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Bebop Spoken There

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Simon Spillett: A lovely review from the dean of jazz bloggers, Lance Liddle...

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Postage

16476 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 16 years ago. 356 of them this year alone and, so far, 68 this month (May 24).

From This Moment On ...

May

Sat 25: Tyne Valley Big Band @ Bywell Hall, Stocksfield. 2:30pm.
Sat 25: Baghdaddies @ Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Whitley Bay Carnival (outdoor stage).
Sat 25: Northern Monkey Brass Band @ Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay. 4:30pm. Whitley Bay Carnival (outdoor stage).
Sat 25: Paul Edis Trio w. Bruce Adams & Alan Barnes @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:30pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sat 25: Nubiyan Twist @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.
Sat 25: Papa G’s Troves @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Sun 26: Tyne Valley Youth Big Band @ The Sele, Hexham. 12:30pm. Free. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Bellavana @ Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay. 1:00pm. Whitley Bay Carnival (outdoor stage).
Sun 26: Musicians Unlimited @ Jackson’s Wharf, Hartlepool. 1:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Alice Grace @ The Sele, Hexham. 1:30pm. Free. Alice Grace w. Joe Steels, Paul Susans & John Hirst.
Sun 26: Bryony Jarman-Pinto @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 3:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Trio @ The Juke Shed, North Shields. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: 4B @ The Ticket Office, Whitley Bay. 3:00pm. Free.
Sun 26: Clark Tracey Quintet @ Queen’s Hall, Hexham. 6:00pm. A Northumberland Jazz Festival event.
Sun 26: Saltburn Big Band @ Saltburn Community Hall. 7:30pm.
Sun 26: Ruth Lambert Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm.
Sun 26: SARÃB @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead. 8:00pm.

Mon 27: Harmony Brass @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.

Tue 28: Bold Big Band @ The Black Swan, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Wed 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Wed 29: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Social Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Free. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 29: Jazz Night @ The Tannery, Hexham. 7:00-9:00pm. Free. The first night of a new jam session!
Wed 29: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Free.

Thu 30: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside. 1:00pm. Free.
Thu 30: Merlin Roxby @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Ragtime piano. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.
Thu 30: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 8:30pm. Guests Josh Bentham (sax); Neil Brodie (trumpet); Garry Hadfield (keys); Adrian Beadnell (bass);

Fri 31: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms. 1:00pm. Free.
Fri 31: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ The Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 31: Castillo Nuevo Trio @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30pm. Free.
Fri 31: Borealis @ The Witham, Barnard Castle. 7:30pm. CANCELLED!
Fri 31: Redwell @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. A ‘Jar on the Bar’ gig.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Darlington Jazz Festival: Matt Roberts Sextet @ Voodoo Café - May 4

Matt Roberts (trumpet); Riley Stone-Lonergan (tenor saxophone); George Grant (alto saxophone); Chris Eldred (piano); Daisy George (double bass); Sam Gardner (drums)
(Review by Russell) 
Every year a handful of gigs are eagerly anticipated by your reviewer – Vasilis Xenopoulos playing the Traveller’s Rest in Darlington and Blaydon’s Black Bull, the Strictly Smokin’ Big Band’s sell out  ‘big name’ concerts, and, during the Darlington Jazz Festival, the returning trumpeter Matt Roberts playing a hometown gig above the Voodoo Café on Skinnergate. Friday evening’s 'Jazz After Dark' concert featured Roberts’ brilliant, youthful sextet playing the music of Kenny Dorham.

This year’s edition of Matt Roberts’ band wrought no fewer than four changes in personnel. The in-demand Leo Richardson couldn’t make it as his star is in the ascendant following the release of his album The Chase and his busy itinerary simply couldn’t accommodate Darlington. Roberts thought about it for a second before giving fellow Leeds College of Music graduate Riley Stone-Lonergan a call. A good choice, RSL was in fine form when heard recently in Durham. Pianist Chris Eldred was another obvious first call. With a cv including gigs with John Dankworth, Jean Toussaint and Bobby Wellins, appearances at Ronnie’s, the Bull’s Head and Soho’s Pizza Express, and a long tenure as pianist with NYJO, Eldred would surely cut it. 
The bass and drums working on this 2018 festival gig were well known and not so well known. Drummer Sam Gardner played this gig two or three years ago and as another LCoM graduate is no stranger to the regional jazz scene. The one name not so well known was double bass player Daisy George. In her final year at the Royal Academy of Music, Daisy, as of Friday, is your reviewer’s new favourite bass player! The one survivor from last year’s line-up, alto saxophonist George Grant, stood to Roberts’ right, just as he did last year, ready to rip it up.

The annual ‘Jazz After Dark’ gig guarantees a full house and this year wasn’t any different. Family, friends, fans, they were out in force to welcome home one of their own. Matt Roberts, now wearing spectacles to read the charts (at the grand old age of thirty-ish!), greeted all and sundry, eventually making it to the stand ready to play some Kenny Dorham. Una Mas for openers, Poetic Spring from Blue Spring (Dorham’s album with Cannonball Adderley) following up, this 2018 edition of Robert’s amazing band was up and running, firing on all cylinders. Trumpeter Roberts led the way; the blue touch paper lit, the slow burn solo, the fireworks. RSL and Grant stood either side of the Main Man smiling, weighing up their options, confident they would match Robert’s opening joust. The rhythm section purred, then purred some more with Eldred supplying the chords as Sam Gardener played better than ever – at one point Roberts effusive about the drummer’s ‘hard-bop chops’ – and then there’s our undergraduate, Daisy George. Simply wonderful, in-the-pocket bass playing, often with eyes closed, very much into it all as her bandmates looked on with no little admiration. It’s difficult to believe this was Daisy’s first gig with Matt’s band!  

On more than one occasion Roberts drew on Joe Henderson (Recorda Me) and from Whistle Stop, Dorham’s 1961 Blue Note album, Philly Twist and later in the set, Buffalo. Robert’s sextet exploited these numbers to the full – killer frontline solos, a cookin’ rhythm section – at one point prompting Roberts to joke that the positive audience response was down to his immaculate transcriptions!

During the interval the band went to the bar, some stepped outside to take the air, and after a while the Matt Roberts Sextet reconvened, drinks in hand, ready to play some more Kenny Dorham.
Band leader Roberts, playing his Yamaha ‘Bobby Shew’ trumpet, hit the ground running, firing from the first note on Straight Ahead as the engine room once again stoked the hard bop fires and again on the aforementioned Buffalo. George Grant weighed in on alto as the band first played Afrodisia, then it was the turn of Riley Stone-Lonergan to knock out another big tenor solo. The frontline took the majority of the solos but the rhythm section grabbed its share; pianist Chris Eldred dazzled, as did bassist Daisy George, and drummer Sam Gardner played better than ever – and that’s saying something! As the evening neared its end at way past eleven o’clock Joe Henderson’s album In ‘n Out offered Roberts the pick, choosing first Brown’s Town (featuring RSL, Eldred and George) and later Short Stay. Matt Roberts’ annual gig is a sure-fire winner and they’ll do it all again next year! 
Russell.                   


1 comment :

Patti said...

As Mr Reviewer says in his own inimitable way - this was one stonkingly brilliant gig, from start to finish ..... it was possible to get really close to the band, and it's always a joy to see fantastic musicians enjoying their gig as much as this appreciative audience member!

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