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Bebop Spoken There

Dave Newton: "Having got my Grade 8 pretty early, it was only then that the piano was taking over. But this was happening outside of school really, as the music teacher at this particular school didn't like me or the kind of music I liked." (Jazzwise February 2019).

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Today Tuesday January 22

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jam session - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. House trio: Mark Williams, Paul Grainger, Russ Morgan.

Alter Ego - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB. Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ The Spanish City - Dec 26

Brian Bennett (banjo); Jim McBriarty (clarinet, vocals); Phil Smith (double bass); Fred Thompson (drums, vocals) + John Broddle (vocals)
(Review by Russell)

Boxing Day, the day after the Big Day. Time to get out and about. A bright, sunny day, Metro running, let's go down to the coast. The North Sea resembled a mill pond, promenaders were eating ice cream - yes, ice cream! - on this very mild winter's day.

The Spanish City is an oddity. The Alhambra it ain't but nevertheless, the north east coastal landmark pulls 'em in, not least since a long overdue multi-million pounds' refurbishment. An added Boxing Day attraction (for some) was a festive appearance by the Vieux Carré Hot 4. 

Brian Bennett's portable quartet - the bandleader could pick 'em up, put 'em in his waistcoat pocket and roam around Whitley Bay's iconic building - popped up first in Valerie's Tea Room before moving into the adjacent Trencher's Restaurant. The Champagne Bar up on the first floor would be the Vieux Carré's third and final stop on a Pied Piper tour of the Dome (aka Spanish City).

Three sets, the third with its own interval, found the Vieux Carré in good form; Runnin' WildI Get the Blues When it RainsHoneysuckle Rose - familiar material but none the worse for another airing. The Hot 4's line-up today comprised Bennett with his ever-trusty banjo, multi-reeds maestro Jim McBriarty, as ever singing a few numbers, regular sidekick Fred Thompson playing a single Gretsch snare drum throughout with brushes, and erstwhile Vieux Carré Jazzman Phil Smith helping out on string bass. 
Darktown Strutter's Ball, McBriarty crooning Walkin' My Baby Back Home, a seasonal Winter Wonderland with sleigh bells accompaniment by a youthful friend of the Hot 4, the afternoon flew by as patrons exited doors, belongings in hand, in pursuit of/attempting to escape from the on-the-move Vieux Carré.

Coffee and walnut cake in Valerie's Tea Room, Trencher's fish and chips declined, then on to the sea view splendour of the Champagne Bar. No fizz on this occasion, a hand-pulled pint of the Whitley Bay Brewing Company's Spanish City (ABV 4.2%) the better option. My Honey's Lovin' Arms, then in walked John Broddle to join the band for a couple numbers including If I Had You.

The band's regular singers sang Margie (McBriarty) and Lonesome Road (Thompson) and as McBriarty insisted The Alcoholic Blues didn't pertain to him it was fast approaching three o'clock and time to go but not before MC Bennett acceded to Bebop Spoken Here's request to hear Muskrat Ramble. The Vieux Carré Hot 4 can be heard Sundays, from noon, at the Spanish City. 
Russell.

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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.

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