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Bebop Spoken There

Guy Barker: "You have to play it [the trumpet] every day or you just won't be match-fit." - (Jazz Rag, Winter 2019.)

Archive

Today Friday December 13

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux CarréJazzmen - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. ‘Christmas Jazz Lunch’. Details from 0191 252 9429).

Dean Stockdale Trio - The Merry Monk, 30 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1:00pm. £5.00.

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

Evening.

Jazz

‘An Evening of Swing & Sparkle’ - National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL. Tel: 0191 515 5555. 7:30pm. £35.00. Rat Pack evening inc. 4-course meal.

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regents Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 284 3700. 8:00pm. £12.00. + bf. First night of two.

Chris Dean's Syd Lawrence Orchestra - Yarm School, Stockton TS15 9EJ. Tel: 01642 786023. 7:30pm (6:30pm doors). £18.00. + £1.80. bf (£15.00. + £1.50. bf). 'Mistletoe & Miller'.

Blues, Funk/Soul etc.

Baghdaddies - Cobalt Studios, Boyd Street, NewcastleNE2 1AP. £10.68 (inc. bf). ‘Big Xmas Knees Up’.

Swamp Hoppers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

George Shovlin & the Acoustic Radars feat. Pat Rafferty + George Pallas & John Wilkins - Whitburn Cricket Club, East Street, Whitburn SR6 7BZ. Tel: 0191 529 3187. 7:30pm (7:00pm doors). £7.50. admission by ticket only (from www.wegottickets.com). 'The Bents Road Sessions'.

Dead Skunk Skiffle & Blues Orchestra + Stetson Five - Station East, Hills Street, Gateshead NE8 2AN. 8:00pm. Free.

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Chris Biscoe; Roger Turner ; John Pope. A Jazz North East 'On the Outside' performance @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle - December 3

Chris Biscoe - tenor and alto sax, alto clarinet; Roger Turner - drums; John Pope – bass.  
(Review/photo courtesy of Ken Drew.)
Chris Biscoe & Roger Turner played their first duo gig in 1967 and this tour of five cities around the UK sees them working with local musicians, making each performance a unique event due to the differing range of instruments.  Biscoe and Turner, "The Collaborators" were joined tonight by John Pope with the aim of having open minds in the spirit of pure improvisation. This tremendous improvising threesome first came together four years ago after internationally acclaimed percussionist Roger Turner heard Newcastle bassist John Pope as part of a band, and was so impressed he suggested that they should play together. The brilliant reeds player Chris Biscoe was recruited to form a trio which made its debut at Sage Gateshead as part of a double bill with the Anglo-French quartet Sonsale.   And now, four years later, they share the stage again.
 Set 1 -  A blistering start from the off, quite high energy from the trio for a long while, until the pace slowed, with a bass solo from Pope followed by Turner reinforcing his presence. Then, with Biscoe included, all three once more turned up the heat. A longer, slow, meditative section ensued, Pope taking to the bow on occasion. Biscoe and Pope then quietly held back to let Turner take the focus with a short solo, but as the pace quickens, Pope reaches for a drum mallet (yes, he's still on bass!) and, along with Biscoe, joins in a lengthy rapid-fire section.  The energy of the trio was blistering.  Biscoe signalled a slowing down giving Turner the opportunity to take the lead in a very exploratory section, using 'other' devices to good percussive effect.  After some time, Biscoe breaks free, sax screaming, with Pope not far behind. Soon, the trio's frenzy returns, and in time it dissipates into a slowly fading end signalled by Biscoe and forcibly stopped by Turner with a final 'thump' on the drums. What an energetic first piece. Actually, it was the whole of the first set !! 

Set 2 began with a lively start from Biscoe on alto clarinet. Quickly the pace builds, Biscoe having swapped screaming sax for the strong overtones on the alto clarinet. After some time, the clarinet is swapped for a soprano sax bringing a different mood to the piece. By the next bass solo, Pope was pouring his energy into double bass, leading this section but not overly dominating it, Biscoe having swapped again back to bass clarinet to take off some of the heat from Pope.  Another fine extended piece of pure improvisation.

I presume it was quite a privilege for John Pope to be playing as part of this trio - he certainly stepped up to the plate and looked to be enjoying it. Notably, each member of the group played in equal measure - none were 'out in front'. Indeed, there was no significant leader, the group operating as a performer's co-operative, and worked very well on that basis.  Overall, Biscoe introduced many new ideas as the pieces progressed and developed, always making good use of his formidable technique and demonstrating his thoughtful approach, angular yet melodic, and unfailingly accessible.  Yet Biscoe never overpowered or stole the limelight, always leaving ample space for Pope and Turner to contribute, and for each to take the lead when the piece moved in their direction. Turner's dynamic contribution was everpresent, showing immense subtlety, and Pope gave his all with superbly inventive and energetic solo sections.  Not surprisingly, the audience's expectation was met - they had formed a cohesive, highly energised unit, but allowed themselves ample freedom to explore the material as it unfolded.  The visiting band members really enjoyed this venue and the performance. The decent sized audience were very appreciative too, snapping up CDs as they left.
Ken.

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