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Bebop Spoken There

Jeremy Pelt: "I'm so much into melodies and into sound, and the presence of sound, that I don't necessarily want to try to play in between the cracks of a note." - (DownBeat November 2020)

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11,999 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1139 of them this year alone and, so far, 86 this month (Oct. 26).

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IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON.

OCTOBER

THURSDAY 29

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

Abbie Finn Trio - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity (upstairs). It’s Abbie’s birthday!

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00-10:00pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

FRIDAY 30

Neil William & Ben Holland - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity. Jazz standards from the 1920s & 30s.

SATURDAY 31

Alice Grace & Pawel Jedrzejewski - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. £10.00. Online booking (to book a table). Limited capacity. Alice & Pav join a multi-bill of entertainers (magician etc) to celebrate Prohibition Bar’s fifth anniversary. SOLD OUT!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

CD Review: Peter Eldridge and Kenny Werner – Somewhere


Peter Eldridge (vocal); Kenny Werner (piano); Matt Aronoff (bass); Yoron Israel (drums) + 20 piece string orchestra conducted by Eugene Friesen.
(Review by James Henry)

"Somewhere" is a gentle, soothing offering from Peter Eldridge, Kenny Werner and a string orchestra, the culmination of an idea shared by  Eldridge and Werner that began about 10 years ago.  It would be terribly easy to combine Eldridge’s crooning baritone voice, Werner’s gentle piano fills and a string orchestra to recreate Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole: thankfully, this CD doesn’t seek to do this. "Somewhere" is a fresh interpretation of song, strings, and soothing, gentle jazz; it is an antidote to the troubled times in which we live.   

Kenny Werner is an accomplished jazz pianist, composer and educator, possibly best known for his seminal book “Effortless Mastery, Liberating the Master Musician Within”, the closest thing I know to a jazz self-improvement book.   Peter Eldridge is a crooner of the old sort, with a wonderful vocal range, and a glorious deep lower register.  Werner and Eldridge are faculty members at Berklee Music College in Boston, and draw on other Berklee musicians for this album, notably the cellist Eugene Friesen who conducts the 20 piece string orchestra, itself recruited from the Berklee World Strings.

The album is for the most part a collection of Werner and Eldridge originals, but with one or two more familiar pieces. You Don’t Know Me is worlds away from the standard made famous by Ray Charles, and brings the best out of Eldridge’s deep baritone.  I’m so Glad You’re Mine is jazzy in a minor way.   That Which Can’t Be Explained has a more theatrical feel and juxtaposes Eldridge’s lyric and a complex string motif. Autumn in Three, a Werner/Eldridge original, swings and swirls seasonally in waltz time, with an evocative string arrangement and a nice rhythm section feature, bringing drummer Yoron Israel and bassist Matt Aronoff to the fore.

The mood slows and mellows with Minds of their Own, setting Eldridge’s words to Ivan Lin’s tune, and a midnight, clubby feel. Less Than Lovers, an Eldridge tune, is lifted by an Aaron Copeland-like string arrangement from Werner.  Difficult takes Eldridge’s music into territory normally occupied by Tom Lehrer, but with a dark, infatuated lyric.

Ballad for Trane features an extended tenor saxophone solo from George Garzone (another Berklee faculty member), and then we return to more familiar ground with a medley of Somewhere (Bernstein/Sondheim) and A Time for Love (Mancini). Untitled Lament (Werner) has an elegiac feel and we finish with a gentle lullaby,  Day is Done (Prayer for Diego), co-written by Eldridge and one of his song writing students Mitchell Proctor. Unexpectedly and splendidly, this sleepy song morphs into rocking bowed cello solo, before gently playing out.

Peter Eldridge and Kenny Werner’s Somewhere is very different, very soothing and very good.  Besides offering a safe place to the listener, there is a pleasing depth, which rewards multiple listenings.    
 James H

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