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Bebop Spoken There

Erin Davis: "I knew he [Miles Davis] was a famous musician, but didn't quite understand how famous." - (The Observer Magazine 29 March 2020)

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COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Jam Session @ the Black Swan - May 28

(Review by Lance).

The thing about jam sessions is the unexpected. The outside observer may dismiss them as the same old faces playing the same old songs which can sometimes be true. However, at the Black Swan and its predecessor, the Jazz Café, this is rarely the case and last night was no exception.

Normally it's horn-players who are patiently awaiting their turn but, although there were four of the finest brass and reedmen up for it, on this occasion it was drummers and vocalists who ruled - ok?

It all began low key with the house trio allowing us to settle in with I Let a Song Go Out of my Heart, Joyspring and Soon. Johnston belying his 24 years (gosh! is he that old already?) with some of the tastiest guitar playing this side of the Atlantic. Walker suitably sympathetic with Grainger the musical sealant.



Johnston without the t was first up electing to blow flugel on Wayne Shorter's Black Nile. A new number to me although Ray informed me that it dated back to Shorter's Jazz Messenger days. This present-day messenger delivered before following up with Jimmy Van Heusen's Like Someone in Love.

Ben Richardson occupied the vacant piano/keyboard stool, Abbie Finn moved in behind the kit and the first of the evening's assortment of voice merchants, Jan Spencelayh, took centre stage. What a Difference a Day Made and Bye Bye Blackbird her chosen arias. 

If Jan is subtle and sensitive in her interpretation Niffi Osiyemi offers contrast with her no-holds-barred full-on approach. Taking a Miles Davis back to the audience stance, she belted the living daylights out of Work Song and Orange Colored Sky - the crowd loved it!

More shuffling around and it was Matt MacKellar's turn on the traps along with Paul Ruddick on alto. Not surprising, given that Ruddick is a Baghdaddian, Caravan had a distinctly eastern flavour - my acute ear immediately identified it as a variation on the Phrygian mode (thank you Google) and for a while, I could have been in a jazz bazaar in Cairo. However, All the Things You Are steered my magic carpet back to Westgate Rd.

Interval time with all the noisy backchat and hail fellow well-met bonhomie that rises after the second or third drink until - Suddenly!!! the room fell silent and a pin dropping would have been like a Rob Walker explosion. From the silence emerged Bradley's choice guitar chords and then, from a diminutive figure came Sophisticated Lady. Kyriaki Pantelidou - Kyri - had lifted the bar almost out of sight. Guitar and voice blended perfectly - time for another remake of A Star is Born. Desifinado with the full rhythm section met the demand for more but, good as it was, Sophisticated Lady was the one that stuck.

To ask another singer to follow that was tempting fate. Fortunately, Jen Errington was up to the task not least because she sang the verse (singing the verse is always a matchwinner) to Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered - for a moment I thought that it was Jen who'd dubbed the vocal for Rita Hayworth in Pal Joey until I realised she wasn't born when that film was made! Watch What Happens also sounded good although, in truth, I think she needed a tad more volume on the mic.
More vocals, this time from Kerry McCullough - Rockin' Chair and Makin' Whoopee. A bit too young to sing about the former but maybe just right for the latter!

Back to the blowers - Steve Summers on tenor and Showtime on trombone and The Chicken (or was it Canteloupe Island?) Both of them went for the jugular as befitted the approaching curfew time. Showtime came on like Trummy Young, both of them had bypassed Tommy Dorsey. A human battering ram playing muted and unmuted and back again during the course of his blistering solo. Not to be outdone, Summers did some paint stripping himself and the result was a (very high) score draw. The melee continued with Blue Train this time with Mo on drums.

Then, just when we thought it couldn't get any better, Jan and Kyri duetted on Cheek to Cheek. Johnson, Summers and Gray the horns.

That was it, or was it? Someone in the audience wanted his money's worth even though it was free and pointed out there was still 3 minutes to go! So we had a short take on Body and Soul. Summers couldn't resist this one and it all ended happily.
Full marks, as always, to the trio and a special word of praise for Ben Richardson (photo by Russell) who was outstanding throughout.

More good/bad news when I went for the 27 bus. Timetable changes meant it now arrives ten minutes later which means I don't get home till 'round midnight but it also means I don't have to leave if the session overruns by a chorus or two.
Lance.
Photos will be added to album when changes at FLIKR are sorted.
Bradley Johnston (guitar); Paul Grainger (bass); Rob Walker (drums) + Ray Johnson (flugelhorn); David 'Showtime' Gray (trombone); Paul Ruddick (alto sax)Steve Summers (tenor sax); Ben Richardson (keys); Abbie Finn, Matt MacKellar, Hazam Mohammed (drums); Jan Spencelayh, Niffi Osiyemi,  Kyriaki Pantelidou, Jen Errington, Kerry McCullough (vocals).

2 comments :

David Gray said...

Great, detailed review of a surprisingly varied session. Catching a little bit of 'Body and Soul' with Steve was a really nice way to unwind as well--having such an attentive listening audience really allowed all the players to relax into it too.

To spare the confusion, the first tune with Steve and me was Herbie Mann's 'Coming Home Baby'--though one'd be forgiven for the confusion, as it's a piece that isn't called very often at all. Full credit to Steve for calling it, as it's a fantastic groover.

Looking forward to the Dun Cow jam!

Lance said...

Thanks David, I should have recognised it - I have a vocal version by Mel Tormé.

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