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Bebop Spoken There

Abdullah Ibrahim: "For me jazz is the highest form of music." - (DownBeat, September 2019).

Archive

Daily: July 6 - October 27

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden - Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3BA. Tel: 0191 478 1810. Screenings at intervals during the day. Part of Akomfrah's exhibition Ballasts of Memory. Exhibition (daily) July 6 - October 27. 10:00am-6:00pm. Free.

Today Saturday August 24

Afternoon

Jazz

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden (see above).

Mellow Baku - St Augustine's Parish Centre, Larchfield Street, Darlington DL3 7TG. 12:30pm. £10.00. (under 16s free). Line-up: Mello Baku (vocals), John Hallam (reeds), Andy Dickens (trumpet), Ian Bateman (trombone), Tom Kincaid (piano), Rachel Hayward (guitar, banjo), John Day (double bass), Nick Millward (drums).

Jo Harrop w Paul Edis Trio - Ushaw College, Ushaw DH7 9RH. 1:00pm. £10.00. Ushaw Jazz Festival.

Boys of Brass - Bill Quay Beer & Music Festival, Brack Terrace, Bill Quay, Gateshead NE10 0TT. 3:00-4:30pm. (Festival 1:00-11pm). Tickets: £10.

Xhosa Cole-Francis Tulip Quintet - Ushaw College, Ushaw DH7 9RH. 4:00pm. £8.00. Ushaw Jazz Festival.

Evening

Matt Anderson & Paul Edis - Ushaw College, Ushaw DH7 9RH. 6:00pm. £6.00. Ushaw Jazz Festival.

Tony Kofi & the Organisation - Ushaw College, Ushaw DH7 9RH. 8:00pm. £14.00. & £12.00. Ushaw Jazz Festival.

Picturehouse Deluxe + Kay Greyson - Bobik’s, Punch Bowl Hotel, Jesmond Road, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 3JY. 8:00pm. £5.00. Line-up: Georgia Turnbull (vocals & keys), Thomas Dixon (reeds), Jamie Mackay (guitar), Adam Cornell (bass), Ben Fitzgerald (drums).

Jam session - Ushaw College, Ushaw DH7 9RH. 10:00pm. Free. Ushaw Jazz Festival.

Blues/Funk/Soul

Teresa Watson Band - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Remember when...

Hi Lance, just recalled a visit to Gateshead Odeon in the early 1950's to see Nat King Cole & the Johnny Dankworth band, Great night, made better by finding out that one of my  childhood friends was there, having married one of Dankworth’s trumpet players so I got to meet them all after the concert. Just wondered if any of your readers remember the Sunday night concerts of those days?
Tommy Henderson

André Previn (April 6, 1929 - February 28, 2019)

The passing of André Previn earlier today brought back a flood of memories to me, as it surely must have done to so many others.

On a personal level, his two trio versions of the songs from My Fair Lady - one with Shelly Manne as leader and one under his own name - remain two of the greatest jazz piano albums ever.

Yardbird Arts present Remi Harris Duo @ Wingates Village Institute & BURC, Spittal.

(Press release)
Swapping worldwide touring for a series of intimate village hall gigs, extraordinary UK guitarist, Remi Harris is joined by double bassist, Simon Smith for an eclectic mix of music at Wingates Village Institute NE65 8RW and at BURC (formerly St. Paul's Church), Spittal TD15 1RD.

Remi’s music draws from Gypsy Swing, Jazz, Blues, Rock and World Music. His live set includes original compositions, improvisations, jazz standards and new arrangements of musical masters ranging from Django Reinhardt and Jimi Hendrix to Wes Montgomery and Charlie Parker.  He plays a variety of acoustic and electric guitars and his show is interspersed with commentary about the history of the music and instruments he plays

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Preview: 16th Great North Big Band Jazz Festival March 1-3

(Review by Russell)

Last year's Great North Big Band Jazz Festival was cancelled at the last minute due to snow-bound roads leading to and from Chester le Street. As several bands were facing lengthy journeys in potentially dangerous driving conditions festival director Bill Watson reluctantly took the decision to call the whole thing off. No such concerns this year - just look at the tropical weather!

