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Bebop Spoken There

Barry Harris (in 1981): "There is not one place in the world that you can find more jazz musicians from than Detroit." - (DownBeat, September 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 Monday August 19

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Jazz in the Afternoon - Cullercoats Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 4QS. Tel: 0191 253 0242. 1:00pm. Free admission.

Evening

?????

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 

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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.

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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