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Bebop Spoken There

Aubrey Logan: "My relationship with the audience is the most fun I can legally have!" - (Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club January/February 2020)

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

Today Friday January 24

Afternoon

Jazz

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

Dean Masser Quartet @ Gala Theatre & Cinema, Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA. Tel: 03000 266 600. 1:00pm. £6.00. Masser (reeds), Dean Stockdale (piano), Ed Harrison (double bass), Gaz Hughes (drums). SOLD OUT!

Evening.

Dean Masser Quartet - Traveller's Rest, West Auckland Road, Darlington DL3 9ER. 8:00pm. (doors 7:30pm). £TBC. Opus 4 Jazz Club. Masser (reeds), Dean Stockdale (piano), Ed Harrison (double bass), Gaz Hughes (drums).

Blues/Funk/Soul etc.

Big Joe Louis + Michael Littlefield - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 8:00pm. £12.50. Blues.

Long Tall Mama - 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.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

CD Review: Laura Noejovich - Laura Has New Standards

Laura Noejovich (voice); Takeshi Asai (piano)
(Review by James Henry)

Laura Has New Standards is a clever play on words, and in this debut album Laura Noejovich gives us a mixture of old standards in new ways, and other less familiar songs that might become new standards.

Laura Noejovich has an unusual background for an aspiring jazz singer. Originally trained as an opera singer, she then completed a degree in neurosciences in Skidmore College, NY, where she is currently a laboratory associate.  In this debut album Laura Noejovich is accompanied on piano by Takeshi Asai, originally from Japan but now based in New York, and an alumnus of Berklee College. Restricting the accompaniment to piano without a conventional rhythm section is a bold thing to do on a debut album, and Noejovich’s classical training and presence help her carry this off.

Noejovich has a strong vocal presence, with incredible power and dynamic range, as well as a phenomenal vocal range: she is able to hit long low dusky notes and then soar to great heights without becoming shrill. Takeshi Asai matches Noejovich’s vocal strength with an intense but sensitive piano accompaniment.

There are some lovely surprises in this selection. Why Don’t You Do Right by Kansas Joe McCoy is a hard times blues from the 1930’s which Noejovich begins confidently a capella and rubato, to be joined after six bars by Takeshi.  Noejovich is at her best in the more bluesy numbers, and Dreamer’s Ball (Brian May/Queen) is an utter treat. She also has a feel for show tunes, and Funny Honey from Chicago gets the full theatrical treatment. Quieter and more lyrical moments include a folksy interpretation of Lennon and McCartney’s The Fool on the Hill, with a quirky accompaniment by Asai. Once Upon A Dream (Wildhorn, from Jekyll and Hyde) and On My Own (Les Miserables) get the full wistful but hopeful stage treatment.  Standards don’t get much more standard than Gershwin tunes, and there is a huge powerful version of Summertime balanced by a lyrical and at times operatic Someone to Watch Over Me.

Laura Has New Standards is an impressive debut album. It is difficult to classify in many ways. Bits of it would be jazz in anyone’s book, some of it has to be musical theatre, and some of it is frankly operatic. Likewise, Noejovich’s vocal range is so huge I can’t decide whether she is an alto or a soprano.  But does it matter if we can’t slot music into pigeonholes?  Not a bit: just enjoy it for what it is.  Eclectic and classy sums this album up best of all.
James Henry     
Enchanted Meadow Records, November 2019

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