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Bebop Spoken There

Randy Brecker: "It's still a thrill for me today to stand out front of a big band as the soloist and hear all that sound going on behind you. It brings the best out of me" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Wednesday May 22

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Julija Jacenaite & Alan Law - Jazz Café, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 261 5618. 2:00pm. Free. Café Mezzanine (first floor, access via crafts shop).

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Blues

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Monday, July 03, 2017

George Benson @ Scarborough Open Air Theatre - July 1.












(Review by Steve T)
For years I've longed for someone worth the effort to play this open air theatre. I'd always thought, if anybody, it would be Santana, but when Benson was announced, it was that expression number one wife hates, a no brainer.
It doesn't feel like a six thousand capacity venue and there were plenty of empty seats but far more occupied. As at Sage Gateshead last year, there was a mix of those who think he arrived with the Breezin’ album and those who think it began with his collaboration with Quincy Jones et al, just four years later. The difference was at the Sage it was a 90/10 split, while here it was more 990/10.
A bold finger up then to open with Affirmation from Breezin’ but a joy for me, having all but missed it at the Sage trying unsuccessfully to obtain a decent photo for my review.
Once the crowd realised it wasn't one of the sing-alongs, they reverted to their conversations, imbibing, eating, trips to the loos, the bar etc. 'I don't get the guitar solos', a neighbour said to me. 'One of the greatest of all time' I offered, but he didn't seem convinced. 
A few hits: Love X Love, In your Eyes and Turn your Love Around before the crowd lost interest again during Mambo Inn until he started singing half way through.
Breezin’ was the high point but even this was met with indifference, despite its inclusion on every compilation/ best of/ greatest hits package. Written by Bobby Womack, for a few short minutes I was there.
He introduced the newest member of the band, a lady doing some serious stuff on percussion and adding some proper backing vocals. She joined him for a duet he described as one of those old standards which turned out to be Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway Where is the Love - how times have changed - a song ideally suited to his voice.
Love Ballad, an LTD original, was the hit from the album prior to Give me the Night but people still seemed to know it and it was a welcome addition not featured at the Sage. Unsurprisingly, Give me the Night brought the park down.
With half an hour to go,

I couldn't think what else he had to play beyond Greatest Love of All. I'd forgotten Never Give up on a Good thing, or more likely conflated it with Turn your Love  Around, and forgotten This Masquerade, possibly because he hadn't played it at the Sage, so another welcome addition. Inexplicably I'd forgotten On Broadway and we were mercifully spared Greatest Love, which must have been a real blow for the majority, though most seemed like they'd had the night of their lives.
Until he goes back to Jazz and includes stuff like Take Five (his live version my favourite version); as long as Breezin’ continues as his starting point - at the time the biggest selling Jazz album in the world - how times have changed - whether he's doing Jazz-funk, soul, disco, pop or MOR, he's a class act.
Steve T.
Note: George Benson's concert at Ronnie Scott's tomorrow night (July 4) is streamed live at 10:15 UK time.

2 comments :

Russell said...

Steve, if the shows weren't sold out (tickets ranging from £300 to £375 were offered to, and snapped up by, members of Ronnie Scott's at the discounted price range of £240 to £300) you could hear the man tomorrow night in a proper jazz club! A bargain!

Steve T said...

Many argue Ronnie's is no longer a proper Jazz club and it's certainly something of a tourist attraction. I believe he just does the same stuff at Jazz Festivals so I'd rather see him in my favourite British holiday resort.

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