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Bebop Spoken There

Mark Walker: "A drummer in a big band is always happy. It's like driving a big bus." - (Downbeat, August 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 Tuesday July 23

Afternoon

Jazz

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

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

Evening

Jazz

Jam Session - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Rd., Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel. 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. House trio: Stu Collingwood; Paul Grainger; Matt MacKellar.

Archipelago & J Frisco + Mark Williams Trio - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4661. 8:00pm. £9.90.

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

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Jambone, full house, Eales impressed


County Durham correspondent Tony Eales reports that there was a full house at the Lubetkin Theatre for the visit of Jambone. On Thursday evening (June 28) Sage Gateshead's youth jazz ensemble made the short trip down the A19 to perform at East Durham College in Peterlee. TE couldn't recall the band sounding better - high praise indeed!

Earlier in the evening Mollie McKeown sang with guitar accompaniment and southpaw guitarist Nathan Lawson not only impressed with his classic Joe Pass-like playing but, according to TE, the youthful Mr Lawson entertained his audience with a few witty observations along the way.     
Russell

Emma Fisk's Hot Club du Nord @ Sage Gateshead - June 29

Emma Fisk (violin); James Birkett. Dave Harris (guitars); Bruce Rollo (bass).
(Review by Lance/photo courtesy of Russell).

From the opening bars of Honeysuckle Rose to the final J'attendrai the magic unfolded, taking us back to the days when Django and Stéphane were the toast of Paree. Last night, Emma Fisk and her Hot Club du Nord were the toast of 'Gatesheed'. Yes, the well-attended Sage Two audience showed their approval in no uncertain manner - and so they should, it doesn't get much better than this.

Fisk displays amazing control, Emma doesn't play the violin, the violin is as much a part of her as the hand holding the bow or the fingers that move with such dexterity up and down the fingerboard. Total mastery (if that isn't a gender contradiction!)

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Northern Monkey Brass Band CD launch @ The Old Coal Yard - June 28


Graham Hardy (trumpet); Jamie Toms (tenor sax); David Gray (trombone); Mark Ferris (trombone); Phil Rosier (tuba); Adam Sinclair (snare drum); Brendan Murphy (bass drum) + George Welch (vocals)
(Review by Russell)

A typical Friday night out: Meet at the old coal yard. You know, the place on the industrial estate just off Byker Bridge...Aye, right, what's happening?... Graham Hardy has fixed-up a CD launch at Northern Alchemy....Great, see you there!

Shields Road was a hive of inactivity except for Spoons and the Butcher's Arms doing a bit of business. A mere stone's throw past a soulless giant supermarket there was some monkey business - make that Northern Monkey Business - going on. Turning into Elizabeth Street the sight and sound of dozens of monkeys quaffing and munching ahead of a set by the Northern Monkey Brass Band set the tone for what would surely prove to be a memorable evening.  

Preview: Ushaw Jazz Festival 2019

(Press release - possibly more names to follow)
Photo credits where known: 
Buck Clayton Legacy Band - Alan Ainsworth.
John Pope Quintet - Ken Drew.
Tony Kofi - Geoff Davies.
Friday 23 August

6pm - Early Bird Big Band - FREE - Francis Thompson Room

The 2018 Ushaw festival opened with the first-ever performance by the Early Bird Big Band. In 2019 the same hugely talented players return to Ushaw, this time joined by more recruits to perform new music under the leadership of festival director Paul Edis.

8pm - Emma Fisk’s Hot Club du Nord - £12/10 - Exhibition Hall

Emma Fisk's Hot Club du Nord brings to life the classic 1930s and 40s repertoire of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli's Hot Club de France, conjuring up the swinging gypsy jazz of pre-war Paris with classics such as Belleville, Nuages & Minor Swing.

Eric Stutt Retires...

