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Bebop Spoken There

Mark Walker: "A drummer in a big band is always happy. It's like driving a big bus." - (Downbeat, August 2019)

Archive

Daily: July 6 - October 27

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden - Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA. Tel: 0191 478 1810. Screenings at intervals during the day. part of Akomfrah's exhibition Ballasts of Memory. Exhibition (daily) July 6 - October 27. 10:00am-6:00pm. Free.

Today Wednesday July 24

Afternoon

Jazz

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden. See above.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Levee Ramblers NOJB - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.00.

Blues/Folk

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Thursday, November 22, 2018

CD Review: Fred Hersch Trio ’97 @ The Village Vanguard

Fred Hersch (piano), Drew Gress (bass) Tom Rainey (drums)
(Review by Dave Brownlow.)

In July 1997 jazz piano master Fred Hersch took his trio with Drew Gress and Tom Rainey into the iconic Village Vanguard nightclub in New York for the first time as a band leader rather than as just a sideman. The three Friday night sets of the week-long engagement were recorded but never released. 

Now, twenty-one years later, Fred has chosen to do just that and provide us with his favourite moments from this occasion in the form of the eight tracks on this CD – a mixture of Gasbook standards and original pieces. This is, in fact, the only “live” recording of this particular group and at this time, they were determined to make a name for themselves on the world stage. 

There was a freshness plus vitality and confidence about their playing and a ‘togetherness’ only forged by regular, consistent work and the performances are razor-sharp with the arrangements played to perfection. It has to be said that some of this music is on a par with moments from the Evans and Jarrett trios with strong interplay, creative virtuosity, intensity, tension and release.

Cole Porter’s Easy to Love is an engaging opener where Fred dissects and disassembles the famous old song before reassembling it in a lively, exciting fashion, building his solo in attacking style. An imaginative bass solo leads to a tense ending.

A ten-minute-long My Funny Valentine leads with a dynamic bass solo from Gress which brings his admirable technique and musicianship to the fore then the trio builds up before concluding with a “locked hands” piano solo.

A “cheeky” Three Little Words rattles along optimistically, cheerfully incorporating a ‘call and response’ section from piano and drums.

Fred’s own Evanessence provides a tribute to the late Bill Evans and his legendary appearances at the Vanguard with LaFaro and Motian. Here, Gress takes on the intricate melody high up in the register of the bass – not an easy thing to do ‘in-tune’ and at swift tempo. Bravo!

Dress’ original Andrew John begins with a ruminative, at times atonal, piano section leading to a meditative exploration of the theme and chords where each player contributes sensitively and thoughtfully.

Harry Warren and Mack Gordon’s I Wish I Knew is played in similar fashion to the great Jarrett “Standards Trio” version with lots of dynamic and rhythmic shifts. Here, tension builds through the bassist playing in ‘two/four’ rather than the conventional ‘four/four’ and the drummer’s compulsive drive.

The Hersch original Swamp Thang has a deep bluesy groove. Amazingly, we’re still finding ways to present ‘the most-loved jazz chord sequence of all time’ in different ways – a fundamental core of this great music from Leadbelly to the New Orleans of George Lewis to Lewis Watson, or from Coleman Hawkins to Ornette Coleman and beyond with everything in-between!

Finally, You Don’t Know What Love Is is at a frantic pace where the three ‘virtuosos’ thrill with this show of ability, creativity, flamboyance and intensity.

This CD further cements Fred Hersch’s place in the ‘pantheon’ of jazz pianists in a career lasting so far over thirty years, in which time he’s received a staggering number of  awards, lavish praise and where he continues to take the history of jazz music further and further forward.
Dave B.
The Fred Hersch Trio’97 @ The Village Vanguard will be available from Palmetto Records or from fredhersch.com on December 7.


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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

Submissions for review

Whilst we appreciate the many emails, texts, messages and other communications we receive requesting album/gig reviews on BSH, regrettably, we are unable to reply to all of them other than those we are able to answer with a positive response.
Similarly, CDs received by post will only be considered if accompanied by sufficient background material.
Finally, bear in mind that this is a jazz-based site when submitting your album.
Lance