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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Carrick: "I contacted Max Jones of Melody Maker and offered to be his correspondent in the States, but I should have done what Ken Colyer had done, get a job on a ship and then jump ship in the States. So I didn't make it [to New Orleans] till 1973." - (Just Jazz May 1999)

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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.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Bitches Brew @ The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle – Nov. 4

Emma Smith & Signy Jakobsdottir: 
Emma Smith (double bass); Signy Jakobsdottir (percussion).
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Clíona Cassidy & George Burt:
Cliona Cassidy (voice); George Burt (guitar).
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J Frisco: 
Lara Jones (soprano sax); Jemma Freese (keyboards, vocals)
(Review by Steve H.) 

Bitches Brew was set up by bass player Emma Smith to showcase female instrumentalists - a much unsung group of musicians. For several years now, Jazz North East has been delivering a very successful ‘Woman Make Music’  series of gigs (in conjunction with the PRS foundation) so it was a natural fit that these two positive forces should finally come together at The Bridge on Sunday night.

The opening set featured Cassidy on voice and Burt on guitar so this appears to immediately contradict both of the statements I made in my introduction about the ethos of Bitches Brew. Firstly, what was a man doing in the lineup and secondly what was a vocalist doing partnering said male? Fortunately, Smith explained all in her introductions. Firstly, it is not a gender-exclusive project and secondly, since Cassidy uses her voice in such an extraordinary manner it should be classed as a musical instrument rather than a deliverer of lyrics.  I couldn’t but endorse those sentiments as a marvellous innovative and creative set of music was delivered.

Burt is a superb improvising guitarist constantly changing mood and accent and this, coupled with Cassidy’s remarkable operatic voice, produced both auditory fireworks and fascinating tranquil passages. A brilliant combination enthusiastically appreciated by the audience.

The middle part of the evening was provided by J Frisco who are a trio although on both occasions that I have seen them they have been a duo - saxophonist Lara Jones being the only constant. Their music is based on life experiences and they aim to incorporate all of the incidental sounds in the room (eg. glasses clinking, doors squeaking etc.). I think their aim is to take one on a journey and, being in The Bridge, one is certainly reminded of travelling as the trains going to and fro the Central Station can frequently be seen passing the window (a feature of this venue that I always enjoy). Anyway, I’m not sure of how much of a spiritual journey I went on but Jemma Freese and Lara Jones provided a very enjoyable electronically influenced ambient set.

The final set of the evening saw Bitches Brew curator Smith team up with percussionist  Jakobsdottir and what a wonderful treat it turned out to be. Jakobsdittor played a Kalimba on a loop whilst producing amazing sounds on a wide range of instruments. Meanwhile, Smith, on bass, dovetailed with her perfectly.

Sometimes you can go to an art gallery that has fantastic art but the walls are so overcrowded it is hard to appreciate what’s on offer. The same can often happen with musicians who feel obliged to fill any gap. Smith and Jakobsdottir left enough room for the audience to be able to fill the spaces for themselves and let them embrace the entire performance without having to sift through any clutter – simply mesmerising.
At the conclusion of the evening, the first two persons I spoke to summed it up with a single word -'beautiful’. I couldn’t have put better myself.
Steve H.

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