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Bebop Spoken There

Buddy Guy: "I've never made a record I liked." - (The New Yorker March, 2019)

Archive

Today Wednesday March 20

Afternoon

Jazz

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. 8:00pm. £1.00.

Lieko Quintet + purpleshirt - Bar Loco, Leazes Park Road, Newcastle NE1 4PG. Tel: 0191 232 5871. 7:30pm. Free.

Blues

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

The Exchange Blues - The Exchange, Howard St., North Shields NE30 1SE. Tel: 0191 258 4111. 8:00pm. Free. Fortnightly blues jam session.

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Black Swan Jam Session (in the Mezzanine Café) - March 19

Jeremy McMurray (piano); John Pope (drums); Dave McKeague (drums) + Steve Summers (alto/tenor saxes); Graham Easthope (soprano/tenor saxes); Jordan Alfonso (alto sax); Elliott Todd (trumpet); David 'Showtime' Gray (trombone); Paddy ? (clarinet).
(Review/PHOTOS by Lance).

Three cracking gigs in a row and if I'd been able to slot in Blaydon, Bishop Auckland and the Lit & Phil it would have been six!

I'm going to buck protocol and relive last night by starting at the finish. All the major players are on stage - this could have been JATP at Hartford, Connecticut back in the 1950s except it was 2019 in Newcastle. The fortnightly Jam at the Black Swan Arts Centre taking place, for this week only, in the Mezzanine Café. Accessible via a series of signposted twists and turns - by comparision the maze at Hampton Court pales into insignificance - the question debated by the contenders is as to whether the grand finale should be Cherokee or Caravan

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Miriam Ast and Victor Gutiérrez, Secret Songs European Tour @ Lit and Phil – March 15.

Miriam Ast (voice); Victor Gutiérrez (piano).
(Review/photos 
by Brian E)


German songstress Miriam Ast and Madrileño piano virtuoso Victor Gutiérrez certainly didn’t take the ‘A’ train for this leg of their Secret Songs European tour. Having previously taken in Prague, Mainz, Cologne and Leeds, the next stops are to be Hampstead in London, Freinsheim in the Rhineland, then Madrid and Palencia in Spain.  

After their train broke down between Retford and Doncaster, they eventually reached York just in time to catch an (also delayed) TransPennine Express to get to Central Station 10 minutes after their concert was due to start. Fortunately, Paul Edis was not just host but a first-rate stand-in and entertained the patient audience with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Surrey with a Fringe on Top and (yes) Billy Strayhorn’s famous Harlem number.

Durham City Jazz Festival tickets now on sale.

Details.

Tenement Jazz Band @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - March 18

Patrick 'Paddy' Darley (trombone); Charles 'Chuck' Dearness (trumpet); Lachlan Fotheringham (clarinet/soprano); Simon Toner (bass); John Youngs (banjo/vocals).
(Review by Lance).

Sunday night I was truckin' on down 5th Avenue - or was it Central Avenue? Last night the action had moved to Basin St. or was it State St., that great street? No, it was Pink Lane, the new home of the Prohibition Bar and the setting for some great Dixieland/New Orleans - call it what you will - jazz by the Edinburgh based Tenement Jazz Band. If you think that the music of yesteryear and the year before that is only played by doddery old men with wavering vibratos then think again. Like our local equivalent, The House of the Black Gardenia, this is a relatively young band who've certainly picked up the essence of the old masters of jazz.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Blaydon Jazz Club Fundraiser - March 17

Noel Dennis Quartet: Noel Dennis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Paul Edis (piano); Andy Champion (bass); Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell/PHOTOS courtesy of Jerry E)

Thirty-five years of countless memorable jazz nights at Blaydon Jazz Club and Sunday evening's triple bill has to be right up there with the best of them. A full house comprising hardcore regulars and many new faces suggested it was going to be something special, Three bands - the future stars of the Early Bird Band, Alice Grace wowing the Black Bull audience and the amazing Noel Dennis up from Teesside - gave full value for money performances.

Topping the bill was one of the underrated trumpet players of his generation. Noel Dennis chose to pursue a career in academe yet had he elected to make a go of it on the London scene he would have established himself as one of the great 'names' on the national stage. Working with Dennis on this fundraising evening were three fellow musicians who can only be described as 'first call' calibre - pianist Paul Edis, bassist Andy Champion and drummer Russ Morgan. Beautiful Love with Dennis on flugelhorn opened the set. The Teessider is a Geneva Instruments' artist and his sound and performance at the Black Bull were a wonderful endorsement of the company's fine brass instruments. Love for Sale illustrated our trumpeter's quicksilver lyricism with immaculate support from his bandmates. Miles Davis is a hero of our trumpeter and the transition from late fifties Blue in Green to Pharaoh's Dance from Bitches Brew a decade later confirmed Dennis as a master performer. It had been a wonderful hour or so of jazz and the quartet went out on a killer blues in F. 