Beginning at eight o'clock on Friday (March 1) with a concert performance by Musicians Unlimited and the Festival Band, the GNBBJF continues throughout the weekend - 11:00am starts Saturday and Sunday! - with the curtain falling early evening on Sunday. No fewer than thirty-two bands will be in competition mode across the weekend vying for a coveted prize. 

Saturday's non-stop action features senior bands (including several first-rate university outfits) with Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra kicking things off. NUJO, as the band is known, is the only band to have competed at every edition of the GNBBJF. This year's NUJO line-up promises to set a high standard. Band president Tom McDonald and the ebullient sax man Matt Green have been busy knocking the sections into shape with the likes of trumpeter Tom Alcorn and guitarist James Cuxson set to impress the adjudicators. 

Preview: Postmodern Jukebox - Sage Gateshead March 3

Postmodern Jukebox is a phenomenon. Scott Bradlee's brainchild has developed to such an extent that two shows can be on the road concurrently on two different continents. At Sage Gateshead, on Sunday (Mar 3) it's anyone's guess which musicians - and how many - will turn up! 

PMJ's previous visit to NE8 on the banks of the Tyne attracted a full house and it's likely that Sunday's show will be similarly busy. And little wonder given that since Bradlee first put something on YouTube in 2009, PMJ's online videos have chalked up, wait for it...ONE BILLION views! 3.6 million subscribers and counting, it isn't surprising that the 'franchise', if that's what it is, plays to packed halls all over the world.

CD Review: Ralph Alessi – Imaginary Friends

Ralph Alessi (trumpet); Ravi Coltrane (tenor saxophone, sopranino); Andy Milne (piano); Drew Gress (double bass); Mark Ferber (drums).
(Review by Hugh C).

Imaginary Friends is this particular quintet’s first release since 2010.  The band had been working hard developing the material on the road before arriving at La Buissonne, Pernes-les-Fontaines to record with Manfred Eicher.  Alessi and Coltrane have been long-time friends and musical associates since their time as students at California Institute of Arts in the late 1980s, both are now based in New York.

This is a proper CD recording – just over one hour’s music, with none of that pseudo-vinyl 40-minute nonsense!  It comprises nine tracks, all Alessi compositions. 

Iram Issela (named after Alessi’s young daughter) commences with a chordal progression on solo piano, to which Alessi adds atmospheric trumpet, followed by Gress and Ferber.  This is quintessential ECM stuff with sonorous overtones from Coltrane’s tenor in the central section.

Singer-songwriter and activist named as headline act for Folk on the Tyne Festival 2019

(Press release)
Sage Gateshead has announced legendary singer-songwriter and political activist Billy Bragg as the headline act at this year’s Folk on the Tyne Festival on Saturday 27 July. 
The annual festival, which brings some of the best folk acts from around the world to the south bank of the Tyne, has previously welcomed The Young ‘Uns, The Unthanks, and The Wilsons, as well as a host of workshops and performances.
Billy Bragg has been a fearless recording artist, tireless live performer and peerless political campaigner for over 35 years. Honoured with the PRS Outstanding Contribution to British Music award at the Ivor Novello awards in May 2018, he is regarded as a valuable statesman.

Booker T. Jones @ Sage Gateshead - February 26

Booker T. Jones (guitar/B3/vocals); Ted Jones (guitar/vocals); Lawrence Shaw (bass guitar); Darian Grey (drums/vocals).
(Review by Lance/photos courtesy of Russell).

Booker T on a jazz blog? Why not? His soulful sounds and vocals are closer to jazz than many of the so-called names headlining at a lot of jazz festivals worldwide. Proof that genre boundaries are becoming much less defined which is how it should be. 

The great man played Hammond, guitar, sang and gave a musical synopsis of his life. He may not have had his legendary M.G.'s but tonight's band certainly weren't Ford Anglias. The groove was in from the moment they let the clutch out.

