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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.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Jazz Co-op Weekend Workshop @ The Globe, Newcastle: August 4/5

Saturday
(Report by Ann Alex)
There were 20 of us assembled, including 3 basses (upright, guitar, and ukulele bass!); 3 drummers; 3 vocalists; 3 keys players; various saxes including a baritone; and a trumpet and guitar. Imagine that for a big band – a bandleader’s nightmare!

The tutors firstly suggested that we should perform small group improvisations for everyone to hear. This was, I guess, a way to get us going, and for the tutors to find out what we were capable of.  
We came up with the goods. Our next exercise was about rhythm, hands doing triplets and feet going one/two at the same time. DO try this at home – it’ll improve your rhythm and I’m told it’s good for keeping your brain alive as well. To keep our bodies alive, we had lunch courtesy of Waitrose.
The afternoon saw us working on Straight Life (Freddie Hubbard, originally a jazz waltz) and Contemplation (McCoy Tyner, a tune based on scales), assisted by tutor Jamil Sheriff, keyboard player and cat lover. I found the improvisation tricky as I didn’t know the tunes, and we vocalists have to pluck notes from the air, we don’t have stops or strings to guide us. Still, our group (we’d split into 2 sets of players) came up with some interesting versions of these simple but strong tunes. I never did find out what the other group got up to.
To round off Saturday, the whole group listened as we took turns showing what we’d made of the tunes, or did more instant improvisation.
Sunday
Today began with the drummers and bases being taken upstairs with tutor Caroline Boaden, a drumming and percussion specialist, to do whatever such players do. The rest of us were downstairs with Jamil, doing exercises on the G blues scale, which I recognised from playing the ukulele, but I kept quiet about that. Up and down the scale we went, with pivots and enclosures, Do try this at home, but a/ Find out what the terms mean for yourself, and b/ Warn the neighbours. After a whole group feedback and more delicious lunch, the two groups formed again to go with the tutor they’d not had on the previous day. Our group, with Caroline, was drums, 2 keys, saxes, trumpet, bass, myself on vocals, I seem to recall. We worked on Coltrane’s Equinox, which I did know, from the Globe Women’s Jazz Workshop, more of that later. After some initial practice, we were on our own without the tutor, doing our own arrangement, led ably by a keys man, and once again we came up with the goods.
The whole workshop was rounded off with a final jam session, which included our performance of Equinox; and various people doing Blue Bossa; All Blues; Autumn Leaves.

You’ll have worked out that this was all thoroughly enjoyable, a great, friendly, learning weekend, yet another of the Jazz Co-op’s successes. Thanks to the tutors, who came to us from the Leeds Music College, and to Sheila Herrick, who worked tirelessly in the kitchen and on the bar, to make sure we were fed and watered.
Ann Alex

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