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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.)

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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.

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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