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Bebop Spoken There

Gil Goldstein: "The first three days I was in Florida, I heard Jaco Pastorius play at a club in Fort Lauderdale, and then I heard Pat [Metheny] play in a class on jazz composition. My whole experience of the world changed in those three days." - (DownBeat, March 2020).
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Archive

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 Tuesday February 25

Afternoon

Jazz

Classic Swing - The Ship Inn, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3677. 1:00pm. Free.

Evening

Jam session - Black Swan Bar, Newcastle Arts Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG. Tel: 0191 222 9882. 8:00pm. House trio: Dean Stockdale, Paul Grainger, Rob Walker.

A Roaring 20s Social - Durham Students' Union, Dunelm House, New Elvet, Durham DH1 3AN. 7:30pm. £12.00.,£10.00. Music student, £8.00. DUJS member. A Durham University Jazz Society event. Open to all.

Blues/Soul/Folk etc.

?????

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

Sunday, February 02, 2020

The Big Blind @ The Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London - Jan. 31


The BBC Concert Orchestra performs alongside an all-star cast in ‘The Big Blind’ - a noir-inspired jazz audio drama by Kurt Elling and Phil Galdston. 
(Review by Lauren Bush/Photos © Tom Howard)
Cast:
Clarke Peters Eddie Freeman, an older, African-American jazz saxophonist
Kurt Elling Jack Lewis, a young, up-and-coming jazz vocalist
Ian Shaw Tony ‘The Mongoose’ Bonilla, a mob-connected British talent manager
Dee Dee Bridgewater Veronica Legrand, a middle-aged, African-American talent manager
Cherise Adams-Burnett Jilly Radford, a young, African-American photographer
Jeff Ward Foley artist/announcer
Guy Barker conductor/arranger
A “big blind” is a poker term that describes a bet you have to make when you don’t know what the cards will show. The Big Blind, performed for it’s UK debut at Queen Elizabeth Hall in the Southbank Centre, is based loosely on the true story of Chicago jazz singer Joe E. Lewis who found out the hard way what kind of trouble the music business could get him into.

The musical follows the career of up-and-coming jazz singer Jack Lewis who ends up getting caught in a tug-of-war between two crooked managers. Things get ugly and Jack gets hurt, his voice suffering in the cruel attack. After hitting rock bottom, he seeks the help of his young ingénue and finds a way to recover and express himself. 

Kurt Elling, the mastermind behind this whole endeavour, grew up and worked as a jazz singer in Chicago and felt inspired by the scene and the stories he knew so well. His love of radio dramas as a child motivated his idea, paying homage to a time when those radio plays were as popular as the music he sings.

After meeting Guy Barker while working on another song project, Elling realised he would finally be able to turn his concept into a reality with the help of Barker and his songwriting partner Phil Galdston. The inaugural production was performed at Lincoln Center in New York last year with a smaller orchestra but this production would feature the entire (65 musicians listed in the program) BBC Concert Orchestra.
Set up like a live radio drama, the cast was comprised of Clarke Peters, who narrated most of the show, playing Jack Lewis’ friend, confident and tenor sax player. Dee Dee Bridgewater played the endearing yet feisty manager and wife, Veronica Legrand. The villainous money-hungry Tony ‘The Mongoose’ Bonilla was played by Ian Shaw and the ingénue bright-eyed photographer by Cherise Adams-Burnett. There was also the special Foley Artist, Jeff Ward, who was very interesting to watch, especially during the fight scenes. Elling, of course, played the lead character, naïve Jack Lewis, falling for the bright lights and too-good-to-be-true deals of Vegas.  

The production was inspiring. It brought the whole audience into a world that’s long been forgotten. The massive orchestral arrangements filled the hall with Barker’s beautiful arrangements. Each performer had internalised the songs, channelling Elling’s distinct writing style in their own way. Adams-Burnett carried the music so charmingly bringing softness to her songs while still having such power in her voice. Peters endearingly connected the audience with a sincere clarity in his role, and Shaw and Bridgewater’s character development played on the love/hate relationship necessary for a successful villain. They are both experts at delivering the comedy and the drama of a lyric.

This project was a sold-out success. It captured the nostalgia of the music, the era and the place perfectly and it was wonderful to hear Elling’s voice, while in a different context, still just as powerful, playful and flawless as usual.
Lauren Bush. 
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About Lauren Bush:

twitter: @laurenbushjazz 
instagram: @laurenbushjazz

All My Treasures
You can listen to the album here.


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Solid Debut ★★★1/2 stars ~Downbeat Magazine

Supremely Confident Vocalist, A mature and very experienced artist...
★★★★1/2 stars ~All About Jazz

Top 5 Finalist Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition 2016.

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