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Jeremy Pelt: "In my experience, the hottest player on the scene is almost always the most annoying motherfucker on the scene because they know that they're hot." - (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 Sunday May 19

Afternoon

Jazz

Anth Purdy: Swing Jazz Guitar - Blyth Battery, The Links, Blyth NE24 3PQ. 10:00am-4:00pm. Free. 'Blyth Battery Goes to War Weekend'.

Vieux Carré Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. Free.

Musicians Unlimited - Park Inn, Park Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Tel: 01429 233126. 1:00pm (doors 12 noon). Free.

Alice Grace & Ben Helm - Bonbar, Fenkle St., Newcastle NE1 5XU. Tel: 0191 232 8695. 1:30pm.

Jazz Social - Charts, Quayside, Newcastle NE1 3DX. Tel: 0191 338 7989. 4:00pm. Free. Jam session with house trio (James Harrison, piano).

Blues

Memphis Cruisers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 3:00pm. Free.

Archie Brown & the Young Bucks - The Schooner, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3AF. 5:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazz

Sue Ferris Quintet - Black Bull, Bridge St., Blaydon NE21 4JJ. Tel: 0191 414 2846. 7:30pm. £7.00. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Philip Clouts Quartet - The Globe, Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £10.00 (£7.00 student).

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Book Review: Maxine Gordon - Sophisticated Giant.

There have been innumerable books written about our music (I've got three shelves full and that is but the tip of the iceberg) so, when I say that this is essential reading for anyone interested in modern jazz from the late thirties on, you'd better believe it!

More than a biography and not quite an autobiography, Maxine, Gordon's widow from his last marriage and mother of trumpet player Woody Shaw's son*, manages to successfully incorporate the great saxophonist's own handwritten memories of his life along with her own reminiscences and those of his contemporaries. Not just musicians such as Jimmy Heath and Sonny Rollins but also Alfred Lyons and Francis Wolfe who recorded the wonderful Blue Note albums by Dexter that set the standard for pre-Coltrane tenor playing.

Dexter recalls his early days with the big bands of Hamp and Satchmo. Central Avenue, and the tenor battles with Wardell Gray. His sojourn in prison after being busted. Information on his sparsely documented life in Copenhagen and his Oscar nomination for his role in the film 'Round Midnight. These are taken from handwritten notes the great man wrote and were collated into the author's narrative along with her own memories.

His drug addiction is neither dramatised, glamourised or glossed over. The author did her own research (Dexter refused to write in any detail about what he called his 'lost decade' - the 1950s) and tells it as she saw it. The love between them is never allowed to surface but is ever-present. I think readers would have liked a little more depth to their relationship.

I didn't want the book to end, I didn't want Dexter to die and I give thanks that I saw him in concert at Newcastle in the early 1980s (?) whilst wishing that I'd been able to go backstage and meet him even if it was just to shake hands or say hello and maybe tell him that, over the years, I've bought so many of his albums and loved them all.

Dexter and Wardell were, and still are, my all-time tenor heroes. From the early Savoy sessions, via the Blue Notes, to the most recently released Fried Bananas. I wouldn't be without any one of them. This book will sit proudly on my shelves - but it won't be gathering dust...

The final paragraph: As Dexter had insisted so often, "My life has a happy ending" had the tears forming at the back of my eyes.
Thank you Maxine.
Lance.

PS: It's the time of year when we drop hints to avoid embarrassing gestures of Christmas bonhomie - like, I've got plenty of socks, shirts and plonk - from well-meaning friends. So, tell your own true love that, this year, you don't want any more partridges in a pear tree, lords a-leaping or even five golden rings. No, what you want for Christmas this year is (apart from him/her) a Sophisticated Giant.

*Maxine mentions, almost casually, that she was in a relationship with Woody Shaw yet there is no mention as to how that finished and the Dexter romance began and led to their marriage. It must have been amicable as her son, Woody Louis Armstrong Shaw III, provides a loving afterward to the book.

Maxine Gordon: A Sophisticated Giant - The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon. 2018, The University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-28064-9.

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