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Bebop Spoken There

Bruce Adams: "Being a jazz musician prepares you for a lot. Kicks in the teeth are usually top of the list." - (Jazz Rag, Summer 2020).

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11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

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SEPTEMBER

IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON

SUNDAY 20

Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. Tel: 0191 691 7090. 12 noon. Free.

THURSDAY 24

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Preview: The Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender – October 19-21

(Preview by Russell) 
Forty years ago something remarkable happened in the jazz world. George Wein’s world famous Newport Jazz Festival upped sticks, moving lock, stock and barrel to the unlikely location of Middlesbrough, England. Ayresome Park, then home to the town’s football club, welcomed the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and the MJQ. In 1978 Andy Hudson was a key figure on the regional jazz scene and it was his crazy idea to invite some of the jazz greats to recreate Newport, Rhode Island, USA in the heart of Teesside’s industrial landscape. Hudson the entrepreneur met with the like-minded New York-based Wein and a deal was done. In summer 1978 Newport came to Middlesbrough!

Fast forward four decades to 2018. It was time to commemorate those never to be forgotten days. The Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender is almost upon us. The newly renovated Town Hall will host a long weekend of some of the best jazz musicians currently working on the regional scene alongside national and international stars. Friday (Oct 19) features Manchester’s dynamic Beats & Pieces Big Band. Formed ten years ago by Ben Cottrell the band has rarely been out of the headlines since. Forward-looking, yet of the tradition, Cottrell’s outfit could be seen as a twenty-first-century trailblazer similar to Chris Barber’s pioneering efforts of the last century.

And something of a masterstroke sees the very same Chris Barber make a return (Saturday 20) to Teesside four decades on from his participation in that ‘Newport comes to Middlesbrough’ dream world. Octogenarian Barber’s touring schedule - he’s booking into 2019! - would test the resilience of some whippersnappers with their three or four gigs a month itinerary. Barber’s top class band won’t be taking things easy as the bandleader will play until someone puts the lights out!

Earlier on Saturday, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra will perform a programme, much of it commissioned, in the Main Hall. NYJO is the other band, like Barber’s, returning to the scene of its 1978 ‘Newport’ engagement.  A then young trumpet player, Guy Barker (!), has done alright since and this is an opportunity to spot a future star from today’s line-up. Joining NYJO will be the recently reformed Tees Valley Youth Big Band. NYJO will celebrate the contribution of women in jazz; a world premiere performance of Nikki Iles’ new commission for the band, and the arrangement by Laura Jurd of Mary-Lou William’s Zodiac Suite. Trumpeter Jurd performs in a late night concert (10pm) with her band Dinosaur.

Sunday (Oct 11) dawns early (11am) with Zoë Gilby’s Family Jazz All-Stars. The concert is designed to captivate the youngest of listeners (ages 5+) although all (there isn’t an upper age limit!) are welcome to attend. From 2pm in the Crypt there are no fewer than four bands to listen to; American singer Hailey Tuck, the Teesside-based trumpeter Noel Dennis revisiting his Tom Harrell ‘Aurora’ show, pianist Paul Edis’ widely-praised Ushaw Ensemble and Printmakers, an amazing grouping of Nikki Iles, piano, Norma Winstone, voice, Mark Lockheart, saxophone, guitarist Mike Walker and the bass and drums pairing of Steve Watts and James Maddren. Throughout the weekend there will be other first-rate performances. At various times expect to hear, among others, Emma Fisk, James Birkett and Roly Veitch.

The first Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender closes (Sunday, Oct 11, 7:30pm) with an appearance by one of the world’s great big bands. All the way from New York via a week-long run at Ronnie Scott’s…it’s the Mingus Big Band! Talk about big hitters… this is the band to hear! Call the box office now on 01642 729729.   
Russell                           

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