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Bebop Spoken There

Lou Donaldson: "(On Art Blakey) Everything changed. Especially when the women came in, sat down in the front row, and raised their skirts above their knees. Then the drums got louder, the tempos got faster, and every tune was a drum solo" - (JazzTimes, November 2019.)

Archive

Today Saturday December 14

Afternoon

Jazz

Anth Purdy - Isabella Community Centre, Ogle Drive, Blyth NE24 5JF. Tel: 01670 543773. 11:00am-1:00pm. Free. Christmas Fair.

Jazz Attack - Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. 3:30pm. Free (concourse). Young Musicians Live! YMP Winter Festival.

Jambone - Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. 4:00pm. Free but ticketed (Sage Two). Young Musicians Live! YMP Winter Festival.

Evening

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regents Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 284 3700. 8:00pm. £12.00. + bf. Second night of two.

Sold Out!

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Blues/Funk/Soul

Loft Boys - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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! 
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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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