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Bebop Spoken There

Jeremy Pelt: "It [Birth of the Cool sessions] was bebop in sheep's clothing." - (DownBeat, December 2019).

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Today Wednesday November 13

Afternoon

Jazz

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool - Tyneside Cinema, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6QG. Tel: 0191 227 5500. 12:15pm. Stanley Nelson's 2019 documentary film.

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

Evening

Jazz

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

Swing Street - Pier Red, Castlegate, Berwick upon Tweed TD15 1LF. Tel: 01289 309168. 8:00pm. Free.

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

Blues/Folk

George Shovlin & the Radars, Charts, Quayside, Newcastle NE1 3DE. Tel: 0191 338 7989. 8:00pm. Free.

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.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

CD Review: Justin Morell - Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra

(Review by Max Goodall)
Justin Morell writes, describing his reasons for composing Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra, that ‘Jazz is an art form that allows musicians to draw upon an endless array of stylistic and cultural traditions. While a number of jazz artists have incorporated the sophisticated forms of classical music in their writing and performances, there are few concerti works for a jazz orchestra and fewer still composed for guitar.’ Morell has for many years been exploring the possibilities of jazz’s capacity to absorb, accommodate and be moulded by disparate influences, in both his well-received jazz CDs as a leader, and his wide-ranging compositions and commissions, as well as in his work as Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania.


I must admit that I personally am often skeptical of attempts to use elements drawn from classical music in jazz compositions, something which I feel is often motivated by assertions of classical’s ultimate intellectual superiority. Moreover, I find that, when it comes down to it, the results of such projects are often really not particularly enjoyable to actually listen to.

Despite this, on this occasion, Justin Morell has been totally successful in overcoming my skepticism. The album draws particularly from the form of the nineteenth century Romantic Concerto, using this as a basis to structure the work. The album’s success is that Morell marries this with really engaging contemporary jazz writing. The sound-world is reminiscent of that of Pat Metheny or Tim Garland. At times the music is defined by a constantly shifting, quite unstable harmony, but this also frequently breaks out into moments of lovely tasteful simplicity, particularly in Life and Times, the second movement. This forms a really quite beautiful bed over which Adam Rogers’ elegant solo guitar playing floats. While much of Rogers’ part is pre-composed, the moments at which he is required to improvise are real highlights, particularly an extended free interaction between guitar and drums in the third movement, Terraforming.

Morell’s writing for Rogers’ is masterful, with moments of incredible virtuosity juxtaposed with sweet, highly intuitive melodic writing. His use of the ensemble is also incredibly effective. In Terraforming a repetitive melodic line in the guitar is gradually taken up and developed throughout the whole Orchestra, building to a breath-taking climax. The music of this movement, and indeed the whole album, is incredibly complex and difficult. The Frost Concert Jazz Band under the direction of John Daversa show themselves to be an ensemble of remarkable quality. Their execution of Morell’s work is flawless throughout.

This is a truly exceptional album in both its performances and the quality of the compositions featured. I strongly recommend giving it a listen – you won’t regret it!
Max G.

Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra was released on December 7, 2018, on Artistshare.

John Daversa (director, conductor); Justin Morell (composer, arranger); Adam Rogers (guitar); Tom Kelley (alto sax, soprano sax); Brian Bibb (also sax, flute); Chris Thompson-Taylor (tenor sax, clarinet); Seth Crail (tenor sax, clarinet); Clint Bleil (baritone sax, bass clarinet); Russell Macklem (trumpet); Michael Dudley (trumpet); Aaron Mutchler (trumpet); Greg Chaimson (trumpet); Derek Pyle (trombone); Will Wulfeck (trombone); Eli Feingold (trombone); Wesley Thompson (bass trombone); Jake Shapiro (piano); Josh Bermudez (guitar); Mackenzie Karbon (vibraphone and glockenspiel); Lowell Ringel (bass); Garrett Fracol (drums).

1 comment :

Steve T said...

Jazz still suffers from an inferiority complex to classical music; a throwback to C19th. I remember seeing Wayne Shorter perform his classical piece he'd composed to commemorate his 80th birthday. I say I saw it but I left not long in. Like others, he believes he will only be remembered if he writes for an orchestra, but his places in history are assured: they're called the Second Great Quintet, Bitches Brew and Weather Report.
I sometimes get wrong for hijacking peoples posts so apologies.

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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