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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.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Sandrani @ the Jazz Café - November 24

Vanessa Rani (vocals);  Upneet Singh (tabla); Joe Harris (guitar)
(Review/Photos by Ken Drew) 
We saw Rani here last year as part of the Masala Festival in July, and the year before, with her band Manjula. Tonight was a different mix, a trio with tabla, guitar and voice. A stripped-down version of Manjula perhaps, but just as beguiling. Featuring musicians of Indian, English, and Mauritian heritages, this trio creates a progressive style of global music which fuses together classical Indian Raag and folk song with Western-style grooves and improvisations. Each of the players contributes to the mix so that experimentation and innovation are always present in a sound that is unique yet wholly accessible.
Vanessa Rani herself is still composing, and her voice was pitch perfect as before, occasionally soaring free in improvised passages over the established soundscape. She is fluent in a variety of verbal and musical languages, moving seamlessly across the spectrum, acting often as the prominent instrument in the ensemble, yet never overpowering.  Whilst she sings in many styles, there was one point where a certain run of blue notes made me contemplate her tackling a Latin-American style. I think it would work, her voice is more than capable, but not in this context.   Guitarist Joe Harris was playing classical guitar with this line-up and was the better for it. It sounded clean and distinct matching perfectly the style of songs played.  Tabla maestro Upneet Singh provided the South Asian feel and played constantly, with apparent ease, complementing both the style of tunes and the other performers. 
So, with the involvement of tabla player Singh, the music inclines rhythmically to the Indian classical and folk traditions, but there’s plenty of western style jazz improvisation in the mix, and Vanessa Rani herself with Portuguese inheritance but having studied extensively in India, moved seamlessly across linguistic and stylistic borders. Interestingly, the second set opened with a duo with just Singh and Harris, which itself proved that the style is flexible enough to work with only two instruments. In fact it worked very well, allowing some concentration on the two players, both individually, their interaction and their overall sound.

This is music that transcends categories, creating its own distinctive and utterly enthralling space. In fact, the review of Rani's last performance still holds true this time around:  "It’s difficult to put this music into a specific genre. In fact there’s little point – it delivers an easily accessible groove with a range of styles which are a good basis for the group to play together, take solos, enjoy what they do, entertain and intoxicate the audience.  A nice excursion for Jazz North East followers, and Gem Arts too!"  The bonus is that it was also a Women Makes Music presentation too. What's not to like?
Ken
Photos.

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