Calling All Guitars


Guitar aficionado Maurice Summerfield has drawn my attention to this Vancouver based jazz guitar blog which he feels will be of interest to all jazz guitar enthusiasts - particularly as this latest issue has a feature on Barney Kessel.

Lance.
jazzguitarTODAY.

Lickety Split @ The Globe Jazz Bar, Newcastle - March 17

Eddie Bellis (trombone); Callum Mellis (trumpet/flugel); Alan Marshall (alto sax); Jeremy McMurray (piano); Alan Rudd (bass guitar); Bradley Johnston (guitar); Paul Wight (drums).
(Review/PHOTOS by Lance)

It was fortunate in one sense that Paul Gowland was absent from the line-up as, otherwise, the band would have outnumbered the audience. Understandable as a three-band fundraiser up the road at Blaydon proved to be too strong an alternative attraction.

This was an unfortunate clash of dates as Lickety Split are a band well worth hearing. Their take on the West Coast jazz of the 1950s mixed with a less clinical approach results in a fine swinging ensemble.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

King Bees @ Bar Loco, Newcastle - Mar 16

Michael Littlefield (guitar, vocals); Scott Taylor (harmonica, guitar, vocals); Dominic Hornsby (piano, guitar, vocals); Simon Hedley (double bass); Giles Holt ((drums) 
(Review by Russell)

Wherever King Bees go their audience follows. Having recently ended a successful monthly residency at Billy Bootleggers the Newcastle based blues band is shortly to begin an exciting new residency elsewhere in town.This Saturday evening saw a return to the uber cool Bar Loco located no more than a Frank Brennan no-nonsense clearance over the old East Stand at St James' Park (Frank who? Ask your dad!).

Juke for openers, a kind of ritual instrumental loosener for King Bees. Ace harp frontman Scott Taylor shared the vocals with Michael Littlefield and, occasionally, pianist Dom Hornsby;  variously I Don't Know (Taylor), Cuckoo (Littlefield), Just a Feeling and Heart Hearted Woman (Taylor) with Hornsby insisting I'm in Love with you, baby. A typical night with the best blues band in town. Hearing the same material time and again doesn't dull the appetite, on the contrary, it's a compare and contrast exercise - these guys really are upholding Tyneside's rich history of rhythm and blues.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Preview: Lickety Split @ The Globe - March 17

(Preview by Lance/ photo from 2018 Mouth of the Tyne Festival)

Tomorrow is the all too familiar example of waiting for one and three coming along or, in this case, two. 
My heart tells me I should be going to Blaydon to show solidarity for the club's fundraising gig - so eloquently put by Russell in the previous post. However, closer to home, Lickety Split (not to be confused with the deejay session at Hoochie next Friday) are playing a gig for the Jazz Coop at The Globe and my loyalties are divided. The Blaydon gig looks to be drawing a crowd so my suggestion is for those who don't want to motor (or bus) west they could do a lot worse than to get their kicks at 11 Railway St. (NE4 7AD).

Preview: Blaydon Jazz Club Fundraiser @ The Black Bull - March 17

(Preview by Russell.)

Blaydon Jazz Club is fast approaching its thirty-fifth anniversary year. Jazz clubs come and go, Blaydon Jazz Club just keeps on going. Fads, fashions, they come and go, what doesn't change is quality jazz and that is what has always been on offer in Blaydon on Tyne. Tomorrow - Sunday 17 - at the Black Bull pub on Bridge Street there is a fundraising triple bill concert to help ease Roly Veitch's dream-come-true into its next thirty-five years.

1984, jazz at the Black Bull, Blaydon...2019, jazz at the Black Bull, Blaydon. Between times the club migrated, setting up home at one or two other nearby venues, they were good times but recently Blaydon Jazz Club returned to its spiritual home. Tomorrow there is a major fundraising drive designed to raise sufficient funds to help secure the club's short to medium term future. 

