faith, to these ears they're stretching it going into the break.
Normal services were resumed for the second set with Shake Everything You've Gotessentially a chant from key JB and P Funk Horny Horn Maceo Parker, some great sax from alto and tenor and I kept thinking they should do some Average White Band. It broke down to lines from the two horns before the kitchen sink was back in for a glorious finale.
More Harry Connick with Between Us, then back to what they do best with The Meters’ Sissy Strut, the leader taking on one of the great rhythm guitarists, Hammond, throughout the night, darting in and out to great effect.
A very good Rhodes electric piano sound and I thought we were in for Donny Hathaway’s most famous solo piece The Ghetto, but it turned out to be more Steely Dan. Far be it for me to pull down almost sacred cows but, there are bands I don't like but get why others do and bands I don't like and don't get why anybody does. I totally get why some people like Steely Dan, but not necessarily the people who typically like them, including those who listen to things like Donny Hathaway, Maceo and The Meters. I can only think of one other group who I understand why people like them, but depending on what else they listen to, and the Dan did it with comparatively no publicity.
An extended Rhodes intro and this time there's no doubt, anticipation building up brilliantly and just when it's about to kick in, a flippin' drum solo, as they say on Coronation Street. Eventually, we got there and even the audience participation almost worked, the men singing the Ghetto followed by the ladies talkin' bout the ghetto.
After this, an encore was inevitable and they didn't hang about. Senior T swiftly spotted Stormy Monday Blues, and there've been countless versions of this but I'm pretty sure T-Bone Walker, who did all the guitar showmanship stuff ahead of Chuck Berry and Hendrix, was first. I remember seeing Albert King do it, followed by Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, but I had to come out of John Lee Hooker to catch a train, so who knows?
By the end, the audience were in the palms of their hands and it sounded like a recording from a gig on the chitlin circuit. Despite my reservations about some song choices, undoubtedly a resounding triumph
Normal Jazz, albeit fusion, will resume on February 16 with a London-based band, The Dream Jazz Collective supported by Nintai - a Durham Uni Band.    

Steve T.

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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.

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