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Bebop Spoken There

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11,652 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 787 of them this year alone and, so far, 51 this month (July 13).

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Xmas Jam @ the Jazz Café - December 19

(Review by Lance).
Quite a night! Having been off the scene for a few months, I couldn't have wished for a better gig to write about. Or could I? Come closing time  I'd simply ran out of superlatives. The perfect Christmas party. No mince pies, Santa Claus outfits or carols (although Paul Gowland did throw in a few bars of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen during a blistering exchange of fours). So much happening that to list everything would be pointless. It was all so good.
With Matt MacKellar home for Xmas from Berklee in Boston, Mass, the emphasis was naturally on drums. Matt's final solo of the evening was quite breathtaking. Not that this was the only percussive highlight. Dylan Thompson belied his tender years to indicate that he too is a contender. Tommy Claydon, part of the orchestra in one of the local pantomimes, sat in and proved that he is another outstanding skinman. Then there was Abbie Finn. Abbie would have been justified in saying that any one of the other three played pretty good for a man. The girl was inspired, particularly when driving tenorman Harry Keeble to a great solo on Autumn Leaves. My sources tell me they are an item which must prove something or other. Simply great.

Damian Cook is another pantomime performer and a regular on the local scene every festive season. No 'bah humbugs' when he starts to blow.
Likewise Paul Gowland, veteran of a 1000 JC jams, never fails to hold his own and must surely be an inspiration for fellow altoists Beth Roberts and Alex Thompson who set the early running.
The pace stepped up when Michael Lamb and David Gray added some brass to the front line. The roof was last seen heading towards the coast.
Stu Finden, sans saxophone, took over on bass to give Pope John a well-earned rest, Dave Weisser played cornet and Joel Brown and Philipp Grobe alternated on piano.
Oh yes, I almost forgot, the guitar section!
Steve Glendinning led the house trio and the opening Billie's Bounce was amazing even by his own high standards.  With Pope and Matt completing the trio it was put up or shut up. All three put up.
Bradley Johnston - it seems like only yesterday he was a promising student of James Birkett. Hear him now!
The same could also be said of Francis Tulip who is fast moving into rarified heights. He played a blinder and that's not all.
Tonight, Francis, Joel, Matt and bassist Michael Dunlop are at the Empty Shop in Durham. On Friday they are back at the Jazz Café and on January 9 are at The Fox in Hexham. Details of all these gigs can be found in the previous post by Russell.
Finally, although it was a great night, it was not without a touch of sadness as we were reminded that, on December 29, it will be 5 years since the former Jazz Café Supremo Keith Crombie passed away.
Most of us old enough to remember Keith no doubt shed a silent tear.
He'd have loved what he heard.
RIP.
Photo album.
Lance.
Steve Glendinning (guitar); John Pope (bass); Matthew MacKellar (drums) + Beth Roberts, Alex Thompson, Paul Gowland (alto); Damian Cook, Harry Keeble (tenor); David Gray (trombone); Michael Lamb (trumpet); Dave Weisser (cornet); Joel Brown, Philipp Grobe (piano); Francis Tulip, Bradley Johnston (guitar); Stuart Finden (bass); Dylan Thompson, Tommy Claydon, Abbie Finn (drums).

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