Veteran drummer Eric Stutt has announced his retirement (via F/b) as a drummer. At 81 he feels the time is right. Thanks for everything you've added to the local scene Eric, one of the best! However, until I see "Gretsch Drum Kit for sale (cymbals extra)" on eBay I won't believe it!
All the best Buddy (the capital B is intentional).
We all love you.
Lance.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ The Bridge Hotel - June 27


(Review by Russell)

At last, summer! A relentless sun shone through the Bridge Hotel's bay window as the Strictly Smokin' Big Band assembled for a public rehearsal session at its new base on Castle Garth. Against a backdrop of intercity and regional services jostling with clattering, clunking freight trains winding their way in and out of Newcastle Central Station the sun-dappled audience shielded its collective eye (see photo*) as Michael Lamb's roaring big band opened up with Fast Cars

Zhenya Strigalev & Frederico Dannemann - The Change

Zheynya Strigalev (saxes/voice); Frederico Dannemann (guitar); Obed Calvaire (drums/vocals); Luques Curtis (bass).
(Press release)

The Change is the new album by saxophonist Zhenya Strigalev and guitarist Federico Dannemann.  The two internationally renowned musicians met at the Royal Academy of Music over fourteen years ago and have performed together since Dannemann joined Strigalev’s Never Group in 2016.

Tonight @ Old Coal Yard Northern Monkey Brass Band launch CD

Massive apologies all round - I originally listed the Northern Monkey Brass Band album launch gig as being tomorrow when it is actually tonight! What was I thinking of? 
Lance

Northern Monkey Brass Band - Old Coal Yard, Elizabeth St., Byker, Newcastle NE6 1JS. 8:00pm. Free. New CD launch gig at Northern Alchemy Brewery.

Abbie Finn Trio @ The Globe, Newcastle - June 27

Harry Keeble (tenor); Paul Grainger (bass); Abbie Finn (drums).
(Review by Lance/Photos courtesy of Barry Luccock)

I'm always a bit wary of pianoless trios, it invariably requires a Sonny Rollins or a Joshua Redman to carry it off without becoming a masterclass in boring self-indulgence. Well, you can add Harry Keeble to the above list, this was an absolute gem. Straight down the middle hard bop blowing by a tenor player who should be a jazz household name and, on the strength of last night's Jazz Coop promotion at the Globe, soon will be.

CD Review: Mikael Mani Trio - Bobby


Mikael Mani Asmundsson (guitar); Skuli Sverrison (bass); Magnus Trygvason Eliassen (drums and vibraphone); David Daviddson (vibraphone track 9).
(Review by Steve T)

Any jazz musician knows they have a limited audience. Anybody who's played with Miles or with somebody who's played with Miles, can maybe add a nought to their sales. Guitarists also have a bit of an advantage, as guitarists - of which there are many - don't observe the usual musical boundaries.

It can also help if you can draw on another cultural community like football, cars, the Beatles - chess?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Tonight @ the Globe - Abbie Finn Trio!

You've heard Harry, Abbie and Paul at the jam sessions around town, now's the time to hear them doing their own thing at The Globe tonight (doors 7:30pm). 

They blew up a storm on their previous gig at Jazz Coop HQ and the weather report is the same for tonight!
Harry Keeble (tenor); Paul Grainger (bass); Abbie Finn (drums).
Lance

CD Review: Babelfish - Once Upon a Tide

Brigitte Beraha (vocals); Barry Green (piano); Chris Laurence (double bass); Paul Clarvis (percussion).
(Review by Steve H)

‘Nature is death, nature is life, a glimpse of permanence quickly overshadowed by impermanence, the beauty of the sea’  lines sung be Beraha on The Sea the Sea sums up the ethos of this band perfectly. The album sets out to reflect how it’s creation is a journey which takes the music in unknown directions just as life itself takes risks and is full of surprises. This may all sound rather highfalutin – the best-laid plans of mice and men and all that, but this album is a joy from beginning to end keeping the listener both entertained and interested throughout. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Jam Session @ the Black Swan - June 25

(Review by Lance/PHOTOS).

Another Tuesday, another jam session. The fortnightly free-for-all never fails to deliver and last night was no exception.

'Showtime' usually leaves it late but tonight he was first up and not without a few surprises. Although beloved by vocalists, Charles Trenet's La Mer, or Bobby Darin's Beyond the Sea to some, isn't staple jam session material for instrumentalists but this didn't deter our intrepid slideman who gave la chanson a spirited workout. 