Radio 3 Jazz News

Hugh C has brought to my attention some changes that are afoot at the BBC including the loss, or rather 'resting' to use the jargon, of two established jazz programmes - Jazz Now and Geoffrey Smith's Jazz.
Details of these changes can be found here.
Lance.
PS: Classical music coverage appears to be going to be increased - surprise, surprise.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Mick Shoulder Quintet @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall - March 15

Lewis Watson (tenor saxophone); Graham Hardy (trumpet); Dean Stockdale (piano); Mick Shoulder (double bass); Russ Morgan (drums)
(Review by Russell/Photos courtesy of Jerry E).

In April last year, Bishop Auckland Town Hall's monthly lunchtime concert drew a healthy crowd. Today the same first-floor cafe/bar accommodated a larger audience there to hear the same line-up. And little surprise given that word-of-mouth recommendation clearly persuaded more people to turn out to hear Mick Shoulder's A-list bop quintet. 

CD Review: Gabriel Latchin Trio - The Moon and I

Gabriel Latchin (piano); Dario Di Lecce (bass); John Morrison (drums).
(Review by Lance).

Call me irresponsible - ok, me and Frank - call me impatient that's your call but, I just couldn't wait until April 5 to tell the world about this one.

Latchin's second CD more than lives up to its predecessor - Introducing Gabriel Latchin which I raved about in 2017.

Straight down the middle piano jazz. No pregnant pauses, no using the piano as a harp substitute. Just honest, what you see is what you get, music! And what you get is a pianist who swings in the grand tradition of, to quote Jazzwise, Hank Jones or Tommy Flanagan.

A choice mix of standards and originals by Latchin, whose C.V. stretches from the Guildhall School of Music to mega masters such as Aaron Goldberg, Peter Martin and Peter Bernstein, demonstrating just how well he has assimilated their teaching whilst, at the same time, absorbing this knowledge to form part of his own individual approach. The result is a complete musician very much to be reckoned with.

Four on Friday

(Preview by Russell)

Lunchtime today offers an embarrassment of riches. The Lit & Phil in Newcastle is sure to pull its usual large crowd with a first visit by Miriam Ast and Victor Gutierrez. The vocals-piano duo's album - Secret Songs - was favourably reviewed by BSH's Ann Alex. 

Four stops on the Metro from Central Station to West Jesmond and you can hear (at the same time, one o'clock) Classic Swing at the Royal British Legion Club. One minute from the station, reasonably priced beers, good jazz, it's an option.

A few more stops on the Metro to Monkseaton and you can catch Maureen Hall's Rendezvous Jazz at the Monkseaton Arms. The Front Street pub is a popular watering hole with a high demand for its lunchtime grub to accompany Hall's happy band of Dixielanders. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

CD Review: Seamus Blake - Guardians of the Heart Machine

Seamus Blake (tenor saxophone, vocals); Tony Tixier (piano); Florent Nisse (double bass); Gautier Garrigue (drums)
(Review by Russell)
In a career spanning the best part of a quarter of a century British born Seamus Blake has recorded several albums as leader or co-leader and contributed to dozens of other recordings. The tenor saxophonist's new release - Guardians of the Heart Machine - is set to take its place in the upper echelons of his body of work to date. 

Blake spent his childhood in Canada, studied at Berklee and relocated to New York to forge a career as a new voice in contemporary jazz. This new CD on Michael Janisch's London-based Whirlwind Recordings label finds the recently relocated tenor saxophonist working with three fine French musicians in his adopted home city of Paris. 

Manchester loses a stalwart - RIP Mart Rodger

I've just received the sad news via Patti Durham and Louis Lince of the passing of Mart Rodger, leader of Mart Rodger Manchester Jazz.

Sadly, I never heard the band live although I did have - probably still do - a VHS tape of the band from some years back. I've tried to find it but, alas, I either loaned it out to a 'friend' or it is buried beneath a host of other videotapes in a cellar, or an attic, or a garage. I'd hoped to find it to remind myself how well my more traditionally inclined associates rated the band.

Vocalist Mandy Kemp To Release Debut EP, Produced By Jazz Icon Jane Monheit Singer Igniting A Second Career With “Firecracker” Release

(Press release)
Los Angeles, California, March 13, 2019 – Emerging L.A. vocalist Mandy Kemp will make her recording debut later this month, with an album produced by Grammy-nominated jazz singer, Jane Monheit. Kemp’s 6-song EP will be available for streaming and download beginning March 29, 2019 on all major music sites, including iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, and Bandcamp, as well as on her website, www.mandykemp.com. Pre-orders of the album can be placed through iTunes or Bandcamp beginning March 18, 2019.  

