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Bebop Spoken There

YolanDa Brown: "Ron Dennis (former McLaren Formula 1 chairman) introduced me as 'the Lewis Hamilton of the jazz world'. I thought, 'I'll take that'." - (i newspaper July 17, 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.

Until July 21

Today Friday July 19



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

John Settle’s Vibe-ology - Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. Tel: 03000 269 524. 1:00pm. £5.00.

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

New Orleans Swamp Donkeys - Ernest, Boyd Street, Newcastle NE1 2AP. Tel: 0191 260 5216. 5:00pm. Free.


Summertyne Americana - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. Struggle Buggy 2:00-2:45pm., Shipcote & Friends 3:00-3:45pm. Free. Jumpin’ Hot Club stage.


Riviera Quartet - Traveller’s Rest, West Auckland Road, Cockerton, Darlington DL3 9ER. 8:00pm. (7:30pm doors). £8.00.

New Orleans Swamp Donkeys - Cobalt Studios, Boyd St., Newcastle NE2 1AP. Tel: 0191 232 3553. 8:00pm. £5.00. (£4.00. adv). Top class band from New Orleans.

Baghdaddies - Cumberland Arms, James Place Street, Newcastle NE6 1LD. Tel: 0191 265 6151. 8:30-9:30pm.

Global BRASS @ Gala Theatre, Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA. Tel: 0300 266 600. 7:30pm. £15.00. (£12.00. concs.). Joint concert featuring two bands 560 miles apart - NASUWT Riverside Band (Chester le Street) & Concord Brass Band (Copenhagen). A Durham Brass Festival event.

Haftor Medbøe & Will of the People Quartet: Global Brass Jam - Live - Gala Theatre, Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA. 10:30pm. £10.00. (£8.00. concs.). Pan-European jam session. Will of the People Quartet line-up: Haftør Medboe (saxophones); Pete Furniss (clarinets); Jacob Karlzon (piano); Tom Bancroft (drums). A Durham Brass Festival event.


Sold out!

k.d.lang - Summertyne Americana Festival, Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. 7:30pm.


The Hookahs - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

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

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Daniel Herskedal, Paul Taylor @ Sage Gateshead - March 23.

Daniel Herskedal (tuba/bass trumpet); Bergmund Waal Skaslien (viola); Eyolf Dale (piano); Helge Andreas Norbakken (percussion). 
(Review by Lance/PHOTOS courtesy of Ken Drew).

I'd missed Herskedal's previous appearances at Sage Gateshead although the near capacity, Sage Two, Level One, audience obviously hadn't. Across the great divide in Sage One, The Rumours of Fleetwood Mac 50th Anniversary Tour was also packing them in - in even greater numbers!

As a once owner of the original Rumours LP I'd have probably gone myself for nostalgic reasons but, duty called...

The prime reason for the Norwegian quartet's tour is the launching of their latest CD - Voyage from which most of the music played was drawn. Herskedal has a mellifluous tone on bass trumpet and manages the cumbersome beast that is the tuba without sounding lugubrious. The use of viola makes for an interesting alternative to that of violin. The array of percussion was put to good use - tinkling cymbals, jingling bells and other odd items adorned the traditional kit. Pianist Dale, was perhaps the most exciting member of the band. However, the overall effect leaned towards the soporific and I left before the end in case I embarrassed myself by snoring...
Paul Taylor (piano) + Faye MacCalman (tenor sax/clarinet).

Earlier, local hero Taylor dazzled in his inimitable style. Floating like a butterfly with rippling runs that left few notes untouched albeit with not very many of the chordal passages so beloved of the more traditional jazz pianists. Director of Performance, Tamsin Austin, in her introduction, expressed some doubt as to whether or not Faye MacCalman would be joining Taylor. No reason was given. The reed player did appear towards the end of the set for some input that suited the mood of the evening which could be perhaps best described as "The Night of the Long Notes."


Chris Kilsby said...

I don’t normally respond to reviews, as music is in the ear of the behearer etc, and especially not on the (normally) authoritative regional phenomenon which is BSH…… However, I feel I must in this instance, as my experience of the Herskedal gig was so much at odds with Lance’s verdict of “soporific”. My verdict is that this was the gig of the (great!) year so far, and is shared with the party of 6 I took along, ranging in age across five decades, and familiarity with jazz from neophyte to aficionado. If Lance had stayed until the end perhaps he would have seen the rest of the audience were wide awake as well, judging by their ovation!

