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Bebop Spoken There

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


Today Wednesday November 20



Scott Wall - Jazz Café, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 261 5618. 1:00pm. £3.00. Café Mezzanine (first floor, access via crafts shop).

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.



Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Levee Ramblers NOJB - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.00.


Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Monday, February 18, 2019

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. 

The Frog and Henry strings - FH Henry, guitar, banjo and vocals, and Kerman Arken, violin and vocals - were joined by brass bass master Dave Neigh playing, perhaps that should be 'operating', his custom-built tuba machine. As if getting to grips with the plumbing of his three-quarter size sousaphone wasn't enough Neigh managed to play banjo at the same time thanks to an ingenious arrangement of pedals and leg attachments enabling him to blow, effectively hands-free, brass bass.  

Charlie Johnson and his Paradise Ten, Armand J Piron, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver - these are just some of the figures from which Frog and Henry take inspiration and on this Saturday lunchtime gig numbers such as Shreveport Stomp and Buddy's Habit illustrated what they're about. Save for a vocal mic the quintet played entirely acoustically. A casual virtuosity (all five sitting comfortably), the ensemble work nothing short of sensational, the spotlight solos equally sensational, the Big Easy-resident combo (Bleach, British-resident, the exception) won over the Darlington audience in no time at all. 

Bleach sang Spencer Williams' I Ain't Got Nobody (a pop song of the day, said Bleach), Harry Warren's By the River St Marie and played clarinet on Tom Turpin's piano rag St Louis Rag

Our man from Tennessee, the splendidly named Mr Kerman Arken, played superb 'old timey' fiddle, singing one or two numbers into the bargain including My Gal Sal as Laurin Hebart's mature alto sax, tenor sax and clarinet playing suggested swing era charts would be well within his compass. 

The interval is usually the preserve of the raffle and a trip to the bar. These matters were indeed attended to, however, on this occasion, the tuba machine was the focus of attention. Dave Neigh graciously remained on stage to take questions from the many interested onlookers patiently explaining the workings of this unique instrument. Neigh explained that a nineteenth-century photograph of a similar 'tuba machine' encouraged him to build one and figure out how it worked. The unknown musician from those distant times could never have imagined there would be such interest more than a century later. 

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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: I look forward to hearing from you.

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