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Bebop Spoken There

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13,132 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 551 of them this year alone and, so far, 106 this month (April 22).

Coming soon ...

April 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at The Holystone.

May 20 Maine Street Jazzmen are back at Sunniside Social Club.
May 23: Vieux Carré Hot Four are back at The Spanish City.

June 2: Vieux Carré Jazzmen are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.
June 7: Jazz in the Afternoon are back at Cullercoats Crescent Club.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Hand to Mouth @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall: Jan. 18

Bradley Johnston (guitar); Lindsay Hannon ( vocals).
(Review by Jerry)

The headline sums up my reaction to two musicians who can so ably perform great standards with their amazing tunes and even better words! It also links in to my only gripe about this otherwise excellent lunchtime gig which I’ll get out of the way up front. Lindsay Hannon, while introducing Gee, Baby Ain’t I Good to You, recalled her anxiety at a past gig when performing Aretha’s trademark song: would she get the spelling right when it came to the R-E-S-P-E-C-T bit? It was a good intro but it was almost the only one – leaving the less clued-up audience members (mainly me!) to work out titles etc. for themselves. Lindsay has an engaging personality and clearly a good sense of humour: I’m sure even clued-up audiences would appreciate seeing more of both. Gripe over!

Ray Noble’s, The Very Thought of You, was first up – a poppy tune with fairly conventional lyrics e.g. “I see your face in every flower, your eyes in stars above”. This contrasted with several other tunes on the set-list which were categorised as “anti-Valentine’s songs”. Rodgers and Hart’s I Wish I Were in Love Again states that “When love congeals, it soon reveals,/the faint aroma of performing seals”; Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life with its girls with “sad and sullen grey faces” and Arlen’s brilliant rejection of  “moon and June and rainbows’ ends” in Down With Love!
That I was able to appreciate genius lyrics throughout the gig was down to Lindsay’s perfect enunciation and sensitive phrasing. I had not heard her sing before and look forward to doing so again. Soon! Her voice ranges from quirky high notes on I Can’t Give You Anything but Love (a delight from its a cappella opening to its snap ending) to dark, deep and husky (sometimes with quite a bluesy rasp) on Gee Baby… on Ain’t Got Nothin’ but the Blues and on All Too Soon.
The names, Ellington, Fitzgerald and Pass featured often throughout (understandable given the duo’s shared love of such music) but there were others: Hamilton and Hale, for example, gave us You’re Blasé which, believe it or not, I’d never heard before. Nice rhymes here, too: chasm/enthusiasm for example! And there was Jobim – bossa to go with the blues –with Dindi and with One Note Samba. On the latter, Hand to Mouth became just that as Lindsay popped and Bradley blew some improvised rhythm in the intro – and also ended the tune with a pop! Good fun!
In October, I commented on how far Bradley Johnston has come in a few short years: I would echo that comment after this gig. Where Lindsay helped us all with the genius lyrics, Bradley did the business with the “amazing tunes” which I mentioned earlier – not only with gently accompanying the lyrics but also with seductive intros and intricate solos exploring the tunes themselves. He was equally comfortable with ballads, blues, bossa and samba and played almost a “walking bass” riff which particularly caught the ear on the up-tempo rendering of Down With Love.
And finally an unsolicited plug for Bishop Auckland: Mick Shoulder is bringing some great acts there for those who like the lunchtime format, and
also a plug for the town itself – it really is a town on the up. It can be reached on a single bus (X21) from Newcastle – a bit of an odyssey, I know, but there’s enough there to make a day out with the Mining Art Museum, Auckland Park (and Wetherspoon’s for lunch) not to mention the Spanish Gallery which is due to open this year. Pick a jazz Friday and you have the perfect bus-pass adventure!
Jerry

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