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Bebop Spoken There

Randy Brecker: "It's still a thrill for me today to stand out front of a big band as the soloist and hear all that sound going on behind you. It brings the best out of me" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Tuesday May 21

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Kamasi Washington - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4461. 7:30pm. £30.00.

River City Jazzmen w. Maureen Hall - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NN. Tel: 01670 813983. 8:00pm. £5 (raffle inc.) Bob Wade, Gordon Solomon, Keith Stephen, Phil Rutherford, Tommy Graham.

Lindsay Hannon Band - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB.Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

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

Monday, March 25, 2019

Maja Bugge 'Sounds of the Underground' @ Victoria Tunnel, Newcastle - March 16

(Review by Iain Kitt/photo courtesy of Ken Drew)

The Victoria Tunnel in Newcastle’s Ouseburn is fast establishing itself as one of the City’s most unusual and exciting music venues. The latest in its ‘Sounds from the Underground’ series featured two sell-out performances by the Norwegian cellist Maja Bugge.

Maja is no stranger to playing in unusual venues. Previous ones have included a disused oil tank and a canal tunnel under the Pennines. She is particularly interested in the interplay between her chosen instrument and the space in which she performs.

The cello is often described as possessing a uniquely soulful sound and certainly it was ideally suited both to the rather constricted space inside the tunnel and the unusual acoustic that it produces. With the audience sat in rows of just two people and, for the first set at least, in virtually total darkness, the music became completely absorbing.
Maja’s music is a mix of her own compositions and improvisation. But all the pieces tell a story as she produces a wide range of sounds from her cello. SOS and Shelter vividly evoke life on the Lofoten Islands in the far north of Norway where she grew up with the perils of a harsh environment and unforgiving seas. In Leggings she drums on the body of the instrument to conjure up images of canal boatmen propelling their boats through the Standedge Tunnel by using their legs pushing against the tunnel wall. Minuet for Victoria Tunnel was composed especially for these performances and portrayed the different phases of the life of the Victoria Tunnel itself: the celebration of its opening in 1842, its use as an air-raid shelter in the Second World War and now its reinvention as a tourist attraction.


For her improvisation, she asks the audience to name sounds that identify Newcastle to them. Perhaps predictably the sound of the river and the cheering crowds at St. James’ Park came up, the mention of the kittiwakes on the Tyne Bridge rather flummoxed her as she had not heard them but that of boiling potatoes didn’t seem to faze her at all. However, known or not, she then proceeded to incorporate them all into two stunning improvisations that, had there been headroom, would surely have brought the audience to its feet.

This was yet another fascinating performance in an adventurous series of concerts. The Ouseburn Trust, which promotes the gigs, is proving rather adept at choosing performers who can take advantage of the uniqueness of the space on offer. They have lined up a whole series of gigs throughout the rest of the year including a duo of Beatrix Ward-Fernandez (Theremin) and John Pope (double bass) on July 16, and, on October 5, Evan Parker on saxophone. If they’re half-as-good as this gig they will be well worth going to.
Iain

Information about the ‘Sounds of the Underground’ series can be found here https://www.ouseburntrust.org.uk/Event/sounds-underground and to find out more about Maja Bugge her website is at https://majabugge.com/

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