"Is Wayne Shorter in the house?" No, Mr Shorter was elsewhere no doubt celebrating the DownBeat critics having pronounced his CD Emanon as the Jazz Album of the Year. However, Harry Keeble was hanging out and he played a 200mph version of Shorter's ESP that took my breath away - not to mention that of the rhythm section who hung on gamely.

CD Review: Fleur Stevenson - Follow Me


Fleur Stevenson (voice); Pete Billington (piano, arranger); Ralph Mizraki (bass); Simon Price (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex)

'A treat for fans of first class, straight ahead vocal jazz delivered by one of the UK's fastest rising stars'. I quote from the information sheet, but I couldn't have summed it up better. Yet another woman singer, some would cry, but I reckon that we should rejoice and enjoy all these fine singers as they are all somewhat different and there is room for many more and they will all find their place. Though I would like to see more male singers and many more women instrumentalists. I digress.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

CD Review: Dave Wilson Quartet - One Night at Chris'

Dave Wilson (tenor/soprano saxes); Kirk Reese (piano); Tony Marino (bass); Dan Monaghan (drums).
(Review by Lance).

A live recording from Chris' Jazz Café in Philly back in March 2018, it presents an enigma. If you'd been at the gig you'd most certainly want to have it as a memento of what was, without doubt, a swinging evening. The enigmatic part of the equation is that, if you weren't there and live some thousands of miles away in another country would the album still be worth a punt?

Monday, June 24, 2019

RIP Dave Bartholomew

Just heard that Dave Bartholomew the New Orleans trumpet player and R & B legend died yesterday aged 100 years and six months. I only know of him via his association with Fats Domino but he contributed to a host of great recordings in the genre. As there are so many obituaries of him online already I'm not going to single one out so just Google Dave Bartholomew and you will be spoilt for choice.
Lance

CD Review: Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian - When Will The Blues Leave


  Paul Bley (piano); Gary Peacock (double bass); Paul Motian (drums)    
(Review by Chris)

A gem from the ECM vaults, this time a live recording from 1999 in Switzerland of a trio of masters, led by the veteran Canadian poet of the piano, Paul Bley, who died in 2016.  It’s hard to imagine a more different approach to playing than the other Canadian maestro, Oscar Peterson: Bley eschews the obvious sentimental or romantic lines, famously stating “Anything you play twice is once too much”.    

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Hoochie Coochie - June 23.

(Review by Lance).

Never has the phrase 'hit the deck running' been more apt than at Hoochiee last night! SSBB did that and more on the opener Fast Cars the title of which would come back to bite me later on...

Spurred on by super-dep stickman McKeague this band wasn't smokin' it was burnin' and leader Lamb and guitarist PJ fanned the flames - phew, it's 'ot in 'ere! Things cooled down with a couple of vocals from Ms. Grace - Blue Skies and Mad About the Boy - our girl was in good voice on a night when she had to be! Jamie Toms blew tenor on Blue Skies. He too had to be on his metal for the next number - Grand Central.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Jazz '65


Delving 'among my souvenirs' I encountered this long forgotten and somewhat tattered programme of a concert at the Royal Festival Hall which I attended in 1965. As I recall I hired a Triumph Herald to drive down to London and I have cherished memories of that car and, of course, the concert!

The concert was promoted as part of The Commonwealth Arts Festival and so we had Maynard Ferguson (Canada), Joe Harriott (Jamaica), The Australian Jazz Players plus Johnny Dankworth, Cleo Laine and Tubby Hayes as the home team.

Book Review: Andrew Cartmel - Flip Back

(Review by Lance)

The Vinyl Detective is back! Accompanied by his lovely partner, Nevada, his best friend Tinkler and the unrequited love of the latter's life, Agatha DuBois-Kanes, also known as Clean Head, he sets off on a quest to locate a rare piece of vinyl.

Needless to say, the search doesn't start and end in a charity shop or a record fair, it's never that simple. There are murders and mysteries, even a suggestion of the occult and the dark arts and no one is quite what they seem to be.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Preview SSBB @ Hoochie Coochie

BSH has now clocked up 10,500 posts which is some kind of milestone (at times a millstone) and of which we are very proud. The actual post number 10,000 arrived around about Xmas 2018 which actually coincided with a review of Strictly Smokin' Big Band's Xmas Special at Hoochie Coochie. To be honest, it was probably post number 9,987 or thereabouts but, that's close enough for jazz!

