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Bebop Spoken There

Anat Cohen: "With the tenor, it's so iconic with jazz. With the clarinet, I can improvise, but it doesn't have to be called jazz." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Wednesday June 19

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Alexys de Alfaro & Julija Jacenaite - Jazz Café, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 261 5618. 2:00pm. Free. Café Mezzanine (first floor, access via crafts shop).

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Levee Ramblers NOJB - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.00.

Blues

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Paul Skerritt & James Harrison @ The Jazz Café - July 24

Paul Skerritt (vocals); James Harrison (pianos).
(Review by Lance/Photos courtesy of Mike Tilley).
I'm never quite sure how to categorise this dynamic duo. Individually, they are at the top of their game, but, together, it can sometimes be a little over the top. Fortunately, tonight the balance was just about right. Sure there was the tomfoolery and the shenanigans but there was also the cool vocals and the hard-swinging piano. 
The material ranged from gassers to more contemporary songs delivered in the manner of Postmodern Jukebox. Not many singers can do a Gregory Porter song without coming in a distant second but Paul ran the great man close on Take me to the Alley. The Jazz Café does have a nearby alley but no one took up the option.
The opener, Swingin' Down the Jazz Café, told us that the, soon to be, father of twins had put some thought into the gig and the lyrics were, again, appropriate.
Hooray For Love; It's Only a Paper Moon; Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter kept the ball rolling as did The Way You Look Tonight - has there ever been a better line than 'Keep that breathless charm'? I go weak at the knees each time I hear it (don't ask!).
L-O-V-E sang in Pizzeria Italian was linguistically impressive as was Puttin' on the Ritz (sung in chip shop Englishalthough James' piano solo could have caused it to be retitled Puttin' on the Jazz Café.
As ever, our young piano man was in an impish mood and the quotes abounded. Sister Sadie being slotted in whenever he felt the need for Sadie to be slotted.
Goody Goody; All About the Bass; Misty and Get Lucky saw out the first set and the room seemed to exude a rosy glow which turned out to be the low-key 'stage lighting'.
Harry Connick Jr.'s Come By Me; American Boy (Girl); Pennies From Heaven (James couldn't resist a few drops of Singin' in the Rain); Take That's Could it be Magic?; Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel; Black and Gold; Shake It Up, with a stride/ragtime interlude from 'Fingers',; Is You is or is you Ain't my Baby?; Bruno Mars provided some Uptown Funk whilst Paul himself gave Larry Hart's Lady is a Tramp a gender change before reverting to the original lyric at tempo de lick.
After he'd attended a Tony Bennett concert in Manchester earlier this year, it wasn't surprising that he left his hat, sorry, his Heart in San Francisco before winding up the evening with Let the Good Times Roll indeed the evening wound up with the duo rolling on the floor still singing and playing - good times? Most certainly!
Two incredibly good performers who know how to put on a show. Sometimes it's spontaneous, sometimes it's choreographed and sometimes it's both but, irrespective, it works. They appear at Marsden Jazz Festival later this year - the audience can expect to expect the unexpected.
Lance.

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