After generating funding for the album through a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, Kemp recorded her album earlier this year at Big City Studios in Granada Hills, CA, with a band comprised of some of the best players in the L.A. jazz scene: pianist Andy Langham, bassist Jonathan Flaugher, guitarist Will Brahm, vibraphonist Nick Mancini, and drummer Rick Montalbano.

Nice pickings - Bukka White's guitar sold for £93,000

Bukka White's 1933 National Duolian Resonator guitar, as we reported back in January was scheduled to go up for auction yesterday. The guitar, which had been gifted to Newcastle photographer Keith Perry by Bukka White in 1976 was sold for £93,000 at an auction house in Corsham, Wiltshire to an unnamed buyer.
Lance.
Original post.
Auction.

Julija Jacenaite & Steve Glendinning @ Jazz Cafe Mezzanine - March 13

Julija Jacenaite (vocals) & Steve Glendinning (guitar)
(Review/photo by Russell)

Natural light flooded through the first-floor windows at Jazz Cafe Mezzanine as Newcastle Arts Centre's recently opened performance space presented the first in a new - fortnightly Wednesdays - afternoon gig series at Jazz Cafe Mezzanine. An all-seats-taken crowd materialised to listen to two sets by Julija Jacenaite and Steve Glendinning.

Wave found Julija Jacenaite in good spirits as our adopted Lithuanian Geordie sat alongside guitarist Steve Glendinning. Now, this was an interesting departure from JJ's usual 'stand and shoot from the lip' jam session approach. Full-on, dynamic delivery is what we've come to expect from Julija yet this casual, let's-remain-seated, gig revealed a more considered, reflective side to our vocalist. 

Guitarist Steve Glendinning's proven abilities as accompanist were in evidence throughout the afternoon's performance. Love Me or Leave MeMood Indigo, a JJ original, Glendinning supplied the chords and rhythmic support taking an occasional solo along the way, winning applause for his tasteful work on The Girl from Ipanema.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Preview: Miriam Ast & Victor Gutierrez @ Lit & Phil

An exciting duo gig this Friday lunchtime (March 15) at the Lit & Phil features vocalist Miriam Ast and pianist Victor Gutierrez. It's part of a European tour with their Newcastle gig sitting nicely between Leeds and London. Prior to the Lit & Phil, they'll have played concerts in both the Czech Republic and Germany. After their UK stint, they return to Germany and follow it up with some dates in Spain.

Last year, BSH reviewed a CD by the duo with Stan Sulzmann and, I think that, even without the great saxman, this is going to be a very enjoyable lunch hour. 
Lance.
Miriam Ast & Victor Gutierrez - Lit & Phil, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SE. Tel: 0191 232 0192. 1:00pm. £5.00.

IAJRC: The Final Chapter

(Report by Russell)

Dealers of rare records congregated at this year's Bix Fest in Wisconsin. A weekend record fayre presented collectors with an amazing opportunity to acquire sought after items, many of them on 78. Shellac, ten and twelve-inch vinyl, cassette tape, new-fangled compact disc format, sheet music, this was a kid-in-a-sweet-shop dream come true!

The International Association of Jazz Record Collectors maintained its usual presence at the event although on this occasion it was tinged with sadness. The voluntary association's long-established magazine - fifty-plus volumes! - is soon to close. The online social media revolution and falling membership numbers has led to the decision to cease publication. IAJRC trustee Sally Fee informed Bebop Spoken Here that one more quarterly edition will be published - a collector's item in itself! - thereafter the association will maintain an online web presence for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

CD Review: Snorre Kirk - Beat

Snorre Kirk (drums/compositions); Tobias Wiklund (cornet); Klas Lindquist (alto sax/clarinet); Jan Harbeck (tenor sax); Magnus Hjorth (piano); Lasse Mørk (bass).
(Review by Lance).

Reading the blurb that accompanies CDs for review can either whet your appetite or make you wonder if the writer is in the right job. Here, a reference is made to a composition by Duke Ellington's bassist - Juan Tizol!

Fortunately, the music makes up for this howler so I read no further, leaving the music to speak for itself.