So, as we head towards post number 11,000 it seems appropriate that SSBB should once more take centre stage.

Big Bear Spills the Beans

Jim Simpson of Big Bear Records has been involved in the music business for nearly 60 years, as musician, bandleader, promoter, record producer, festival director, manager, journalist and photographer. In his new book Don’t Worry ‘Bout The Bear, written with Ron Simpson, he spills the beans on some of the many memorable experiences he’s had in that time.

Jazz on 3 - Saturday 22

As usual on a Saturday Radio 3 offers a  choice of three jazz programmes. At four o'clock Alyn Shipton presents Jazz Record Requests followed at five o'clock by J to Z. Kevin Le Gendre introduces a concert performance by Billy Harper. The Cookers' tenor saxophonist is heard working with a British quintet which includes recent DJazz headliner, drummer Moses Boyd. The BBC's late night radio jazz fix comes courtesy of Geoffrey Smith's Jazz beginning at midnight. This week's subject is the pioneering bandleader Charlie Barnet.   
Russell 

CD Review: Rebecca Dumaine & the Dave Miller Combo - Chez Nous

Rebecca Dumaine (vocals); Dave Miller (piano); Chuck Bennett (bass); Bill Belasco (drums); Brad Buethe (guitar).
(Review by Lance).

Faultless! Once upon a time, this would have had me searching the Dictionary of Superlatives to describe what is a beautiful, swinging album. However, there are just so many wonderful singers rolling off the conveyer belt these days that it is almost impossible to single out any one of them as the best or the worst. If I did that today, chances are that tomorrow the positions would be reversed!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Make Music Day @ Darlington Market Square - June 21


(Report by Russell)

A long day - the summer solstice, and a big day - a long-in-the-planning nationwide initiative to get as many school children as possible playing an instrument, singing in a choir or in some other way participating in making music. Durham Music Service embraced the idea to the extent that across County Durham and Darlington no fewer than, wait for it...17,500 kids took part! 

Darlington Market Square basked in welcome sunshine as several ensembles performed to an appreciative shirt sleeve order audience. Two sets caught the eye (ear) from BSH's point of view. County Durham Youth Big Band conducted by Shaune Eland presented a short closing programme at the end of a long day. 

On Parole in Cullercoats Bay

North-east jazz bassist Alan Rudd (Classic Swing, Lickety Split etc.) kindly sent me this folksy YouTube clip. The duo is called On Parole and the song, Cullercoats Bay was composed by Alan's brother Steven.


It may not be jazz but I think it will appeal to those of our readers who are folk-musically inclined.
Lance

Alice Grace Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall - June 21

Alice Grace (vocals); James Harrison (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass)
(Review by Russell)

At one o'clock, with no sign of Alice Grace, Messrs Harrison and Grainger opened the show with a diverting Take the A Train. Would it be a duo gig? One eye on the door, would our star vocalist make it in time? Strolling in, cool as a cucumber, Ms Grace didn't pause for breath as she picked up the verse, the boys didn't blink, was this a cool entrance or what?!

Verse, chorus, scat, Alice Grace is the tops when it comes to GASbook material. A light yet commanding vocal style, Ms Grace chose a fabulous selection of numbers to sing - one or two of them usually performed with the mighty Strictly Smokin' Big Band behind her - in the company of friends James Harrison, piano, and bassist Paul Grainger. 

Heller-Glendinning: Billie Meets Kurt @ the Globe - June 20


Gabi Heller (vocals, percussion); Steve Glendinning (guitar)

This could well be my gig of the month, or maybe of the year, time will tell. It was partly exquisite singing, brilliant guitar, partly an interesting lecture with no boring bits, and partly a piece of theatre. Three gigs for the price of one.

