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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Dee: "I feel my generation had one advantage over today's players in that we were not musically educated in colleges, so we all sounded different. I could tell who it was just by the sound." - (Jazz Rag, Summer 2020).

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11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

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SEPTEMBER

IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON

SATURDAY

Happy Birthday Katy Trigger & Mia Webb.

SUNDAY 20

Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. Tel: 0191 691 7090. 12 noon. Free.

Riviera Quartet - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. A limited number of seats are available which MUST be bought in advance online. £7:50 or £5:45 live stream only.

THURSDAY 24

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Cheltenham Jazz Festival. The Good, Rick Astley and the Ugly.

(By  Steve T)
Rick Astley was the main reason I was able to persuade long-suffering, real music widow Mrs T to spend four nights at a Jazz Festival in Cheltenham. In the end, we decided two tickets with restricted viewing just wasn't worth sticking around for.
It seems to me the Festival has taken a giant step this year. Ever since I read Bill Bruford's autobiography, in which he described it as one of the leading festivals in the country, I've made the trip when they've had two class acts close together, which they've generally managed, though it was much easier when my in-laws lived just a little further up the M6. This was the first year I've needed to stay longer.
The good was especially good: Nigel Kennedy originally doing Hendrix, but hey, Nigel Kennedy; rising guitar wizard Rob Luft (or risen trumpet star Laura Jurd); Christian McBride (nuff said); man of the moment Kamasi Washington and classic funk from Tower of Power.

Had I not been treated so shamefully, I'd have likely done Roller Trio, Andy Sheppard, Seun Kuti, Jordan Rakei, Empirical and Arun Ghosh at least.
The bad wasn't all that bad this year either. I could have quite fancied Randy Crawford and Corrine Bailey Rae. We almost saw Caro Emerald a while back and have seen Van Morrison and Imelda May, though not under the banner of Jazz. Apparently, Van (like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the late Leonard Cohen) still thinks he ranks with Miles and Zappa, so he thinks he can be rude and turn his back on his audience - in his dreams.  

A couple of people couldn't believe I was going to see Rick. We've become so accustomed to popstars being terrible singers (see above), we automatically assume they all are. Astley is no Sinatra or Tom Jones, but nor is he Jagger or Bowie; maybe George Michael or Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet. 
We had a brief listen to rehearsals and he sounded in good voice doing something from the Great American Songbook. On return a little later he was doing a song I recognised, identified by Mrs T as one of his hits, but could just have easily been from the GAS. And of course, Ronnie Scott's Big Band sounded terrific.
I think the ugly has become so much worse this year because it no longer knows what it is or who it's for. On a scorching hot bank-holiday weekend, it's a massive event for the town and the local area. A small Co-op shop opposite the park took more money than every other Co-op in the country on Sunday, and the café in the park had its best day ever on Saturday, no doubt superseded on Sunday. But I know of some who travelled for the free stage who were disappointed, presumably because the whole area was completely rammed.
Lots of people come from all over to see the big names and take in some Jazz while they're there, using the programme as a guide and the wish-list, where they rank their preferences.
Then there's the Jazz people, who don't expect preferential treatment, but expect the Box Office to understand that we know what we want to do, and when we do what it takes to achieve that, if the Box Office cocks it up, it's not enough for them to just say 'tough'! But, once they've got your money they don't care; why should they when there are plenty more Van fans where they came from?
The line-up was excellent this year but will need to be spectacular in the future to ever get me back
Steve T.

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