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Bebop Spoken There

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COVID-19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

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.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ada Francis: Final Year Undergraduate Recital @ The Boiler House, Newcastle University - May 17

Ada Francis (voice, Celtic harp) accompanied by Ben Richardson (keyboards); Luke Gaul (bass); Harry Still (drums); Alex de Alfaro (guitar); Megan Savage (vocals); Frankie Hay (vocals)
(Review by Russell) 
Her big day had finally arrived. Ada Francis sound checked right up to the last minute. After years of study, the softly spoken Scot surrounded herself with fellow student musicians. A large audience of family and friends materialised minutes before the scheduled five-thirty start. Examiners seated at the back of the room, her time had come…

Newcastle University’s final year undergraduate music recitals were in full swing at several campus locations; King’s Hall, the Recital Room and here at the recently opened Boiler House performance space. Some students drew the short straw – 9:30am can’t be the best time of day to perform, Ada hit lucky with her five-thirty time slot. On a sunny late afternoon, the recently converted boiler house (‘industrial chic’ the look) would forever be a fond memory for the soon-to-graduate Ada Francis.
Minutes before Ada’s performance was due to start your correspondent said hello to her tutor. Yes, Ada’s vocal coach is none other than Ruth Lambert. If Ada didn’t know it – she probably didn’t – to have Ms. Lambert in your corner all but guarantees success! Ada began her recital with Red, Red Rose. Singing and playing the harp, our examinee introduced Robert Burns’ poem as a part of her folk upbringing. And speaking of Ms. Lambert, Ada chose to sing Agua de Beber accompanied by a fine student rhythm section comprising Ben Richardson, piano, Luke Gaul, bass, and Harry Still on drums. These guys are three-quarters of Ida’s Italics, a gigging student band, the other being tenor player Jimmy Jefford and he was just about front row, he wouldn’t have missed this for the world.        
A recital should examine all aspects of a student’s study. Highlights shouldn’t come into it, but hey, Bebop Spoken Here was here for the ‘gig’ element and an undoubted highlight featured the duo of Ada and Ben, our singer insisting You’ve Changed. It wasn’t late night, hardly a jazz club setting, yet Ada put her heart and soul into it accompanied by Ben’s sensitive piano playing. The examiner couldn’t be anything other than impressed. Ada spoke of her delight in discovering the GASbook – so, her time at university has been well worth it! Our examinee thanked her bandmates for giving their time to rehearsals as she took them on a Juan Tizol/Duke Ellington Caravan journey. Clearly, a lot of thought had gone into the arrangement and it was evident that Ada had the stage presence to look around the room and engage with the audience. And the audience was definitely on side. If the examiner was in any doubt (unlikely) we were listening to an accomplished performer the huge volume of applause couldn’t have done any harm!
Guitarist Alex de Alfaro joined Ada to play Lush Life as a duo. Further confirmation that Ada was on her way to top marks! As a penultimate selection, an original composition – Ada forgot to announce the title! – featured not only the Italics but Ada’s backing singers Megan Savage (herself under the scrutiny of the examiners earlier in the day) and Frankie Hay. Ada Francis concluded her recital on good form playing one of her long-time favourite contemporary pop songs. An enjoyable afternoon – for the audience at least! – which Ada Francis is sure to relive many times. 
Russell                               

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