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Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Today Saturday January 18

Afternoon

Jazz

Early Bird Band - Lit & Phil, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SE. Tel: 0191 232 0192. 11:00am.

Evening

Adrian Cox Quartet - Watchtower Gallery, West End, Berwick TD15 2HE. 8:00pm. £10.00. Cox touring new CD ‘Now is Spring’.

Blues/Funk/Soul

Ray Stubbs R & B All-Stars - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra @ Ronnie Scott's - March 16

(Review by Brian Blain/Photo courtesy of Anne Rigg)
From the spine-tingling brass stabs and powerful backbeat of Gene Calderazzo's drumming on the opening Mama Badgers, that took me back to that Brecker Brothers’ album with the WDR German Radio Big Band, the packed house at Ronnie Scott's (absolutely no freebies!) just knew that they were in for the kind of jazz excitement that only a 17 piece band can deliver.
Not that the whole program consisted of powerhouse sturm und drang; far from it. Tenor playing Siegel is a subtle and complex musical character, partially inspired by one of his mentors, Stan Sulzmann, one of the members of the saxophone section, and possibly responsible for the kind of  pah writing that pitted  Liam Noble in full elegiac mode against beautiful saxophone voicings on Tales From the Jacquard of which more later.

One of the great joys of Julian's writing was the wonderful contrast in moods throughout and for me, although thoroughly contemporary, somewhere in its DNA, echoes of classic sounds of the past, like the 'sizzle' of the trumpet section led by the astonishing Tom Walsh - still a student at the Royal Academy - on that opening theme. Elsewhere, in a Jacquard passage
with all the sections complementing and moving 'tutti' fashion against each other with a particularly rich creamy mix coming from the woodwinds, I even thought of Kenton.
The core of the long single set was Tales From the Jacquard, commissioned by the Arts Council, and around which Julian's 'dream tour' of six Midland towns and Ronnie's was built. It takes its name from the lace making machinery which was once an important part of Nottingham's life and an industry in which Julian's parents earned their living.
The opening section was peculiarly gripping, consisting of recorded sounds of the machinery which provided a multi-rhythmic basis for the thematic material of its subsequent sections. In a band full of strong soloists such as trombonists, Mark Nightingale and Trevor Mires, the flute playing of Tori Freestone in this piece was outstanding, and another section consisting of a hair-raising saxophone soli section which gradually gave way to bell sounding chimes suggestive of quiet Sunday rest for the factory employees was quite brilliant.
There was so much happening in this memorable event that it would be criminal not to mention the role of  Derby Jazz in kick-starting the whole project and of trumpet player Nick Smart, Head of Jazz Studies at The Royal Academy who conducted this complex but totally accessible music magnificently. And, oh yes, his own band Black Eyed Dog, with a superb guest appearance on Nick Drake's River Man, by Claire Martin, was just marvellous, well worth a spot on any Festival in the calendar. 

Brian Blain.

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