A choice selection of hits with the biggest reaction given, not surprisingly, to Green Onions (as well as being Booker T's 'greatest hit' it's currently the soundtrack to a Birdseye TV ad!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Minnie Fraser Quartet @ The Globe Jazz Bar - Feb. 24

Minnie Fraser (vocals); Mike Bowman (keys, arrangements); Paul Grainger (bass); Abbie Finn (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex)

This was the first time I’d heard Minnie doing a full gig and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Mostly GASbook with fine singing and interesting arrangements, accompanied by stellar musicians well-known to the audience, and the Globe full downstairs, what better way to spend a Sunday evening?

The trio opened the show with two tunes seamlessly integrated; I Wish I Could Know How It Feels To be Free and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, including an early drum solo from Abbie. Minnie stepped on to the stage with a friendly smile, band introductions, and Ain’t Misbehavin, which segued neatly into All Of Me, and a skilled bass solo backed by firm chords from the keys, and off we went. Misty, one of Minnie’s favourite songs; The Very Thought Of You; then, with great versatility, a change to a Latin number, which was Dindi.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Musicians Unlimited @ Dormans Jazz Club, Middlesbrough - February 21

(Review by Ron H.)
The first of this year's "Guest Big Band Nights" featured the award-winning band from Hartlepool led by saxophonist Mick Donnelly.

Playing to a full house, the band began with a nice arrangement of the classic Ja-Da, followed by I Get a Kick Out of You with Paul Skerritt's lively style and fine voice. The Latin rhythm of Orilla Del Mar was perfectly set up on congas by Ernie Jackson and beautifully played by the band and an excellent solo from Sue Ferris on tenor sax.

A beautiful vocal from Jan SpencelayhMy Heart Belongs To Daddy - preceded a swinging version of High Maintenance (great solos from Mark Toomey alto, Bill Watson trumpet and Lady? on baritone sax). Paul sang the ever-popular Georgia on my Mind followed by a new number for the band Sister Sadie that included a nice bass solo from Adrian Beadnell.

Trailblazer named as headline act for 14th annual SummerTyne Americana Festival 2019

(Press Release)
Americana trailblazer k.d. lang is announced today as the first headliner at this year’s SummerTyne Americana Festival at Sage Gateshead in July. 
Dubbed “the best singer of her generation” by Tony Bennett, k.d. lang has won four GRAMMY® awards, eight Juno Awards, a BRIT, an AMA, a VMA, and four awards from GLAAD.

In 1996, she received Canada’s highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada. In 2013, she was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the Juno Awards, and last year, received the Alberta Order of Excellence Award. 

lang has contributed to numerous soundtracks, appeared in many films, and in 2014 made her Broadway debut in the seven-time Tony-award nominated musical, After Midnight.

In 2016, she united with Neko Case and Laura Veirs to create collaborative record case/lang/veirs and this year, she celebrates the 25th anniversary of her platinum-selling breakthrough album, Ingénue.

And the Oscar goes to...jazz!

The Best Motion Picture at this year's Academy Awards is Green Book. The film soundtrack was composed by Kris Bowers the 2011 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. Check out the reviews - they are all over the mass media - then make a date at your favourite movie theatre. 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mark Nightingale w. Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Sage Gateshead - Feb. 23.

Michael Lamb and the SSBB think big when they book a guest artist. Over the last few years, the Roll of Honour has included Bruce Adams, Alan Barnes, Paul Booth, Joe Stilgoe and many others. All have one thing in common - master practitioners of their art and their chosen instrument. Last night was no exception. In Mark Nightingale, we have a trombone titan who delighted the three-tier-full Sage 2 audience.

The opener, Home Groan, had Steve Summers on alto reminding us that there was more than one superstar on the bill - there were 18. In fact, there would have been 19 if F'reez hadn't been left out in the cold - boom! boom!