The theatre came first with a slow melancholy Good Morning Heartache, sung and acted feelingly, then Gabi went on to explain something of Billie Holliday's life, (born to a teenage mother and growing up in unfavourable circumstances, unhappy in love, early death caused by addictions), but what music she gave us! I'm A Stranger Here Myself introduced us to Kurt Weill, refugee fleeing Germany who ended up in New York. And Gabi pondered aloud about whether they ever met, which they could have done, in the only mixed-race jazz club in NY - Cafe Society.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

CD/LP Review: Tubby Hayes Quartet - Grits, Beans and Greens: The Lost Fontana Sessions

Tubby Hayes (tenor sax); Mike Pyne (piano); Ron Mathewson (bass); Spike Wells (drums).
(Review by Lance)

Even if someone were to discover the mythical Buddy Bolden cylinder tomorrow or find a photo of Robert Johnson shaking hands with the devil they would count for nothing beside these 50-year-old recordings by Tubby Hayes - the story of their discovery is related here

Hayes was, arguably, the UK's greatest jazz musician and certainly, during his lifetime, this country's finest tenor player. In his heyday he wasn't given his due -  at the time, if it wasn't American it was inferior - and, bearing in mind his contemporaries across the pond included Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt and John Coltrane, to name but a few, the competition was tough. We were brainwashed by the jazz press, few of whom waved the union jack. Drummers came off the worst and the best any British player could hope for was "pretty good for a Brit." 
In retrospect, listening to these recordings it could be said that Sonny Stitt was pretty good for a Yank!

Your Middlesbrough Jazz 'n' Blues Dansette

(Report by Russell)

Middlesbrough's recently restored Town Hall now has an added attraction. A vintage 50s Dansette record player has been installed in the venue's Carriageway cafe and customers are encouraged to take along an old (treasured?!) record to play as you, and others, sit with a coffee. Better still, if you have a recording of a favourite musician who performed at the Town Hall what better way to rekindle memories of the occasion?

Tonight! Abbie's Lifesaving Infusion!

Thanks to Abbie Finn stepping in at short notice tonight's Acoustic Infusion gig at Darlington's Forum Music Centre goes ahead as advertised. An indisposed Ian Halford threatened to scupper the much-anticipated performance by four of the region's most experienced musicians. Drummer Abbie will join Alan Thompson (reeds), Rick Laughlin (keys) and bassist Bruce Rollo in the main hall of the Borough Road venue (tucked away behind Darlington Hippodrome) to play a set of 'bespoke standards' from 7:30 (doors 7:00), admission on the door £5.00. 
Russell    

CD Review: Avishai Cohen - Arvoles

Avishai Cohen (bass); Elchin Shirinov (piano); Noam David (drums) + Björn Samuelsson (trombone); Anders Hagberg (flute).
(Review by Lance).

A collection of Cohen originals and a traditional (Israeli?) tune. I found the music quite compelling, particularly the tracks where the trio is augmented by the horns. At times I  wondered where it was heading, however, when it got there the path taken turned out to be logical.

Difficult to pigeonhole, there are so many twists and turns, one moment it's a piece of modern classical music but, just as you adapt they're off on another tangent, maybe Afro-Caribbean or a glance towards bebop or maybe hip-hop or something else. In a strange sort of way, it grabs you then loses you then grabs you again.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Alexys de Alfaro & Julija Jacenaite @ Jazz Cafe Mezzanine - June 19

Alexys de Alfaro (guitar); Julija Jacenaite (vocals, piano) + Irene Birkett (vocals)
(Review by Russell)

A musical partnership born on Tyneside comprising a Peruvian and a Lithuanian could be a first. If so, the pioneering duo - guitarist Alexys de Alfaro and vocalist/pianist Julija Jacenaite - could/should make hay before other Peruvians and Lithuanians spot a gap in the market!  

Lickety Split @ The Fox Inn, Hexham - June 18


(Review by Russell)

Bandleader Eddie Bellis (pictured left) remarked that it had been something like three years since the band's last gig at the Fox. In all likelihood the setlist wouldn't have changed too much in the intervening years and that's no bad thing. Lickety Split's West Coast modernist leanings lend themselves to reworkings and repeated listening.

