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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)

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".

Postage

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).

Coming soon ...

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!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Sunday Jazz @ Middlesbrough Town Hall - January 19

(Review by Russell)

A jazz gig in Newcastle beckoned on Sunday evening but first there was the small matter of four bands from north of the border performing at an afternoon showcase event on Teesside. Sunday Jazz is a monthly session featuring three bands drawn from across the north of England and further afield. January's edition presented no fewer than four bands, all of them from Scotland.

Top of the bill - and last on stage - was Tom Bancroft's In Common. Drummer/percussionist Bancroft was introduced as belonging to one of Scotland's musical clans. Gina Rae represented the Raes (Tom and Gina are a couple, on and off stage). Bandleader Bancroft spoke in glowing terms of the younger generation(s) of fine jazz musicians emerging on the Scottish scene, many of them award winning musicians. In Common comprises six experienced practitioners from the worlds of folk, jazz and Indian classical music; Bancroft, guitarist Graham Stephen (no stranger to north east audiences), Gina Rae (voice), Sophie Bancroft (voice) and two friends from India - Sharat Chandra Srivastava (violin) and Gyan Singh (tabla). 

Somehow Something opened In Common's set and it immediately became apparent that all six musicians spoke a similar language, that of improvising musicians communicating non-verbally, their instruments doing the talking for them. Flower Child came about following one of Bancroft's visits to India. Violin and tabla worked seamlessly with Graeme Stephen's guitar which, at times, adopted the role of the drone freeing Srivastava and Singh to take improvisatory flight. Bancroft's engaging manner drew the audience into the performance, at one point saying he wrote something - Nette Ball (dedicated to Ornette Coleman) - hoping the piece, with its jazz form, would be a challenge to his friends from India. A smiling Bancroft added, wryly: Unfortunately they were completely comfortable...            
 
Tom Bancroft's In Common: Sharat Chandra Srivastava (violin); Gyan Singh (tabla); Tom Bancroft (bodhran, drums); Graeme Stephen (guitar, loops); Sophie Bancroft (voice); Gina Rae (voice)  

It was an afternoon of award winners. Pianist Fergus McCreadie started in low key fashion. Contemplative, ruminative, slowly but surely stoking the fires with bassist David Bowden and drummer Stephen Henderson only too willing to pile on the hot coals as the trio played a selection of numbers, some of them from the album Turas including The Old Harbour. Musicianship of the highest order - flashing brilliance from McCreadie, Bowden dropping anchor, Henderson all over his kit, this was one tight trio.    

Fergus McCreadie Trio: Fergus McCreadie (piano); David Bowden (bass guitar); Stephen Henderson (drums)

Returning local hero Joe Williamson met up with his bandmates to play a stupendous set of four original compositions. Two cuts from Animal Society's eponymous EP recording plus one from a forthcoming CD and one, a soon to released single (a jazz single!) won huge applause from a sizeable audience in Middlesbrough Town Hall.  

Williamson first came to public attention as a promising guitarist in the Durham Music Service hothouse environment. Following a period of study in Glasgow, the award-winning Williamson stayed on, making Clydeside his home and here he was on stage in Middlesbrough fronting an amazingly talented young quintet. One or two names will be familiar to the Tyneside and wider north east audience - yet more award-winners in the shape of Alan Benzie, keyboards, and drummer Graham Costello. 

A dazzling Morning Star, the epic Kingdom (it'll be on the new album) and Ripples (check out the online video) blew away the audience; technique to burn, precision interplay, constant eye contact, frequent smiles, the quintet knew it was going well. What to call it all? Try 'jazz rock', fusion' - labels are inadequate. Go hear Animal Society on tour, experience it for yourself. A Newcastle date is on the itinerary - March 8. Recommended.            
 
Joe Williamson's Animal Society: Joe Williamson (guitar); Alan Benzie (keyboards); Craig McMahon (keyboards); Gus Stirrat (bass guitar); Graham Costello (drums)  

It's often the way...a new talent emerges via word of mouth, media coverage, online sources etc, yet, getting to see, or rather hear, a performer in concert is the best way to form an opinion. Opening January's Sunday Jazz in Middlesbrough Town Hall was a name on the radar, but no more, just a name. Georgia Cécile is the name. If you're yet to hear Ms Cécile sing then make it a priority to get along to one of the Glaswegian's gigs. The following names will mean something to a north east (and wider) audience...Nigel Stanger, Lewis Watson, Paul Edis, Andy Champion, Graeme Wilson, Zoë Gilby, Claude Werner, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dan Garel, Jo Harrop, Alice Grace, the list goes on. Those who've heard any of the above will, no doubt, remember when and where they first heard them. In an instant each one became a favourite. Now, add to the roll call the name Georgia Cécile.  

It helps to work with A-list musicians and here in Middlesbrough Ms Cécile had travelled south with pianist Euan Stevenson and bassist Mario Caribé. In a captivating set mixing standards with original material vocalist Cécile won herself a room full of new fans. 'Assured' isn't the word, nor 'commanding', this was a revelatory performance. Phrasing, expression, presence, Ms Cécile is something else! 

Start the way you mean to go on is as good a way as any. Harry Warren's You're Getting to be a Habit, Irving Gordon's Be Anything but Darling be Mine (Cécile referencing Sarah Vaughan's At Mr Kelly's album), Harold Arlen's Come Rain, Come Shine, classic material all, and, taking its place in the set list, was a selection of Cécile's compositions including Always be Right for Me, Month of May (about a short-lived romance) and, in homage to Carole King, Bitter Sweet. This was jazz singing to die for, in fact, singing to die for! Georgia Cécile singed off with I Wish I Knew. One thing is certain - stardom beckons.      
      
Georgia Cécile (vocals); Euan Stevenson (piano); Mario Caribé (double bass).
Russell

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