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Bebop Spoken There

Anat Cohen: "With the tenor, it's so iconic with jazz. With the clarinet, I can improvise, but it doesn't have to be called jazz." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Tuesday June 18

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Evening

Lickety Split - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB.Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

River City Jazzmen - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NW. Tel: 01670 813983 (info). 8:00pm. £5.00. (inc raffle). Line-up inc special guest Don Fairley (trombone).

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

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Darlington Jazz Festival: Jazz comes to the Quakerhouse - Saturday April 29

(Review by Russell)
The Quakerhouse is a CAMRA award-winning pub, it features more or less perennially when the gongs are handed out. Darlington Jazz Club meets regularly in the upstairs room and top quality blues bands play the venue week in week out. The downstairs bar in Mechanics’ Yard hosts the annual Saturday afternoon session of the Darlington Jazz Festival and this year’s event featured three bands with local connections.
The Dean Stockdale Trio (Stockdale, piano, Grant Russell, double bass and Adam Dawson, drums) opened the show at one o’clock. This, a second lunchtime gig in two days (a monthly gig has recently been established by Mick Shoulder at Bishop Auckland Town Hall), heard Stockdale firing on all cylinders ahead of his soon-to-be-released new CD. Working with him on this festival engagement were the Greater Manchester bass and drums pairing of Grant Russell (the bearded bassist would be staying over to play the Nick Ross Orchestra’s Glenn Miller show at the Forum, Billingham on Sunday) and Adam Dawson, heard recently at the festival up the road in Gateshead. Joyspring, Jobim’s Triste, Mingus’ Nostalgia in Times Square – exactly the sort of material to play on a Saturday afternoon to a crowd of jazz fans and the unsuspecting casual drinker. Stockdale’s fluent piano playing, observing the melody, met the approval of the crowded room. Depping Grant Russell’s propulsive bass playing worked a treat in the low-ceilinged ancient hostelry. Stockdale, Russell and drummer Adam Dawson were literally in touching distance of one another such is the cramped ‘performance’ space in the Quakerhouse.
Stockdale’s own compositions sat well in the set list of standards; the pretty tune Another Time and Pike Place two of the pianist’s tunes, the latter an opportunity to stretch out just as Oscar Peterson did on countless occasions. The room thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Dean Stockdale Trio and having closed with Moonlight in Vermont (Dawson’s excellent brush work), and Out of Nowhere the audience insisted on another one. As an encore Stockdale enquired: Have You Met Miss Jones?
Durham Music Service facilitates learning and performance opportunities for young musicians. One such beneficiary is Matt Roberts. The trumpeter has moved on working in London yet admirably he hasn’t forgotten his roots returning each year to, as they say, ‘put something back’. Another young musician following a similar path is the immensely talented drummer Abbie Finn. In her final year at Leeds College of Music, Finn returned home to play a festival gig. The Abbie Finn Quartet: FinndrumsHarry Keebletenor saxophoneGeoffrey Hewerguitar and Fraser Kerslakebass, is an accomplished outfit. The four musicians vacated the woodshed, drove up the road to Darlington and played a cracking set to an appreciative audience. A quick turn around – one drum kit out, one drum kit in – and Finn and co were ready to go. Tenor man Harry Keeble cites Michael Brecker and Chris Potter as influences. Studious, slow-burn tenor playing, Potter’s The Source referencing late period Coltrane featured a fine guitar solo from Canadian born Masters student Geoffrey Hewer as Finn took a back seat – literally! – content to let the boys do their thing. Prompted by the audience, the self-effacing Finn stood up to introduce the numbers on the set list: Lady Bird (bassist Kerslake nonchalantly crafting a first rate solo), Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay with its intense intro, the Speak No Evil Wayne Shorter Blue Note cut Witch Hunt (we knew where Keeble was coming from), nods and smiles between the four, the quartet delivered a winning performance, closing with Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise.
The Quakerhouse beers were going down well, punters were in it for the duration. Rick Laughlin has recently returned home following a long spell living and working in London. Our pianist knew who to call upon when offered a spot at the Darlington Jazz Festival. Who better than Bruce Rollo, double bass, and drummer Ian Halford? Pianist Laughlin reckoned up…thirty, no, forty years he’d known Halford! Laughlin invited the personable Alan Thompson (tenor saxophone) to temporarily abandon festival duties to complete the line-up. Over the years they were just as likely to go for a beer and a game of snooker, said Laughlin. Dozens of balls were being potted at the Crucible, no chance of a game in the Quakerhouse as a full size snooker table won’t fit into a telephone box.

The Rick Laughlin Trio with Alan Thompson: Laughlin, piano, Bruce Rollo, double bass, Ian Halford, drums, and Alan Thompson, tenor saxophone played for one hour, friends together in the confines of the ‘comfortable’ Quakerhouse. From time to time Halford craned his neck around the frame of slap king bassist Rollo to make eye contact with Laughlin, checking on a musical, as opposed to snooker, cue. Thompson’s relaxed, warm tenor style drew listeners to the heart of the music – Beautiful Love, Out of Nowhere, Stolen Moments (Rollo taking a solo), Sister Sadie, fine, indeed dazzlingly, piano playing on Sugar, and Charlie Parker’s rarely heard Barbados. Laughlin, stylistically not unlike maestro Alan Glen, is a welcome addition to the north east jazz scene. This festival date is likely to lead to bookings elsewhere – perhaps Durham’s Empty Shop for one. Rick Laughlin concluded the set with Skylark and, for an encore, What is This Thing Called Love? Rick Laughlin is back, good news indeed.
Earlier at Joseph Pease Place trumpeter Matt Roberts conducted a performance by a group of emerging young musicians. Solid ensemble work, concise solos, Saturday shoppers stopped by to listen – they couldn’t fail to be anything other than impressed. As the festival programme proudly proclaimed…DARLINGTON JAZZ FESTIVAL BRINGING JAZZ TO THE TOWN CENTRE.             
Russell.

1 comment :

Steve T said...

Rick Loughlin and co played the Empty Shop a couple of years back, I think a Tony Eales intervention. They did some Grover Washington Jnr - the Jazz-funk before the smooth - which was a breath of fresh air for me.
They seem to have come in around the same time as me but, while I bought lots of records and got drunk, they learnt how to play it. Respect.

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