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Bebop Spoken There

Anat Cohen: "With the tenor, it's so iconic with jazz. With the clarinet, I can improvise, but it doesn't have to be called jazz." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Tuesday June 18

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Evening

Lickety Split - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB.Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

River City Jazzmen - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NW. Tel: 01670 813983 (info). 8:00pm. £5.00. (inc raffle). Line-up inc special guest Don Fairley (trombone).

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

Friday, December 29, 2017

Leroy Hutson @ Jazz Café, Camden, December 27.

(Review by Steve T)
Leroy Hutson is most famous as the man Curtis Mayfield hand-picked to replace him in The Impressions when he went solo. After a few years singing Curtis stuff live and an unremarkable album, mostly written by Curtis, he embarked on his own solo career but remained on Mayfield's Curtom label. He had a run of albums which became highly sought after by soul fans, particularly in the UK, though to these ears none of them are particularly great, though each has one or two mind-bogglingly good tracks.
The last time I saw him was a Personal Appearance (PA) at a Soul Weekender in Fleetwood I was heavily involved in almost thirty years ago. At the time a PA meant a singer singing over backing tracks and this was the second best I ever heard, with a knee-buckling moment when he went into Lucky Fellow. In fairness to him, Sam Dees set the bar impossibly high but I spotted how incredible he could be with a band, so this has been a priority ever since. I've had tickets to see him twice since but both events ended up being cancelled so this threatened to be an emotional affair. 
Percussion, drums, guitar, bass, keys as well as his own centre stage. I spotted a bone, so a horn section which turned out to include trumpet and reeds also, and with one male and one female backing singer, all crammed on the Jazz Café stage, this was serious stuff.
A short intro turned into Cool Out, a jazzy instrumental which opens the latest compilation and the man entered the stage to rapturous applause and Lovers Holiday proved too much too soon. It's Different and Classy Lady afforded a window of opportunity to recover before All Because of You reopened the ducts.
By my reckoning, there's seven masterpieces in his repertoire and about the same slightly behind. He only managed four though in fairness I featured him at a recent DJ event and also only managed four.
The next hour featured mostly just behinders, including major just behinder So in Love with You, but with an interlude when he sat at his piano with a tambourine while the female backing singer took two songs he wrote for other people: Trying to get Next to You for Arnold Blair, which began fetching £75 to £90 on the modern soul scene about thirty years ago, and Cashing in for the Voices of East Harlem, a perennial Blackpool Mecca monster which will have every northern soul fan in the land kicking themselves for not going.
Just before he finished he gave us another masterpiece in Think I'm Falling in Love (one I didn't get to) and another, Lucky Fellow as part of the encore, right down to its keyboard coda. He returned to the stage but had nothing more to give us, so no Love oh Love (which has become a Mrs T favourite), no Heaven Right Here on Earth (the definitive version of an achingly beautiful ballad he wrote for the Natural Four) and no Get to This (a song many of the lesser DJs played because it was the only one they could find or afford, which I was never fussed about until I grew to love the wonderful crisp horns and positive feel).
So an ever so slightly disappointing end to a night which must rank amongst the very best of my life in the world ever.
Steve T.

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