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Bebop Spoken There

Jazzmeia Horn: "Sometimes my grandmother visits me in my dreams when I feel like I want to give up or I'm too tired, just for inspiration and encouragement." - (Jazzwise, Dec., Jan., 2019/20).

Archive

Today Thursday December 5

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Holystone, Whitley Road, Holystone NE27 0DA. Tel: 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jazz

Maine Street Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Hollywell Lane, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5NJ. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:30pm. Free.

Tees Hot Club w. Middlesbrough Jazz & Blues Orchestra - Dorman’s Club, Oxford Road, Middlesbrough TS5 5DT. Tel: 01642 823813. 8:30pm. Free.

New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees TS18 4AW. 8:30pm. £2.50.

Blues/Soul/Funk/Etc.

Jools Holland’s R&B Orchestra - Newcastle City Hall, Northumberland Road, Newcastle NE1 8SF. Tel: 0844 8112121. 7:30pm. £47.50. & £34.00. Second night of two.

Chris Farlowe & the Norman Beaker Band + Teresa Watson Band - Newcastle Labour Club, Leazes Park Road, Newcastle NE1 4PF. Tel: 0191 232 8049. 7:45pm (doors). £22.00. (£19.00. adv.).

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.