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Bebop Spoken There

Lou Donaldson: "(On Art Blakey) Everything changed. Especially when the women came in, sat down in the front row, and raised their skirts above their knees. Then the drums got louder, the tempos got faster, and every tune was a drum solo" - (JazzTimes, November 2019.)

Archive

Today Saturday December 14

Afternoon

Jazz

Anth Purdy - Isabella Community Centre, Ogle Drive, Blyth NE24 5JF. Tel: 01670 543773. 11:00am-1:00pm. Free. Christmas Fair.

Jazz Attack - Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. 3:30pm. Free (concourse). Young Musicians Live! YMP Winter Festival.

Jambone - Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. 4:00pm. Free but ticketed (Sage Two). Young Musicians Live! YMP Winter Festival.

Evening

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regents Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 284 3700. 8:00pm. £12.00. + bf. Second night of two.

Sold Out!

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Blues/Funk/Soul

Loft Boys - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A Jazzy Christmas: Paul Edis and Friends @ Sage Gateshead – Dec. 21

Paul Edis (piano, vocals); Jo Harrop (vocals); Andy Champion (bass); Russ Morgan (drums);
Matt Anderson (tenor & soprano sax); Francis Tulip (guitar); Emma Fisk (violin) Graham Hardy (trumpet, flugel); Jason Holcomb (trombone); Faye Thompson (alto sax, clarinet); Megan Robinson (flute)
(Review by Ann Alex/PHOTOS courtesy of Jerry E)

Sage Two was all set for Christmas, fairy lights adorning the mic stand, double bass and elsewhere. Lighted stars onstage along with our star jazz musicians, and a full auditorium - even up on level 3. This was the second jazzy Christmas concert and, by the end of the concert, there were calls for more of the same next year. A concert suitable for both die-hard jazz fans and people not so familiar with the genre.

As Paul pointed out, the concert began with a tribute to Greggs/Fenwick’s window (the enterprising bakery chain which has a shop opposite Fenwicks has cunningly reversed their sign so that the Greggs’ logo is correctly reflected in the department store’s popular Christmas window!) with Walking in the Air from The Snowman, straight in with solos from tenor sax and guitar.
Paul told silly Christmas cracker jokes, as he did last year, before the arrival of the sultry-voiced Jo Harrop. Wearing a Christmassy black dress with silver glitters, Jo gave out with Let It Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow and, on the right-hand side of the stage, trombone, trumpet, alto sax and flute augmented the band. The song included a quick reference to a certain red-nosed reindeer whose driver was last seen asking directions to my house.

And so it continued, Jo sang The Christmas Waltz which was written especially for Frank Sinatra, and Paul came up with his first piano solo of the night if I remember rightly – or was it his second? Emma was featured on Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, and also on a very slow version of White Christmas, with the violin sounding rich-toned and quite luscious. Exit Jo. Interesting to watch the exits and entrances, I think Shakespeare said something about that.

Drivin’ Home For Christmas featured Matt on sax and (unusually) a Latin beat, then Jo returned with a real swinging version of What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?, and Graham trumpeted (or flugelled?) on Sleigh Ride. And I must mention that, all the while, bass and drums tirelessly kept the toboggan on course and didn’t go off-piste and, no, I haven’t spelled that wrong!

The second set opened with a pleasing medley of O Come All Ye Faithful and Silent Night, the latter swinging, and we had a duo number from soprano sax and violin. Paul sang, (yes!), a clever original song, Merry Christmas On Christmas Day, Jo did Santa Baby and the sad wartime song I’ll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams). Then, for me, a high point of the evening, the horns entering from the back of the hall to join Russ drumming on Little Drummer Boy. Quite moving.  A duo of keys and Jo singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. All on stage for Winter Wonderland, then a well-deserved encore, all except Jo in Santa hats, for The Christmas Song (‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’ etc), and a promise to return next year. Bring it on!
Ann Alex    

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