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Bebop Spoken There

Bill Reglein (JJ Babbitt m/pieces): "We made this mouthpiece for Eddie Harris. He played tenor sax and trumpet. He played in some pretty rough bars. The story goes that he was afraid he'd get in a fight and get his teeth knocked out. He figured that if even that happened he could still play tenor. So, the request came in, 'Can I get a reed mouthpiece for my trumpet?' the company made exactly one." - (DownBeat October 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 Sunday September 22

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Vieux Carré Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon.

Musicians Unlimited - Park Inn, Park Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Tel: 01429 233126. 1:00pm. Free.

Sunday Jazz in the Crypt - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 2:00-6:00pm. £12.00. + bf. Line-up: Noel Dennis Trio + Emma Johnson’s Gravy Boat + Anthony Strong.

More Jam - The Globe, Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 3:00pm. Free.

Jazz Social - Charts, Quayside, Newcastle NE1 3DX. Tel: 0191 338 7989. 4:00pm. Free.

Somethin' Blue Trio - The Pennyweight, Bakehouse Hill, Darlington DL1 5QA. Tel: 01325 468411. 5:00-7:00pm. Free.

Blues/Funk/Soul

Memphis Cruisers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 3:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazz

Alexys de Alfaro - Revoluçion de Cuba, Cloth Market, Newcastle NE1 1EE. Tel: 0191 917 7076. 6:00pm. Free.

Paper Moon Trio - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. Free.

Fabled - Bridge Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle NE1 1RQ. Tel: 0191 232 6400. 8:00pm. £8.00. & £6.00. JNE.

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Black Swan Jam Session (in the Mezzanine Café) - March 19

Jeremy McMurray (piano); John Pope (drums); Dave McKeague (drums) + Steve Summers (alto/tenor saxes); Graham Easthope (soprano/tenor saxes); Jordan Alfonso (alto sax); Elliott Todd (trumpet); David 'Showtime' Gray (trombone); Paddy ? (clarinet).
(Review/PHOTOS by Lance).

Three cracking gigs in a row and if I'd been able to slot in Blaydon, Bishop Auckland and the Lit & Phil it would have been six!

I'm going to buck protocol and relive last night by starting at the finish. All the major players are on stage - this could have been JATP at Hartford, Connecticut back in the 1950s except it was 2019 in Newcastle. The fortnightly Jam at the Black Swan Arts Centre taking place, for this week only, in the Mezzanine Café. Accessible via a series of signposted twists and turns - by comparision the maze at Hampton Court pales into insignificance - the question debated by the contenders is as to whether the grand finale should be Cherokee or Caravan

Caravan it is. The house trio sets the pace leading them across the burning sands. Valves fingered, keys rattled, slide slid in anticipation. A battle royal. It's Joshua, Fury, Wilder and a couple more preparing to mug each other. Showtime Gray isn't taking prisoners, he never does, staccato bursts pepper the room, the body language adds video to the audio and the crowd roars its approval. Wild!

Todd offers contrast, he's lyrical and melodic without letting the temperature drop. Enter Alfonso he takes it up a notch with a paint-stripping solo - even Charlie Parker* couldn't top this - it looked like game, set and match to Jordan.
Wrong!
Easthope and Summers form an unholy alliance to wipe the floor with the opposition. The intricate weaving, the contrapuntal passages all slot together and the crown is theirs which just goes to prove that two heads are better than one.

A fitting climax to what, initially, had had me thinking of an early bath.

The opener by the trio suggested that the acoustics were less than perfect. McKeague, a drummer whom I rate very highly, drowned everyone out including McMurray which isn't easy. However, as the evening progressed the balance improved which had me wondering if its the band that adjusts to the acoustics of the room or is it the ears of the listeners that adjust? Certainly, by the time the caravanserai set off everything was Jake.

The first of the jammers was a debutant clarinetist identified only as Paddy who, by his own admission was very nervous to the extent he played with his back to the audience and eschewed the use of the mic. which would have made his playing more audible. Also putting him in with big hitter Steve Summers probably added to his trepidation. Autumn Leaves and Who's Sorry Now? the test pieces. Let's hope he returns now that he's dipped his reed into the water.

Easthope on soprano, Summers on tenor and Showtime took off on Afro Blue. Easthope's dramatic entry on soprano was electrifying! Summers had some Getzian moments on How Insensitive before a second break was called.

Bottles of Grainger Ale were quaffed then we were off once more. Alfonso taking Yardbird Suite on a memorable flight. Black Orpheus meant Machine Gun Gray entering the fray on a number that also had powerhouse piano from McMurray and some dynamic drumming from Dave (McKeague).

Todd and Summers (now on alto) gave There Will Never Be Another You a workout which saw Pope take a bass solo that trespassed into violin/viola territory.

Easthope blew tenor on that good old 'erbie 'ancock classic - Watermelon Man. Some nice drum 'n' bass work going on.

A suggestion that they played some Miles was readily taken up and, of course, it was All Blues - come back Summertime all is forgiven! Miles' repertoire is extensive and yet it always seems to be that one! Still, they did a job on it with Pope once more defying gravity. And this is where we came in.

All's well that ends well.
Lance.
*Not the Charlie Parker but a painter and decorator of my acquaintance.

1 comment :

Patti said...

Yeah - it was a great night - and full of surprises! I can imagine that Juan Tizol himself would be impressed with young Showtime's playing on Caravan .......

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About this blog - contact details.

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