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Bebop Spoken There

Billy Cobham: "Miles said to us, 'Don't play in between takes,' so of course John [McLaughlin] played in between takes." - (JazzTimes, Nov. 2019).

Archive

Today Friday November 22

Afternoon

Jazz

Sue Ferris Trio - The Merry Monk, 30 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1:00pm. £5.00. Pub adjacent to Bishop Auckland Town Hall.

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening.

Mick Shoulder Quintet - Traveller's Rest, West Auckland Road, Darlington DL3 9ER. 8:00pm. (doors 7:30pm). £8.00. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Tenement Jazz Band - Theatre Hullabaloo, Borough Road, Darlington DL1 1SG. Tel: 01325 405405. 8:00pm. £14.00. Darlington NOJB.

Blues/Soul/Funk etc.

Ishmael Ensemble - Cobalt Studios, Boyd Street, Newcastle NE2 1AP. 8:00pm. £7.47.

Catfish Keith - Old Cinema Launderette, Marshall Terrace, Durham DH1 2HX. 8:30pm. £18.00. + £1.80. bf.

The Odels - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

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

Friday, February 08, 2019

CD Review: Moppa Elliot – Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band

(By guest reviewer Dan Bergsagel courtesy of LondonJazzNews)

Welcome to the inside of Moppa Elliott's brain. Or maybe more accurately, Elliott's brain, and his childhood record collection. Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band is a rare concept triple album, formed around three different groups with different internal relationships, and plumbing the depths of 60 years worth of music; an exercise in multi-genre attacks showcasing Elliott's versatility in composition, in playing, and in friends.

Advancing on a Wild Pitch are our Jazz Band, a cohesive unit covering a very composed late 50s/early 60s moment. It's a classic sounding quintet with a strong rhythm core and two accomplished horn players.

There are playful old-time ambles along like Oreland, simply structured for everyone to take a solo turn, co-ordinated melodies and traditional sounds. There's a controlled jaunt, a ballad, and a walking bass breaking into a jog, but ...Wild Pitch really settle into a groove on the sulky, more muscular Baden, with Charles Evans's rolling baritone sax, and Sam Kulik's swooping, building trombone. But they are at their most comfortable playing on Herminie, a genuine, warm tune, turning through horn chord interplay, a cheerful call and response, and a familiar-sounding earworm, bounding-along vibe. 

From these serene climes, Unspeakable Garbage is a bit of a surprise. Rocks, MD, is all blaring tenor sax slipping all over the place, a chaotic high-energy horn line over a mainstream rock backing, a brief George Michael instrumental reference incongruously dropped in. We're then treated to a very major, vanilla opening. As we slip into our Rock Band, it feels like Elliott's time as a teacher of music theory and history is coming through. A challenge to accept a theme, then study, imitate, and compose closely to it.

It partly depends what Elliott has chosen to define as a genre. Jazz, Rock, Dance – these are the broadest of terms. There was some breadth in Jazz Band but it was still focused on a small slice of time, but for Rock Band, in particular, Elliott has embarked on some heavy experimentation into different decades and sub-genres. All the musicians in Unspeakable Garbage are clearly peak talents and leaders, but like polar explorations - where some trips were groundbreaking pinnacles of endeavour and others ended in tragic death – their collective explorations have varying levels of success. They journey through Zappa, Van Morrison, Van Halen, Dexy's Midnight Runners, and U2. Throughout most of it I assume they were sporting leather trousers, in spirit if not in practice. Elliott as much as acknowledges this in his writings and embracing the cheesy moments, when all that comes out is corny TV sitcom themes.

The Dance Band Acceleration Due To Gravity are the most interesting prospect of the trio. I naively expected Detroit house or EDM, but while Elliott touts this as modern groove music built on loops and refrains, to my ear there is not much hip hop or R& B either. Instead, this is a deeply engaging set of tight, pop-song length pieces that stack genres into short pulsing avant jazz prog rock moments.

Waddle is a free-range pianist being chased by a plundering horn line and a silly rhythm section; it's equal parts Balkan beats, and Gong psychedelic space rock. There are funkier big band dance tunes, and contrapuntal horn arrays, and prog rock voyages. Kanye West's Power is turned into a pumping, orchestrated marching band, taking a strong brief head and spinning a very changeable piece. Sparks is the tune of the album, a punching discordant introduction to a stomping moody background with Elliott letting the bass drive, and some virtuoso leads from Nate Wooley on trumpet and Ava Mendoza on guitar.

In the end, the sandwiched Rock Band album acts more as a musical reset, an intermediate spin of the dial to cleanse the palate between a classic Jazz set to ready the listener for the Dance Band. Unfortunately, as a transitional moment, the execution is frustrating: strung over the end of the first CD and the start of the second, it's more an odd collection sprayed between the other two albums. For me a triple album concept relies on pauses and resolution between phases – it really needs to sit on three individual CDs instead of squeeze onto two. However, any minor gripes on presentation and graphics are overcome by the eye-opening array of Pennsylvania place names, carefully subdivided to match each musical style.

While I struggled with the three albums jumbled together on record, I think they may very well be a different proposition live. Acceleration Due to Gravity,  in particular, has the potential to throw off the shackles of damp production to come alive as raw excitement when played by a nine-piece on stage. There's only one way to find out – at the album launch at Shapeshifter Lab, Gowanus, Brooklyn on February 15.
Dan Bergsagel

Jazz Band – Advancing on a Wild Pitch
Moppa Elliott (bass); Sam Kulik (trombone), Charles Evans (baritone sax), Danny Fox (piano), Christian Coleman (drums).
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Rock Band – Unspeakable Garbage
Moppa Elliott (bass); Jon Irabagon (tenor sax), Nick Millevoi (guitar), Ron Stabinsky (piano), Dan Monaghan (drums).
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Dance Band – Acceleration Due to Gravity 
Elliott (bass); George Burton (piano); Mike Pride (drums), Nate Wooley (trumpet); Dave Taylor (trombone); Matt Nelson (alto/soprano sax); Bryan Murray (tenor/soprano sax), Dr. Kyle Saulnier (baritone sax), Ava Mendoza (guitar).
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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