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Bebop Spoken There

Jeremy Pelt: "I'm so much into melodies and into sound, and the presence of sound, that I don't necessarily want to try to play in between the cracks of a note." - (DownBeat November 2020)

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Postage

11,999 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1139 of them this year alone and, so far, 86 this month (Oct. 26).

Coming soon ...

IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON.

OCTOBER

THURSDAY 29

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Abbie Finn Trio - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity (upstairs). It’s Abbie’s birthday!

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00-10:00pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

FRIDAY 30

Neil William & Ben Holland - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity. Jazz standards from the 1920s & 30s.

SATURDAY 31

Alice Grace & Pawel Jedrzejewski - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. £10.00. Online booking (to book a table). Limited capacity. Alice & Pav join a multi-bill of entertainers (magician etc) to celebrate Prohibition Bar’s fifth anniversary. SOLD OUT!

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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