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Bebop Spoken There

Dayna Stephens: "I always tell them [students] there will never be anyone who will play it [EWI] as technically proficient as this cat [Michael Brecker] did." - (JazzTimes June 2019).

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Today Tuesday June 25

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Evening

Jam Session - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, 59 Westgate Rd., Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel. 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. Free. Trio Alan Law, Paul Grainger, John Bradford.

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

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Notes from day two of Durham City Jazz Festival - June 2

(Review by Steve T/Photos courtesy of Carlo Viglianisi)
The day I was reunited with my old mate Al Cohol. The day the focus shifted from Empty Shop to the festival hub at Fowlers Yard, away from the clutches of Carlo to his (if not silent then less noisy) partner Nick and Festival Mistress-mind Heather Spencer, who had the initial vision of a multi-venue festival of Jazz and other underground Black Music in the heart of Durham, aimed at the student population and yokels young and old alike.  
But first a detour to the fabulous Miners Hall, hidden away in Durham, yards away from where I grew up and yards away, in the opposite direction, from a former home of a certain Lord and Lady; so good stock.
I'm not a big Big Band man but anybody who’s seen the Durham Uni Big Band knows they're one of the hottest around with a cabinet full of awards. I knew I would have to cut it short and Eleanor Rigby (mercifully not something from Dr Pepper or something or other fizzy, soft and sickly) seemed an appropriate time to head to the hub. 
Essex girl via Durham Uni DJ WZK was doing some amazing, seamless mixing. I remember when DJs were making tentative steps towards this and it's moved on enormously. 
Next a pop-up Early Bird Band featuring FDT and Lawrence Brothers Dan and Ben. Older brother Dan got the call at lunchtime and winged his way from Manchester with a final exam on Monday, and it's acts of heroism like this that make small festivals so special and Heather and Carlo were suitably impressed and grateful. A drummer proved problematic but five minutes ahead, there was a choice of three, and a young man from Gateshead, a regular of the Globe, fit like a glove (I was notebook-less throughout the weekend so please feel free to furnish any names).
It was billed as a jam but only Early Jambone Bird James Metcalf stepped up to play trumpet on a few. The set was fairly straightforward stuff and these future stars can do this in their sleep, but it gave them a chance to show off their chops, Francis playing seated with a much cleaner sound than his general preference nowadays.
Budtet played a customary mix of instrumentals and the ladies splitting vocals, Fiona  fragile and sensitive and Jude assured with lots of oomph and showmanship. They know what they're doing and do it well.
Then me. Never a happy DJ - I do it cos I have to, not cos I want to - I played Jazz, funk, fusion, Latin and soul from the likes of Esperanza Spalding, Return to Forever, Bataan, JBs, Sly and Family Stone, Platinum Hook, Kool and his Gang, Fatback Band, Gilberto Gil, Roy Ayers and Flowers, but didn't have time to go further into soul for my lot, or do some West Coast Get Down for the Early Birds, or any reggae or Afro-Beat, which I think have a place at a festival of this type.
Over to the Empty Shop for another jam session and this is about to get embarrassing, but he probably played more across the festival than anybody else.  Tonight he found himself paired with an amazing alto player from Surrey via Durham Uni who took it to the next level, Francis with nothing more than his Gibson and an amp finding sounds from the next planet, together making music which could be from the next century. Imagine what might have happened if Hendrix had played with Bird.
DJ Mattu played a brief set including Thundercat and some Hip Hop but taking DJing to a level of creativity and performance art towards a whole new field of music. 
I love festivals where you have to make choices - like Lance missing Alphonse Mouzon to watch Dizzy - and I missed Group Theory and Redemption Jazz at Empty Shop, and Lindsay Hannon and Bradley Johnson at the Barber of Neville, but Sunday would present the trickiest choice of the festival. 
Steve T.

2 comments :

Russell said...

Another nice review Steve. I'm guessing the drummer from the Globe was Matthew Fairhurst, and the amazing alto player was Zach Fox (he is very good, 1st alto with DUBB).

Steve T said...

Just been going through my stuff and was reminded I played a Pharaoh Sanders track. I wanted to draw attention to this because some people think you can't play Real Jazz as a DJ.
First time I heard Miles from the album Milestones was at a nightclub in Stockton. I've heard Mr PC, Art Blakey and there'll be others someone with a better memory than me could summon.

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