Unlike so many Scandinavian albums (Kirk is Norwegian, Lindquist and Wiklund are Swedish, Harbeck and Mørk are Danish), Beat sits comfortably 'twixt swing and bop having the luxuriant feel of an Ellington small group whilst, at the same time, sounding as modern as a late breakfast. In other words, it swings without dragging.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Ian Bosworth Quartet with guests @ Dormans Jazz Club - March 7

Ian Bosworth (guitar); Ron Smith (bass); Peter Crinion (keys); Mark Hawkins (drums); + Donna Hewitt (sax) and Rod Millgate (keys/vocal).
(Review by Ron H)

Although newly formed, most of the players were known to the audience and they were duly appreciated as they kicked off the night in fine style with Cantaloupe Island which included a nice solo from Donna on alto. Ian’s feature, Affirmation, also went down well, the particularly tight ending impressed.

A favourite of mine, Buddy Johnson's Since I Fell For You, had great dynamics, thoughtful guitar and sax solos as well as a real blues feeling which went beyond the basic 12 bar changes.

Sunday @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - March 10

(Review by Russell)

Sunday at this thirtieth edition of Bix Fest coincided with Bix Beiderbecke's birth date - March 10 (1903). Born in Davenport, Iowa, the legendary cornetist could never have imagined that 116 years after his death there would be more than one festival celebrating his contribution to jazz including Bix Fest here in Racine, Wisconsin some 200 miles northeast of his birthplace. To mark Bix's birth date there would be cake for all Bixians.  

The line-up on the final day was, in effect, a reprise of Saturday evening's concert. Andy Schumm returned with his Cellar BoysReginald Robinson and John Reed-Torres 
enthralled the capacity audience with yet more spellbinding ragtime piano, Milwaukee's Sweet Sheiks made the short trip down the freeway a second time and the Shake 'Em Up gals were around to close the party. 

Burton Agnes Latest.

More acts have been added to this year's Burton Agnes Jazz Festival line-up.
Full details here.
Lance.

Missing piano

The frequently used (and abused) upright has disappeared from the forecourt of Newcastle Central Station - A reward of 88 notes is being offered for its return.
Lance.

CD Review: Cathy Segal-Garcia - Dreamsville

Cathy Segal-Garcia (vocals); Larry Koonse (guitar); Josh Nelson (piano)
(Review by Ann Alex)

The twelfth CD from Cathy Segal-Garcia, singer, songwriter, teacher, and linchpin on the Los Angeles jazz scene, sees her working with A-list musicians, Larry Koonse, a first-call guitarist who has recorded 5 CD’s as a leader plus many others as a sideman, and pianist Josh Nelson, who has 6 albums to his credit and who has also created a multi-media show that involves music, art and visuals.

Dreamsville comprises 8 standards, 2 songs written by Ms Segal-Garcia, and also a piece from the classical repertoire, Scarlatti’s Sonata in B Minor L33, which was originally written for harpsichord. The three musicians worked out all the arrangements together during rehearsals, with the rich alto voice floating over a lush piano and guitar accompaniment.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Saturday evening @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - March 9

(Review by Russell)

They get dressed up for this one. Saturday evening at Bix Fest features some of the very best classic jazz era musicians to be found anywhere on the planet. Hot Chicago jazz, N'Awlins’ finest, ragtime masters and Wisconsin's own, this was to be a veritable feast of jazz. 

Reginald Robinson entertained the rapidly filling room with a selection of blues and ragtime numbers some of which were original compositions. Robinson's Little Dave Blues was inspired by his father's rather unusual day (night?) job...driver to mobster John Dillinger! Racine is but a short hop on the freeway from Chicago and this evening there were one or two mobster types at Bix Fest, thankfully they were swing dancers dressed to the nines. Hey, is that Bogie over there?! 

Robinson's partner in crime - sorry, ragtime - John Reed-Torres belatedly arrived to play Queen's Rag. Meanwhile, none of the guys appeared to be packing heat as they escorted their gals onto the by now crowded dance floor. 

Milwaukee's Sweet Sheiks took to the stage to play their opening set. Clarinet/alto sax, trombone, guitar/musical saw, banjo/guitar, brass bass and washboard, the young local six-piece kept the dancers on their feet with an hour or so of favourite numbers including Dr Jazz and The Sheik of Araby

CD Review: Kevin MacKenzie - ‘The Ballad of Future Joe’


  Kevin MacKenzie (guitar); Mario Caribe (bass); Alyn Cosker (drums).
(Review by Roly Veitch)

Scotland’s Kevin McKenzie, a contemporary styled jazz guitarist of international class, is one of a select group of guitarists who, with authority and lyricism, have absorbed the legacy of players such as Abercrombie, Metheny and Scofield to develop an attractive, warm and very fluent personal style. It’s a style based on a mix of interesting melodic lines, subtle contemporary chord voicings and all executed with a fine sense of form, rhythm and dynamics.

