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Bebop Spoken There

Camila Meza: "Some tonalities or chords are colors to me: G major is blue, D major is orange and B minor is totally yellow." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Monday June 17

Afternoon

Jazz

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Tenement Jazz Band - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:30pm (doors). Free (donations).

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

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Cheltenham Jazz Festival: Rymden @ the Jazz Arena - May 4


Bugge Wesseltoft (piano, keybooards), Dan Berglund (double bass), Magnus Ostrom (drums).
(Review by Steve T)


Cheltenham Festival darling Gregory Porter sold out months ago, with Georgie Fame and Swing Out Sister selling out on the day of the shows, but I don't know anything else that did, perhaps because there was so much music to choose from.

This can't have been far short of selling out, but I wonder if more would have gone had they known what it was. I only found out by accident a couple of days before, having decided I wasn't going to the North Sea Festival because they clashed with eighties' Soul Queen Anita Baker.

We originally planned to get down in time for Joshua Redman, until our passenger needed to get down earlier and so we didn't get down in time. I scoured the programme, as I'd done numerous times before, looking for something to fill the gap, and by clicking on 'Bugge Wesseltoft, Dan Be' I found they collectively came under the name of Rymden. Although a supergroup, I suspect Rymden would have been a better way to advertise it.

The person who introduced them was an adviser for the festival, so presumably had something to do with this gaff and all the other gaffs which are part and parcel of this festival. He told us the festival likes European Jazz but then went on to say they like American Jazz and English Jazz, which raised an inappropriate cheer.

I've often found myself in company with left-wing nationalists, but this was my first time surrounded by people I imagine were right-wing nationalists, and I found it decidedly uncomfortable and wondered if this was part of the reason Cheltenham Jazz Festival and I have never hit it off.   

He assured us he wasn't making a point and the three pros walked onstage, Swedish drummer Magnus - who did what little talking there was - raising a laugh asking if there was no football on.

I only knew of them from a Jazzwise cover story and liked the sound of it, so their album arrived in my basket and - like so many others - gradually slipped down the listings. Amazon are the worst company in the world - like the Cheltenham Jazz Festival of retail - but Prime works a treat so the album slipped snugly through my letterbox in time to play it on the journey down.

Spacey guitar-less jazz-rock was what I anticipated and what I got, on the album and live. The musicianship was as brilliant as you'd expect, Magnus following his trinkets and nick-nacks around with a mic in his left hand during the quieter bits. Fellow Swede Berglund maintaining an equal share of the music with his upright bass, a bow and a few effects, and Norwegian Bugge darting between the arena grand - whatever renders synthesizers redundant these days - and a bank of electronics.

The sound of the Fender Rhodes seemed a favourite and I'm sure they must know Herbie's electric stuff from the seventies and Weather Report, particularly the initial lineup with Miroslav Vitous on mostly acoustic bass, and the final group with Victor Bailey and Omar Hakim on bass and drums respectively.     

All the pieces - which I think was the whole album - started peacefully before either exploding or gradually rising into a heavy groove. I've no doubt they know their prog-rock too.

As it happened we didn't make it in time for Rachel Musson and Xhosa and, those with a spouse who isn't particularly committed to jazz will understand you have to choose your battles, so I sacrificed Joshua Redman for my way better half to enjoy the delights of a Saturday night in Cheltenham, complete with Wetherspoons. I know how to treat a gal.

I work on the basis the artists get paid anyway, and I try to give the festival as little money as I can get away with, so this turned out to be the only act I saw that day and the only act all weekend I hadn't seen before, but it got my 2019 Cheltenham experience off to a cracking start.
Steve T

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the reason you failed to "hit it off" with Cheltenham Jazz Festival is because you spent your time looking for big names instead of going to the Parabola Arts Centre where the cutting edge, mainly European Jazz was to be found. and maybe you'd have changed your views about the audience if you had heard the enormous cheer greeting the same adviser(who programmed that venue) when he stressed the importance of collaborations across European boundaries. And since you then went to Wetherspoons you clearly DO spend time surrounded by right-wing nationalists!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree , after being to Cheltenham on numerous occasions and seeing the cutting edge jazz as described, the audience remain very subdued and not terribly responsive, maybe this is just a northern perception,who knows!!, but thankfully wherever we are we can always rely on Weatherspoons to pull a lively crowd.

Steve T said...

The next gig I went to was at Parabola. In my five visits to Cheltenham I have never not gone to Parabola. I don't agree with Cheltenham putting on 'big names' because the festival no longer knows what it is and jazz fans suffer through poor treatment becuase the festival imagines we don't care who we see either.
If anonymous one ever went to Wetherspoons, s/he'd realise it's full of left wing nationalists, even in Cheltenham.

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