Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Anat Cohen: "With the tenor, it's so iconic with jazz. With the clarinet, I can improvise, but it doesn't have to be called jazz." - (DownBeat July 2019)

Archive

Today Tuesday June 18

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Evening

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

River City Jazzmen - Block & Tackle, Blackthorn Way, Ashington NE63 8NW. Tel: 01670 813983 (info). 8:00pm. £5.00. (inc raffle). Line-up inc special guest Don Fairley (trombone).

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

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

DJazz: Sunday - June 9

(Review by Russell)

What a difference a day makes! Blue skies overhead, Saturday's rain long gone, the DJazz outdoor stage was about to come into its own. First, a noon date with Kinesis in the pop-up space.

Drummer Abbie Finn and saxophonist Harry Keeble are Kinesis. Here at Durham's Riverwalk development the duo enlisted friend Paul Grainger to play the bass anchor role in a one hour set of classic numbers. Abbie, a postgraduate now picking up choice gigs as a professional musician (working with Simon Spillett is on the cv), works in partnership with soon-to-graduate Harry (Leeds College of Music) presenting a series of extended workouts ranging from Caravan to Cheese Cake. Bassist Grainger knows the pad inside and as an occasional trio, there is an obvious chemistry between the three musicians. The many early birds enjoyed a swinging set, probably the swinging set of the weekend. 

A common issue at festivals is competing or overlapping performances. A case in point was Kinesis' set clashing with a Durham University big band set. Little more than twenty metres from the pop-up a nineteen-piece big band assembled on the DJazz outdoor stage. The Big Band Project wowed the (dancing - see photo) audience basking in glorious sunshine with Durham's Cathedral and Castle providing a spectacular backdrop. The couple of numbers BSH caught sounded great and these guys don't hold chairs in the fully auditioned Durham University Big Band - that's the standard in Durham! 

Leeds continues to be a hothouse and one of the latest 'products' is Jasmine. A six-piece band led by alto saxophonist Jasmine Whalley offered a summer sun-filled set. Whalley cites Soweto Kinch as an influence although her alto sound is lighter and less insistent than that of the man from Brum. Original compositions (King Cobra and Cold Sweat) and Shabaka Hutchings' Joyous were given a mellow vibe treatment by Whalley's band; Ben Haskins, guitar, George MacDonald, piano, Owen Burns, bass and drummer George Hall

The Holy GrAle bottled beer emporium on Crossgate is neighbour to Durham City Workmen's Club and Institute. The idea of a cheap pint and a game of doms appealed but a rare appearance by a Scottish improv icon won the day. Holy GrAle's clientele preferred talk of Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky and a recitation of works by Scottish poet Edward Morgan. Guitarist George Burt held court in a brick-lined, dimly lit cellar with hipsters and the like sitting at the feet (literally) of the brilliant Burt. 

In a world of fakery George Burt is a true original. Improv is what it is, no more, no less valid than any other 'art form' but it takes someone like Burt to separate the wheat from the chaff. One wonders what the hipsters made of the quietly spoken Scot incorporating GASbook guitar accompaniment à la Joe Pass, a blues riff and echoes of the Fab Four interspersed with volcanic eruptions of imperious improv (on occasion all of it in the space of a couple of bars!). A highlight of the weekend.

DJazz continued on the outdoor stage (Not Now Charlie) and in the pop-up (Archipelago's Between Waves project). BSH caught a few minutes of MacCalman/Pope/Alderson's collaboration with Fran Bundey including the oft-heard PuddlesGerms and an as yet untitled piece. Time was pressing, the big event on this final day of DJazz 2019 was looming...

Over Framwellgate Bridge, across Market Place, up Saddler Street to the big house on the hill. When it comes into view, no matter how many times, Durham Cathedral is one impressive piece of architecture. DJazz's 'Sunday Headliner' presented Paul Edis and Graeme Wilson in Durham's UNESCO World Heritage building. Reprising their performance at  last year's Ushaw Jazz Festival (in St Cuthbert's Chapel), pianist Edis and saxophonist Wilson presented an improvised set of some forty-five minutes. As the DJazz congregation took a pew (the joint was packed) Wilson, with tenor sax in hand, waited patiently in the nave as Dr Edis climbed the stairs to secrete himself in the organ loft. Could Edis see Wilson? Wilson couldn't see Edis. No matter, the duo, with Wilson's Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra colleague George Burt in the congregation, began to play. Cameras clicked and flashed (the humble mobile phone alongside the serious hardware). Photographing Wilson was straight forward, sighting Edis proved an impossibility, hidden as he was beneath the towering pipes. It could be said Edis (and Wilson) pulled out all the stops!

The Shakespeare beckoned, situated as it is half way down Saddler Street. A well-kept pint of London Pride served as a restorative. As the final event of DJazz 2019 was about to start the organisers-in-chief Carlo, Nick and Heather offered a few words of thanks. The crowded room erupted in applause for them - Carlo, Nick and Heather. And so to Slow Loris

A four-piece from Leeds, Slow Loris were selected by Jazz North to be beneficiaries of touring opportunities and professional mentoring with this Durham festival date part of the package. Sam Lowther, guitar, Sam Evans, guitar, Chris Sellers, bass and drummer Theo Goss combine a love of rock, metal and hip hop rooted in jazz. This festival appearance presented the rock and metal side of the band with the jazz element largely absent. Goss' hard-hitting, relentless drumming powered the band as, for one night only, jazz fans turned into head-banging metal freaks. 
Russell   

No comments :

Blog Archive