Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Marc Myers: " If the original group with Baker was Dover sole, the group with Brookmeyer was beef stew." - (JazzWax, December 7, 2019).

Archive

Today Monday December 9

Afternoon

Jazz

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

St Cuth’s Big Band - St Cuthbert’s Society, 12 South Bailey, Durham DH1 3EE. 8:00pm. Free (donations). St Cuth’s Big Band ‘Christmas Concert’. Concert in dining hall, licensed bar

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

Friday, December 08, 2017

The Zoë Gilby University Group - “Constellation Jam" @ Jazz Café - December 1

Zoë Gilby (Mentor and Vocals) / Grace Alexander (Keyboard) / Ross Barnes (Bass) / Oliver Cobb (Guitar) / Amber Cox (Vocals) / Will Earl (Drums & Percussion) / Chris McMahon (Drums & Percussion)
 (Review/photos by Ken Drew)
“For the past four weeks, vocalist and songwriter Zoë Gilby has been running a series of workshops for the postgraduate music students of Newcastle University, culminating in this final performance for the students "History of Jazz" module.  Also, as part of Jazz North East’s ‘Women Make Music' series, this composition Constellation Jam illustrates the evolving nature of jazz.  Accepting no boundaries, the constant progression of this particular genre of music has entertained and inspired modern popular music and beyond.  The concept of this piece highlights the importance and integral need for jazz to be always changing. Often not to everyone’s taste, but never compromising, always a curious adventure.”
Not only was this the first performance of this piece, they were being videoed too. Also, the young performers were being assessed as part of their degree course as they played!   Over four workshop sessions with Gilby, in as many weeks, they wrote this piece about the history and evolution of Jazz.  Starting straight in with a song led by Cox which developed nicely with Earl and McMahon providing the rhythm and Barnes solidly on bass.  This was an intriguingly catchy tune, simple but very effective, giving quite a powerful start.  Then into a slower section of improvised vocalese with Gilby leading and bringing out the improvised nature of the piece. It soon became apparent that there were several sections to this single piece, so, many segues ensued, including some vocalese from Gilby.

Then a long section of keys (Alexander) and guitar (Cobb) followed by percussion, building to a crescendo with all, then onto a gentle, quiet song eventually building to its own crescendo. This then segued into a sole percussion section (notwithstanding the vocal contributions from Gilby and Cox). The final section was a good combination of improvisation including spoken word which gave quite a contemporary urban feel to the piece, slowing down and finally fading to a close.

Overall, there seemed to be a good level of improvisation during the piece, with a well-composed structure, and a nice ‘feel’ to it throughout.  The six music students worked hard, concentrating even harder and working well together as the piece progressed. Their leader/mentor was always there to guide, occasionally leading, but always inspirational. It would have been interesting to have been at the four workshop sessions which led to this performance just to see how the individuals, the group overall and the final composition had developed. But their live performance was fine and well appreciated by the audience.  Possibly two small things to comment on. The sound balance across the band could have been a little better, although I don’t think we missed anything. And maybe each performer could, in general, have given a bit more dynamic expression to give a bigger impact to their contribution and to the overall sound of the piece.  Maybe this translates to playing to the audience rather than across the stage.  Still, what a terrific 45-minute uninterrupted piece, and all their own work!!!

Afterthought:   This long piece made a big impact, and is worthy of being heard again. Hopefully, it will. And given that these young players are still on their Uni music course, this could perhaps be quickly followed by a day in the recording studio to give them the experience too of producing their very own CD. Just sayin’.  Hopefully, it could happen!
Ken

No comments :