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Bebop Spoken There

Mark Walker: "A drummer in a big band is always happy. It's like driving a big bus." - (Downbeat, August 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 Tuesday July 23

Afternoon

Jazz

Precarity John Akomfrah’s film (2017, 46 mins) about Buddy Bolden. See above.

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazz

Jam Session - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Rd., Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel. 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. House trio: Stu Collingwood; Paul Grainger; Matt MacKellar.

Archipelago & J Frisco + Mark Williams Trio - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. 8:00pm. £9.90.

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

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Darlington Jazz Festival: Durham Alumni Big Band @ The Market Square Marquee - May 5


(Review by Russell)

Sunday's closing concert at this year's Darlington Jazz Festival presented the Durham Alumni Big Band playing a somewhat unusual programme compiled and conducted by DABB 'old boy' Matt Roberts. Earlier in the year, the London based trumpeter pitched the idea to the festival committee that the ladies and gentlemen of the orchestra perform a selection of 1980s film and television theme tunes. If nothing else the market square marquee's capacity audience would be able to sing along to some or all of them! 

Roberts wanted to play a guessing game, something like Name That Tune! Your starter for ten, the first number has a sporting connection. Readers will be pleased to learn that BSH was straight in there, after two bars...Grandstand! Lots of smiling faces, tapping feet and, crucially, both the arrangement and the performance of the Alumni nothing short of sensational. Roberts' enthusiasm bubbles over at the best of times, here, he was in his element. Our MD proceeded to introduce most, if not all numbers, with 'Here's another banger!'. Much laughter in the audience and on the stand with Jonny Dunn in particular in fits at his pal's hilarious introductions. 

Here's another banger! said Roberts and once again your scribe was straight in with Ski Sunday. Bond, the name is James Bond - everyone knows the theme, this one from License to Kill featuring tenor man Alex Baker's take on Gladys Knight. Here's another banger (you get the idea)...Ghostbusters with massive vocal participation by audience and band alike and a ghostly, dancing figure in the shape of one M Roberts!  Yes, this was end-of-term stuff, fun all the way with the Alumni on top form. From this point on the guessing game would become marginally more difficult.

The Alumni's trumpet section has always been up there with the best of them and when Roberts introduced, yes, 'another banger!', a Team BSH mini-conference concluded that the Alumni can, at any one time, put out four from a pool of (at least) six A-list trumpeters. On this occasion, the section comprised Ian Robinson, Shaune Eland, Jonny Dunn and Bill Watson. Roberts mentioned Maynard Ferguson and the section looked the other way! Drawing the short straw was the man usually out front - Mr Shaune Eland. The Alumni's regular MD stepped up to nail Ferguson's top C work on an arrangement of Sesame Street.

Points scoring became more difficult, except, perhaps, for those who sat in front of the box watching children's television programmes in the 80s, with a run of CBeebies tv theme tunes. The first set had been a refreshing change and, what's more, the marquee's heating had been turned up to something like comfortable.

The second set began craftily in that Roberts slipped-in a bona fide jazz chart. Gordon Goodwin's Hunting Wabbits gave the band the chance to have a real good blow with features for Steve McGarvie (alto) and the always impressive Jonny Dunn. Roberts was in party mood alright but he took time out to talk about the work of Durham Music Service saying that for a young musician the music education available in County Durham can be 'a life-changing experience'. 

Thundercats reinstated the theme tune thread and a short (fifty seconds or so) blast of Have I Got News for You brought yet more smiles across the marquee. The DABB is a jazz orchestra so it came as little surprise that another 'jazz' number - John Dankworth's theme for Tomorrow's World - found its way into the set with Roberts joining the trumpet section to blow and blow some more. The A- TeamPopeye and Quincy Jones' Soul Bossa Nova from Austin Powers brought the curtain down on a fantastic finale to this year's Darlington Jazz Festival.        
Russell

Durham Alumni Big Band: Matt Roberts (MD, trumpet); Ian Robinson, Shaune Eland, Jonny Dunn, Bill Watson (trumpets); Andrew Kirtley, Terry O'Hern,  Alastair White (trombones); David Hamilton (bass trombone); Alex Baker (tenor sax); James ? (tenor sax), Steve McGarvie (alto sax), Kirsty Dunn (alto sax), Danielle Drew (baritone sax); Ben Connor (piano); Shaun Henderson (guitar); Mick Shoulder (bass guitar); Stephen Fletcher (drums) .

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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