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Bebop Spoken There

Guy Barker: "You have to play it [the trumpet] every day or you just won't be match-fit." - (Jazz Rag, Winter 2019.)

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Today Friday December 13

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux CarréJazzmen - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. ‘Christmas Jazz Lunch’. Details from 0191 252 9429).

Dean Stockdale Trio - The Merry Monk, 30 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening.

Jazz

‘An Evening of Swing & Sparkle’ - National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL. Tel: 0191 515 5555. 7:30pm. £35.00. Rat Pack evening inc. 4-course meal.

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regents Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 284 3700. 8:00pm. £12.00. + bf. First night of two.

Chris Dean's Syd Lawrence Orchestra - Yarm School, Stockton TS15 9EJ. Tel: 01642 786023. 7:30pm (6:30pm doors). £18.00. + £1.80. bf (£15.00. + £1.50. bf). 'Mistletoe & Miller'.

Blues, Funk/Soul etc.

Baghdaddies - Cobalt Studios, Boyd Street, NewcastleNE2 1AP. £10.68 (inc. bf). ‘Big Xmas Knees Up’.

Swamp Hoppers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

George Shovlin & the Acoustic Radars feat. Pat Rafferty + George Pallas & John Wilkins - Whitburn Cricket Club, East Street, Whitburn SR6 7BZ. Tel: 0191 529 3187. 7:30pm (7:00pm doors). £7.50. admission by ticket only (from www.wegottickets.com). 'The Bents Road Sessions'.

Dead Skunk Skiffle & Blues Orchestra + Stetson Five - Station East, Hills Street, Gateshead NE8 2AN. 8:00pm. Free.

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

GIJF Day 2: Norma Winstone & Ralph Towner - Sage Gateshead, April 7

Norma Winstone (vocals) & Ralph Towner (guitar, piano)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew)
Norma Winstone and Ralph Towner go way back. This rare duo performance at Sage Gateshead attracted a discerning audience in Sage Two on the middle evening of three during the fourteenth Gateshead International Jazz Festival. The voice-guitar (and occasional piano) duo played songs from the best part of forty years ago through to as recently as last week when Winstone wrote the lyrics to the eponymous track of one of Towner’s earlier signature ECM albums.
The evening began with several notable musicians – one of them a supremely gifted vocalist – in the front row within touching distance of Winstone and Towner. A Breath Away – yes, that’s it, the front row was but a breath away – opened the concert, and it is likely those sitting up close would be able to hear every nuanced whispered breath. Towner’s Always by Your Side followed and the penny dropped…this was a masterclass in the making. Towner’s immaculate acoustic (classical) guitar playing would either inspire or dispirit the guitar student in the house, such was his mastery of his chosen instrument. The classy duo introduced Jule Styne’s Make Someone Happy giving it an impeccable reading. It was as if we were part of an intimate gathering, and, of course, we were.           
At this point in the proceedings, the seated Towner declared he was feeling the cold and promptly stood up, momentarily leaving the stage to put on his jacket! And why not?! 

Their set continued with Winstone’s newly written words to Anthem, Towner’s millennial album on Manfred Eicher’s esteemed record label. For the most part, the concert took the form of Winstone the lyricist penning words to Towner’s compositions with the occasional departure to introduce an enduring GASbook tune to the set list. One such classic departure, Rodgers and Hart’s Nobody’s Heart Belongs to Me, projected to all parts of Sage Two housed within Norman Foster’s landmark building on the banks of the Tyne. The Glide from Towner’s days with Oregon followed by another ‘old one’ as Winstone called it, Beneath An Evening Sky, again from the ECM catalogue, made it an evening to remember. The duo concluded their masterclass with a further selection from 2000, or thereabouts – The Prowler – from the aforementioned ECM album Anthem. A most memorable evening. 

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