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Bebop Spoken There

Poncho Sanchez: "When I perform it's my life story." - (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.

Wednesday September 18

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

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

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

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CANCELLED

Archipelago + Freese Trio - Bobik's, Punch Bowl Hotel, Jesmond Road, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 3JY. Tel: 0191 284 0490. 7:30pm. £5.00.

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Levee Ramblers NOJB w. Jim McBriarty (clarinet) & Bob Wade (trumpet) - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.00.

Blues/Folk

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Thursday, April 04, 2019

CD Review: Sokratis Sinopoulos -Metamodal

Sokratis Sinopoulos (Lyra); Yann Keerim (Piano); Dimitris Tsekouras (Double Bass); Dimitris Emmanouil (Drums). 
(Review by Chris)

The second of three ECM releases in March from the southern shores of Europe. You have to hand it to him, not only has ECM’s Manfred Eicher scoured Europe from North to South in his quest for the new well/spring of world music, but he is also not scared of unfamiliar jazz instrumentation! The bandoneon of Dominic Miller’s latest release (reviewed here on BSH) is outdone (not least in age) by the Cretan lyra played by contemporary master Sinopoulos, recorded in Athens last July. Too hot to have been Eicher’s summer holiday I imagine.

The lyra, which dates back to Byzantine times, is a tiny (29 cm strings) viol played upright on the lap, with three strings played with a bow, but stopped by sideways pressure from the fingernails rather than pinning against the fingerboard as for a violin. My Greek colleague tells me it is the mainstay of southerly Greek folk music, fuelling dancing for millennia, but here undergoing a rather different treatment in Sinopoulous’ hands. 

He studied with Ross Daly, a Brit who has spent 35 years in Crete reviving and redefining the lyra, before forming this quartet with debut album Eight Winds for ECM in 2014.  To my ears, the plaintive cry of the lyra, in a folk framework with a classic chamber jazz trio, recalls the exceptional Polish jazz violin star, Adam Baldych (who has just released his latest work on rival label ACT), but without Baldych’s range and extravagant flourishes.

This album takes the quartet forward with confidence, aiming to explore and extend modal music. All good jazzers will be familiar with a few modes, but we should remember that the Greeks invented it all a long time ago!  Sinopoulos says he aims here to not move beyond modes but to work through them...synthesising something new on the way through the centrepiece tracks of the album:  Metamodal I, II and III.

The opener, Lament, is aptly named, with the lyra weaving a slow and sad line above piano and bass. Track two, Metamodal I – Liquid, has a similarly paced intro, but the abrupt entry of the percussion lends more tempo and drama, over a faster, nimble bass line.  The third track, Transition, is shorter - a light, catchy number with swooping lead on lyra, leading into the 10 minutes of Metamodal II – Illusions

This again starts slowly, and in exploratory style, with sparse piano interleaved with the plangent lyra, changing halfway through to a faster section with all four players fully interlocking.

Metamodal III – Dimensions opens with ponderous piano chords, joined by first the lyra, then the bass, working through modal sequences, like an elegant practice set of arpeggios and scales.  This eventually relaxes into a looser amble through spacey chords under beautiful lyrical melodies from the lyra.

Walking starts with a lively repeated piano figure, and runs at pace joined by a lyra tune which wouldn’t be out of place in Celtic folk. This gives way to a middle section of slower, more modal musing and closes with a reprise of the earlier, jaunty jig. 

Dawn is another subtle exploration of intricate melodic lines over a delicate, rolling wash of piano and percussion, frequently returning to a lovely motif interspersed with freer passages.

Red Thread has perhaps the most languorous and lovely line of the many on the album, sitting over relaxed piano. Not obvious how this mood relates to the “red thread” Theseus used to escape from the labyrinth on Crete after killing the Minotaur! 

The final track, Mnemosyne, is a short collective improvisation, which Eicher encourages all his artists to attempt, with different degrees of success. The title means "remembrance, memory" but, I have to say, it was rather forgettable!

Overall, an intriguing and sophisticated album of chamber jazz with a distinctive Greek flavour from the modal framework and lyra’s yearning sound. The unusual feel draws attention away from Sinopoulos’ extraordinary gift for melodic invention. I for one will look out for future developments from this unlikely direction. Could be consumed on its own, or in the background on a sunny day, relaxing over an ouzo with ice….
Chris Kilsby
Release date: 15.03.2019 ECM 2631

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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