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Bebop Spoken There

Jeremy Pelt: "In my experience, the hottest player on the scene is almost always the most annoying motherfucker on the scene because they know that they're hot." - (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 Saturday May 18

Afternoon

Anth Purdy: Swing Jazz Guitar - Blyth Battery, The Links, Blyth NE24 3PQ. 10:00am-4:00pm. Free. 'Blyth Battery Goes to War Weekend'.

Early Bird Band - Lit & Phil, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SE. Tel: 0191 232 0192. 11:00am. £2.00.

Sweet & Hot - St Augustine's Parish Centre, Larchfield St., Darlington DL3 7TG. 12:30pm. £10.00. Jeff Barnhart, Spats Langham, John Hallam, Graham Smith, Anne Barnhart.

Duo workshop: Faye MacCalman & John Pope - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4461. 3:00pm. £10.00. & £8.00. JNE.

Jazz

Jamie Mackay - Gallagher & Turner, St Mary's Place, Newcastle NE1 7PQ. 7:00-11:00pm. Free. 'The Late Shows' - guitarist Mackay performing at intervals.

Northern Monkey Brass Band - Newcastle City Library, New Bridge Street West, Newcastle NE1 8AX. 7:00-11:00pm. Free. 'The Late Shows' - NMBB performing at intervals.

Paul Taylor - Victoria Tunnel, Ouse Street, Ouseburn, Newcastle NE1 2BE. Tel: 0191 230 4210. 7:30pm. Tickets: £10.00.

Eliot Smith Dance: Triple Bill - Everyman Theatre, O'Hanlon St., Spennymoor DL16 6RY. 7:30pm. £14.00. (£12.00. cocns., £30.00. family). Programme inc Poppy composed by Jason Holcomb.

Blues/Funk/Soul

Jools Holland’s R & B Orchestra - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 7:30pm. £42.0. & £36.50.

Groove-a-matics - 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.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Mark Williams Trio – CD Launch ‘Last Bus to Bensham’ @ Jazz Café Fri Sept 29

Mark Williams (Guitar) / Paul Susans (Bass) / Russ Morgan (Drums)
(Review/photos by Ken Drew)
'Last Bus to Bensham' is the much anticipated second album from the Mark Williams Trio, and its launch was presented as part of Jazz North East’s monthly 'Schmazz' series, and as part of the inaugural Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music.  Featuring three of Tyneside’s most respected musicians the trio performed tracks from their new album together with older tunes from the debut 'Balaclava Street’ CD, plus some newer material, which bodes well for the future.
The first tune, only quiet at the start, made use of guitar effects producing a swirling sound, accompanied by very energetic drums, resulting in a dynamic and frantic piece. Then a segue into the second tune with guitar intro /solo leading into bass solo (much applause – the audience were not just awake but already in an eager and welcoming state!) then back to guitar with much less effects, just a nice rounded guitar tone and extensive use of the fretboard.  Then a switch back to the swirling guitar sound making space for Morgan on percussion.  Another segue took us into the third tune with Williams setting out a thematic tune with an interesting riff.  This had a bluesy feel and included a brief bass solo.  Nice laid-back sound, perfectly played followed by resounding applause.
At this early stage of the proceedings, it was clear that we were in the presence of a fine guitar-led trio with interesting melodies and riffs, a range of styles and good contributions all round. Williams introduced the band and remarked that these first three tunes they’d just played appear in the same sequence on the CD,  so could have just played the CD (presumably giving more time at the bar!).  Such sacrilege!  No!!! 
Next up, the title track from previous CD ‘Balaclava Street’.   Fast moving, with extended solos from each musician – each a delight to hear.   Then Long Way Out - a new piece with a slow, rock-like theme introduced by an initial theme on guitar with various effects. Quite a striding and dramatic tune which will hopefully find its way onto the next album.

The band started the second set straight in, unannounced, with a lively piece against an initially noisy Jazz Café audience – well, it is Friday night in the Toon!  But as is often the case – the general hubbub settled down into attention to, and appreciation of, the band.  Quick-paced rhythm and lots of activity up and down the fretboards by Williams and Susans and a chance for Williams to let rip and Susans to make good use of his effects pedals.  Then a shorter, very gentle tune from the CD, nicely laid back, followed by another contrasting piece.  This was more ‘rock-like’, reminiscent of a Weather Report rhythm and included an extended guitar solo. Once the band were settled with the basic riffs Williams really let rip on this one.  The raw electric guitar sound worked well, followed by Morgan’s workout on drums.

Then to the last tune – Adare Say - played tonight in dedication to Williams’ late bassist friend from Belfast, Jackie.  Initially slow, but not meandering, began with guitar setting out the main theme, and then provided an opportunity for an extended bass solo, eventually handing back to guitar to further develop the main tune.  Then quickly picking up pace and volume, the tune and the emotion really yelled out, bringing out nice guitar work and an equal balance of contributions from the band.  Then slowing down to leave space for a quiet solo guitar ending.  Soulful yet uplifting through its dynamics, and quite a heart-warming tune overall.

Of course, the audience then demanded an encore.  Williams set up a riff, Morgan provided the punchy and slightly edgy rhythm and Susans the driving bass – and they were off!!  A happy guitar-led piece with guitar and bass solos. This also gave Williams a final opportunity to show off his fretboard skills, and at the end, to also demonstrate his proficiency of using his pedals to great effect. With a loop set up around the tune’s riff the band were able to leave the stage, leaving the effects pedals to nicely but slowly fade away to the point where rapturous applause was inevitable and unstoppable.  

It was refreshing to see Williams step up to the front line as The Main Man and deliver a nicely varied set of self-penned tunes.  Overall, the Mark Williams Trio gave a superb performance, delivering a 3D version of their latest CD to the Jazz Café audience.  Whether you have seen or heard them before, you’ll know why you’ll want to see them again, or with the CD, listen again and again. 
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