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Bebop Spoken There

Guy Barker: "You have to play it [the trumpet] every day or you just won't be match-fit." - (Jazz Rag, Winter 2019.)

Archive

Today Friday December 13

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux CarréJazzmen - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. ‘Christmas Jazz Lunch’. Details from 0191 252 9429).

Dean Stockdale Trio - The Merry Monk, 30 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1:00pm. £5.00.

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

Evening.

Jazz

‘An Evening of Swing & Sparkle’ - National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL. Tel: 0191 515 5555. 7:30pm. £35.00. Rat Pack evening inc. 4-course meal.

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regents Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 284 3700. 8:00pm. £12.00. + bf. First night of two.

Chris Dean's Syd Lawrence Orchestra - Yarm School, Stockton TS15 9EJ. Tel: 01642 786023. 7:30pm (6:30pm doors). £18.00. + £1.80. bf (£15.00. + £1.50. bf). 'Mistletoe & Miller'.

Blues, Funk/Soul etc.

Baghdaddies - Cobalt Studios, Boyd Street, NewcastleNE2 1AP. £10.68 (inc. bf). ‘Big Xmas Knees Up’.

Swamp Hoppers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

George Shovlin & the Acoustic Radars feat. Pat Rafferty + George Pallas & John Wilkins - Whitburn Cricket Club, East Street, Whitburn SR6 7BZ. Tel: 0191 529 3187. 7:30pm (7:00pm doors). £7.50. admission by ticket only (from www.wegottickets.com). 'The Bents Road Sessions'.

Dead Skunk Skiffle & Blues Orchestra + Stetson Five - Station East, Hills Street, Gateshead NE8 2AN. 8:00pm. Free.

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

Friday, March 08, 2019

Bus Tour to Hell @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - March 7

(Review by our man in Wisconsin)

A Tribute to Bix (Bix Fest) began with a day-long bus tour to some historic jazz sites in the state of Wisconsin. This thirtieth year Bix Fest event visited Milwaukee, Hartford and Racine. The trip - Bus Tour to Hell - was conducted by Bix Fest director Phil Pospychala. It was to be some day!

At ten in the morning, a coach full of jazz fans departed the festival base with the first stop at 13th and Manitoba in Milwaukee The jazz tourists disembarked, cameras at the ready to grab a shot of the now dilapidated Starlight Hall (see photo). It was here, it is thought, that Andy Jackson's Rhythm Kings once performed circa 1929. The fact that the building is in a poor state of repair somehow added to its appeal. 


The next stop on the self-styled 'Bus Tour to Hell' would include some live jazz! Out on to the freeway Phil's rambling commentary entertained his Bix Fest coach of merry men and women (by now the booze was flowing) who were looking forward to privileged access to the Schwartz Ballroom in Hartford. An octagonal design, the historic building once hosted concerts by some of the great names of the music - Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. A live radio broadcast by Guy Lombardo drew a crowd of 6000. Standing in the hall was indeed a rare moment. 

The Bus Tour to Hell included among its number a five-piece band plus vocalist. The musicians were every bit as excited as the rest of the party to be at a truly historic venue. Andy Schumm (a fixture at the annual Mike Durham Classic Jazz Party on Tyneside, England), on this occasion playing tenor saxophone, took to the stage with his ad hoc bandmates to play a few numbers in this magical 'Echoes of Ellington/Goodman et al' arena. Dave Bock, soon to make his Tyneside, indeed British debut, played tuba with Chicago's West End Jazz Band with leader Frank Gualtieri impressing on trombone. Vocalist Roya Naldi, looking every bit the 20s flapper, joined the boys to sing a couple of numbers including Cherry and After You've Gone. A truly memorable occasion.

Back on the bus Phil's 'entertaining' commentary frequently went off at a tangent, it was all part of the fun. The next port of call took us back to Milwaukee to wander around the Oriental Theater which, during the 1920s, hosted many big names. Popcorn was purchased. The final stop of the day was to step inside the Memorial Hall in downtown Racine. Gone five in the afternoon, the venue's staff graciously hung back to welcome the jazz tourists. The purpose of the stop-off? The Paul Whiteman Orchestra once graced this imposing lakeshore - that's Lake Michigan - venue. Once again cameras clicked, the jazz tourists drinking it all in.
 
The Bus Tour to Hell made its way back to Bix Fest HQ via an unscheduled stop at one of Wisconsin's many craft brewery taprooms. The Racine Brewing Company opened its first pub in a disused shop little over twelve months ago and it became an instant success story. The proprietor, Andy Molina, was working behind the bar as the busload of jazz fans descended on the place. He couldn't believe his eyes or his luck! For the record, the Wisconsin Brewing Co's Yankee IPA (6%) was more than acceptable. Yes, this had been one crazy 'Bus Tour to (Jazz) Hell' and back!         

Russell.

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