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Bebop Spoken There

Neil Hopper, House of the Black Gardenia: "We had the idea when we first started that we would be like Tuba Skinny or something, but that didn't really suit us." - (NARC November 2020)

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12,000 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1140 of them this year alone and, so far, 87 this month (Oct. 27).

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

OCTOBER

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!

Friday, January 31, 2020

“My Delight” – a triple bill @ Micklegate Social, York - January 29.

(Review by Jerry)

York is a bit off BSH readers’ normal turf but it’s worth flagging up a new venue and recommending that you check it out if you are ever in the city. Micklegate Social is one of the first buildings inside the wall at Micklegate: the staff are friendly, the beer is good and the jazz is downstairs in an atmospheric cellar-room.

Organiser of tonight’s gig, Faye Thompson, IS well-known to BSH readers from Earlybird , Jambone and more recently, Jazzy Christmas. Her enterprise as a youthful impresario also deserves to be acknowledged.  In fact, “youthful” was a key word tonight with Paul Edis looking positively avuncular when the gig morphed into a jam session after his solo set. And if the musicians were young, the audience seemed even more fresh-faced – to the extent that Paul prefaced his usual mid-set sales pitch with the anxious question: “Do any of you still buy CD’s?” It is reassuring to see jazz performed by talented youngsters and applauded by friends and fellow students: it has a future!

Paul Edis (piano/vocals).

Paul Edis’ solo set  I will skim over with indecent haste (sorry, Paul) for two reasons: firstly, for me, tonight was mostly about the other musicians on the bill; secondly other BSH contributors have run out of superlatives reviewing his work and there is little else I can sensibly add. There were 11 tunes varying from Giant Steps to Greensleeves; there were 4 numbers with vocals; there were standards like I Could Have Danced All Night and there were originals such as the spellbinding Vignette. All were hugely enjoyable.

Prior to this set the audience of 40 + was entertained by two quartets comprising seven young musicians (only seven because electric bass player, Lukas Kamm, featured in both combos) who showcased their musicianship in well-known pieces and their compositional skills by way of a couple of original tunes.

Owen Russell (trombone); Richie Haynes (guitar); Lukas Kamm (electric bass); Susan Rutter (drums).

First up was the trombone-led Owen Russell Quartet who opened with one such original – a ballad entitled One Moment Please. This featured clear, smooth trombone (which put me in mind of Black Orpheus), a fluent electric bass solo which got good applause and subtle brush-work by drummer, Susan Rutter.

Stella by Starlight upped the tempo and gave us trombone with a bit more “edge”. One forgets, when the trombone is tucked in with the other horns (seldom occupying centre stage), how expressive an instrument it can be. Owen Russell demonstrated that expressiveness admirably and Richie Haynes also shone here with a clean-picking, foot-tapping guitar solo while some trading fours gave the drummer some scope too.

Their third number was, I think, Where Do We Go from Here? Which my wife adjudged to be “particularly lovely”. Here the drummer used timpani mallets and I could not help but notice how attentively she watched her fellow musicians while playing, keeping everything together. That togetherness was to the fore on their final number – a rabble-rousing take on Sonny Rollin’s Oleo with funky electric bass, another fine guitar solo, more fours and a well-timed snap ending.

Faye Thompson (alto sax); Lukas Kamm (electric bass); Rebecca Hall (piano); ??? (drums).

Hank Mobley’s This I Dig of You was the wake ‘em up call opening the set by the Faye Thompson Quartet. This immediately re-kindled the lively mood and loud applause. “Steady on”, I thought, “they’ll be whooping and cheering next! How un-British!”  And then they were (whooping, that is) after a cracking version of Strayhorn’s U.M.M.G featuring a solo sax intro, lots of fours for the drummer (whose name I missed) to strut his stuff. Ironically, I managed to miss the drummer’s name as he continued drumming (albeit quietly) through Faye’s name-check! I’ll listen harder next time!

Double praise next for Faye Thompson’s mellow sax on her own original composition, Clouded Hills(?), a beautiful lyrical ballad. There was some excellent piano from Rebecca Hall, too, really capturing the mood. A piano solo, next time, would be nice!

Then (all too soon, in my opinion) it was Sonny Rollins to finish again with the catchy, St. Thomas. Google tells me that this was based on The Lincolnshire Poacher via a Virgin Islands nursery rhyme. Eh? Someone will need to guide me through that one: I know that folk tune by heart and honestly cannot see the connection. However, I would have to say that since Rollins and Faye got their hands on it it’s a much better tune than when I sang it with my Nan in Grantham!

At this point – past our bed-time as the token senior citizens in the audience – we had to leave. We missed three “jam-style” numbers which were, I am told, excellent too. Wish we’d been there!

So, congrats to Micklegate Social and to Faye (and the guy I chatted to in the bar) for organising the gig and to all the musicians who played. A delightful evening!
Jerry

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