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Bebop Spoken There

Barry Harris (in 1981): "There is not one place in the world that you can find more jazz musicians from than Detroit." - (DownBeat, September 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 Saturday August 17

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Newcastle Jazz Festival - Tyne Bank Brewery, Walker Road, Newcastle NE6 2AB. Tel: 0191 265 2828. £15.00. All day event, line-up:

Zoë Gilby & Andy Champion (1:30pm)

Alan Law Trio (2:40pm)

Mark Williams Trio (3:50pm)

Emma Fisk & James Birkett (5:00pm)

(Evening)

Alexander Bone (6:15pm)

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band (7:45pm).

Blues/Funk/Soul

King Snake - 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, June 13, 2019

CD Review: Jeff Williams – Bloom


Jeff Williams (drums); Carmen Staaf (piano); Michael Formanek (double bass).
(Review by Hugh C)

Drummer Jeff Williams has played with some of the big names in jazz over the years.  Lately, he has been playing in saxophonist Dan Blake’s quartet with pianist Leo Genovese and bassist Dmitry Ishenko.  One time when Genovese was unavailable, Carmen Staaf stepped in.  Williams felt an immediate connection with her playing and they talked about the possibility of a trio.  He then ran into Formanek, with whom he had gigged in their early days in New York in the ‘70s.  The idea of this trio was formed and bloomed from thereon in – hence the album title.


All but one of eleven tracks on the album are composed by one or more of the members of the trio. The first track, Scattershot developed as they warmed up, getting their headphone mix together. This also warms up the listener for the ride ahead.  Another Time (Williams) takes us on at a slower tempo but with a definite progression, Staaf’s piano to the fore with a bass solo by Formanek where the other trio members draw back, but do not drop out.  Short Tune (Staaf) is more syncopated and in Williams’ words “has a certain quirkiness”, but carries the listener with it, waiting for the next surprise.  Short bass and drum solos intersperse the ensemble playing.  Scrunge starts in tricky 7/8 time, segueing seamlessly into Search Me; both tunes by Williams.

After the frenetic 7/8, calm is restored by Formanek’s Ballad of the Weak with space to appreciate the tonal qualities of the double bass in the extended solo.  New York Landing (Staaf) is a bluesy upbeat romp which will get even the most recalcitrant jazzer nodding their head in time to the music.  She Can’t Be a Spy (Williams) is apparently named after a New York Times piece: “She can’t be a spy – look what she did with the hydrangeas”. 

Air Dancing is the only track on the album not by one of the trio members.  Buster Williams passed the charts directly to Jeff Williams himself.  This is a beautiful slow number with atmospheric contributions from all three trio members.  A Word Edgewise (Formanek) features fast fingerwork by both bassist and pianist and pushes on at a pace towards Northwest (Williams) which has a more expansive groove and allows us a breather.  Staaf’s meditative, gamelan-like Chant, with fine arco bass by Formanek, brings the journey to a close.

This is a class album by class musicians.  There are no fireworks, but it is all quality.  Some of the tunes are older than others, being new piano trio rearrangements of earlier numbers, but as Jeff Williams quotes Thelonius Monk as saying when asked why he plays the same tunes all the time:  “I want people to hear them!”
Hugh C.
Bloom is on Whirlwind Recordings (WR4737) and is currently available.

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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