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Bebop Spoken There

Cécile McLorin Salvant: "She [Melissa Aldana] makes us realise how terrible it is to be complacent." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Thursday June 20

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Rd., Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazz

Jeremy McMurray & the Pocket Jazz Orchestra - Arc, Dovecot St., Stockton on Tees TS18 1LL. Tel: 01642 525199. 7:00pm. £12.00. + £0.10. bf. ‘Jazz & Tapas’ - booking essential.

Ruth Lambert Quartet - St James' & St Basil's Church, Fenham Hall Drive, Fenham, Newcastle NE4 9EJ. 7:30pm. £8.00.

Heller-Glendinning: Billie Meets Kurt - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm (doors). £6.00. (£3.00. student).

Acoustic Infusion - The Forum, Borough Road, Darlington DL1 1SG. Tel: 01325 363135. 7:30pm. £5.00. Line-up: Alan Thompson (tenor sax); Rick Laughlin (piano); Bruce Rollo (double bass); Ian Halford (drums). Now Abbie Finn on drums.

Durham University Concert Band + Grollingwood Big Band - Durham Town Hall, Market Place, Durham DH1 3NJ. 7:30pm. £10.00., £9.00., £8.00.

Durham University Big Band - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. £6.00. (£5.00 concs.). JNE.

Tees Hot Club w. Gus Smith (vocals); Donna Hewitt (tenor sax), Dave Archbold (keys) - Dormans Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 8:30pm. Free.

Maine Street Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Hollywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:30pm. Free.

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm. £2.50.

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Emma Fisk’s Hot Club du Nord @ the Gala Theatre - April 5

Emma Fisk (Violin); James Birkett, Dave Harris (guitars); Bruce Rollo (double bass).
(Review by Brian Ebbatson/PHOTOS courtesy of Malcolm Sinclair)

Another full house for the Spring Gala Lunchtime Jazz Series, this one sold out back in January, such is the reputation that goes before Emma Fisk’s Hot Club du Nord. There were many first timers today, to the disappointment of regulars unable to get tickets. Across the river from the Studio the model trains slipped in, out and onwards from Durham station, while the colours of the trees down the Wear valley – the first greens of spring, the mauves, maroons and browns of winter – were resplendent in the spring sunshine. A clear blue sky with barely a cloud – that is until the encore.

The Reinhardt/Grappelli repertoire through from the 30s to the 50s (and then on with Grappelli’s various collaborations and groups) is a rich seam from which seasoned musicians such as these can fashion inspired new interpretations, so Hot Club du Nord’s sets, while featuring some of their recorded work, always feature something new for regular followers and much to enthuse newcomers to their music.
HCdN see themselves as paying homage to Reinhardt and Grappelli, so the set consists of Hot Club de France favourites rather than introducing their own compositions in the Hot Club style. Nothing wrong with that, especially as Emma takes pride in detailed introductions to each number, explaining its origin, when recorded and often some idiosyncratic story behind it.


The set opened upbeat with Fats Waller’s 1929 Honeysuckle Rose, a track featured on the CD Hot Club du Nord. James shared the lead with Emma on this first number, the audience seeming keen to show appreciation in anticipation, enthusiastically applauding every solo.  Johnny Green’s 1930 Body and Soul “written for Gertrude Lawrence, the first British star to appear on Broadway” (Emma) slowed things down for the second number, featuring all band members – an exquisite rendition.
Next came the first Django number, Swing 42, taking us forward to Django in wartime Occupied Paris, recorded (again Emma told us) with Hubert Rostaing on clarinet, Stéphane having stayed in London at outbreak of hostilities. Chugging Hot Club guitars, a lengthy solo from David, capturing Django’s percussive guitar tones, Emma soaring from deep notes to the highest octaves on her violin, this was getting very close to classic Hot Club de France.
Back to the 20’s for I Found a New Baby, first recorded by Clarence Williams in 1926, Bruce’s ‘slapping’ bass both in a featured solo and behind his fellow band members, capturing the feel of the earlier decade. Then the divine mid-‘30s Reinhardt – Grappelli composition Sweet Chorus, with Dave again taking two extended solos. Back to Fats Waller (and the ‘20s) for the ever popular Ain’t Misbehavin’, in James’ arrangement; then two ‘classic’ 1937 compositions from the two masters, Minor Swing and Daphne.
Over 100 people in the Gala Studio and music like this, so Emma cooled down the atmosphere with a magical rendering of  A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, a favourite of Stéphane’s enforced sojourn in wartime London (also on the HCdN CD). Then - as is their wont - the quartet closed the set with the 1925 jazz-age favourite Sweet Georgia Brown, another feature for Bruce’s bass, the band capturing the twenties feel once more.
The lengthy applause called for an encore, and although time was up, the audience called for Nuages, written by Django after being captured on the Swiss border and forcibly returned to Paris after his second attempt to escape the Occupation. “This graceful and eloquent melody”, as Django’s biographer wrote, “evoked the woes of the war that weighed on people's souls—and then transcended it all”. Transcendence, at least for a short time, for the audience, then back outside to the (much lesser) woes of our current reality, and a clear blue spring sky.
Brian E
PHOTOS

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