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Bebop Spoken There

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


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



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.


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.


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.

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. 

Leeds usually sends a battalion of bands. Not content with one big band, it's an away day for three or four of them. Other Yorkshire-based bands will make the trip, Lancashire is sure to be represented (the Managers Big Band among the ante-post favourites), previous winners Durham University, of course, Dave Hignett's Tyne Valley Big Band will be there (it could be a thirty-strong ensemble!) and, if previous years are anything to go by, there will be a few raiders from the Deep South.

Sunday, eleven o'clock it's schools and youth bands. Now then, if you don't shed a tear as a 3'6" tall youngster blows a two-bar solo to rapturous applause you ain't human! Bands from County Durham and the wider region will be joined by others from much further afield (Shropshire has been known to send a decent band or two). It all adds up to a fantastic weekend of big band jazz. 

The Great North Big Band Jazz Festival takes place at Park View Community Centre on Church Chare in Chester le Street DH3 3PZ. The venue is just off Front Street, take the side street between the PDSDA charity shop and Bon Bons Sweets and Shakes and the entrance is directly in front of you. Frequent buses from and to Durham and Tyneside pick-up and set-down on Front Street. Chester le Street railway station is on the East Coast mainline. The venue is five minutes' walk down the hill from the station.    
A weekend ticket (available on the door) costs £15, day tickets are available at £12, and under 16s get in for a fiver. The Great North Big Band Jazz Festival is one of the outstanding events in the calendar. If you haven't been to the GNBBJF before, make this the year, you won't regret it!  

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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.)
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