In this trio recording he joins with two more of Scotland’s finest – drummer Alyn Cosker and bassist Mario Caribe, a Brazilian who came to study music in Scotland and stayed. The result is a powerful unit capable of gentle lyricism through to high energy group interaction but always with an overriding discretion brought about by impeccable musicianship and good taste.

In this newly released CD all of this is there to listen to in abundance.

Belinda Y Los Vinaleros @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - March 9

Belinda Voshtina (vocals); Carlos Luis Rivera (percussion/vocals); Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); David Gray (trombone); Elliott Todd (trumpet/flugel).
(Review by Lance).

What better way to celebrate the latest of my countless birthdays than to spend a couple of hours in Havana and, without the hassle of going through customs? Yes to celebrate my birthday Cuba came to Newcastle albeit not weatherwise.

In the Prohibition Bar Cuba Libres were being downed as if we were in Havana's Jazz Café as opposed to Newcastle's former venue of the same name. The music added to the Caribbean ambiance that was in the air and there was little English in the lyrics that were sung so beguilingly by Belinda and Carlos. 

RIP Jacques Loussier

Bruce Bax has brought to my notice the passing of French jazz pianist Jacques Loussier who left us on March 5.

Renowned for his jazz-inspired improvisations on various classical themes and particularly Bach he was perhaps the greatest cross-genre interpreter in that field. I remember hearing him playing to a packed house at Newcastle's City Hall back in 1971. It was a memorable evening when genres were crossed bringing both sides of the great divide (jazz and classical) together. A night to remember.

I'd planned on seeing him again at Scarborough Jazz Festival in 2015 but, sadly, illness prevented him appearing.

When I was involved with the jazz record dept. of our local music store by far the best selling LPs at the time were the Decca albums by the Jacques Loussier Trio and especially the second volume that included the emotive version of Air on a G String that achieved immortality when it was used as the soundtrack to an advert for Hamlet Cigars.
The great man was 84 may he Rest In Peace.
Lance.

Bix Lectures @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - March 8 & 9

(Review by Russell)

Phil Pospychala is an anorak, a Bixian anorak. The Bix Fest director gave two lectures during this year's festival, the first on the subject of a 1971 documentary radio series which, until recently, was to all intents and purposes lost, forgotten about. Mr Pospychala knows everyone who is anyone in the Bixian community and he has acquired a copy of the broadcast tapes thanks to his friendship with the respected musician Frank Powers. The second talk, titled The Good, Bad & Worst (of Bix), was a no-holds-barred assessment of Beiderbecke with an emphasis on the 'worst' aspects of the legendary cornetist's life and times. 

Saturday, March 09, 2019

The Cellar Boys @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - Mar 8

(Review by Russell)

The Cellar Boys were the main attraction on Friday evening at Bix Fest 2019. Andy Schumm and the boys gig regularly in the Chicago area and for this festival appearance up in Wisconsin a couple of deps made up the numbers. During the course of the evening, a slew of sitters-in would join the party including Whitley Bay favourite David Boeddinghaus. 

Daniel Herskedal CD released. Gig at Sage Gateshead on March 23.

(Press Release)
Voyage is the new album from Norwegian Tuba player and composer Daniel Herskedal following his acclaimed albums Slow Eastbound Train (2015) and The Roc (2017). With each release the core line-up of Herskedal on Tuba and bass trumpet, pianist Eyolf Dale, percussionist Helge Andreas Norbakken and more recently violaist Bergmund Waal Skaslien has become more effortlessly integrated. On Voyage the band exudes a seamless flow and interconnectedness with even greater emphasis on the subtlety, nuance and colour that Daniel Herskedal has built his compositional reputation on. But the music is nonetheless equally exciting and captivating. Bridging the melodic beauty of Slow Eastbound Train to the Arabian flavours of The Roc, Voyage stands as a hallmark of Herskedal’s exquisite taste and perfect blend of emotion, melody and rhythmical intensity merged together in a sound that is undeniably his.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Bus Tour to Hell @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - March 7

(Review by our man in Wisconsin)

A Tribute to Bix (Bix Fest) began with a day-long bus tour to some historic jazz sites in the state of Wisconsin. This thirtieth year Bix Fest event visited Milwaukee, Hartford and Racine. The trip - Bus Tour to Hell - was conducted by Bix Fest director Phil Pospychala. It was to be some day!

