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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, May 07, 2017

Denys Baptiste's The Late Trane @ Pizza Express Stage, Cheltenham Jazz Festival - May 1

Denys Baptiste (sax), Nikki Yeoh (keyboards), Neil Charles (bass), Rod Youngs (drums), + Steve Williamson (sax). 
(Review by Steve T)
I'm not really a fan of late John Coltrane but, according to DSI Russell of the JP, not listening to it is, if not illegal then immoral, and I'm not one to fail to conform to the dominant belief systems of the day. I certainly consider it required listening but maybe only a couple of plays, which I suppose makes me a fan of sorts.
I should probably confess I'm not a great fan of early Trane either, but for a brief time after Giant Steps and before Love Supreme he made some of the greatest music the world has yet heard, which for me puts him second only to Miles in Jazz.
Furthermore, Baptiste is among the greatest saxophonists this country has ever produced and all of his previous albums are worth checking, particularly his debut, featuring a more uptempo version of Naima. 
A few years back he brought his Let Freedom Ring, commissioned by Cheltenham, to Sage Gateshead but it was poorly attended and this wasn't as well attended as it should have been either; which on both occasions, was their loss.
Introductions out of the way, Living Space opened things up, some echo on his sax, great building from piano and drums, a relentless bass behind until sax came back in blazing.
Dusk Dawn was followed by Ascent from Kulu se Mama, Charles playing bowed, but the sax sounded synthetic, though the electric piano followed by a Hammond sound worked for me, but the synthesizer didn't. I've heard Trane played on synthesizer before and that didn't work either.
Peace on Earth featured just sax and keys before the leader really nailed the Trane sax sound on After the Rain. 
He then invited Steve Williamson, who he described as a major influence, to join him for some tenor madness (my words, not his) on Transition followed by Vigil, some spacey sounds coming from Yeoh, who now seemed to be playing laptop as well, before a lengthy, hard-hitting solo from Baptiste, the effects now working for me, and providing great contrast with Williamson playing his equally fine solo straight. 
Baptiste came back in, the two playing in sync, then weaving in and out with some note perfect interaction bringing the set, and my Cheltenham ‘17 to a resounding close.
There's an album out in June (though I bought it at the festival) and this may be a more accessible way into this difficult, challenging music. This was easily the best of the six gigs I saw over two days at Cheltenham, and probably the only one which will feature in my gigs of the year. He's taking it on tour though sadly not to the North East, but like the albums it's based on, it's essential; sort of.
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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