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Bebop Spoken There

Barry Harris (in 1981): "There is not one place in the world that you can find more jazz musicians from than Detroit." - (DownBeat, September 2019).

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 August 19

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.

Evening

?????

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

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Cheltenham Jazz Festival: Vula Viel @ Parabola Arts Centre – May 5


Bex Burch (gyil); Ruth Goller (bass guitar); Jim Hart (drums).
(Review by Steve T)

I'd heard that Vula Viel - pronounced Vi-E-l - had shrunk to a trio since I saw them at the Scarborough Jazz Festival a few years back. I wasn't sure how that would work and read somewhere they were diminished a little, but was encouraged when Jazzwise gave their new album 4 stars; just one less than A Kind of Blue.


I couldn't remember the line-up from Scarborough and, when checking the credits on the first album didn't help, I asked the lady herself after the gig. She confirmed they were a quintet featuring bass synth, two drummers and sax. Here they had a fantastic busy drummer and, since the gyil (Ghanaian xylophone) is essentially a percussion instrument - and they displayed what seemed incredibly complicated interplay between the two - I heard no need for another kit man.

However, I definitely think a sax would have filled it out as it occasionally seemed one dimensional, repeated bass features and lots of drumming, if anything, drawing attention to the fact that they were essentially a woman down.

Not that I didn't enjoy it, and the threat of some ethnicity and some sisterhood is always a compelling argument in persuading Mrs T to agree. I'd already suggested she download/stream/ whatever the new album format, but apparently, her phone needed charging so it was a CD to the rescue again. 

Bex is extremely charismatic on stage, loosening up and limbering up ‘til she's bouncing around her instrument like a prize-fighter, her hair bobbing in double time. Most of the set was drawn from the new album, though they did dip into the debut and this would be the one I would recommend first.

At Scarborough, her introductions were interspersed with tales of her time in the African village where she learned to build and play her instrument, but here she seemed reluctant to do so, restricting it to one mention towards the end. I've no doubt her enthusiasm, commitment and passion is undiminished, so she shouldn't shy away from it since the dialogue actually helps bring the music to life.

I look forward very much to their arrival at one of the venues in the North East, but I think she may reconsider filling out the sound with reeds: soprano or flute, maybe with a baritone as well; or something from the guitar family, violin or cello. The possibilities are endless. 
Steve T.


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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