Clifford Brown, Miles, Monk, Horace Silver, these the names Bellis turns to when putting together a set list. Blues Walk then Sandu for starters, measured ensemble playing, the solos largely succinct from various members of the band. Tenor man Paul Gowland, restored to the line-up, opened up with an expansive solo on One by One. The band's recent recruit, trumpeter Callum Mellis, showed just how well he's settled in with a fine solo contribution on I Remember Clifford. Teessider Jeremy McMurray knows his way around the keyboard and demonstrated the fact to an attentive audience with a brisk workout on Jim Martin's Curious George.

New Newcastle Jazz Festival News - August 17

(Press release)

The new Newcastle Jazz Festival debuts its festival in a day this summer and is excited to present in its first programme the best of the North East’s current jazz scene in partnership with Tyne Bank Brewery.

Featuring Zoe Gilby and Andy Champion’s voice and bass duo; the Latin infused Alan Law TrioMark Williams Trio who are currently part of Northern Jazz Promoters' Northern Line programme; 2018 British Jazz Awards' nominee Emma Fisk in her duo with James BirkettStrictly Smokin’ Big Band with Alice Grace featuring a huge array of north- east talent; and 2014 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year, saxophonist Alexander Bone, as headline artist.

CD Review: Bonsai – Bonsai Club


Rory Ingham (trombone); Dominic Ingham (violin, vocals); Tony Comeau (piano, Fender Rhodes, synths); John Lee (bass, vocals, piano, synths); Jonny Mansfield (drums, vibraphone, percussion, synths)
(Review by Hugh C)

Bonsai* (formerly Jam Experiment) are a London based band formed in 2014.   Comeau, Lee, Mansfield and the Ingham brothers operate in a collective manner, with no designated leader.  The music on the CD is composed by Dominic Ingham, Joe Lee and Jonny Mansfield.  Bonsai Club offers just over 37 minutes of high octane music – so I’m not sure if it counts as a compact CD or and extended EP.  According to Rory Ingham “Bonsai Club is about the joy of returning to a place where you feel content; no matter how much it transforms, it always feels like home”.

CD Review: Judy Wexler - Crowded Heart

Judy Wexler (vocals); Alan Pasqua (piano/melodica); Larry Koonse (guitar); Bob Sheppard (alto flute); Darek Oles (bass); Steve Hass (drums); Stefanie Fife (cello); Josh Johnson (alto sax); Aaron Serfaty (perc.).
(Review by Lance)

Crowded Heart somehow got lost in transit in the journey from my mailbox to the Victrola and, as such, I'm a few weeks late in posting a review. In the meantime, it has hit the number one spot of both the 1tunes and Amazon Jazz Charts - this without my help!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

One more, one more time with the Tenement Jazz Band - June 18

Following their storming Monday evening gig at Prohibition Bar the Tenement Jazz Band guys were up and about early busking on Northumberland Street. Under a bright sun the Edinburgh based outfit attracted quite a lot of interest from Newcastle's lunchtime shopping hordes. The photo shows (left to right) John, Doug, Paddy, Charles and Tom reprising a few numbers from their Pink Lane set (see LL's review) including Meat on the Table and Bogalusa Strut. The Tenements didn't hang around as they have a long drive ahead of them - they're in Cambridge tonight at the University Social Club. If you're within a Buddy Bolden shout of the venue make the effort to get along, they're the business!    
Russell    

CD Review/Interview: Daniel Elms with Manchester Collective & Jubilee Quartet - Islandia (New Amsterdam NWAM114)


(By A.J. Dehany)

An urgent evocation of the primal spirit of islands suffuses the dramatic textures of composer, arranger and guitarist Daniel Elms' debut album Islandia. Recorded at Abbey Road with chamber orchestra, electric guitar and synths, and a concluding track recorded live at Hull Minster, the five pieces assert the ineffable universalities of post-genre music, using elements drawn from classical, jazz, electronic and world music.

Daniel Elms’ influences include the sharp-edged and “glassy” orchestral palette of American composer Jacob Druckman, and the parallelism and geometric constructs of Béla Bartók, and the album uses material from folk songs and even techniques inspired by serialism. In his approach to crafting music, he cites Debussy’s Jeux as a formative influence; it’s important to him, that melody, harmony and instrumentation be conceived simultaneously as inseparable conceptions. “Instrumental and timbral choice,” he says, “have always been an intrinsic part of my writing - even a line sketched on the piano will be marked with its suggested instrumentation and timbral character. There’s so much “emotional” content conveyed by instrument and timbre - they are incredibly deep compositional tools, not just ones of arrangement.”

