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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.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

EP/CD Review: Animal Society - Rise.

Joe Williamson (guitar); Alan Benzie, Craig McMahon (keyboards); Gus Stirrat (bass); Graham Costello (drums).
(Review by Steve T)

Animal Society is a new group led by Darlington born guitarist Joe Williamson. He has an impressive CV: a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, two critically acclaimed albums (including by me) with the band Square One, a Peter Whittington Jazz Award and was named Scotland's Young Jazz Musician of the Year in 2018.

The raison d'etre of this group is unleashed right off with a thundery drum roll and some heavy metal riffing. Prog rock, jazz rock, prog metal are all in there. Guitar influences would seem to include Steve Howe and John McLaughlin but nowadays it's often people who were influenced by these people or people who were influenced by people who were influenced by them.

There's plenty of light and shade with some fine keyboard work, including some good old-fashioned seventies synth sounds, and, I believe, a touch of acoustic guitar. Opener and single Rise does exactly that and the tracks generally build to a crescendo with Williamson taking the home-run. The EP features four cuts, two just short of the ten-minute mark and two a little over, making it roughly the length of an old-fashioned album. 

I'm a bit of a fan and I always like to hear jazz guitarists embracing their rock roots. If rock music was your route into jazz, this should be essential. If rock is your thing but not too heavy, it settles down after the initial burst, but if you really don't care for rock or don't like it fused with jazz, you should probably leave it alone.           

Steve T.
Try/buy (digital).
Physical copies are available but only at gigs.

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