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Bebop Spoken There

Cécile McLorin Salvant: "She [Melissa Aldana] makes us realise how terrible it is to be complacent." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Thursday June 20

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Rd., Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazz

Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra - Arc, Dovecot St., Stockton on Tees TS18 1LL. Tel: 01642 525199. 7:00pm. £12.00. + £0.10. bf. ‘Jazz & Tapas’ - booking essential.

Ruth Lambert Quartet - St James' & St Basil's Church, Fenham Hall Drive, Fenham, Newcastle NE4 9EJ. 7:30pm. £8.00.

Heller-Glendinning: Billie Meets Kurt - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm (doors). £6.00. (£3.00. student).

Acoustic Infusion - The Forum, Borough Road, Darlington DL1 1SG. Tel: 01325 363135. 7:30pm. £5.00. Line-up: Alan Thompson (tenor sax); Rick Laughlin (piano); Bruce Rollo (double bass); Ian Halford (drums). Now Abbie Finn on drums.

Durham University Concert Band + Grollingwood Big Band - Durham Town Hall, Market Place, Durham DH1 3NJ. 7:30pm. £10.00., £9.00., £8.00.

Durham University Big Band - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. £6.00. (£5.00 concs.). JNE.

Tees Hot Club w. Gus Smith (vocals); Donna Hewitt (tenor sax), Dave Archbold (keys) - Dormans Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 8:30pm. Free.

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

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

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

Monday, December 18, 2017

George MacDonald & James Birkett with the Roly Veitch Trio @ Blaydon Jazz Club - Dec 17

George MacDonald (clarinet), James Birkett (guitar), Roly Veitch (guitar), Paul Grainger (double bass) & David Francis (drums)
(Review by Russell/photos courtesy of Ken Rodham). 
As Humph would have said, Blaydon Jazz Club has been promoting ‘the very best in jazz’ for well over thirty years and the Christmas party’s legendary DIY buffet has long since assumed mythical status. This year’s festive feast more than lived up to expectations and the interval raffle assumed gigantic proportions with numerous prizes on offer. The icing on the Christmas cake was the jazz. It’s the reason fans turn up from one month to the next and the evening’s invited guests – George MacDonald and James Birkett – were making a welcome return visit.

The Black Bull on Bridge Street is a steadfast supporter of the jazz club and the room was set out in advance ready to accommodate the arrival of not only the ‘regulars’ but also a food mountain of sweet and hot seasonal goodies. If there is a more amiable group of musicians than those playing this Christmas party engagement then they are yet to visit Blaydon. Clarinetist George MacDonald is a life-long fan of Benny Goodman and can tell a story or two of the King of Swing’s days touring coast to coast in America. Master guitarist James Birkett is the ideal musical foil for Mr MacDonald, readily adapting to any given situation as the ex-pat Canadian suggests they play such and such. The house rhythm section for the evening, led by Blaydon Jazz Club’s long-serving promoter Roly Veitch, was well acquainted with the numbers in the set list and handled matters with ease; bassist Paul Grainger and drummer David Francis both knowing their way around the GASbook.

The affable MacDonald suggested Summertime and, sure enough, the quintet went for a leisurely stroll and on into autumn playing Joseph Kosma’s Autumn Leaves. Our clarinetist likes a bossa, a Jobim tune was a cert, so we heard Meditation. Gershwin was on the cards, the choice vast, what to play? On this occasion But Not for Me. Time for a blues, MacDonald suggesting ‘in F’. Blues, in a mellow tone, with Roly Veitch laying down a fine solo, followed by his friend and fellow guitarist, James Birkett crafting another exquisite solo. Mr MacDonald always listens to his fellow musicians, appreciative of their contribution, and at Dr Birkett’s suggestion, closed the first set with their ‘wild’ version (when the mood takes them they do a less wild version) of Lady Be Good. Fleet-fingered, the quintet worked up a collective appetite…the buffet beckoned.

Earlier, a party of four arrived, looked around the room with its few unoccupied seats, and enquired if they could sit behind (and within arm’s length of) the buffet table. On the understanding that they showed restraint (leaving the festive nibbles undisturbed until the interval!) the party duly took their seats. They were well placed to tuck in as an orderly queue formed and it can be reported that this year’s offering met with wide approval. No names, but more than one person went back for not only seconds, but thirds! ’Tis the season.

The second set began with some Benny Goodman but not before Veitch and Birkett played a duet. As glasses were recharged, our virtuoso guitar duo played All the Things You Are. From Goodman to Eubie Blake's Memories of You (lyrics Andy Razaf) to Edgar Sampson’s Stompin’ at the Savoy, Mr MacDonald was having a ball, after all, to him it’s all about his ‘main man’ – Benny Goodman.


Mr MacDonald can certainly evoke the mood. Either side of a stompin’ I Got Rhythm our clarinetist expertly conjured the flight of the Skylark and gazed into the middle distance somewhere Over the Rainbow. It was almost time to go but not before a swift take on One Note Samba featuring a solo from David Francis, the orchestra finally taking its bow on A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square

Russell

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