At ten in the morning, a coach full of jazz fans departed the festival base with the first stop at 13th and Manitoba in Wisconsin. The jazz tourists disembarked, cameras at the ready to grab a shot of the now dilapidated Starlight Hall (see photo). It was here, it is thought, that Andy Jackson's Rhythm Kings once performed circa 1929. The fact that the building is in a poor state of repair somehow added to its appeal. 

CD Review: Nick Sanders Trio - Playtime 2050

Nick Sanders (piano); Henry Fraser (double bass); Connor Baker (drums).
(Review by Dave Brownlow)

The Nick Sanders Trio present a 12 track album of creative material combining classical music and jazz in an innovative style. Looking to the future is how Sanders sees jazz developing via a repertoire of through-composed songs, swing tunes, free improvisations, ‘prepared piano’ interjections and solo piano items.

The album’s cover features rather disturbing art-work showing a young girl clutching a soft toy and both wearing gas masks. This painting appealed to Nick Sanders – its dark humour weirdly attracting his interest.

CD Review: Doug Raney & Nicolai Gromin - There Will Never Be Another You

Doug Raney & Nicolai Gromin (guitars)
(Review by Lance).

Recorded live at Sabine's Cafeteria in Copenhagen on July 6, 1993, There Will Never be Another You showcases two outstanding guitarists - both now sadly departed making this a valuable addition to their legacy.

Raney, son of guitar legend Jimmy Raney, followed very much in his father's footsteps playing in a crisp hornlike manner.

Doug Raney settled in Copenhagen, after accompanying his father on a  tour in 1977. The following year he met Moscow-born Gromin and they worked together regularly. They died within a year of each other in 2017.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Jam Session @ the Dun Cow, Jesmond - March 6

Alan Law (piano); Paul Grainger (bass); Rob Walker (drums) + Joel Shaw, Archie Williamson (drums); David 'Showtime' Gray (trombone); Ray Burns (harmonica/vocals); Niffi Osiyemi (vocals).
(Review/PHOTOS by Lance)

For a while, it looked as if the audience would number two, apart from a couple of girls playing Monopoly (whatever became of darts and dominos?) which, nevertheless, didn't deter the house trio who drifted through It Could Happen to You; Nature Boy; an unidentified blues; I Fall in Love Too Easily and Beautiful Love. All done very tastefully.

John Taylor of Ashington also drifted in and out missing all of the action which took place in the second set. 

Audience numbers multiplied with the arrival of a contingent from Newcastle Uni Jazz Orchestra none of whom had brought their instruments with them although drummer Williamson did sit in later on.

Triple First: Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Lubetkin Theatre, Peterlee – March 6.

Dean Stockdale (piano); Mick Shoulder (bass); Russ Morgan (drums).
(Review/photos by Jerry E)

This was the first time I had made it to the Lubetkin Theatre for one of the lunchtime gigs which Emma Fisk has been running since last September; the first time I had heard Dean Stockdale play, and the first time I had heard the two excellent original compositions – First Light and Another Time – which featured in today’s set-list.

Those two, of which more later, were sandwiched between interesting arrangements of various standards (for interesting, try Hoagy Carmichael’s The Nearness of You done “a bit James Bond-ish”!) sensitively performed by three of our top musicians.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Sammy Scott @ O'Hare Hilton Hotel, Chicago - Mar 5

(Review by our Man in Illinois)

Flying into Chicago over Lake Michigan the forecast temperatures were something like -16. Welcome to the US of A!

The first-night hotel bar entertainment was provided by singer-pianist Ms Sammy Scott. Comes Love is where the Brit abroad came in. Scott sang in a knowing, world-weary style accompanying herself at a Yamaha baby grand with some sympathetic piano. 

A Little Sugar in My BowlThey Can't Take That Away from MeDon't Get Around Much Anymore, Scott knew her stuff as barflies chatted about the ball game on the tv and business types talked business. Your reviewer and one or two others listenened to the music. 

Jam Session @ the Black Swan - March 5

James Harrison (keys); Paul Grainger (bass); Russ Morgan (drums) + Graham Easthope, John Rowland, Ian White (tenor); Julija Jacenaite (vocals).
(Review/ Photos. by Lance).

Not a vintage jam regarding numbers of sitters-in although the goodly crowd was dealt quality-a-plenty. How could they not have been with the effervescent Harrison at the top of his game and the more laid back Grainger and Morgan equally sound? The opening Stompin' at the Savoy set the standard for what was to follow. Now normally, exchanges of fours bore me rigid but the musical repartee between piano and drums on the opening number was the exception. The fours became twos and the interplay was both meaningful and intentionally humourous.

