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Bebop Spoken There

Aubrey Logan: "My relationship with the audience is the most fun I can legally have!" - (Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club January/February 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.

Today Friday January 24

Afternoon

Jazz

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Dean Masser Quartet @ Gala Theatre & Cinema, Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA. Tel: 03000 266 600. 1:00pm. £6.00. Masser (reeds), Dean Stockdale (piano), Ed Harrison (double bass), Gaz Hughes (drums). SOLD OUT!

Evening.

Dean Masser Quartet - Traveller's Rest, West Auckland Road, Darlington DL3 9ER. 8:00pm. (doors 7:30pm). £TBC. Opus 4 Jazz Club. Masser (reeds), Dean Stockdale (piano), Ed Harrison (double bass), Gaz Hughes (drums).

Blues/Funk/Soul etc.

Big Joe Louis + Michael Littlefield - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 8:00pm. £12.50. Blues.

Long Tall Mama - 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, August 13, 2017

CD Review: Tom Millar Quartet - Unnatural Events

Tom Millar (piano); Alex Munk (guitar/electric sitar on title track)); Misha Mullov-Abbado (bass); Mike Clowes (drums) + Alice Zawadski (voice on 2 tracks)
(Review by Lance).
Millar, born in Sydney, raised in London, read music at Cambridge, graduated with a master's from RAM and studied with Django Bates in Switzerland before recording this, his debut CD, in Wales. Not a man to let the grass grow under his feet! Fortunately, this, seemingly perpetual motion, is reflected in his playing and in his compositions which are all inspired by people and places that have been important to him.
Azura Days has Millar and MM-A providing extra rhythm behind Munk by way of some egg shaking. Clowes thumps the tubs behind Millar's solo and the whole is suggestive of JSB after a few Brandenburgs and Kronenbourgs although, in actual fact, it was inspired by a trip around the Mediterranean.

The Seafarer is reflective and evocative of the changing tides and undercurrents the seafarer faces in uncharted waters. One senses there may be a storm brewing. The music, like the sea, becomes choppy and I began to think of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The Seafarer survives and all is peaceful and tranquil when he eventually drops anchor.
Unnatural Events. There just happened to be an electric sitar lying around the studio - well there would be wouldn't there (in Wales)? and Munk uses it most effectively.
The Power Chord Thing is just that! Power chording from Millar, Munk and Misha with Clowes digging his own escape route in case he needs it - he doesn't!
Choro, the first of Zawadski's two vocal appearances is wordless but not tuneless. Alice displays a horn-like quality, blending into the head before the others take over the solo slots. It's an ethereal exploration that gradually fades.
Inversnaid, a poem by Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89), has a Cleo/Norma-like interpretation and Alice can hold her head aloft in that company. Hopkins may not have imagined this version but, as Alice points out in the notes, it gave her an environmentalist message and its beautiful natural imagery seemed particularly apt in our current age where man-made global warming is transforming life on our planet - even within our (well hers) lifespan.
Woad: No explanation given - maybe it's to do with tattoos or face-painting or just good old Friday night warpaint. Whatever, it's my favourite track on the album - a hard fought accolade on a disc that has few, if any, drops in excellence. All four musicians seem to be moving in different directions but you know they'll be together in the end.
Park Hill: Is this rather beautiful and soulful ballad really based on the infamous Sheffield Council Estate or is there another Park Hill? Pursuing the question, I find the once notorious flats are being given a makeover so maybe this is reflected here. Certainly, come the conclusion, the mood is pastoral and augurs well for the future.
The album is due for release on Sept. 15 on the Spark Label and the quartet (with Dave Storey on drums) tour from Sept. 7 starting at Matt & Phreds in Manchester and ending up on November 15 at the Green Note in Camden as part of the EFG Festival. They miss out Sheffield so maybe it is a different Park Hill?
Lance.

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