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Bebop Spoken There

Sting: "It was great. They [the River City Jazzmen] all wore blue suits. The band had been together for about twenty years, which was the same age as the suits." - (Melody Maker Sept. 22, 1979).

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.

Today Monday October 21

Afternoon

Jazz

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

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

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool - Tyneside Cinema, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6QG. Tel: 0191 227 5500. 3:00pm/5:30pm. Screening of Stanley Nelson's documentary film (2019, cert. 15, 1hr 55mins).

Evening

?????

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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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