Enter Mark Nightingale. Don't Mention the Blues, the title inspired by Fawlty Towers, had the main man blowing low down and dirty whilst on Detour Ahead the tone was pure and clear with a cadenza played with such dexterity that trombone players in the audience were recognisable by their dropped jaws. A special mention also for the sax section chorus on the former number which was a masterclass in phrasing and intonation.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Friday, February 22, 2019

Benson hedges his bets and looks back at two blues/rock legends

Legendary Jazz Guitarist George Benson will be releasing his brand new album Walking To New Orleans on April 26th via Provogue/Mascot Label Group. The iconic musician pays tribute to Rock & Roll pioneers Fats Domino and Chuck Berry.

Speaking about the two artists, Benson explains "I'm a great appreciator of the music made by both of those guys," says Benson, who reanimates their genius with his signature soulful vocals and buttery solos. "Chuck Berry was a great showman and a great musician, and Fats Domino cut nothing but hit after hit after hit.

The first track to be released from the album is the awesome version of Chuck Berry’s Nadine (Is It You?), which you can check out here.
So that's the good news. The bad news is that if you want to hear him live then you either head down south to Hammersmith Apollo on July 18/19, buy the album on April 26 or head over to Europe, if they are still speaking to us, and hear him in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Spain.
Lance.
Press release.

Daniel John Martin with Swing Manouche @ The Black Swan - Feb 21

Daniel John Martin (violin, vocals, whistling); Mick Shoulder (guitar); Giles Strong (guitar); Paul Grainger (double bass)

A return visit by Daniel John Martin guarantees a Hot Club-plus occasion with the emphasis very much on the 'plus' element. To describe DJM as a virtuoso performer is like calling Lionel Messi a half-decent footballer. It is all but impossible to convey to those who've yet to hear the Paris-based violinist at a gig just how good he is. This Black Swan engagement, the second of five in the north east, attracted a number of new faces - little did they know what a treat lay in store!

The Anniversary Song (aka Waves of the Danube) opened the show, and it was a 'show' in the best sense of the word. The virtuosity almost casual, DJM clearly enjoys working with Swing Manouche. Mick Shoulder's outfit, now with a settled line-up, ensured that it was up to the mark with all bringing their A-game to the party. She hates California opined DJM, and so we got it - The Lady is a Tramp, that is - every bit as nonchalantly as Bobby Darin or any Rat Pack associate. Rhythm king Giles Strong occasionally stepped up to take a solo -  construction, technique, the whole package - none more so than on Tenderly.  

Chetham's Bebopping on Northumberland St - Feb 22

In the week before Christmas County Durham's Harry Toulson was heard busking on alto sax outside Marks and Spencer on Northumberland Street. Today, pitching-up at the lower end of Newcastle's busiest shopping street, Toulson brought along fellow Chetham's School of Music student Matthew Stringer. Toulson once again on alto, Stringer blowing tenor, they entertained passers-by with a mid-morning bop tear-up! Bop lives!     
Russell.

Do-wah, Do-wah, Do-wah, Do-wah etc.

Thanks to Andy Hudson for bringing my attention to this little gem.
Lance.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Preview: The Lazy River Jazz Band @ The Exchange, North Shields - Feb 27

(Preview by Russell)

In North Shields on Wednesday (Feb 27) there is a one-off opportunity to attend a Dixieland jazz band's rehearsal session. The long-established Lazy River Jazz Band is shortly to entertain locals and tourists alike on the Costa Del Sol and North Shields' Exchange cafe/bar is the place to catch them in action before they set-off. 

Chris Perrin founded the band in 1983 and from its north west of England base the eight-piece - as it is likely to be on Wednesday - has played countless gigs, some of them with stellar guest names such as Rico Tomasso. Perrin (reeds) fronts the band alongside Veronica Perrin (trumpet, vocals). Chris has worked with Brian Carrick (Algiers Stompers), as has trombonist John Crisp (Carrick's Heritage Hall Stompers) who will be in North Shields on the night. 

Ned Kelly Rides Again

Nice to have a visit to Neds [Ned Kelly's Last Stand] of Pug Wilber vocalist wife of Bob Wilber plus Mark Hodgson jazz trio bandleader on the Queen Mary, and trombonist Bradley Schmidt who is joining the Queen Mary  — with Bradley Schmidt.
Colin Aitchison (on F/b).

