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Bebop Spoken There

Michel Camilo: "That first year, believe it or not, to practice I drew a keyboard on a piece of cardboard, because I could hear in my head all the notes" - (JazzTimes, Feb. 2020).
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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".

Today Saturday February 29

Afternoon

Jazz

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival - Park View Community Centre, Church Chare, Chester le Street DH3 3PZ.. Tel: 07958 302745. 12:00 noon. Open Section (senior) competition. (Winners’ concert - 7:00pm). £15.00. weekend ticket, £12.00. day ticket, £5.00. under 16. Day 2/3.

Tees Valley Jazzmen - Hammer & Pincers, Preston Lane, Preston-le-Skerne, Newton Aycliffe DL5 6JH. Tel: 01325 314873. 1:00pm. £2.00.

Evening

Keith Nichols w New Century Ragtime Orchestra - Caedmon Hall, Gateshead Library, Prince Consort Road, Gateshead NE8 4LN. 7:30pm. Tickets £15.00 from 0191 281 4011. Line-up includes guests Keith Nichols (piano, vocals) & Nick Ward (drums).

Mike Lovatt w Strictly Smokin’ Big Band - Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR. Tel: 0191 443 4461. 8:00pm. £14.70. Trumpet virtuoso w SSBB.

Mansion of Snakes - Cobalt Studios, Boyd St., Newcastle. 9:00pm. Donations. Cobalt’s Late Night Jazz Club. Band + DJ.

Blues/Funk/Soul

Red Hot Riot - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9:00pm. Free.

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

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Strictly Smokin' Big Band @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - Dec 13

(Review by Russell)

At the last minute BSH Editor-in-Chief LL couldn't make it hence your reviewer being given the nod to come off the subs' bench. Listening to the Strictly Smokin' Big Band at Gosforth is hardly an arduous task! This was the first of two sold out nights, it's been that way for nine consecutive years! 

An evening comprising timeless GASbook numbers, the work of contemporary composers and arrangers, ancient carols and, of course, perennial singalong favourites performed by the Strictly Smokin' should be on everyone's bucket list. 

Winter Games opened the programme. Never in a month of Sundays could anyone have predicted the official anthem of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada would be heard some thirty years later at a big band concert in Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne! Vocalist Alice Grace made an early appearance to sing The Late, Late Show (Ms Grace alluding to Nat Cole's late fifties' recording of the number). We would hear much more of AG during the evening singing Anita O'Day, Ella and more.  

A Bobby Watson chart made its way into the set list and the one member of the orchestra all but guaranteed to take on the alto part just had to be Keith Robinson. KR stood up, from first note to last, the floor was his. The 'jazz heads' in the audience were impressed. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (remember it's Christmas time) featured the mellifluous tones of Pete Tanton's flugelhorn. 

Alice Grace returned to the stage to sing a Chris Walden arrangement of Willow Weep for Me. Phrasing, timing, projecting to all parts of the hall, AG knocked 'em dead. And our adopted Geordie did it again singing Rodgers and Hammerstein's People Will Say We're in Love from Oklahoma! If that had been the sum total of AG's contribution it would have been worthwhile attending but there was more to come, much more.

The SSBB closed a fine first set with two carols - a Dick Stacey feature on O Holy Night (at its end fellow trumpeter Gordon Marshall gave DS a pat on the head!) - and an energetic (if the charts were marked 'con brio' or similar that would be about right) Joy to the World with a crystal clear contribution from guitarist Pawel Jedrzejewski. 

The interval: Brisk sales of the SSBB's new CD Christmas Live Gosforth Civic Theatre (December 2018) suggested loved ones were going to receive a much-appreciated gift in their Christmas stocking. 

Tenor saxophonist Jamie Toms contributed several assured, measured solos during the evening, not least as the band opened the second set with It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. On a Christmas gig it would be understandable if a bandleader tailored the material to the occasion and, of course, MD Michael Lamb did just that, however, Coventry Carol (Steve Summers' committed alto solo) would have satisfied out and out, hardcore jazz fans any time of the year. This was a real highlight among highlights.

Irving Berlin, Alice Grace and Michael Lamb - now there's a winning combination! Yes, a solo blast from MD Lamb on I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm. And then there was AG singing Mel Tormé's Christmas Song (the trumpet section off stage, pianist Graham Don accompanist to Ms Grace). That''ll do, let's go home. No! Wait! MD Lamb was to introduce a surprise guest..

Direct from the London stage, local-lad-made-good, Mr Adam Dutton! Suited and booted, Dutton (resumé inc. Show BoatOliver! and My Fair Lady) joined Alice Grace to sing Frank Loesser's Baby, It's Cold Outside. It's fair to say the place went wild. As AG temporarily left the stage, Dutton, originally from Kenton, Newcastle, revealed this was his first visit to Gosforth Civic Theatre. Singing Caroling, Caroling with the band won the impressive Dutton a whole host of new fans. As our guest left the stage we were left wondering if that was Dutton's last contribution of the evening...

Duke Ellington's arrangement of Jingle Bells (Jamie Toms' tenor sax solo) added lustre to a lustrous occasion. Don't you just love jazz?!

And when the lights were low...Ms Grace and Mr Dutton returned to say goodnight singing Fairytale of New York. Everytime it's a winner. Dutton played his part, Grace hers and the audience couldn't resist singing along. And finally, Ms Grace had the stage to herself to conduct band and audience in a magical Last Christmas. Magical, indeed. 
Russell  
           
Alice Grace (vocals); Steve Summers, Keith Robinson, Jamie Toms, Dave Kerridge, Laurie Rangecroft (reeds); Gordon Marshall, Dick Stacey, Michael Lamb MD, Pete Tanton (trumpets); Kieran Parnaby, Mark Ferris, Chris Kurgi-Smith, John Flood (trombones); Graham Don (piano); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums) + Adam Dutton (vocals).

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