Tenement Jazz Band @ the Prohibition Bar, Newcastle - June 17











John Youngs (guitar/banjo/vocal); Charles Dearness (trumpet); Paddy Darley (trombone); Tom Pickles (soprano & alto sax); Doug Kemp (bass).
(Review by Lance).

For a brief moment, I was back in time at The Cavern. No, not that Cavern but the Beverly Cavern in Los Angeles where, in the late 1940s/early '50s, Kid Ory was the resident band and I was listening to Savoy Blues (the Mutt Carey version). No, I'd got it wrong, it was much earlier and I'd just graduated Summa Cum Laude from Austin High School and, along with my buddies Frank (Teschemacher) and Bud (Freeman), we were listening to Bix and His Gang - our pulses racing with Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down. This was when I awoke and discovered I'd been dreaming and was actually in Newcastle's version of Jimmy Ryan's, the Prohibition Bar, listening to the Tenement Jazz Band from Edinburgh.

Terri Shaltiel Band @ Hoochie Coochie - June 14

(Review by Nathan)

One of Newcastle's best kept secrets is the great live bands that appear at Hoochie Coochie. The club's owner (Warren) is a great connoisseur of soul music and he indulges himself by hiring some amazing bands that wouldn't otherwise come to Newcastle. Live bands that appear there are always worth checking out.

Terri Shaltiel, a singer/guitarist/songwriter from Leeds, has made a name for herself with an eclectic mix of soul, blues and reggae, across a series of concerts and festivals. It was great to hear her at Hoochie Coochie on Friday. From the first moment, we knew we were in for an incredible night - she absolutely "tore the hair off my head" with an amazing performance.

CD/LP Review: Scott Hamilton Quartet - Danish Ballads & More

Scott Hamilton (tenor sax); Jan Lundgren (piano); Hans Backenroth (bass); Kristian Leth (drums).
(Review by Lance).

In many ways, Scott Hamilton is everything a jazz musician should be and, in 2019, shouldn't be. Today, jazz musicians have graduated from colleges with degrees and diplomas, become educators at the very institutions they graduated from and play only their own compositions.

Hamilton is a throwback inasmuch as his formal tuition comprised some childhood clarinet lessons and little else. The rest was up to him and a pair of lugs (ears) that quickly attuned themselves to a melodic phrase or a pleasing chord progression. I've been fortunate to hear him live on several occasions and he's never disappointed me and nor does he fall short here.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Preview: Tonight, Prohibition Bar Gig of the Year, again!

(Preview by Russell)

If you missed a leading contender for Gig of the Year in March at Newcastle's Prohibition Bar then tonight (Monday) presents a chance to redeem yourself with a most welcome, quick return by Edinburgh's Tenement Jazz Band. From N'Awlins to Chicago and back again these guys are the business. Stunning ensemble work a la New Orleans' Shake 'Em Up Jazz Band, the Tenements will be playing for dancers and listeners alike. 

Francis Tulip Quartet @ Blaydon Jazz Club - June 16


Francis Tulip (guitar); Ben Lawrence (piano); John Pope (double bass); Matt MacKellar (drums)
(Review by Russell) 

Tyneside's jazz calendar continues to present difficult choices with Sunday evening a case in point; Gerry Richardson playing a Jazz Co-op gig would ordinarily be a 'must', the Customs House Big Band's twentieth-anniversary concert at its Mill Dam HQ in South Shields similarly unmissable, and upriver at Blaydon on Tyne, the 'new wave' set out to show what is happening in the many and varied hothouses across the country and, indeed, overseas.

The Black Bull in Blaydon won the day with your correspondent (BSH Editor-in-Chief rightly opting to review the 'big do' at the Customs House). The Francis Tulip Quartet comprises bandleader, guitarist Francis Tulip (Birmingham Conservatoire), pianist Ben Lawrence (Durham University, mathematics!), drummer Matt MacKellar (on vacation from Berklee, USA) and, on this gig, a more than able dep on bass, John Pope. JP graduated from Newcastle University a while ago so this jobbing gig held few fears. 