Andy Rides Again


Escaping into music has always been a boon to me. Sitting down and playing a bit of Mozart, Gershwin or Ragtime - doesn't really matter which. Other parts of the brain come into play and the inanities of (even at a distance) Brexit watching evaporate.

Playing in a band adds further dimensions, and our new band (of vintage players) will hit the bars and stages of Singapore in the near future.
Playing Rock 'n' Roll standards and enjoying the repartee of the guys who have trodden the boards for many years - some of us were actually there in the '60s. Great fun - Loving it.

Andy Hudson (on F/b).

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Black Swan Jam Session - Feb. 19

(Review by Lance).

Just another night at the Black Swan jam session, or so it seemed. The house trio of Brad, Paul and Russ got things going with an original by Brad, For Joe, dedicated to Joe Pass. A super swinging version of 'S Wonderful and a nod towards Django with Nuages. Easthope blew tenor on what sounded like a Messengers' tune, newcomer Brito made an impressive debut with Doxy and Blue Bossa before the earth moved when Dulcie May Moreno - all the way from Kent - sang Louis Jordan's Trouble Ain't no Satisfaction and Pennies From Heaven. A class act indeed!

Martin Waugh - all the way from Edinburgh - played My Little Suede Shoes and Doc Summers popped up wielding a baritone sax. As the evening progressed his horns grew smaller, unlike Ray Burns who started out playing harmonica - it eventually morphed into an accordion. They did a job on September in the Rain.

Cross Border Culture: Jeffery Hewer Quartet @ Zeffirelli's, Ambleside - Feb. 16

Jeffrey Hewer (guitar); Sam Quintana (bass); Alec Robinson (piano); Steve Hanley (drums).
(Review by Hugh C)

The Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal has a track record of staging interesting and thought-provoking exhibitions.  Refuge: The Art of Belonging tells the story of artists who entered Britain as a result of Nazi occupation and does not disappoint (***** Recommended).  An email from a hotel in Ambleside with an inviting low season offer encouraged our first visit to Cumbria this year, over the Pennines on the A686, perhaps England’s most scenic road, stopping in Kendal on the way.

What to do on Saturday evening?  A quick consultation of the Zeffirellis website offered the chance of a FREE (as in gratuite) jazz gig at 8.30pm -  The Jeffrey Hewer Quartet were in the jazz bar, and a table for two was available one-quarter of an hour before.  We arrived a little early and were offered a choice of tables, we selected to sit near the band for a good view, just next to the fine Wendl and Lung baby grand piano installed in the venue.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

CD Review: Doug MacDonald Quartet - Organisms

Doug MacDonald (guitar); Carey Frank (B3); Bob Sheppard (tenor sax); Ben Scholz (drums).
(Review by Lance).

It seemed for a while that, with the passing of B3 legends such as McDuff, McGriff, Holmes and Smith, the organ had already gotten one foot out of the groove and into the grave. Fortunately, judging by the CDs I've been receiving recently, the venerable Hammond B3 is well and truly back in business. 

In a week's time (Feb. 26) Booker T is at Sage Gateshead clashing with local hero Gerry Richardson who's up-river at The Fox in Hexham on the same night. Brian Auger is still pedalling at home and abroad, whilst Joey DeFrancesco continues to dominate the polls in America and Ross Stanley and James Taylor keep the UK flag flying.

Jam Today, Jam Tomorrow, Jam the day after

Below is an update on the current jam session scene in and around Tyne and Wear. Sitters-in are invited and encouraged. However, because of the unpredictability of jam sessions, it's best to get there early and make yourself known or else you may be overlooked. It's also advisable, because of the ephemeral nature of jams to ring first if you are planning a long trip (some travel from Edinburgh, Birmingham, Leeds, London and Boston, Mass as well as Australia!) For listeners, remember that jams are like Tom Hanks' famous quote in the film Forrest Gump: “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.”  It's the same sense of the unknown that attracts so many of us to a jam session.

Sundays
Jazz Social - Charts, Quayside, Newcastle NE1 3DX. Tel: 0191 338 7989. 4:00pm. Free. Weekly (apart from last Sunday in the month?)

