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Bebop Spoken There

Michel Camilo: "That first year, believe it or not, to practice I drew a keyboard on a piece of cardboard, because I could hear in my head all the notes" - (JazzTimes, Feb. 2020).
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The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

Today Saturday February 29

Afternoon

Jazz

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival - Park View Community Centre, Church Chare, Chester le Street DH3 3PZ.. Tel: 07958 302745. 12:00 noon. Open Section (senior) competition. (Winners’ concert - 7:00pm). £15.00. weekend ticket, £12.00. day ticket, £5.00. under 16. Day 2/3.

Tees Valley Jazzmen - Hammer & Pincers, Preston Lane, Preston-le-Skerne, Newton Aycliffe DL5 6JH. Tel: 01325 314873. 1:00pm. £2.00.

Evening

Keith Nichols w New Century Ragtime Orchestra - Caedmon Hall, Gateshead Library, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead NE8 4LN. 7:30pm. Tickets £15.00 from 0191 281 4011. Line-up includes guests Keith Nichols (piano, vocals) & Nick Ward (drums).

Mike Lovatt w Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4461. 8:00pm. £14.70. Trumpet virtuoso w SSBB.

Mansion of Snakes - Cobalt Studios, Boyd St., Newcastle. 9:00pm. Donations. Cobalt’s Late Night Jazz Club. Band + DJ.

Blues/Funk/Soul

Red Hot Riot - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

William Bell and the state of soul music. The SummerTyne Americana Festival, Sage Gateshead, July 22.

(Review by Steve T)
Without checking, this was much the same set as I reviewed at the Barbican last November. While that was at the London Jazz Festival, under the umbrella of Black Music, this was the SummerTyne Americana Festival, under the umbrella of American Roots Music, reflecting the changing times.
I'm old enough to remember the time when most people agreed with Muddy Waters, that the blues had a baby and called it rock and roll. Nowadays rockabilly is considered the most prominent strand of rock and roll and came from country and western.
Soul music emerged primarily from blues and gospel, but more recently the country element has become greatly exaggerated with the discovery, by the BBC, Mojo and writers like Guralnick, that many of the musicians, songwriters and producers were southern whites, even though virtually all of the artists, including all of the greats were black. 
White artists have done much better in Jazz than in any other serious Black Music: Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz, Zawinul, John McLaughlin and Chick Corea to mention a few, but it's important to keep in mind that Louis Armstrong, Duke, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Bird, Diz, Monk, Miles, Mingus, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Trane, Ornette and the vast majority were black.
Just seventeen years into the new millennium and it's already considered racist to refer to the C20th as the century of Black Music.
When Beatles T shirt in front of me sang along to the support band I'm a Soul Man, I responded in true gospel/soul fashion, No You’re Not!
At least he turned up. A few days out, I thought a team may come down from Scotland, a crew might travel up from Yorkshire, and surely a posse will make the journey across the Pennies from the North West heartland. Ah well, Teesside will be with us, Darlo, Bish, Chester-le-Street, Gatesheed, Toon, Northern Soul stronghold Aycliffe… William Bell ticks the northern soul, modern soul, rare groove, deep soul and club classic boxes, but maybe they all had more important vinyl festivals to go to.
At least Durham was there; well me, big bro, our mate Fen and my old rock mate Tony, who spread his wings to blues, soul, reggae and Jazz; and of course our much better halves.
If the soul people don't want him, the country and western people will have him. I keep having stabs at C & W and, while I don't think I'm allergic, they seem to need a name like Womack to come up with anything great. When I go to see Marty Stuart at Sage Gateshead in October, I promise not to sing I'm a C & W man, though I may wear an inappropriate T shirt.
By now our fearless editor will no doubt be pulling out hair in chunks, so about the concert.
Again, without checking, I think it was a slightly smaller band and certainly the real live Hammond organ was a miss. At nearly eighty, the quality of Bell’s voice is quite extraordinary, and without simply surrendering to the grain like some of his contemporaries; and he has fantastic microphone technique.
Standouts are inevitably the duet Private Number and blues classic Born Under a Bad Sign, but I also love the deep soul ballads, down to the bare bones of his voice, and this is what separates artists like Bell from singers like Ray Charles, Solomon Burke, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. While they have the grain covered, people like Bell are loaded with pain, but it's an optimistic, joyous jouissance that comes from gospel.
Knowing the set gave me an opportunity for a comfort/ bar break during a medley of Stand By me and Cupid that follows Trying to Love Two, another high pointbut an unexpected encore of one of Otis Redding’s better hits worked surprisingly well, even though I'd far rather listen to William Bell (and he presumably prefers to be alive than have a media myth based on a premature death), and unsurprisingly it went down a storm.
Artists like William Bell don't always make the news so we don't always know about them, but there can't be many of these giants left walking the earth, while cartoon repeats continue to dominate the waves.
Steve T.

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