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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Harvey: "The exciting day arrived and we [as under age school boys] snuck into the [pub's] rehearsal room, sat awkwardly to attention on hard chairs in a row facing the band and heard our first - very loud - live jazz. What an occasion that was - we even drank beer because we understood that's what jazz people did and that's what the band were drinking." - (Just Jazz June 2020)

Dave Rempis:Ten years from now, I can see musicians streaming concerts in real time and charging a minimal amount for people to watch.” - (DownBeat September 2013)

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Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

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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.

Monday, March 05, 2018

CD Reviews: Carlos Vega - Bird's Ticket and Bird's Up.













(Review by Lance).
Two CDs recorded not quite 2 years apart by a modern-day hardbop quintet led by Florida born Vega who also composed all of the 20 tracks on both albums as well as blowing some paint stripping sax. It's a humdinger of a band, all strong soloists in their own right and, importantly, team players too. Although the albums were recorded in Chicago, there is often a Miami Latin feel to the music  -listen to the Cajon box* on Taurus and Virgo on Bird's Ticket! Garcia blows melodically, suggesting shades of Lee Morgan adding the fire when the occasion demands it which is often. Vega solos with both lyricism and freneticism taking the tenor into a harmonic world beyond the reach of many mere mortals.

Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, Mindeman, Ramos and Breaker prepare the ground for landing before taking off on their own musical adventures.

Two splendid albums, both available on the Origin label.
Which one to choose? 
Tough call. 
Personally, I think the boppier Bird's Up just gets the nod but it's a split decision with Garcia's solo on, On a Mission, certainly that of a man on a mission. Vega too is on a quest, a quest that should lead him to the higher echelons of the DownBeat Polls. The intriguingly titled - Untitled Waltz for the Wednesday Morning Prayer Meeting sees the quintet augmented by Cheryl Wilson's wordless vocal, some deft guitar-picking and a fatter ensemble with the added brass of Strand and Nelson.
At the end of the day, after listening to both again I came to the conclusion that the best bet would be to spin a coin or if you've got coin to spare, buy both.
Lance.
Buy/more details Bird's Ticket - Bird's Up.
Bird's Ticket
Carlos Vega (tenor/soprano); Victor Garcia (trumpet); Stu Mindeman (piano/Rhodes); Josh Ramos (bass); Xavier Breaker (drums); Juan Pastor (Cajon on 1 track).

Bird's Up
As above minus Pastor plus Cheryl Wilson (vocal); Scott Hesse (guitar); Steve Strand (flugel); Michael B. Nelson (trombone) - all on 1 track only.

*You don't need to go to Florida for a Cajon - there's a company in South Shields make and supply them!

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