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Bebop Spoken There

Paul Edis: "One of the regulars at The Gala today called me a 'turncoat' and another a 'deserter' - that's a very northern way of displaying affection in response to the news that I'm leaving the area. 'They're vicious down there mind you'. " - (Twitter January24, 2020)

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The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Today Saturday January 25

Afternoon

Jazz

Tees Valley Jazzmen - Hammer & Pincers, Preston Lane, Preston-le-Skerne, Newton Aycliffe DL5 6JH. Tel: 01325 314873. 1:00pm. £2.00.

Evening

Shirt Tail Stompers - Durham Town Hall, Durham DH1 3NJ. 7:30-11:15pm. £25.00. (£20.00. adv.). DJam 2020: Lindy Hop Festival ‘Masquerade Ball’. Line-up inc. Michael McQuaid (reeds), Nick Ball (drums). A Lindy Jazz event.

Blues/Funk/Soul

Broken Levee + John Carroll - Saltburn Cricket Club, Marske Mill Lane, Saltburn TS12 1HJ. 7:30pm (doors). £10.00. Info & tickets: 07960 935263. Saltburn Blues Club.

Ojay - Outstanding Art, North Road, Durham DH1 4SQ. Tel: 0191 649 0553. 8:00pm. Free. Electric bassist Ojay.

Raggy Ass Boys - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Book Review: Frank R. Hayde - Stan Levey Jazz Heavyweight

One of my first port of calls, when I make my infrequent trips to our capital city, is Judd Books where it has to be said, I've never failed to make a purchase.

This time around, clutched in my sweaty palm was a biography of drummer Stan Levey - Stan Levey Jazz Heavyweight by Frank R. Hayde.*

It's an appropriate title as the future Kenton percussionist did, in his early years, don the gloves in the squared circle - even at Madison Square Gardens fighting on the undercard. This was the 1950s when the fight game was very much mob controlled. If Blinky Palermo or Frankie Carbo told you to go into the tank you dived.
Fortunately, Levey found he could use his fists better holding a pair of drumsticks and, despite being a right-hander, because he'd had no formal training, he set up his drums southpaw style and yet went on to become one of the greatest of modern jazz drummers. 

Levey hung out with Parker in the early days of bebop and, surprise, surprise, he found himself hooked. Like so many of his famous contemporaries, he served time but, unlike most, he found the strength to clean up his act.

In retrospect, I now realise how fortunate I was in hearing Levey with the Paul Smith Trio and Ella at a 1962 JATP gig at Newcastle City Hall. The extrovert Smith tended to hog the limelight so I didn't fully appreciate the drummer at the time.

It was around this time I first heard Richie Kamuka and, later - after Roly Veitch reminded me of how good a tenor player Kamuka was - I started collecting his albums. I now find that Levey plays drums on most of them and, at the time of typing, I'm listening to Grand Stan, from the album of the same name which has Levey going for gold. If he'd fought like he played drums, and had the chance, Marciano would have known he was in a fight!

With a foreword by Charlie Watts, this authorized 2016 biography is a worthy addition to your jazz library.
Lance.
* £4.95 @ Judd Books!

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