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Bebop Spoken There

Art Hirahara: "Playing with people is the most important thing to me, and not playing with people is torture." - (DownBeat August, 2020)

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11,772 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 912 of them this year alone and, so far, 49 this month (August 13).

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August

Thursday 20: Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free. OUTDOOR gig.

Friday, August 16, 2019

CD Review: Pigfoot - Pigfoot Shuffle

Chris Batchelor (trumpet/cornet); James Allsopp (baritone sax/bass clarinet); Liam Noble (piano/keys); Paul Clarvis (drums)
(Review by Lance).

Well! This one came out of left field. I put it on blindfold and what did I hear? Bubber Miley blowing Heartbreak Hotel! Of course it wasn't actually Bubber - dead many a long year - but his spirit had certainly taken over Batchelor's mindset. The trumpet (or was it cornet?) growled like as though that infamous rooming house had moved from Lonely St. to Duke's Place or maybe a joint in New Orleans where Allsopp was 'walkin' the bar' blowing bari for the strippers. This was 'bump and grind' music - so much so, I could only type in time to the rhythm!

A dance of a different kind followed, Richard Strauss' piece from his operetta Salome which involved the removal of seven veils - maybe it wasn't that different after all! Some nice keys work from Noble.

Curtis Mayfield's Pusherman, a compelling rhythm beneath the soloists - bass clarinet and trumpet. A soundtrack to build a film around. You've already got the title, the music, all you need is the script - dammit! They've already got there before me - Superfly is the movie.

More Elvis with Jailhouse Rock/Hound Dog - they sound even better without the vocal! All four go for it - were Noble and Clarvis part of the Purple Gang? 

Bacharach's The Look of Love has a Chet and Gerry Feel about it - there's that kind of lyricism from the horns - plus maybe the Mulligan Quartet, and this is heresy, may have sounded even better with a piano!

Time for a dose of Mozart. Isis & Osiris, in jazz terms, doesn't quite go together like Bird & Diz or Binker & Moses (see how hip I am to the sounds of today?) but, in the hands of Batchelor, Allsopp and co, they do. A few fuguelike moments ensure that Wolfgang Amadeus isn't forgotten and adds to the diversity of this remarkable album.

It turns out that the transition from Wolfie to Led Zep's Black Dog isn't as big a leap as one may have thought. Trumpet and bari up the volume and let the dog off its leash. No depression here.

For Once in my Life has a belter from Allsopp, Batchelor blows hot and cool - in the nicest possible way - and I don't hear Stevie Wonder complaining.

Love Letters/Song to the Evening Star: Batchelor plays the melody of the Ketty Lester hit from all those years ago with a full round tone before, for some reason, segueing into Wagner's Song of the Evening Star from Tannhäuser.

By this stage, although I was enjoying it, the novelty was maybe wearing a little thin by which I mean from a 5* and counting it was maybe now down to a 4*. However, back comes Bacharach to save the day with Wives and Lovers. The last track but by no means a throwaway. Fine piano from Noble, lyrical bari from Allsopp and Batchelor muted à la Miles rather than Bubber.

Mozart, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Curtis Mayfield, Elvis, Stevie, Led Zep, Bacharach, Bubber, Miles, Mulligan and Chet all finding common ground - it may never happen again!*
Lance.
Release date Sept. 6.
*Launch Sept. 7 at the Vortex Jazz Club.

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