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Bebop Spoken There

Billy Cobham: "Miles said to us, 'Don't play in between takes,' so of course John [McLauglin] played in between takes." - (JazzTimes, Nov. 2019).

Archive

Today Wednesday November 20

Afternoon

Jazz

Scott Wall - Jazz Café, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 261 5618. 1:00pm. £3.00. Café Mezzanine (first floor, access via crafts shop).

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

Jazz

Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £1.00.

Levee Ramblers NOJB - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Road, Springwell, Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.00.

Blues/Folk

Moonshine Sessions - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 8:30pm. Free.

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

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Soul'd Out @ Hoochie Coochie - May 10.

(Review (amended) by Nathan)
Soul'd Out is an event that happens at Hoochie Coochie four times a year. An amazing high-energy 6 piece band, plus singers, delivers a superb night of pure enjoyment
It's always a good sign when they're at least as many musicians in the audience as there are on stage - clearly there is real musical content worth paying attention to. These are great performers who deliver high-quality music.

This wasn't a Jazz event but it's one Jazz musicians should take note of: - 


  • They are all great musicians.
  • Several Jazz musicians have spoken to me about this event - they follow it and appreciate what happens there, musically.
  • There is a lot about this the Jazz scene could learn from: -
    • This is specifically designed to be fun.
    • There was more than one act on the bill - two (very good) warm-up acts, backed by the house band.
    • The band had a close rapport with the audience.
    • They organised events for the audience to enjoy - e.g. a 'Soul Train' dance-off.
    • They had prizes for the audience - e.g. prize for the best-dressed and best dancer.
    • Through successive fun, enjoyable events, they have cultivated a 'following' (perhaps a bit like the Baghdaddies).
      • (incidentally, venues like to book bands and acts that have a following).
Musically - 
  • Extremely powerful rhythm section - steady, danceable beat.
  • Strong ensemble - the band playing together, listening to each other - not just waiting turns to take a solo.
  • Musicianship translated into showmanship - they had enough ability to play flexibly, to support the band leader with a steady, catchy rhythm while he encouraged (exhorted) the audience to come forward and participate; to play and adapt as the leader formed up a dance-line, then start a fresh beat for each couple as they danced along the line. They provided musical cues for the audience - they knew how to make the audience clap, move, get up, come forward (each of these have specific musical cues that seasoned musicians know and discuss in private)
    These musicians clearly had served an apprenticeship and learned skills that Jazz these days seems to neglect.
    Jazz used to know about these things, but somehow it chose to forget, from Bebop onwards.
  • Diversity - the warm-up acts were Rap and Reggae, the main act was Soul.
It might be worth discussing how and why this contrasts with certain Jazz gigs (including some I felt reluctantly forced to depart).
  • Neglect of the beat
    Have been to a couple of Jazz gigs where all three members of a trio were syncopating at once, to the point where no-one was keeping the beat - there was nothing a person could tap their foot to, and I have literally no idea how the band counted the bars.
  • Neglect of the audience - no rapport - it literally seemed like they didn't care if anyone was listening.
  • Not listening to other members of the band, not playing together, no meaningful ensemble.
  • Fiercely academic - difficult to relate to or engage with without a degree in music.
We should ask - What is Jazz? What matters? What makes it Jazz?
Where did we get the idea that Jazz is academic music for a rarefied audience, and that the audience has to make an effort to listen to the music, with the musicians having no responsibility to try to approach and bring their music to the audience.
Who said that Jazz should not be entertaining? Who said that showmanship and audience-rapport are in bad taste?

May I bring up some comments from Paul Ruddock, leader of the Baghdaddies, a Jazz musician who chose to play outside the Jazz mainstream. He had studied Jazz and wanted to play Jazz, but wanted to play for an audience, and wanted his audience to enjoy themselves. Paul created a band to play advanced harmonies, modified scales  - but to play these with a danceable beat. No-one could say that playing a danceable beat was an act of compromise - the Baghdaddies play uncompromisingly unconventional, non-Western beats, such as 7/8 and 11/8. (Wow! Should we mention how Jazz has become locked into a prison of 4/4 time?) The difference is, the Baghdaddies embraced a set of audience skills that Jazz has chosen to disdain.

Apparently, at the Royal College of Music, students are taught to dance the Gavotte and other Baroque-Era dances, because this is essential to understanding how to play Bach - where there should be a lift in the beat. Why aren't the same ideas relevant to Jazz?
Nathan

9 comments :

stevebfc said...

