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Bebop Spoken There

Cécile McLorin Salvant: "She [Melissa Aldana] makes us realise how terrible it is to be complacent." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Thursday June 20

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Rd., Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazz

Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra - Arc, Dovecot St., Stockton on Tees TS18 1LL. Tel: 01642 525199. 7:00pm. £12.00. + £0.10. bf. ‘Jazz & Tapas’ - booking essential.

Ruth Lambert Quartet - St James' & St Basil's Church, Fenham Hall Drive, Fenham, Newcastle NE4 9EJ. 7:30pm. £8.00.

Heller-Glendinning: Billie Meets Kurt - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm (doors). £6.00. (£3.00. student).

Acoustic Infusion - The Forum, Borough Road, Darlington DL1 1SG. Tel: 01325 363135. 7:30pm. £5.00. Line-up: Alan Thompson (tenor sax); Rick Laughlin (piano); Bruce Rollo (double bass); Ian Halford (drums). Now Abbie Finn on drums.

Durham University Concert Band + Grollingwood Big Band - Durham Town Hall, Market Place, Durham DH1 3NJ. 7:30pm. £10.00., £9.00., £8.00.

Durham University Big Band - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. £6.00. (£5.00 concs.). JNE.

Tees Hot Club w. Gus Smith (vocals); Donna Hewitt (tenor sax), Dave Archbold (keys) - Dormans Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 8:30pm. Free.

Maine Street Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Hollywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:30pm. Free.

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm. £2.50.

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

Friday, April 27, 2018

BSH Interviews Jo Harrop

Bebop Spoken Here tries to keep an eye on – or should that be an ear to – the London jazz scene. You seem to juggle several projects – Alex Webb’s Copasetics, your Peggy Lee show and singing Anita O’Day to name but three. Does any one gig take priority or do you love all of them? 

Each project is very different & so I love them all because each has different material to explore and different lineups to work with – having a project is a good canvas to work from, as you can build a story around it and give it direction which makes it interesting for the audience too.

Alex Webb is frequently involved with the various projects you’re involved in. Having seen his Café Society Swing, unfortunately not with you in it, I’ve always been impressed by his attention to detail – this must be something you’ve witnessed at close quarters?
I love Café Society Swing it is a great show, it has so much attention to detail and Vimala & Ciyo are amazing performers.

Alex Webb and I started working together as a songwriting team a few years ago, and played some smaller gigs around town. When I took a break for a few years to have my children, & came back into the scene (I stepped in to cover Vimala for a few gigs when she got sick) and Alex had developed these wonderful shows based around musical history… His knowledge of music, musicians is vast, and he just keeps going & has so much positive energy, so many ideas, he’s very focused, very funny and he is an absolute joy to work with.

He is also a very talented songwriter and arranger – I am lucky enough to feature on his debut album of original material with some other fantastic singers, Lianne Carroll, China Moses amongst many!

And you’ve been doing shows in Paris! How did they go? Did you sing in French?!  

It’s such a treat to play in Paris – very exciting. I love to travel and play to new audiences and although I sang in English I did attempt to talk in French at the Sunset Sunside Jazz Club – albeit very nervously – I hope I didn’t offend anyone with any faux pas!

You’ve played a few Anita O’Day gigs working with the Denmark Street Big Band. Now that’s got to be a blast! Tell us about the band. 
      
Oh My Goodness – I just love the spirit of Anita O’Day – she just swings like crazy and what a life! I was addicted the moment that my Dad gave me her book and some of her albums years ago.  She once appeared to me vividly in a dream and told me to “go for it” – she said “just smile at the audience, enjoy it, you’re doing okay” or words to that effect!

When the band leader of Denmark Street Big Band told me he’d been granted permission by Anita’s last manager Robbie Cavolina, to copy any of her original arrangements by Billy May/Buddy Bregman etc he organised to fly over to America and bring them back for us to play after spending days in the library photocopying all of the music.
So we brought her actual big band arrangements to life in several shows last year 2017 and what a buzz!! Those arrangements are tough – fast, swinging, exciting – what a ride!! It was so much fun. We will be playing many more Anita shows especially as she would be 100 years old in October 2019!

Your most recent appearance on Tyneside was at Sage Gateshead in December with the seasonal ‘Jazzy Christmas’ show. On that occasion, you worked with pianist Paul Edis, and a host of talented musicians, the majority of them based in the region. Do you look forward to gigging on ‘home turf’?

It’s hard to beat a home crowd– people are genuinely proud of you as many have watched you grow from the start. You are kind of “theirs’ in a way – I always feel very excited to come back and play in the northeast and hope that I improve a little each time I do.

It's great working with Paul – he’s uber talented and hardworking – we started off playing jazz in No Place in Beamish in a pub, then the lovely Cherry Tree… I think we have both come on a long way since then and every time we get together it feels like we are both getting better all the time – we played a brilliant mini tour last summer in Newcastle and Durham with Andy Champion, Russ Morgan, and then the Christmas at The Sage was a very special evening with Emma Fisk, Matt Anderson and several other very talented players.  Paul had put so much thought into that. (Especially his Christmas cracker jokes!!)

In July you’ll be at Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues Festival. It’s a lovely setting. Have you been there before?

Yes, we are headlining this festival – It will be the first time for us there - I hear its beautiful – fingers crossed the sun will shine on us that weekend. I did a few radio interviews with BBC Humberside and Beverly Radio and was knocked out when they said how much they are looking forward to having us play! Can’t wait!

And on the subject of gigs ‘up north’ you’ll be with us again in August to perform at the Ushaw Jazz Festival. I believe you’ll be bringing with you Alex Webb and Tony Kofi. Is that right?

We will be back at Ushaw on August 25th with the Fever show with Alex Webb and the mighty Tony Kofi – I just love his energy – I’m so looking forward to bringing this lovely show to Durham.

Are you familiar with Ushaw College on the outskirts of Durham City? It’s an amazing place!

I played there last year with The Paul Edis Trio for the first time – It’s beautiful. I can’t believe I had never been – I absolutely love Durham and the surrounding countryside. I miss it.

And finally, a question for Jo Harrop the athlete! You recently ran in this year’s London Marathon. A question in three parts: a) Did you run to raise funds for a charity? b) Was it your first attempt at the marathon distance and did you finish? c) And how about doing the Great North Run?  

I just ran my first marathon. The world greatest – The Lond

on Marathon! I ran the whole 26.2 miles in just over 4 hours on the hottest marathon day on record and raised £2,500 for charity. What an incredible (and quite painful) experience!!

The Aspinall Foundation are a conservation charity that I have volunteered with for several years. They are small, based in Kent but are world leaders in saving and protecting critically endangered species – I don’t think most people realise how close we are to losing so many beautiful animals and important flaura and fauna – it’s devastating.

Like my dear Dad, I am a better half marathon distance runner – and I followed in his footsteps a few times doing The Great North Run – again, the best half marathon to do – coming over the hill to the cliff tops in South Shields that last mile with the red arrows flying by is emotional – I ran 1hour 42 which I was happy with.

Music and running are two ways I stay close to my Dad who I lost a few years ago – they were his two great loves and I can often feel him with me when I am running or singing.

Thanks Jo, we’ll see you ‘up north’ soon! 

Cannot wait to be with you again soon “up north” - get the Broon Ale and the stottie cakes ready!! ;-) 

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