DU Jazz Soc jam session - Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St, Durham DH13NP. Tel: 0191 383 9290. 7:30pm. Free. Weekly during term time.

Am Jam - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 3:00pm. Free.
Second Sunday in the month.

East Coast Jazz - Exchange, Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1SE.
Tel: 0191 258 4111. 6:00pm. Free. Monthly jam session (third Sunday).

Sunday Jazz Social - Fire Station, High St West, Sunderland SR1 3DT. Tel: 0191 594 7241.  3:00-5:00pm. Last Sunday in the month jam session.

More Jam - The Globe, 11 Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 3:00pm. Free.
Fourth Sunday in the month.

Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Beaumont Hotel, Hexham - Feb 18

Dean Stockdale (piano); Giles Strong (guitar); Mick Shoulder (double bass)

A Monday evening jazz gig at Hexham's Beaumont Hotel featuring an ace piano trio attracted a good number of diners and a few discerning listeners nursing a solitary drink. 

Pianist Dean Stockdale met up with guitarist Giles Strong and bassist Mick Shoulder to play a selection of GASbook numbers in laid back style. Gershwin, of course, Richard Rodgers, Billy Taylor (I Wish I Knew), Monk (deserving of GASbook status), all played with the sensitivity one has come to expect of Messrs Stockdale, Strong and Shoulder. 

Allendale Brewery's Golden Plover is an ever-present on the bar (very much a local beer in these parts) and on the night it pipped Mordue's Workie Ticket. The trio fed and watered, the music resumed with three fine solos on Don't Get Around Much Anymore. A further round of first-rate solos followed on a swift Lady be Good and the evening's entertainment concluded with Witchcraft. Next week's jazz offering is the fine guitar duo of Giles Strong and Roly Veitch, seven 'til nine. 
Russell

Monday, February 18, 2019

Ragtime Pete @ Central Station - Feb 18

Waiting for the train to Hexham for tonight's Beaumont Hotel jazz gig your correspondent heard Pete from Bromsgrove playing Maple Leaf Rag on Newcastle Central Station's 'have-a-go' piano. A fine pianist is Pete! 
Russell

East Coast Jazz Jam @ The Exchange, North Shields - Feb 17

Keith Barrett (guitar); 
Bernie Ranson (tenor sax, keyboards); Andrew Porritt (double bass); Sam Young (drums) + Jude Murphy (alto sax, flute, vocals); Dave Weisser (cornet, vocals); Johannes Dalhuijsen (tenor sax, soprano sax)
(Review by Russell)

The East Coast Jazz Jam is a monthly, early evening jam session 'down at the coast'. The Exchange in North Shields stages a wide range of events (theatre, music, cinema) including a couple of jam sessions - one jazz, one blues. Last night, the third Sunday in the month, it was the turn of the former, the jazz jam.

Frog and Henry @ St Augustine's Parish Centre, Darlington - Feb 16

Ewan Bleach (soprano sax, baritone sax, bass sax, clarinet, vocals); Laurin Hebart (alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet); FH Henry (guitar, banjo, vocals); Kerman Arken (violin, vocals); Dave Neigh (tuba machine, banjo)
(Review by Russell) 

Frog and Henry are in the vanguard of a younger generation of musicians seeking something other than being considered 'hip' or 'cool'. Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club's faith in the music paid off handsomely with a large turnout at St Augustine's on Larchfield Street. 

Frontman Ewan Bleach introduced the numbers and, along the way, introduced his bandmates - two of them hailing from Canada, one from Germany and an American from the state of Tennessee. Bleach, from the Deep South (Oxford, to be precise) played no fewer than four reeds - soprano, baritone and bass saxophones and clarinet - and, sitting to his right, Laurin Hebart played alto and tenor saxophones and clarinet, the pair of them just about covering all the reeds. 

Going for a Burton? - Latest update

(Press release)
Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues Festival are delighted to announce more artists have been confirmed and added to the line-up of their thirteenth summer festival.

Bringing a jazz-rock element are the some of the North's most creatively diverse young musicians who form the band Artephis – a favourite of Jamie Cullum and a new band for Burton Agnes.

