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Bebop Spoken There

Guy Barker: "You have to play it [the trumpet] every day or you just won't be match-fit." - (Jazz Rag, Winter 2019.)

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Today Friday December 13

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux CarréJazzmen - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. ‘Christmas Jazz Lunch’. Details from 0191 252 9429).

Dean Stockdale Trio - The Merry Monk, 30 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening.

Jazz

‘An Evening of Swing & Sparkle’ - National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL. Tel: 0191 515 5555. 7:30pm. £35.00. Rat Pack evening inc. 4-course meal.

Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regents Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 284 3700. 8:00pm. £12.00. + bf. First night of two.

Chris Dean's Syd Lawrence Orchestra - Yarm School, Stockton TS15 9EJ. Tel: 01642 786023. 7:30pm (6:30pm doors). £18.00. + £1.80. bf (£15.00. + £1.50. bf). 'Mistletoe & Miller'.

Blues, Funk/Soul etc.

Baghdaddies - Cobalt Studios, Boyd Street, NewcastleNE2 1AP. £10.68 (inc. bf). ‘Big Xmas Knees Up’.

Swamp Hoppers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

George Shovlin & the Acoustic Radars feat. Pat Rafferty + George Pallas & John Wilkins - Whitburn Cricket Club, East Street, Whitburn SR6 7BZ. Tel: 0191 529 3187. 7:30pm (7:00pm doors). £7.50. admission by ticket only (from www.wegottickets.com). 'The Bents Road Sessions'.

Dead Skunk Skiffle & Blues Orchestra + Stetson Five - Station East, Hills Street, Gateshead NE8 2AN. 8:00pm. Free.

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

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Malta Jazz Festival 2019 - Nights July 20.

(Review by Steve T)

Once I'd discovered there's a jazz scene in Malta, I found an album by Dominic and Benedict Galea called Mnajdra Jazz Suite, which seemed to achieve a spot-on blend of tradition and the future. On my next visit I found one called Tribute, to the pioneers of jazz in Malta, also featuring Dominic prominently.

One of the daytime acts at this year’s festival was Francesca Galea and the Saturday night opening set - led by Dominic - featured guitarist Karl Galea. Bit of a dynasty going on I assumed until enquiries to Francesca by one of the coffee and Campari set confirmed that Galea is a bit like Smith in England.

Nevertheless, it seems Dominic has been a big deal in Malta for years (and had a British band which once played the Malta Festival) - a bit like Paul Edis in the northeast - and he assembled a band of upcoming young musicians called the Dominic Galea Generation for the opening set of the final night.

It featured him on piano, Karl on guitar who, with Carlo Muscat on sax, provided great soloing throughout, a busy upright bass player in Dean Montanaro and subtle, un-intrusive, understated drumming from Manuel Pulis.

The set began with the band augmented by two young Maltese men reciting spoken word in Maltese, before going into a series of lesser known jazz pieces, including one by Wayne Shorter. Galea's (that's Dominic) introductions were entirely in Maltese and I don't know if this is how he always does it or was something of a political statement to take a stab at Brexit; who knows?     

Jazzmeia Horn was much anticipated and arrived onstage with a great pianist, bass player and drummer for an extended workout of a Betty Carter piece I didn't know, complete with vocal gymnastics, extended scatting, bird songs, animal noises and screeching. One of the afternoon crowd left claiming it was rubbish and I confess I found it excessive, but it settled down for the rest of the set, enhanced significantly by the arrival of seriously dreadlocked Irwin Hall on sax and flute.

Coming from a soul background, I'm not much of a fan of jazz singers, but Sarah Vaughan - perhaps the most soulful - is probably my favourite, and Horn delivered a track from an album Vaughan made with Clifford Brown, which I must check out. The rest of the set came from her debut album and the forthcoming follow-up, due out in August.

She's a good singer but not the most remarkable I've ever heard, though her scatting seems to me to be second to none, and I can't help feeling she's destined for big things.

Of course Kenny Garrett was a large part of the attraction this year; one of the greatest living jazz saxophonists and one of the most important jazz musicians on the planet right now. His quintet featured another brilliant pianist - Vernell Brown - taking the bulk of the soloing on the odd, brief moments Garrett took the horn out of his mouth.  

The set was essentially in two parts, slipping seamlessly from post-Trane to his more recent forays into funk-jazz. The former was almost beyond belief, especially when it went down to just sax and drums - and he seems to have found his Elvin Jones in Sam Laviso - or when it went down to lone sax. Trane references came thick and fast and it's easy to imagine this is where he might have been had he played alto during his golden years. 

Life doesn't get better than this.

Part two left the hard-core jazzers a little disappointed but the rest elated, with me somewhere in-between; (dammit, I am a Lib Dem!). Think Maceo Parker with unlimited chops. 

I was happy with the change of direction but, with so much back-catalogue to choose from, I found it wasteful to play such an extended version of his recent Do Your Dance, complete with audience participation that almost everybody ignored.

Although it in no way spoilt anything, it was a shame because it had been a stunning set and a wonderful festival.     
Steve T 

1 comment :

Steve T said...

While I wouldn't normally recommend Blues and Soul mag even to soul folk, much less jazz people, the current issue has reviews of both the Malta Jazz Festival and the jazz and soul Love Supreme Festival.
If this was an off-night for Kurt, bring on the Northern Rock Foundation Hall on 28th, but I suspect that may be symptomatic of what's wrong with B + S these days.