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Bebop Spoken There

Randy Brecker: "It's still a thrill for me today to stand out front of a big band as the soloist and hear all that sound going on behind you. It brings the best out of me" - (DownBeat June 2019).

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2019 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

The voting is open between now and May 31 to enable site visitors to nominate their choices in the various categories of this year's APPJAG awards which can be done here.
BSH was very proud to be nominated and to win the 2018 Media Award and hope we can have your support again this year.

Today Tuesday May 21

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Evening

Kamasi Washington - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4461. 7:30pm. £30.00.

River City Jazzmen w. Maureen Hall - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NN. Tel: 01670 813983. 8:00pm. £5 (raffle inc.) Bob Wade, Gordon Solomon, Keith Stephen, Phil Rutherford, Tommy Graham.

Lindsay Hannon Band - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham NE46 3DB.Tel: 01434 603681. 8:30pm. Free (donations).

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

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Recitals @ Newcastle University: Alex Utting (trombone); Ben Fitzgerald (drums) - May 15,16

(Reviewed by Russell)

It's the time of year when some music students are obliged to get out of bed before Emmerdale starts...yes, those long-awaited recitals are taking place throughout the month of May and here at Newcastle University students are preparing for the ordeal of their lives. BSH attended two recitals - one yesterday (Wednesday) and one this morning. 

At 5:20pm yesterday with the sun streaming through the windows of King's Hall trombonist Alex Utting walked the long walk from an adjacent corridor to the floor of King's Hall. The audience greeted the examinee with encouraging applause as the examiners took their seats in front of fired-up laptops. Utting is known to BSH as the bass trombone man in the dynamic student Bold Big Band. Utting's recital - Minor Specialist Study in Performance Final Recital - didn't include any jazz, this was to be a heavyweight classical examination.


Utting performed three pieces, the first of which - Concertino in E-flat for Trombone (Ferdinand David) - included accompaniment at a Steinway grand by renowned pianist Eileen Bown. Utting's programme notes observed: In 1835 he [David] became concertmaster at the Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig, working alongside Mendelssohn. He kept this position for the rest of his life. So, a nice, easy start! 

To conclude his recital Utting played two solo pieces - Sonata for Solo Trombone  (Barney Childs) and Malcolm Arnold's Fantasy for Trombone Op. 101 - without the support of an experienced accompanist alongside. First, Childs with Utting noting [the avant-garde composer's] performance notes give the performer complete control of how to play the piece and essentially leaves the performance entirely up to chance. Ah, a bit like having a blow at a jam session! 

Utting wrote of Malcolm Arnold's composition: The piece makes use of the full range of the trombone...So, Alex, those Dun Cow big band gigs came in handy after all! 
----- 
At 11:25 this morning the Band Room in the Music Studios on Assembly Lane was so crowded some sat on the floor. They were there to show support for Ben Fitzgerald. Family, friends, fellow students and a few faces from the local jazz scene readied themselves for a loud, groove-laden funk 'n' soul performance which, in retrospect, could well have gone down a storm up the road at Hoochie Coochie. 

Benjamin D. Fitzgerald: Minor Specialist Study: Performance Final Recital sounds rather grand, undoubtedly important, but the presence on the stand of four other familiar faces - familiar to BSH's Tyneside readers - would surely put the drummer at his ease. Entering the room Ben took a bow then, without a word, let his performance do the talking for him. 

Love is the Message (comp. Alfa Mist & Yussef Dayes) re-arranged by the examinee set the pattern; full-on, relentless groove. Aiding and abetting Ben were, to his left, Jamie 'Jingles' Mackay (guitar, Linnstrument) and Tom Dixon (alto sax), to his right, Inês Gonçalves (keyboards, vocals) and bassist Adam Cornell. Ben fully concentrated the others equally so, really into it. It was clear to all that they had been in the practice room. 

Three further pieces (all original compositions) acknowledged a stylistic debt to neo-jazz, Latin and Afro-Cuban sources. Portraits - You're gonna wishPortraits - Faded and Portraits - Like I Saw You demonstrated Ben's understanding of drum patterns, drum 'n' bass feel and the influence of major names including Thundercat's Justin Brown and Erykah Badu's Cleon Edwards. 

The Band Room audience loved it, whooping and hollering its approval. If the examiners were of a similar mind Benjamin D Fitzgerald will graduate with honours. 
Russell     

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