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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, July 07, 2019

Exhibition review: John Akomfrah's 'Ballasts of Memory' @ Baltic, Gateshead


(Review by Russell/Image © Smoking Dogs Films courtesy of Lisson Gallery)

For the best part of four decades John Akomfrah has been a key creative figure in the world of film and video art. A founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective, Akomfrah's practice includes a continuing interest in the culture and representation of the black diaspora. At Baltic (Centre for Contemporary Art) in Gateshead an exhibition opened today (July 6) focussing on three of the artist's films. 

Ballasts of Memory comprises three works - Precarity (2017), The Unfinished Conversation (2012) and Psyche (2012) and it is Precarity which caught the eye - and ear - of BSH. The subject of Akomfrah's film (46 mins 3 secs) is the legendary jazz musician Charles 'Buddy' Bolden. The mythical figure of Bolden is seen across three screens in the three-channel HD video installation. There is a stillness at the heart of this portrait of Bolden. There is a noted absence of dialogue, the words we hear are the thoughts of a fabled, troubled genius. Fragments of Uptown, Storyville and Preservation Hall are seen in ghostly form, Bolden's distant horn occasionally rising above the constant presence of running water. The parallel is there - the breached levees of the Great Mississippi Flood (1927), the ongoing effects of Hurricane Katrina (2005). 
 
The images are lasting, composed, we see Bolden incarcerated in the State Insane Asylum in Jackson, Louisiana. Committed by the state, Bolden's schizophrenia, and the authorities' attitude towards an ill black man in early twentieth century America, resulted in the legendary jazz musician spending the last twenty-five years of his life in what we, in the early part of the twenty-first century, would call 'a secure unit'. 

Precarity was commissioned for the collection of the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, North Carolina. Baltic, Gateshead is hosting its European premiere. The exhibition continues until October 27.        
Russell 

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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