Herskedal’s band were truly outstanding, playing original and groundbreaking music of epic and majestic proportion, which remained accessible, listenable and in many places downright tuneful, drawing seamlessly on classical, folk and jazz (whatever that is ...). Maybe Lance was looking for a giant of the tenor to take the stage and blow us apart, but this had variety, dynamics to spare, and a regularly achieved climactic energy which had the audience bouncing. Herskedal has re-defined the tuba as lead and accompanying instrument, but this virtuousity was borne lightly, with no ego or pretentiousness – all subsumed within a delightful collective humility and humour, framed in his acclaimed, third, through-composed album. The level of musicality and ambition from all four players was remarkable, with heart-rending emotion, along with extraordinary tastefulness, delicacy and interplay. These are leading international musicians, defining their own take on contemporary music, riding a tidal wave of Scandinavian jazz sweeping Europe (if not BSH!).

Herskedal is the latest in the Sage’s Spring jazz season, standing in this year for the Festival. I am finding it a better means of bringing top bands to the North East - frankly we are punching above our weight this year, with international stars like Herskedal, Tigran and Phronesis, with Kamasi Washington to come - I bet he will succeed in keeping Lance awake! In Tigran’s case, I was almost moved to respond to Ann Alex’s also underwhelming review. My take (and that of a contingent of students from Leeds College of Music I facilitated) on that concert was that I felt privileged to attend, in my own back yard or anywhere: as Herbie Hancock says “Now, Tigran, you are my teacher”.

So, in conclusion, I love and appreciate the work Lance and his tireless reviewers carry out on BSH, informing, reporting and supporting the remarkable wealth of jazz throughout the great North East – this is vital work to encourage and facilitate regional artists and audiences. But underwhelming and unrepresentative reviews such as those recently for Herskedal and Tigran do not only the artists a disservice, but also the audiences. Such reviews do nothing to encourage new listeners to try something different to the (rightly) venerated GASbook, or for promoters like the Sage to continue their ambitious and risky policy of bringing major jazz stars here to our little corner of the country.

Anyway, keep up the good work, but please let’s hear some more enthusiastic voices cheering on these new masters!

Chris Kilsby

Lance said...

Thank you Chris for your comment and let me hasten to say that I totally respect your views. It's always difficult trying to weigh up the objective against the subjective. However, any honest reviewer can only record his/her reactions to what they hear. I fully appreciated the musicality of the musicians concerned but, for me, it lacked that vital spark. I realised that I was in the minority and, yes, I would have loved a tenor giant to take to the stage. However, isn't that what music/art is all about - to say what you feel and not what you ought to feel?

Over the years, I have been totally supportive of Sage Gateshead and will continue to do so, although I'm sure they know that I don't just 'follow the party line' they do know that most of the time I do.

Possibly I'm in the wrong job which I obviously was last Saturday. Problem is, finding horses for courses. Jazz and its spinoffs are such a varied field that the 'one man's meat...' adage is ever present.

Unfortunately, at the moment, our review team seems to be somewhat decimated and whilst Russell and I try to cover as much as we can we are always open to new contributors. The recent review by Iain Kitt on the Maja Bugge gig in the Victoria Tunnel was most welcome and if you, yourself, Chris, fancy contributing reviews of future gigs or CDs (which I will happily send to you) then I'd be pleased to welcome you, or any other more enthusiastic voices aboard.
PS: Thank you also for the kind words re BSH.I've now added some terrific photos of the gig from Ken Drew who, incidentally, sides with you.

Andy Hills said...

Having differing opinions is why we have such diversity of music out there - if we all liked the same stuff there would be a much more narrow spectrum of musical styles. For what it's worth I found Paul Taylor to be soporific what with his endless runs up and down the piano with odd bit of delay here and there; whereas Daniel Herskedal’s performance for me was deeply original, pastoral and evocative. I'm glad though that there's something for everyone and that we can have differing emotional responses to the music.

Paul Taylor said...

I like the cognitive dissonance between the disingenuous condescension towards the "diversity of music out there" and the gratuitously banal critique of "endless runs up and down the piano". "Soporific"? Keeps me awake, at least.

Lance said...

Apologies Paul, your comment was inadvertently deleted. Now, hopefully, restored. Certainly, when I used the term "Soporific" it wasn't directed at you but at the headline act. I've also discovered the reason for Faye's delayed appearance - the girls a star and a tribute to the motto - The show must go on. Hope everything works out ok for her.

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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: 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.