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Bebop Spoken There

Randy Brecker: "It's still a thrill for me today to stand out front of a big band as the soloist and hear all that sound going on behind you. It brings the best out of me" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Tuesday May 21

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Kamasi Washington - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4461. 7:30pm. £30.00.

River City Jazzmen w. Maureen Hall - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NN. Tel: 01670 813983. 8:00pm. £5 (raffle inc.) Bob Wade, Gordon Solomon, Keith Stephen, Phil Rutherford, Tommy Graham.

Lindsay Hannon Band - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB.Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

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

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender 2018: NYJO + Tees Valley Youth Jazz Collective @ Middlesbrough Town Hall - October 20

(Review by Russell). 
NYJO is an institution. Bill Ashton formed the band in the mid-sixties. In 1978 it was an established part of the jazz landscape, it was the year NYJO took part in the Newport Jazz Festival in Middlesbrough. In the line-up forty years ago was a promising trumpeter...one Gerard Presencer. Many young musicians of the highest calibre - before and since - have held chairs in the nation's big band. Recent success stories include Sam Glaser (alto) and the Jam Experiment boys, Jonathan (Jonny) Mansfield (vibes/percussion) and Rory Ingham (trombone). 

NYJO returned to Middlesbrough this weekend to play a concert in the recently renovated Town Hall. Invariably the band's personnel comprises students (graduate and undergraduate) drawn from prestigious institutions (Guildhall, Royal Academy, Trinity, Chethams) with a busy gigging schedule (Ronnie's, Pizza Express Jazz Club, Halls Albert and Festival, European festivals, NYC engagements). 


Last year Sage Gateshead was on NYJO's itinerary and this Middlesbrough date marked the band's return to the region. MD Mark Armstrong presides over top class musicians playing big band staples and commissioned material. Women in jazz - women as composers and instrumentalists - were at the heart of this Saturday afternoon performance. Your correspondent noted few female musicians - three in total - took to the stage. A gender imbalance? Undeniably. Similarly, no one could doubt the brilliance of NYJO 2018. 

A soprano sax feature for Sam Glaser on Bob Curnow's arrangement for big band of Pat Metheny's The First Circle set the standard, a standard maintained throughout. Vocalist Ellie Bignall sang several numbers including That Old Black Magic, the sections were the business, so much so that on occasion MD Armstrong stood in the wings, content to let them play and the rhythm section could hold its own with most others. 

Laura Jurd's arrangement of Mary Lou Williams'  Zodiac Suite is in the pad and three parts - Aries, Taurus and Virgo - were heard here on Albert Road. Joe Hill (piano) impressed the full house and the band's special guest, Nikki Iles, beamed her appreciation of his efforts as the orchestra played the world premiere of her NYJO-commissioned piece Wild Oak (in memory of, and inspired by, Geri Allen). Iles herself joined the ensemble to play Helen Sung'sarrangement of McCoy Tyner's Four by Five for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. If one moment encapsulated the afternoon's performance it was the pianist's flashing smile reciprocated by bass player Jack Austin as the rhythm section was, as they say, cookin'!    

It was announced from the stage that family members of the late Chris de Saram (Wakefield Jazz Club) were present at NYJO's performance. A legacy is to be gifted to NYJO

Earlier, the Tees Valley Youth Jazz Collective played a short set. Formed six weeks ago, this was the band's concert debut! In old money one or two members of the orchestra stood no more than 3'6" yet, by the end of their performance, you can bet they felt six foot tall! 

MD Jud Down rehearses the band once a week here in the Town Hall and one thing is for sure, you'll be hearing more from this fantastic music education project. From Chuck Mangione's Children of Sanchez to Joe Zawinul's Birdland, the Tees Valley Youth Jazz Collective did it/themselves proud.     

Russell. 
Pianist Helen Sung can be heard tonight playing with the Mingus Big Band!  


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