Shrove or Fat Tuesday was celebrated Mardi Gras style with Just a Closer Walk With Thee followed by Mambo Inn.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Joy Ellis Quartet @ The Globe - March 2

Joy Ellis (voice, piano); James Kitchman (guitar); Henrik Jensen (bass); Adam Osmianski (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex/Photo courtesy of Sheila Herrick).

I’d seen this band at the Globe last year and some of us had been to the afternoon workshop at the Sage where we learned about Brazilian Samba and jazz with Joy and Adam, so I was really looking forward to this gig. I wasn’t disappointed and neither was the rest of the audience.

No Brazilian music tonight, but original songs in a contemporary vein, very atmospheric songs about London and cities in general, a song to welcome a new baby, a piece about a conspiracy theory, one about an icy, snowy day, even a song illustrating a jam session. Not the usual whole song then solos all round, but complex arrangements, often led by voice/piano or guitar.

Giles Strong Trio @ Gala Theatre, Durham, - March 1

(Review & trio photo courtesy of Brian Ebbatson. Individual photos courtesy of Malcolm Sinclair).

For the third concert of the 2019 Lunchtime Jazz series, the capacity audience at the Durham Gala was to be enthralled by a debut performance of the Giles Strong Trio, featuring the engaging and inventive playing of three musicians making their first outing together. Over the past 2 years (or more?) Giles and Roly have established a deserved reputation as a guitar duo, but this was to be their first opportunity to show their wares alongside the accomplished bass of Ian Paterson.

The setlist too was a new departure. “This was all new material for all of us,” said Roly, “so this was its first outing. Giles did most of the hard work on the arrangements, but I tried to take some of the burden with a couple of pieces”. “The bass too is important,” he went on, “it provides much more than just rhythm and harmony, it is the anchor that holds the whole performance together”.

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival 2019: Schools Section (Day 3) - Mar 3

(Review by Russell)

Sunday, the last lap, day three of three. The previous day's events culminating in the Managers Big Band retaining its senior open title were still fresh in the mind. Now it was over to the coming generation to show what it was capable of.

Two competition sections - schools and youth - offered a full day's entertainment at Park View Community Centre. Durham County Cricket Club aside, there can be few occasions in the calendar when hundreds of people descend on Chester le Street to participate in a truly social gathering.  

The overcast conditions threatened rain, the kind of conditions a seam bowler would relish down the road at the Riverside. At this time of year, it's either indoor nets or a warm weather training camp. That's for the cricketers, here at Park View conditions were ideal for big band jazz - a large, well-lit stage, a cabaret-style seating arrangement, a real ale bar, food, stalls - in short, a festival which ticked all the boxes.

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival 2019: Youth Section (Day 3) - Mar 3

(Review by Russell)

YOUTH SECTION

Kirklees in West Yorkshire sustains an enviable Music Education Hub. The strength of the funded set-up showed in the quantity and quality of bands making the trip to Chester le Street. The Youth Section of this year's GNBBJF began with Kirklees' Musica Youth Jazz (MD Adam Kingham). tenor saxophonist Isobel Kerr featured on In a Sentimental Mood with the award-winning vocalist Daisy Cameron impressing once more on Cheek to Cheek and Mr Zoot Suit

Tyne Valley Youth Big Band (MD Dave Hignett) presented a street brass band-infused set. A Dave Hignett arrangement of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and a Youngblood Brass Band arrangement of Human Nature were just the tunes to engage the young musicians from Northumberland. Similarly, Van Morrison's Moondance and Jim Peterik's Vehicle succeeded in producing an entertaining set performed with enthusiasm and no little talent. 

CD Review: Patrice Jégou - If it Ain't Love

Patrice Jégou (vocals); Take 6 (vocal group); Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.
(Review by Lance).

The blurb proclaims "Stunning vocalist Patrice Jégou presents a veritable garden of delights on her second album If It Ain't Love."

Well, they would, wouldn't they? And, by and large, it's true. The problem is - if indeed there is a problem - the number of stunning vocalists is increasing daily. Even here in the backwater that is the northeast (or so they would have us believe), there are more than enough vocalists to challenge the world. Multiply that by every major city in all the jazz countries of the world and you realise how tough it is for emerging artists.

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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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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.
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