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Bebop Spoken There

Diana Krall: "It was daunting to play in front of her [Joni Mitchell] but it was also wonderful." - (DownBeat October 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 Friday September 20

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Classic Swing - Jesmond Royal British Legion Club, West Jesmond Avenue, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 3EX. Tel: 0191 281 0736. 1:00pm. Free.

Mark Williams Trio - The Merry Monk, 30 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1:00pm. £5.00. Pub adjacent to Bishop Auckland Town Hall.

Evening.

Alexito & Loco Machine - Revoluçion de Cuba, Cloth Market, Newcastle NE1 1EE. Tel: 0191 917 7076. 6:00pm. Free.

Jazz Lads - Saltburn Cricket Club, Marske Mill Lane, Saltburn TS12 1HJ. Tel: 01287 622761. 8:00pm. £5.00.

Zoë Gilby: Watching Sideways - Victoria Tunnel, Ouse Street, Newcastle NE1 2BE. Tel: 0191 230 4210. 8:00pm. £10.00.

Mark Williams & Pete Tanton - The Golden Lion, Market Place, Allendale NE47 9BD. Tel: 01434 683225. 9:00pm. Free.

Blues/Soul etc.

No Time For Jive - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

Nick Pride & the Pimptones - Hoochie Coochie, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. 9:00pm. Free.

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

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.

Blog Archive

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