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Bebop Spoken There

Sting: "It was great. They [the River City Jazzmen] all wore blue suits. The band had been together for about twenty years, which was the same age as the suits." - (Melody Maker Sept. 22, 1979).


Daily: July 6 - October 27

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden - Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA. Tel: 0191 478 1810. Screenings at intervals during the day. Part of Akomfrah's exhibition Ballasts of Memory. Exhibition (daily) July 6 - October 27. 10:00am-6:00pm. Free.

Today Monday October 21



Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden (see centre column).

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool - Tyneside Cinema, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6QG. Tel: 0191 227 5500. 3:00pm/5:30pm. Screening of Stanley Nelson's documentary film (2019, cert. 15, 1hr 55mins).



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

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

RIP Clive Gray

Just received the sad news that one of the northeast's jazz legends passed away on Monday, July 23.
Clive Gray was renowned not only for his fine banjo playing but also his sense of humour.
When I worked in J.G. Windows Music Store alongside his longtime musical confederate, Ronnie McLean, Clive was a regular customer buying Clarion banjo strings. He was the only person I knew who used Clarion Strings and we had to order them in specially for him.
I once asked him what it was about them that made them so special. Longevity, tonal quality, resonance? 
"Coz they're the cheapest" was his reply.
He played in most of the local trad bands at one time or another including the Vieux Carré Jazzmen, Ronnie McLean All-Stars, and the Savannah Syncopators. In the photo, Clive is pictured in between concerts at the 1981 Breda Oude Stijl Jazz Festival.

Dave Kerr, who passed on the sad news to me, remarked that he was sure a lot of people would have a lot of stories to tell which we'd like to share. Dave also provided 2 pictures from an earlier Breda Festival. The photo on the right shows, from left to right, Dave, Steve Andrews and Clive. The photo on the right, Clive is the one with the banjo.
If you have a memory of Clive, who truly was a character's character, please email me as, currently, I'm having issues with direct comments. Alternatively, comment on Facebook.
The funeral will take place at Gateshead Crematorium on Wednesday, August 8 at 11:15 am.
Sadly missed, may you rest in peace and don't play your banjo after midnight - you may wake up the Devil.
Clive Gray was 81.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to learn of the passing of Clive Grey R.I.P
Raymond Newton Double Bass player

Roly said...

Sad to hear this news. I haven't got any amusing anecdotes but I would say this - I often saw Clive at The Golden Lion pub (now the Red Kite), at Winlaton Mill. This was with Peter Gascoigne's Vieux Carre who had a weekly residency there back in the 1970s. Clive was a virtuoso banjo player with a gift for harmonising melodies in chords, often with amusing quotes mid solo. It was quite something. Happy days indeed.

John Taylor said...

In the last years of the New Orleans Club at Forth Banks, me and my “Marra” Alf York attended every Friday night for the VC band
Alf was so taken by Clive’s playing that he bought a banjo – going to W Clement Millards for lessons
Alf has a fantastic memory for jokes and events. He just reminded me of something that happened at the end of a VC session at Forth Banks. Gassy announced that the last number would be “Just a closer walk with thee”. Clive shouted, “Can't we do something faster, I’m bursting for a pee”. To this Gassy replied, “For the weaker bladdered members of the band were doing Stomp Stomp Stomp Stop instead!”

Suzanne Swan said...

Hi Lance I have just seen the post you have put on about my Uncle Clive the service is at 11.15 NOT 11.30 if you can change this it would be great I am putting it in the Chronicle on Thursday anyway x Thanks Suzanne Swan

Lance said...

Hi Suzanne time now corrected.

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: I look forward to hearing from you.

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