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Bebop Spoken There

Guy Barker: "You have to play it [the trumpet] every day or you just won't be match-fit." - (Jazz Rag, Winter 2019.)

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Today Friday December 13

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux CarréJazzmen - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. ‘Christmas Jazz Lunch’. Details from 0191 252 9429).

Dean Stockdale Trio - The Merry Monk, 30 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening.

Jazz

‘An Evening of Swing & Sparkle’ - National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL. Tel: 0191 515 5555. 7:30pm. £35.00. Rat Pack evening inc. 4-course meal.

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

Chris Dean's Syd Lawrence Orchestra - Yarm School, Stockton TS15 9EJ. Tel: 01642 786023. 7:30pm (6:30pm doors). £18.00. + £1.80. bf (£15.00. + £1.50. bf). 'Mistletoe & Miller'.

Blues, Funk/Soul etc.

Baghdaddies - Cobalt Studios, Boyd Street, NewcastleNE2 1AP. £10.68 (inc. bf). ‘Big Xmas Knees Up’.

Swamp Hoppers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

George Shovlin & the Acoustic Radars feat. Pat Rafferty + George Pallas & John Wilkins - Whitburn Cricket Club, East Street, Whitburn SR6 7BZ. Tel: 0191 529 3187. 7:30pm (7:00pm doors). £7.50. admission by ticket only (from www.wegottickets.com). 'The Bents Road Sessions'.

Dead Skunk Skiffle & Blues Orchestra + Stetson Five - Station East, Hills Street, Gateshead NE8 2AN. 8:00pm. Free.

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

Monday, December 03, 2018

Headhunters @ Sage Gateshead - December 2

Donald Harrison (alto/vocal); Bill Summers (perc/vocal); Jerry Z (keys); Mike Clark (drums).
(Review by Lance/photos courtesy of Russell).

I'm going to use that well-known cop-out - a Curates Egg. There were many highs and no lows but, there were also a few in-betweens that verged on the boring.

The highs, and they were very high indeed, included Harrison's alto solos which were as good as, if not even better, than when I first heard him with Blakey's Jazz Messengers a thousand years ago (actually about 30 years ago!). A spiky player to rate alongside anyone you care to mention.

Mike Clark is a phenomenal drummer. However, these days, it seems as though just about every drummer from the grassroots upwards has an amazing technique so why does Clark stand above the rest? Feeling, the ability to listen and to drop his bombs on target and not in the middle of the ocean.

I expected more from Jerry Z. He didn't get that B3 sound and needed more volume in his solos. Nevertheless, a stellar performance.

Bill Summers entertained us with his patter and his solos on an assortment of percussion instruments.

So why bring in the Curate's breakfast? Good question but, enjoyable as it was, it didn't quite make the earth move for me. At times it had an almost Smooth Jazz feeling and the finale with Harrison vocalising on Kongo Square (spelling from the CD that many of the numbers came from) left me cold although, in fairness, the rest of the room was on their feet happily engaging in a call and response session.

I left before the encore which Russell tells me was a Monk tune. I should have stayed - it could have lifted it from a 7-star to an 8-star review.
Lance

2 comments :

Russell said...

Agree 100% with your review. Early on the fine line between in-the-pocket groove and smooth jazz was in danger of being blurred but thankfully Clark found a groove and didn't let go. Harrison quoted Ellington and Dizzy (Manteca). Summers didn't do much until Watermelon Man and Jerry Z was far too polite (subservient to the senior Headhunters?) - the other Gerry, that's Wor Gerry, Gerry with a G, wouldn't have stood on ceremony. Loft Funk saved the day.

Steve T said...

I enjoyed it, but accidentally seeing the Mahavishnu Orchestra (as a rock fan, like most who saw them) in 73 notwithstanding, jazz-funk is really where I came in, officially in 78 though tentatively through 75/6.
My main disappointment was at rows of empty seats and this kind of thing works best when there's an up for it audience and - who knows - we may have got Chameleon. I'm guessing the jazz people think it's too funky and the funk people find it too jazzy. I thought there was enough for both, especially with the splendid encore - sorry Lance.

If you ever see Show of Hands, he'll tell you they're too folkey for the people who don't like folk but not folkey enough for the people who do. However, you won't see many empty seats at a Show of Hands gig.