Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Veronica Swift: "I don't want to call myself a jazz singer anymore. I'm a singer and a storyteller.'" - (JazzTimes, December 2021)

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

'606' Club: "A toast to Lance Liddle of the terrific jazz blog 'Bebop Spoken Here'"

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.
Ann Braithwaite (Braithwaite & Katz Communications) You’re the BEST! --

Postage

13837 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 56 of them this year alone and, so far, 56 this month (Jan. 16).

From This Moment On ...

January 2022

Mon 17: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.

Wed 19: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 19: Classic Swing @ Venue, Cramlington NE23 6UT. 1:00pm.
Wed 19: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 19: Four @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 19: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 20: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.
Thu 20: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman's Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm.

Fri 21: Emma Fisk & James Birkett @ The Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 1:00pm. POSTPONED!
Fri 21: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 21: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm.
Fri 21: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.
Fri 21: John Law @ Durham Cathedral. 7:30pm. £20.00. POSTPONED!
Fri 21: Dean Stockdale Quartet @ Traveller’s Rest, Darlington. 8:00pm. £8.00. Opus 4 Jazz Club.
Fri 21: Jude Murphy & Dan Stanley @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Sat 22: East Coast Swing Band @ East Bedlington Community Centre. 7:30pm. £5.00.
Sat 22: MGB @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. The Milne-Glendinning Band.

Sun 23 Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 23: Musicians Unlimited @ South Durham Social Club, Hartlepool. 1:00pm.
Sun 23: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 23: More Jam @ The Globe, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 23: Anth Purdy: Swing Jazz Guitar @ Blues & Bourbon, Newcastle. 3:00pm.
Sun 23: Svarc Hanley Longhawn @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. £10.00 adv., £12.00. door.

Mon 24: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 24: Vels Trio @ The Cluny, Newcastle. 8:00pm.

Monday, December 02, 2019

CD Review: Calum Gourlay Quartet - New Ears

Calum Gourlay (bass); Helena Kay (tenor sax); Kieran McLeod (trombone); James Maddren (Drums).
(Review by James Henry).

As a sort of a Scot, and a card carrying Fifer, my own old ears picked up on receipt of this CD. With a name like Calum Gourlay, this chap had to be one of the brothers, and possibly even a fellow Fifer. A little bit of research established that Calum is originally from Glasgow (well, I might forgive him that) but was brought up in Fife, even playing in the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra (total redemption). And, two of his quartet also come from the proper North: Helena Kay (tenor saxophone) hails from Perth, and Kieran McLeod (trombone) is from Aberdeen. Like me, these three live in exile in England, committed to missionary work and waiting for the call from the blessed Nicola*. I pity the poor drummer in this quartet: coming from Sussex, James Maddren may rely on translators.

New Ears is a joy to behold, even down to the kitten on the album sleeve, which hides its new ears behind the CD. New Ears is Calum Gourlay’s first album as a bandleader, and is the debut release for the Calum Gourlay quartet.  Calum Gourlay leads a resident big band in the Vortex Jazz Club in London, and all four members of the quartet play in the big band. All are relatively recent alumni of London jazz conservatoires and already have impressive CVs.

The quartet is unusual in composition, lacking traditional chordal instruments. Devoid of this conventional comfort, tenor saxophone, trombone and bass have to work together to create the chordal control and continuity cherished by our conventional ears. The playing is tight and one soon ceases to miss the comping control of piano or guitar. The ensemble work is so precise that the music begins to evoke the big band that begat this wee band. There are also extended improvised sections, where James Maddren holds the group together allowing the other three to weave skilfully together, and more often than not Calum Gourlay joins in with the improvisation as an equal to the two horns.

All seven tracks are original works, written by Gourlay especially for the Quartet. For me the stand-out track is Blue Fugates, an extended blues composition, inspired by the Blue Fugates of Kentucky. For the curious, Blue Fugates aren’t birds, trees or mountains. Rather, Blue Fugates are a clan of people in the backwoods of Kentucky who inherited the blood disorder methaemoglobinaemia, which gave their skin a curious blue hue (an unusual inspiration for a tune, but check it out on Wikipedia if you want to know more). Be Minor, the opening track, has a folky feel and the head becomes an ear-worm after a few listens. Solstice has a slow, brooding quality: one imagines the long days of mid-summer.    

Although generally melodic, and never straying far from conventional forms, New Ears isn’t always an easy listen. After a few tracks one develops new ears, and the going gets easier. After a few listens everything makes sense, and it gets better and better. Calum Gourlay has a rich deep bass sound, perfectly complimented by Helena Kay and Kieran McLeod on horns. James Maddren is the glue that holds the album together. New ears are the result.
James Henry.

*Sturgeon, of course.

Available on Ubuntu Music: UBU 0043.

No comments :

Blog Archive