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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)

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Today Saturday September 23

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Day two of three.
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Evening
Bradley Johnston (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 7:30pm. No cover charge.
Rockafellas - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
Tobie Carpenter Organ Trio - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. £10.
Thin Man + Jon Gordon - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. Free.
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Nikki Iles & Stan Sulzmann - Great Hall, Hexham Abbey, Hexham NE46 3NB. 10pm. £10/£8.
Pat McMahon Trio - Tannery, Gilesgate, Hexham NE46 3QD. 01434 605537. 9pm. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Faye MacCalman/John Pope Duo @ Jazz Café - April 14

Faye MacCalman (tenor sax, clarinet), John Pope (bass).
(Review/photo courtesy of Steve T).
Of all the Jazz Cafés in all the world, I wonder how many featured a double bass, sometimes bowed, and a tenor sax, sometimes a clarinet, playing Blakey, Shorter, Ornette Coleman Hawkins - see what I did there? MacCalman, Monk, Roland Kirk, Sonny Rollins and Sun Ra - see what I did there? - on Friday. And by a lady in her early/mid-twenties and a 'slightly' older male. This is why Jazz is so unique.
We expected more pedals than the Tour de France, more loops than a primary school playground and more freefall than a Bridge too far. What we got was certainly edgy, but in a very different way. Only Jazz can defy expectations in this way. 
I'd wondered how it would work out, without percussion, a keyboard or even a guitar, but half way through the opener, Moanin, I knew it was going to be just fine.
Faye is a raspy, breathy player with a classic tenor sound all the way from Pres and Webster, through Dexter and Sonny to Trane and Wayne, a mischievous hint of Ornette and Roland lingering never far beneath the surface.
Pope is one of the very best and most exploratory bass players around, whether acoustic or electric, though he stayed upright here, some subtle slapping giving a bit of percussive affect.
JuJu, Body and Soul, Ornette and Archipelago reflecting some of their other shared ventures. Monks Dream, Roland Kirk and Sun Ra, fairly 'out there' in their own right but here used as springboards, sometimes barely recognisable, for their own improvisations and innovations. Always on that tightrope, that knife edge between success and failure, the site of much great art, and if at times they seemed to flounder - what the long suffering/eternally skint Mrs T calls Jazz - one or other was never far away with a means of resolution. 
They shared the announcements conversationally, Faye personable and human and expect her to grow into this role as she increasingly becomes a regular fixture at the Caff and beyond, Pope the seasoned pro and mentor.
At one point half way through set two, it felt like Trane and Garrison during that vital moment between relatively straight Jazz and the warp factor launch into hyperspace, and I can give no higher praise than that.
With big names at the O2 Arena and City Hall, and hundreds passing after something up the road at Sid James' Park, the faithful sat silently around the duo with comers and goers noisy around the corner, but not to the point of distraction. A highly enjoyable evening and I'm now very much looking forward to something very different from them round the corner at the Swan on 30th May.
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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