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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.)

Archive

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.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Matt MacKellar Band @ the Black Swan - Jan. 10

Ben Lawrence (keyboards); Andy Champion (double bass); Matt MacKellar (drums); Niffi Osiyemi (vocals) 
(Review and individual pics are by Russell/group photo on the left is courtesy of Mike Tilley).

A new band, a first gig, would anyone turn up? You bet! The Black Swan did good business long before the advertised start and when the Matt MacKellar Band took to the stage it was standing room only.

Drummer Matt, home on leave from Berklee, handled the announcements with no little confidence. Enlisting pianist Ben Lawrence, himself taking a break from undergraduate studies at Durham University, was a good move and securing the on-loan services of bass supremo Andy Champion proved to be a shrewd piece of business in the January jazz transfer window. Student medic Niffi Osiyemi traded stethoscope for retro-chic microphone to add a touch of neo-soul vocal pzazz. 

Matt declared that Robert Glasper would figure large and so he did. Giving the American a run for his dollar tonight was keyboards wizz - that's keyboards plural, Nord and Roland - Ben Lawrence, playing with confidence, creativity and an ear for the band's collective neo-soul sound. Yes I'm Country opened the show and the Glasper tip continued with the introduction of vocalist Niffi Osiyemi singing Gonna Be Alright as Ben cajoled a convincing Fender Rhodes' sound from his Roland. Yes, this was more than alright!

In recent times Terence Blanchard has acquired a new, young fan base and here at the Black Swan the Matt MacKellar Band's contemporaries were into the E-Collective's Breathless. Jazz, hip-hop, the young ears were open to it all. Anchoring the whole thing was Andy Champion. if you're going to put together a band why not go for the best around? AC duly won mid-tune applause - not the done thing on this sort of gig - on Glasper's take on Moonchild's Every Part (for Linda)

Ben's as yet untitled lyrical tune opened up for man-of-the-moment Matt to take it out, cymbals fizzing and sparking. Niffi rejoined the boys to close out a fine first set. It was noted that several Early Birders, past, present and, perhaps, future, were on the premises. The baton is slowly but surely being handed on. 

Second set. Robert Glasper's Let it Ride hit new heights as Matt roared off into the distance at a killer lick. This is why we go to gigs - tremendous, simply tremendous! The US of A claims Glasper, Britain boasts Floetry. They may be no more - who knows? - but they did give us Say Yes. Matt knows his stuff and his audience. Two standards - Old Folks and Stella by Starlight (arr. R. Glasper, featuring Ben Lawrence, you'd hardly recognise it!) - either side of a J Dilla selection maintained the standard.

Matt called Niffi back to the stand one last time as they went out on Nate Smith's Pages. Drummer Smith the composer, it was little wonder fellow stickman MacKellar had some fun knocking out a first-rate solo. The Black Swan crowd wanted more...Alright then, said Matt. A scratch band winning an encore, say no more.      
Russell

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