If you don't like contemporary jazz and prefer soul that's fine but who are you to tell highly skilled improvised that they are doing it wrong? If you don't like jazz fair enough but don't go round trying to spoil it for those that do. I meet a lot of young very talented jazz musicians who give their all for the art and couldn't be more charming. Very disappointed that an award winning blog called 'Bebop Spoken Here' can give space to such offensive nonsense.

Lance said...

Well, Nathan, you appear to have opened up a can of worms. What do others think? Steve, you may disapprove of what this man says but surely you must realise that we at BSH will defend to the death his right to say it and likewise your own right to reply.

stevebfc said...

I think the site should promoting and extolling jazz musicians not slagging them off.
This man can say what he likes but it his disappointing that he is using m jazz blog for spreading such patronising, ill informed nonsense. I don't want to get in slanging match with anyone here so I promise this will be my final post on the subject!

Anonymous said...

Good jazz music = a beat to tap your feet

Steve T said...

Not for the first time, I find myself on both sides of the argument, like music has to be one thing or the other. Damn, I am a lib dem.

.Define fun. Music can be fun but doesn't have to be, like books and films.
.Danceable beat. Neither undesirable nor essential.
.If they're skilled musician (and there is a big if) the music probably makes more sense than you realise, but we're educated by the radio etc to appreciate immediate hooks, catchy melodies, verse-chorus-solo, repetetive beats etc. Sometimes I watch programmes on the telly and Mrs T will ask what's going on and I'll respond I haven't a clue, but that's not the point of it.
.Imposing rules on it (tappable beat) could be percieved as fiercely academic.
.The idea that the audience doesn't need to make an effort(for any artform) is outdated and a bit sad (see Roland Barthes the Death of the Author). The tyranny of the composer, writer, poet, artist etc is how we've ended up with 'geniuses' enforced upon us from on high.
.Define entertaining. One wo/mans entertainment is anothers boredom. Obviously I wasn't there but I can't tell a lie, it sounds terribly naff (define naff).

Having said all that, I'm not sure all the musicians like the sitting in reverential silence, applauding each and every solo, one section glaring at another cos they dare to eat a packet of crisps.
We should be able to discuss music (art) without falling out. On the one hand, music (art) is very important to human beings; on the other, it's just music.

Lance said...

I don't consider Nathan's post offensive if I did it would have been deleted. Controversial? yes but offensive? no.
As regards reverential silence I know some musicians who in pin-drop situations play safe knowing that every note is being heard and dissected whereas when faced with a less reverential crowd they will take a chance and go for broke.

Stuart Davies said...

I was the guitarist on the gig on Friday . What’s the difference between a jazz musician and any other type of musician? I’ve played in all types of bands/orchestras/ensembles etc. The only real difference between jazz and any other type of music is that it has a strong emphasis on improvisation. Any musician worth their salt should be able to entertain the audience. Groove, feel, time, melody, emotion, interpretation, listening etc are all vital and these skills come from a lifetime of playing and trusting the players around you and levitating everyone to the same level. Just because you think you can improvise doesn’t make you a ‘jazz’ musician. I read a recent interview with Branford Marsalis and he was asked why people don’t go to jazz gigs and his response was ‘because the musicians suck’. I’m glad people enjoyed our gig on Friday because I certainly did. It was pure joy and that translated to the audience and vice versa. This is as much as I can ever hope for. Black music is the greatest art form of the last 100 or so years. As Ian Dury said ‘when I listen to music, I don’t want to be moaned at.
Stuart Davies

D said...

Bebop Spoken Here - thanks for your review. Soul’d Out 4.0 was well received.
Friday night was our 1 year anniversary. Within the last 4 events we have showcased the original works of almost 15 North East artists. Our objectives:
-Build a soul/gospel/groove scene in Newcastle (remember the northern soul movement?)
-Develop a platform and appetite for original music
-Attract a wide audience/ Create a thriving community

As musicians/artists, we experience tension between artistic indulgence and creating works that can be appreciated by the uninitiated.
If Pop music is left and jazz right, Soul’d Out holds the centre ground.
Peace and God bless
D

Steve T said...

I've been trying to build a credible Black Music scene in the North East for years (since I realised how crap the soul scene has become) and I remember the northen scene, New York Disco, funk, jazz-funk, the club scene, rare groove, acid/jazz/dance, hip-hop, house/garage, modern soul and beyond. I know there's current interest in gospel music - presumably post Sounds of Blackness - which will likely alienate many, but scene politics and egos are against you anyway and alienating a jazz audience won't help either. Good luck.
Some point towards cinema, but many (myself included) agree Black Music was the great artform of C20th, ergo I don't have any Ian Dury quotes. As they say on facebook, LOL.

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