The Mark Williams Trio, a Jazz, blues, rock, fusion outfit are also new to Burton Agnes although not to festivals to which they have played many, both national and international.

More 2019 artists and headliners will be announced over the coming weeks - to keep up to date please visit: https://www.burtonagnes.com/Jazz_Festival/Line_Up.html

Sunday, February 17, 2019

CD Review: Mats Eilertsen - And Then Comes The Night

Harmen Fraanje (piano); Mats Eilertsen (bass); Thomas Strønen (drums).
(Review by Lance).

I usually manage to 'delegate' the ECM CDs that I receive - invariably they bear little relation to jazz as I know it - and pass them on to more receptive ears. However, this one prompted me to bite the bullet. A jazz piano trio - I've heard the best! Peterson, Garner, Evans, Jarrett, Corea - could this European group compare?
No!

CD Review: Patchwork Jazz Orchestra - The Adventures of Mr Pottercakes

(Review by Lance)

There are big band albums and there are BIG BAND ALBUMS! this one comes into the latter category although don't expect to find Glenn Miller emerging from the English Channel covered in seaweed! No, this is very much a large ensemble meeting the standard of today's contemporary players. However, don't get me wrong, this is no pet shop fire group and yet, nor is it a swing band. It's a band that swings to today's rhythm, the pulse of life whether it be to the office or the job centre is totally encapsulated.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

CD Review: Wadada Leo Smith, Rosa Parks - Pure Love

(Review by Ann Alex)

The insert tells us that this music is an oratorio for the iconic American civil rights activist, Rosa Parks(1913-2005), who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, whilst on a bus in segregated Alabama. This proved to be an important move in the fight against oppression of African American people in the USA. The musicians involved are stellar performers with good track records. For instance, Smith is connected to ‘creative’ musicians form Chicago, and has issued a 4-Cd collection which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music (2013). He has received awards for Jazz Artist of the Year(2017) and many other honours.

Cedric Burnside + Michael Littlefield & Scott Taylor @ Cluny 2 - Feb 15

Cedric Burnside (guitar, drums, vocals); Brian Jay (guitar, drums, vocals)
(Review by Russell/PHOTOS courtesy of Ken Drew)

Track two on Cedric Burnside's new album is titled Get Your Groove On. Last night in Cluny 2 a full house got its groove on from the get-go. As the lights went down Burnside strolled out onto stage, picked up an acoustic guitar, sat down and played. Hill Country blues from northern Mississippi; hypnotic, irregular meter, cast iron vocals, as Burnside said: We got some hill country blues for ya. The Jumpin' Hot Club crowd replied: Wye Aye.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Svarc, Hanley, Longhawn @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall - Feb 15

Nik Svarc (guitar); Steve Hanley (drums); Martin Longhawn (organ)
(Review by Russell)

It was a warm, blue sky Friday in County Durham with Bishop Auckland looking at its best. The Town Hall's café/bar performance space accommodated a near-capacity lunchtime audience for the visit of Svarc, Hanley and Longhawn. 

The Leeds-based trio of Nik Svarc, guitar, Steve Hanley, drums, and Martin Longhawn, organ, arrived in good time, pulling up outside Bishop Auckland Town Hall, off-loading and setting up with the minimum of fuss - true pros are SHL. There Will Never be Another You opened the one hour programme. A familiar tune, for sure, but in the hands of SHL they're apt to take a good look at it, take it apart and skillfully put it back together again.

The Rabbit Hole Jazz Supper Club - update

Popular vocalist Anna Reay has kindly sent me an update on Durham's latest jazz venue - The Rabbit Hole, 17 Hallgarth St., Durham DH1 3AT. Tel 0191 386 5556.

15th Feb Anna Reay and Deon Krishnan.

16th Feb Neil Harland and Dean Stockdale. 

21st Feb Stu Collingwood solo piano. 
22nd Feb Swing Manouche w. Daniel John Martin (pictured).
23rd Feb Zoe Gilby and Mark Williams. 

