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Bebop Spoken There

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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A bit on the Side

As Bebop Spoken Here's 10th birthday approaches and, with a significant birthday of my own in the offing, I'd like to reflect upon some of those gigs that were inspirational towards the creation of this labour of love. One venue, in particular, stands out.
Although I'd loved jazz for most of my life, and played in a few bands along the way, it was stumbling upon The Side Café on Newcastle's Quayside that resuscitated my enthusiasm. This was in 2008. So many of my contemporaries had passed on - Charlie Carmichael, Nigel Stanger, Trevor Johnson, Bobby Carr, Teddy Langston, Alf Parker, Ronnie McLean, Hughie Aitchison and many more that I'd begun to think the future for the music looked bleak.
However, I soon discovered the future was far from bleak. A young singer was singing songs from her mother's era and singing them good. No surprise when I discovered that this was Zöe Gilby, daughter of Mike Gilby whom I'd played alongside in the Newcastle Big Band.
From then on, the Side Café became my Monday date and, each week I was gobsmacked to discover how much young talent there was on the jazz scene. This was ten years ago and, today, the talent is getting even younger!
This was and is, mainly due to the work put in by Paul Edis who kicked off these sessions as part of the NEJC (North East Jazz Collective).
There really were some amazing sessions. May 5 I first heard the brilliant Vasilis Xenopoulos. I think my headline was 'Be Aware of Greeks Blowing Riffs'. Hopefully, my journalistic skills have improved since then!
Each week was an absolute delight. The vocal torch was carried by Ruth Lambert and Lindsay Hannon. Guitarists Mark Williams, Nick Pride, Tom Dibb, Edd Carr and Roly Veitch impressed. Graeme Wilson, Graham Hardy, Noel Dennis, David Carnegie, Adrian Tilbrook, Mick Shoulder and Andy Champion also caught my eye as they have done ever since. There were so many that I  apologise to those that I've missed out.
Bands like Extreme Measures took the place by storm as did the Paul Edis Sextet.
Strangely, not every gig was a sellout and the one which should have paid the bills from here to breakfast time - ace trumpet man, Steve Waterman, - didn't pull. One which did was the guitar duo of Deidre Cartwright and Kathy Dyson paying tribute to the late Emily Remler.
It was a wonderful couple of years in which we heard some fantastic music, gave a kickstart to this blog and helped Paul Edis towards the high esteem he is held in today.
Lance


6 comments :

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed those sessions very much Lance. That small, intimate room upstairs was ideal and you were close to the musicians in a way that meant you shared in the performance in a very nice way. I remember well the time I climbed the stairs hearing the music wafting down the stairs and thinking 'who is that great saxophonist' - it was Vas. The whole endeavour had a nice feel about it and the North East Jazz Collective concept was a really good idea.
Roly

cptfinch said...

Hear hear Lance. I was at that Steve Waterman gig. Blown away by the chops.
And it was around that time I found your blog and got back in to jazz

Paul Edis (on F/b). said...

Thanks for this Lance. Many happy memories reading this and looking through the photos...

Adam Sinclair (on F/b) said...

This seems like a lifetime ago! As the photographic evidence shows I was there.

Jamie McCredie (on F/b) said...

These are gorgeous Lance. Thanks for all you’ve done & continue to do. What a precious contribution and documentation of the scene in the North. Raising a glass to you from London x

Ken Drew (on F/b) said...

That photo is a real gem !! Nice One Lance.

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