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Bebop Spoken There

Jackie Paris: "A singer's got to be able to tell a story. Frank Sinatra and Nat Cole are best at that; Mel Tormé too. I like to take a lyric that means something and sing it right to the person it was meant for." - (DownBeat October 11, 1962).

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.

Wednesday September 18

Afternoon

Jazz

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

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

Evening

Alexys de Alfaro - Revoluçion de Cuba, Cloth Market, Newcastle NE1 1EE. Tel: 0191 917 7076. 6:00pm. Free.

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

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CANCELLED

Archipelago + Freese Trio - Bobik's, Punch Bowl Hotel, Jesmond Road, Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 3JY. Tel: 0191 284 0490. 7:30pm. £5.00.

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Levee Ramblers NOJB w. Jim McBriarty (clarinet) & Bob Wade (trumpet) - 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.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Malta Jazz Festival 2019. Days July 17 - 19.

(Review & outdoor photos by Steve T/Indoor photos courtesy of John Ristway)

I first came across the Malta Jazz Festival last time I visited the island and found - if memory serves - I'd narrowly missed (former Yes, King Crimson, Genesis and UK) drummer Bill Bruford, with his jazz group Earthworks, and local band Noir, who I've never managed to find anything about, though for anyone of my age or older, that's one seriously cool name for a band. The festival has been on my radar ever since, but this is the first time our financial situation and the festival line-up have aligned.

It's on for six days but builds up to the weekend so we were able to miss the Monday and Tuesday without sacrificing too much.

Lunchtime gigs were at the Parliament Building in the capital Valletta, where all the gigs were, and I already knew where this was until - quite by accident - I found out there's now also a New Parliament Building. Investigations of the old one found no signs of a band setting up, but we did locate a 'you are here' map and further investigation revealed a 'you need to be here' listing. 

However, throughout the festival, I never saw a map of the venues - at least six of them - or a signpost for any gig, and directions from festival staff were of the 'if you already know where you're going, these directions should get you there' variety. There is much to love about Malta but attention to detail and urgency are not among them.

Wednesday lunchtime brought the Anthony Saliba Quartet featuring sax, keyboard, drums and the leader playing bass guitar; later in the week we'd see him playing double bass with the Hot Club of Valletta. They opened with a couple of well-known jazz pieces (so well known I couldn't remember the titles) followed by some originals, including a bass led trio piece going along nicely, which I felt sure would bring in the sax for a rousing climax, but didn't. Maybe next time.

For these sessions, a group of regulars would converge in a cafe opposite for coffee or Campari and I heard one describe it as lift jazz, which I thought unfair and I think it's unhelpful for purists to delineate anything with a bass guitar and a Fender Rhodes sound as musak, elevator music or smooth jazz.

Were they transposed to the North East of England - and County Durham alone has an area seven times the size of Malta - they would be one of the bands worth seeing again and again.

I started the festival with an ambition to see thirteen events and managed twelve. Enquiries about the Wednesday night jam session recommended an early arrival because of the size of the venue but also that there was unlikely to be an available guitar or trumpet, so we agreed to forfeit it. As it happened a guitar did turn up so northeast born Francis Tulip and his pianist friend and fellow Birmingham Conservatoire student Will Markham got to play and I have it on British, Maltese, Polish and Northern Irish authority that they tore it up.   

Thursday lunchtime was the turn of the Francesca Galea Trio, featuring the singer accompanied by guitar and double bass for some bossa. Francesca has the effortless style of the islanders and gave an assured performance and, as she announced her final piece, I told Mrs T she'd finish with Girl from Ipanema and when she didn't I assured her they'd play an encore but they didn't. Good for them.

Friday was our final lunchtime gig and featured the Hot Club of Valletta. With the northeast punching above its weight in gypsy jazz I didn't want to miss the opportunity to see how the world leaders in punching above their weight would fair.      

Unsurprisingly well, as double bass, two gypsy guitars, accordion and violin sound-checked All of Me. They did it again as the singer turned up fashionably late though they didn't include it in their set. They did include Pennies from Heaven, It Don't Mean a Thing, The Bare Necessities and a take on Mark Ronson's Valerie I was lucky enough to miss, interspersed with a number of instrumentals, though no Minor Swing.

It came as no surprise when she announced that the band are led by the violinist, who compares with the northeast's very own Emma Fisk. Apparently he also plays clarinet, increasing his Gypsy Jazz credentials exponentially, though I didn't spot him playing it, unless he did so on Valerie. 
Steve T

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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