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Bebop Spoken There

Billy Cobham: "Miles said to us, 'Don't play in between takes,' so of course John [McLaughlin] played in between takes." - (JazzTimes, Nov. 2019).

Archive

Today Friday November 22

Afternoon

Jazz

Sue Ferris Trio - The Merry Monk, 30 Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. 1:00pm. £5.00. Pub adjacent to Bishop Auckland Town Hall.

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

Evening.

Mick Shoulder Quintet - Traveller's Rest, West Auckland Road, Darlington DL3 9ER. 8:00pm. (doors 7:30pm). £8.00. Opus 4 Jazz Club.

Tenement Jazz Band - Theatre Hullabaloo, Borough Road, Darlington DL1 1SG. Tel: 01325 405405. 8:00pm. £14.00. Darlington NOJB.

Blues/Soul/Funk etc.

Ishmael Ensemble - Cobalt Studios, Boyd Street, Newcastle NE2 1AP. 8:00pm. £7.47.

Catfish Keith - Old Cinema Launderette, Marshall Terrace, Durham DH1 2HX. 8:30pm. £18.00. + £1.80. bf.

The Odels - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tusk Festival: Magma @ Sage Gateshead – October 13

(Review by Steve T/Photos courtesy of Ken Drew)

I was on the verge of embarrassment for the second time in a fortnight over low turnout for the two most stupendously stunning gigs in the region so far this year, when the hordes gradually began to stream in.

I say hordes, but somebody confirmed ticket sales of around three hundred, which isn't bad for such complex, difficult, challenging and genre resistant music, sung by French singers in a made-up inter-galactic language.

In their seventies heyday Magma were lumped in with the progressive rock groups as a default position for anyone breaking musical boundaries. All of the progressive groups had a high jazz content, though it was generally jockeying with classical music, folk music and just about everything else. Magma stand with Soft Machine, Henry Cow, Jade Warrior and Red era King Crimson as the most jazz oriented of the lot, often classified with jazz-rockers like genre leaders the Mahavishnu Orchestra, as in Sage Gateshead's blurb for this gig, which also cited Coltrane, Glass and Funkadelic, though I'm not splitting hairs pointing out alter-ego band Parliament are much nearer the mark. In his book Listening to the Future, Bill Martin claims equal parts Coltrane and Carl Orff.  

They're a band who are seriously difficult to pigeon hole, but it seems to me Zappa would be the nearest touchstone. A rock band with a high jazz content and classical music, including opera, though - being from continental Europe - it's prominent and taken seriously, unlike Zappa's occasional parody.
The chap sitting behind - who must have had inside info - was also correct when he said that they'd do an eighty five minute set of just two pieces. They're not a band for people with weak bladders and their devoted fans - and I saw at least one singing in Kobaian - wouldn't dare miss a moment.

I found the opening piece unconvincing, confirmed by new fan Mrs T, before the two singers - one man and one woman - withdrew to the back of the stage as the tempo kicked in behind a ferocious guitar solo. From then on it was like climbing a mountain; just as you thought you'd reached the summit, another level would be revealed, successive layers of soundlike waves on a beach at high tide.

The second piece featured the two singers prominently at the back of the stage, lots of intricate drumming and interplay between subtle guitar and vibes before the two in unison.
Magma were the vision of drummer and sole permanent member Christian Vander, who then sang an extended aria, backed by lightly riffing guitar and keyboard before bass and vibes came back in leading to some thunderous drumming from the leader. The two singers resumed their places centre stage and took it up to a resounding finale which really didn't leave anywhere else for them to go.  

Over sixty musicians have been through the ranks of Magma throughout its existence and tonight featured Vander, the two singers (one his wife Stella Vander), a vibes player and keyboardist, guitarist and bass player whose parents probably weren't born when Magma set out on their fifty year (and counting) mission to boldly go where no band had gone before.
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.

Submissions for review

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