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Bebop Spoken There

Sting: "I wrote that song [Roxanne], it was originally a bossa nova". - (Stewart Copeland's Adventures in Music BBC 4, 17 January 2020)

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

Today Tuesday January 21

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Cancelled - room being decorated back on Jan. 28.

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Evening

Air4ce - Cluny 2, Lime St., Newcastle NE1 2PQ. Tel: 0191 230 4474. Doors 7:30pm. £8.00. Ginger Baker tribute featuring regional jazz & blues musicians.

Acoustic Infusion with the Mighty Horns - Forum Music Centre, Borough Road, Darlington DL1 1SG. Tel: 01325 363135. 7:30pm (doors 7:00pm). £5.00.

Blues/Soul/Folk etc.

?????

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

Sunday, October 01, 2017

CD Review: Stan Sulzmann and John Taylor – Double Exposure

Stan Sulzmann – piccolo, flute, alto flute, clarinet, saxophones; John Taylor – piano, synthesiser
(Review by Hugh C)
It was during my conversation with Nikki Iles at the Late Night Jazz gig at Hexham Abbey Festival that my attention was drawn to the existence of this CD.  My interest was sparked and I sought out a copy.  The CD was actually recorded in 1990 at Sentinel Studios in Cornwall and has (for reasons unspecified) just been released this year.
Stan Sulzmann and John Taylor were invited in 1990 to Cornwall by the studio to spend a few days recording and experimenting with new material and sounds.  At that time Sulzmann owned a Roland D50 synthesiser, which he lent to John Taylor. JT proceeded to completely reprogram the synthesiser and personalise it to his own requirements.  The duo were able to experiment using the synthesiser in improvised duets, as well as performing their compositions with John Taylor on piano.  Some of the new pieces were conceived on site.  This CD shows a side of John Taylor which became unfamiliar in his later years, where he concentrated solely on his first love, his Steinway piano.
Pure and Simple is just that – a jazz duet between soprano sax and acoustic piano.  Slow Loris again sees Taylor at the piano, largely solo, but with a short contribution by Sulzmann on tenor sax towards the end.  Stango features piano and tenor and, as you might expect, transports you to Buenos Aires (not far from Cornwall really!).  In Stango we begin to feel the influences of music other than “jazz”.  The next track Free Ballad takes us to a ghostly world of synthesised sounds.  This is the first of three tracks on the CD with joint compositional attribution – perhaps one of those conceived on at the time of recording.  Despite the word Free in the title, it remains definitely melodic, and to my ear definitely Ballad. 
Extracts (also co-composed) jolts this complacency with repetitive stabbing synthesiser and saxophone turning to abstract riffs and effects.  CD Smith (flute and piano) takes us in the direction of European contemporary music and reflects the artists' influences such as Messiaen, Prokofiev and Hindemith.  Country/Raindrops (co-composed) is (what I would call free), with seemingly (to the untutored ear) random sounds from reeds, flute and synthesiser – I do however get the raindrops component. 
Cartoon/Room for Improvement (flutes/synthesiser) is in a similar vein to the previous track initially, but turns into a jaunty ditty with fine flute and piccolo playing by Sulzmann; piano is added later.  Straight Man has a Messiaenic quality, with spectral extended chords on synth and melodic overlay by Sulzmann's clarinet.  'Q' is a quick fire duel between piano and saxophone which settles into more of a duet over time.  Ocean Deep (piano/saxophone) returns to more of a conventional jazz idiom.  Spider features piano and flute and could perhaps be a sensual combination that draws you into its web.  The final track, Heart, takes us back to where we began – piano and saxophone.   The track deliberately leaves us with a question as it slowly fades to nothing at 5.15

This CD (26 years in gestation) was mastered and edited in 2016 and released earlier this year.  It shows a side of both Taylor and Sulzmann which is probably not familiar to the majority of listeners.  In a London Jazz News podcast, Sulzmann suggests reasons as to why John Taylor may have returned to the piano following his adventures into electronics. Sulzmann himself also now concentrates on the saxophone, and has sold his piccolo and clarinet.
Insightful review?  Perhaps, but a lot of the insight comes from the mouth/pen of Mr Sulzmann himself.
Hugh C
Double Exposure is released on Inversion Records (INV002CD) and is available through Interspear Music, Jazz CDs and Amazon.
The London Jazz News podcast of an interview with Stan Sulzmann is available to download here.

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