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Bebop Spoken There

Whitney Shay: 'A few years back, I did a gig at an Asian grocery store next to the frozen food section. It was the opening of their bakery. It was a jazz gig and I sang jazz standards next to the frozen fish!'' - (Blues Matters! June/July 2020)

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tenement Jazz Band @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - March 18

Patrick 'Paddy' Darley (trombone); Charles 'Chuck' Dearness (trumpet); Lachlan Fotheringham (clarinet/soprano); Simon Toner (bass); John Youngs (banjo/vocals).
(Review by Lance).

Sunday night I was truckin' on down 5th Avenue - or was it Central Avenue? Last night the action had moved to Basin St. or was it State St., that great street? No, it was Pink Lane, the new home of the Prohibition Bar and the setting for some great Dixieland/New Orleans - call it what you will - jazz by the Edinburgh based Tenement Jazz Band. If you think that the music of yesteryear and the year before that is only played by doddery old men with wavering vibratos then think again. Like our local equivalent, The House of the Black Gardenia, this is a relatively young band who've certainly picked up the essence of the old masters of jazz.

The room was sardine can packed with the swing-dance crowd that support these events. I was surprised to see none of our local traddies in attendance. Just as well as there wouldn't have been much room for them inside the small bar.

The music was in the mould of the early pioneers with the emphasis as much on the polyphonic ensembles as it was on the solos which were short and succinct in accordance with the restrictions of the original Gennett, Okeh and Victor 78s that much of the band's repertoire is based upon. Paradoxically, they also included a Sun Ra composition titled Chocolate Avenue inspired by the site of the original Hershey Bar factory in Pennsylvania.

Without drums, guitar or piano the onus was on the bass and banjo to lay down a firm foundation which Toner and Youngs did admirably. Out front, trumpet, trombone and clarinet were as tight as Siamese triplets. Dearness,  full of Bixian promise by way of, say, Tommy Ladnier and Lee Collins. Darley knew his Ory, Jim Robinson and Turk Murphy whilst Fotheringham not only displayed a Pee Wee Russell-like quirkiness in his clarinet solos but also wore odd socks!

Darley, I'm told, works behind the bar of the venue or did I get that wrong? Seems a long way to travel, whilst Fotheringham, who was depping, is a Newcastle doctor. It would be good to see them livening up the Tyneside scene.

Programme included: Dusty Rag; Meat on the Table; South; Blue Drag; Algiers Strut; Big Chief Battle Axe; New Orleans Bump; Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down; Tailgate Stomp; New Orleans Rag; Strut Miss Lizzie*; She's Crying For Me; Chocolate Avenue; Milenberg Joys; Deep Bayou Moon; Hindustan; Savoy Blues**; Willie the Weeper; Shake it and Break it; Cushion Foot Stomp and others.

This could oust Postmodern Jukebox as my Gig of the Month! And if you regret not going the good news is that they're provisionally back here on June 17. Put it in your diary. Incidentally, the next 'classic jazz' gig on Monday, April 1 features the all-female Red Hot Rhythm Makers playing tunes by or associated with early female jazz and blues composers/performers. Another must-see event but get there early to grab a seat before the Lindies descend!
Lance.

* First time I'd heard Strut Miss Lizzie for years. Sid Phillips had a great arrangement of it that all the local dance bands used to play.
** Based, I think, on the Ory/Mutt Carey recording as opposed to the Ory/Teddy Buckner concert recording.

3 comments :

Patti (on F/b) said...

This is one hot band!
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John Youngs said...

Hi!

What a great review, really glad you enjoyed the gig!

The band are back at Prohibition Cafe on Monday 17th June, 2019, from 9pm-11pm

It's Pay What You Feel once more, so any Bebop Spoken Here readers will be very welcome!

We'll be playing new tunes, and touring debut parts of our summer Edinburgh Festival Fringe show - The Red Hot Roots of Jazz.

See you then!

Patti said...

Excellent! We can't wait - we're hot to trot!

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