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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 15, 2019

Jam Session @ The Black Swan - May 14.

(Review by/Photos by Lance).

Quite a night! A tenor saxist born in L.A., a drummer studying in Boston Mass, a Nigerian (?) vocalist, an invasion of Hartlepuddlians and some of Newcastle's finest, what could go wrong?
Answer - nothing!

The evening began in a sombre mood. The normally ebullient James Harrison taking us on an unaccompanied trip to St. James' Infirmary. Abbie Finn joined the mourners with some suitable funereal drumming before upping the tempo for the Battle Hymn of the Republic (John Brown's Body). John Brown interred, more staple jam session fare followed in the form of Yardbird Suite and St. Thomas with Abbie well-featured on the latter.

The first of the sitters-in, Mel Grundy, sang Beautiful Love and Paul Grainger related as to how the song was first heard in a Boris Karloff movie.

The trio played In a Mellow Tone with lots of quirky quotes from James before the first of the three tenors took to the stage. John Rowland, who sounds like Lockjaw Davis, blew Take the A Train and Straight No Chaser. Matt was now on drums and James managed to slot a chorus of Wardell's Twisted into his solo.

Niffi was next with a unique version of Mack the Knife and a more conventional (by Niffi's standards) Autumn Leaves. Tenor number two, Graham Easthope, kicked off The Chicken and was soon joined by Showtime on trombone. Milestones (I think) saw Matt MacKellar unleash a minor explosion, James was his usual jack-in-the-box self and the whole thing went out on a fun note. The audience loved it and I was sorry that Nathan (see an earlier post) wasn't present.

Interval time - take cover, the Hartlepool hit squad are advancing.

Russell had spoken glowingly of Jan Spencelayh after hearing her with Musicians Unlimited recently so I expected nothing but the best. Our tastes in vocalists don't always coincide but, on this occasion, I was in total agreement. At Last acknowledged Etta but in a more tasteful, more subtle way. No over the top histrionics. Likewise, on Moon Dance, she didn't try to emulate Van Morrison - how could she? - she's better looking!
However, Hartlepool wasn't done with - enter Bob Caswell. Some years ago Bob was a semi-regular visitor to Blaydon Jazz Club and I seem to recollect hearing him at the Cherry Tree and being impressed. Despite the passage of time, he is still the master showman as Don't Get Around Much Anymore proved. However, it was that much-maligned song Cry Me a River that brought the house down and the only time I've heard it sung by a male vocalist. It worked.

It seemed as though it was game, set and match Hartlepool - or so we thought! 

Enter tenor number three Jordan Alfonso. The Los Angeles born, resident on Tyneside saxist is normally heard on alto but this week tenor was his chosen axe and he reduced the room to pin-dropping silence with an emotive My One and Only Love (Liz of York should have been here). A cadenza-like sax intro led into as good an instrumental version as you're ever likely to hear. Stan Getzish at first then edging into Coltrane territory - beautiful and, for once, James restrained from inserting any quotes - that's how seriously good it was.

Showtime joined in for There Will Never be Another You with an out of tempo trombone/tenor free for all.

Mel and John Rowland did You'd Be So Nice to Come Home to and the other three horns augmented You Don't Know What Love is (written for an Abbott and Costello film). Caswell and all the horns did Cottontail/I Got Rhythm before the whole shebang came to a frenzied finale with Blue Monk.
Yup, quite a night!
Lance.
James Harrison (keys); Paul Grainger (bass); Abbie Finn (drums) + John Rowlands, Graham Easthope, Jordan Alfonso (tenor sax); David 'Showtime' Gray (trombone); Matt MacKellar (drums); Melanie Grundy, Niffi Osiyemi, Jan Spencelayh, Bob Caswell (vocals).

3 comments :

Ron said...

Great review of a great ' I was there' jam session. Great photos too!
Northeast is so privileged to have so many top jazz musicians and vocalists.
Wonderful night!

Patti said...

Yeah - it was indeed one of those extra special jamming sessions. It was fantastic to see our two top class young drummers in such brilliant form too - and the very best of jazzy good wishes to both Abbie and Matt in their future musical lives!

Jan S said...

What a thoroughly enjoyable night! This was my very first jazz jam session but will absolutely not be my last! I was blown away by the quality and talent of the musicians, core and contributing. I was feeling somewhat apprehensive about how an intruding unknown vocalist might be received but was soon reassured by the warm welcome of the 'resident' musicians and the friendliness of the crowd. I know Bob totally enjoyed his night too. Thank you for a great time - The Hartlepuddlians will definitely be back!

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About this blog - contact details.

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