CD Review: Areni Agbabian - Bloom


Areni Agbabian (voice, piano); Nicolas Stocker (percussion).
(Review by Ann Alex).

The beautiful music on this CD is definitely not jazz, nor does it claim to be. It's closer to contemporary folk. The album comprises mostly original compositions around the theme of blooming and the natural world, including an Armenian sacred hymn, an Armenian folk legend of metamorphosis, a folk melody transcription, and a song based on a quote from the Biblical Song of Solomon.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Customs House Big Band @ the Customs House, South Shields - June 16

 (Review by Lance).

A gala occasion - 20 years old. Yes, the CHBB has been going now for two decades. It was fitting that two of the original creators of the band were in the audience. Tommy Moran and Joe Peterson, both must be very proud to note how their brainchild has grown into what it is today.

Peter Morgan led from the front introducing each number in his own inimitable manner although this time he handed over the bass trombone pad to Chris Hibbard. Peter did, however, play a couple of choruses on piano which was probably a first.

The majority of solos were taken by Mick Hill, Eddie Bellis, Alan Marshall, Jim McBriarty, John Stephenson and Bradley Johnston who provided the most emotional moment of the evening when, after Peter had paid tribute to the late Rick Taylor, Bradley added a musical tribute to his former mentor with an unaccompanied extended introduction to Body and Soul. Sheer magic and played from the heart.

Jazz Social @ Charts - June 16


Stu Collingwood (piano, vocals); Paul Grainger (double bass); Paul Smith (drums)
(Review by Russell)

Father's Day, an occasion for daddies the world over to be treated by their appreciative children. Charts on Newcastle Quayside would surely prove the ideal riverfront location - a meal, a pint, waited on hand and foot. The event coincided with the pub's weekly Jazz Social, the place would be busy.

Stu Collingwood sat at the venue's recently acquired Steck piano working in the company of the Pauls - P Grainger, bass and P Smith, drums. A couple from Gershwin - Our Love is Here to Stay (Collingwood singing) and Nice Work if You Can Get It - either side of Mean to Me and Jobim's Wave, choice GASbook material. 

Preview: Francis Tulip on Bloomsday

(Preview by Russell)

Sunday, June 16 is Bloomsday. Every year on this day Dubliners and others around the world celebrate the life of James Joyce. A 'day in the life' (June 16) of Leopold Bloom, the central character in Ulysses, is the literary device Joyce deployed in his famous - if little read! - novel. Tonight at Blaydon Jazz Club (7:30 prompt) Birmingham Conservatoire guitar student Francis Tulip will attempt to play every note he's ever played then, for good measure, play them all again during two unmissable sets in the lounge of the Black Bull pub.     

Tyne Valley Big Band @ Tynedale Beer and Cider Festival, Corbridge - June 15

Here are a few pictures I took whilst attending the Tynedale Beer and Cider Festival at Corbridge on Saturday afternoon.  The Tyne Valley Big Band were in fine form under the direction of unsung local hero Dave Hignett.  The quality of the music was exemplary and the MD himself took the occasional solo on trumpet from the rostrum.

I'm afraid I do not have a record of what they played*, but it was an eclectic mix of standards, show tunes and covers - exactly what was needed for the occasion.
As you will note, in some pictures there are two enthusiastic dancers at the front.

Hugh C
*Two excuses:  no notebook, it was a beer festival!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Showtime with Soznak

Last night with House of the Black Gardenia outside the Cumberland Arms David Gray put the boot in on that Big Big Man (hooray!). This afternoon, 'Showtime' as he's affectionately known, was snapped giving Soznak a hand at the band's regular Saturday pitch at Monument, Newcastle. Gone was the 'bone man's natty Friday evening attire in favour of a more casual street look. Pictured with Showtime is Jude Murphy (red hat) playing bass guitar on Hendrix's All Along the Watchtower. Soznak can count on the passer-by to contribute to the band's 'hardship fund' with Showtime taking care of the folding stuff - yes, they're that popular!  
Russell

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