28th Feb Steve Whitfield solo.

NUJO: ❤❤❤❤ Make jazz not love ❤❤❤❤ @ Bar Loco - Feb 14

(Review by Russell)

Happy Valentine's Day! Newcastle's student hangout on Leazes Park Road couldn't have been busier. If anyone was looking for a valentine this was the place although it could be that they would have to settle for a sardine so packed was it.

Through the doors then up the stairs - on the way nodding to NUJO (Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra) President Tom McDonald - to the unmistakable sounds of TS Monk. The jam session was well underway...MAKE JAZZ NOT ❤❤❤❤!!!

A TrainWatermelon ManIt Don't Mean a Thing - performed by an ever-changing, quite bewildering number of NUJO sitters-in. What's this? Alto saxophonist Matt Green behind the traps...where's Archie Williamson? Southpaw guitarist James Cuxson was there, he's an ever-present cog in the NUJO set-up. Horn players galore, percussionists by the dozen, it was noisy, raucous, make jazz not ❤❤❤❤!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

John Scofield @ Howard Assembly Room, Leeds - Feb. 13

John Scofield (guitar).
(Review by Steve T)

Should have seen him at the Sage a year or two back, with a band. I wasn't that bothered at the time but I like his current album and it's probably wise to start mopping up as many Miles Davis alumni as one can gather.

Recently I thought I'd lost some tickets so I ransacked the house. Came across a John McLaughlin ticket for Newcastle Playhouse from ninety-four (while I was still in West Yorkshire) which can only have been Joey DeFrancesco. I also saw Mike Stern intrude upon a master-class with Martin Taylor in one of the classrooms at Sage Gateshead, resulting in an impromptu jam, so I'm putting a tick next to him too.

Leeds is a maximum three hour round trip for us so an opportunity to play up to six albums, though we only managed four.  Mrs T is generally up for guitarists though not long in I got the 'never again' I normally get when tabla players start routine maintenance on stage.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Preview: From the Mississippi Delta to the Ouseburn Delta

On Friday (Feb 15) the Mississippi blues will be heard down on the Ouseburn Delta. In the subterranean depths of Cluny 2 Cedric Burnside's stripped-back guitar/vocals and drums duo gig is likely to draw a large crowd of aficionados keen to hear a new century take on Mississippi's 'Hill Country' blues.

Cedric Burnside started out playing drums, later switching to guitar, following in the footsteps of his grandfather RL Burnside. Now, at the age of 40, Burnside's raw, energetic blues is coming to Newcastle thanks to Jumpin' Hot Club's co-promotion with host venue Cluny. Burnside's insistent, rhythmic guitar and vocals will be complemented by Brian Jay's drumming as the duo play cuts from the new album Benton County Relic. Think White Stripes with a rhythm and blues edge and you'll get the idea. 

And, what a bonus, King Bees' frontmen - Michael Littlefield, guitar and vocals, and Scott Taylor, harmonica and vocals - will play a support set! Doors open at eight, tickets £12.50. Telephone the Cluny on 0191 230 4474 to secure your ticket, it's gonna be a good 'un.      
Russell

Alina Bzhezhinska Quartet @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - February 9

Alina Bzhezhinska (harp); Toni Kofi (soprano/tenor sax); Larry Bartley (bass); Joel Prime (drums/percussion)
(Review/photos by Ken Drew

 Given the recent reviews of the quartet’s current national tour, expectation was high for this, the first co-promotion between Jazz North East and Gosforth Civic Theatre. Originally from Ukraine/Poland and now based in London, Alina Bzhezhinska is an internationally renowned harpist and her critically acclaimed Quartet was formed two years ago to celebrate Alice Coltrane's 80th Birthday, performing at the EFG London Jazz Festival 2017 with 'A Concert for Alice and John'. 

It was great to see this quartet on the road.   A decent sized audience provided a good start to help fill the theatre space and hence a good atmosphere with the band performing on stage, although it would have been equally acceptable for them to perform on the main floor as is sometimes the case at GCT. Still, the sound was clear and well balanced, providing a good space for the performers.

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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