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Bebop Spoken There

Camila Meza: "Some tonalities or chords are colors to me: G major is blue, D major is orange and B minor is totally yellow." - (DownBeat July 2019)


Today Monday June 17



Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.


Tenement Jazz Band - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:30pm (doors). Free (donations).

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

Saturday, February 02, 2019

CD Review: Nick Hempton - Night Owl

Nick Hempton (saxes); Peter Bernstein (guitar); Kyle Koehler (Hammond B3); Fukushi Tainaka (drums).
(Review by Lance).

Recorded direct to tape at GB's Juke Joint in NYC on May 2 last year this does what the title implies - an imaginary walk on the wild side via the bars and clubs, the all-nighters, the shuffles and the boogaloos that have been the soundtrack of the city since the heyday of Lou Donaldson, Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack, Stanley Turrentine and many other legendary groove merchants.

Nick Hempton can hold his own in that exalted company. Gutsy tenor, soaring alto, six original compositions as well as individual takes on three gassers - After You've Gone bears comparison with Art Pepper, Sonny Stitt and other great alto players - whilst I'm a Fool to Want You has just enough edge to it cut it in any juke joint as this Long Island studio recording proves.

Apart from the occasional bravura flourish, this is meaningful playing. Like Dexter Gordon, Hempton makes every note count, and there are plenty of them. Bernstein is with him every inch of the way with his own solos matching those of the bossman. Bernstein is a fave of our boy Francis Tulip and I can see why. Koehler doesn't attack the B3 like so many organ grinders instead he caresses it with fingers and feet making the most of the many combinations of sound available. No need for a bassman when this guy's pedalling. On drums, Tainaka is discreet when discretion is called for and upfront when the heat is on. He's like the blast of air that lifted Monroe's skirt when she stood over the grating on the corner of Lexington & 52nd in the film The Seven Year Itch.

I thought I'd heard all the great Ellington ballads and now, maybe I have! It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream was recorded by "The Divine One" on her album Sarah Vaughan in Hi-Fi and featured Cannonball Adderley. This version may not have Sassy or Cannon but the four guys it does have more than make up for it - one of the all-time classic ballad performances.

Listen Hard, Speak Easy puts the boot in. Down home, greasy spoon, JD on the rocks, eggs over easy all visions that came to me as I lay in bed with the lights off imagining I was in a dive somewhere downtown. I may never get to New York again but, with this album, I'm halfway there.
Night Owl; I Remember Milady's; After You've Gone; I'm a Fool to Want You; 10th St. Turnaround; Corner Bistro; It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream; Listen Hard, Speak Easy; Macao Mood.

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