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Bebop Spoken There

George Shearing: "Speaking about Johann Sebastian Bach I think he'd be a real jazzer if he were alive today. I mean any man who has two wives, twenty kids, gets kicked out of the church for being too harmonically radical and drinks beer can't be all wrong can he?" - (Crescendo March 1984.)

Archive

Today Thursday December 12

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 12:00pm. Free.

Note earlier time for this week only!

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Evening

Jazz

Hot Club du Nord - Lubetkin Theatre, East Durham College, Willerby Drive, Peterlee SR8 2RN. Tel: 0191 518 2000. 7:00pm. £10.00. (£5.00. under 18s). 'Jazz at the Lubetkin'.

Gala Big Band - Gala Theatre & Cinema, Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA. Tel: 03000 266 600. 7:30pm. £10.00. (£8.00. concs.). ‘Gala Big Band Does Christmas’.

Durham University Big Band - Dunelm House, New Elvet, Durham DH1 3AN. Tel: 0191 334 1777. Free. 7:30pm. ‘Jazzy Christmas’.

Indigo Jazz Voices - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £5.00. (£2.00. student).

Maine Street Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Hollywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NJ. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:30pm. Free.

Tees Hot Club w. Gus Smith (vocals); Dave Stansfield (tenor sax); Ted Pearce (keys) - Dorman’s Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 8:30pm. Free.

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm. £2.50.

Blues/Soul/Funk/Etc.

?????

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

Saturday, September 16, 2017

CD Review: Sam Boshnack Quintet - The Nellie Bly Project

Samantha Boshnack (composer, trumpet, vocals); Beth Fleenor (clarinet, bass clarinet); Alex Chadsey (piano, keyboards); Isaac Castillo (upright/electric bass); Max Wood (drums); Valerie Holt, Anne Mathews (vocals tracks 1 and 3); Anne Whitfield (spoken vocals tracks 2 and 4)
(Review by Ann Alex).
Sam Boshnack, a bandleader based in Seattle, works with various ensembles and has been influenced by free jazz, Cuban rhythms and modern jazz. She has at least 4 previous albums to her credit, such as Go To Orange (2013) and Exploding Syndrome (2014). I enjoyed The Nellie Bly Project, which was as I expected from the notes supplied, full of a free jazz feel, lots of repeated riffs and unusual sounds.  In fact I must quote from the blurb in Downbeat ‘...’open voicings, jaunty tempos and buoyant timbral mixes have a friendly monster feel that achieves a bittersweet and elegiac mood of orchestral grandeur.’ 
Lance had earmarked the album for my attention, as it concerns the life and doings of Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Cochran), an American feminist, civil rights activist, and journalist, who lived from 1864 to 1922. A fascinating woman who wrote a book about the abuse suffered by mental health patients which led to reforms in the USA; she also travelled the world in order to challenge the fictional accounts of Jules Verne. Ms. Bly is also casually mentioned in the song Frankie And Johnnie but I don’t think that that has any bearing on her actual life.

The CD consists of 4 tracks, each one illustrating an aspect of her work. Expositions opens with a strong bass clarinet and concerns Bly’s statement that a true woman is ‘innocent, unaffected and frank’, which is sung chant-like over a rhythmic bass. The voice is joined by another, singing that ‘energy, rightly applied, can accomplish anything.’ The ensemble illustrates all this with energetic driving rhythms and repeated riffs.
Track 2, which I liked best, After One Is In Trouble, is all about Bly’s undercover assignment for the New York World newspaper, in which she feigned insanity so that she could investigate alleged brutality at a women’s lunatic asylum. This was illustrated by pounding persistent drumming, a crying, wailing trumpet, and a final mash up of madness by the whole band. This was not always easy to listen to, but I admired it as the music was true to the subject being explored.
Track 3 was on the happier theme of 72 Days, telling us about Bly’s attempt at going round the world in less time than it took Jules Verne in his fictional account. Bly had to fight hard to even be allowed to take this journey, which was by railroad and steamship, as shown by the rhythms and sounds of drums, bass clarinet and cymbals. Bly’s words are constantly repeated: ‘It’s only a matter of twenty-eight thousand miles... I shall be back again’ and ‘I would rather go in dead and successful than alive and behind time.’
The final track is Legacy, summing up Bly’s hope that things can be changed, with effective ensemble playing, then a final lone trumpet, which I reckon was Nellie Bly’s final plea for more justice in the world.
The CD was released on August 18, 2017, on the label Artists Recording Collective
 UPC-A 8-93682-00277-2
Ann Alex

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