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Bebop Spoken There

Kurt Rosenwinkel: "My idea of the perfect vacation is to just stay at home." - (DownBeat July 2020).

Dave Rempis:Ten years from now, I can see musicians streaming concerts in real time and charging a minimal amount for people to watch.” - (DownBeat September 2013)

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".

Postage

11,626 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 761 of them this year alone and, so far, 25 this month (July 6).

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Few Thoughts

(By Lance)

We all have our own ways of dealing with life's ups and downs although currently the downs seem to be winning - or are they? In the world wars we were, like in a Rocky movie, on the ropes until the last round when victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat.

One of the reasons for this is, because although we're only a small island, we always punch above our weight. Another is that we come together in adversity. I was overwhelmed on the night of the clapping and equally so tonight by the concern of my neighbours, worried in case I wasn't getting enough - food that is!

Wallace Roney (May 25, 1960 - March 31, 2020)

Covid - 19 has claimed another victim from the jazz world. Trumpet player Wallace Roney died earlier today having succumbed to complications from the virus.

One of the most outstanding players of his generation, a former Jazz Messenger and the only trumpet player Miles Davis accepted as a student, Roney went on to win DownBeat polls, record many albums as leader as well as recording with others such as Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie and Tony Williams.

I'm grateful to publicist Lydia Liebman for passing on the sad news  (and the photo) and will add a link when the major obituaries appear.

Wallace Roney was 59.

May he Rest In Peace.

Live in our living rooms - direct from NYC

As of tomorrow there's a whole lot going on in the living rooms of NYC. Chic Corea, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and Bill Frissell are just some of the artists inviting us to join them.

In the schedule link below the times are EST so if you're intending to watch in the UK just add 5 hours to convert it to BST (GMT is now redundant!)
Link.

Lance.
PS: Enticing as the above is, don't forget there's also plenty stuff going on closer to home.

One Night in Birdland

Fats Navarro (trumpet); Charlie    Parker (alto sax); Bud Powell (piano); Curley Russell (bass); Art Blakey (drums).
  (By David Brownlow)

  In this year of the Centenary of the birth of   Charlie Parker, a chance to look back at a gig       he played when bebop was at its height.

In the bebop era, it was true to say that Bud Powell was not Charlie Parker’s best friend. Furthermore, it was also true that Bud Powell was not Fats Navarro’s best friend either…..Personality clashes, egos, mental health issues and drugs misuse were some of the factors involved in the cut-throat business of the jazz life – putting a band together and keeping it, getting gigs, having a recording contract, going on tour or trying to have any sort of family life were problems to overcome (as now). 

CD Review – “Hybrid Harmony”- RJ & The Assignment

(Review by John Charles)

RJ (Reginald Johnson) is a Las Vegas-based pianist and keyboards player who has put together his band “The Assignment” and regularly plays across a number of Las Vegas venues.

A native of Chicago RJ learnt piano in church and later was classically trained at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas from where RJ secured a Master’s degree in Jazz Piano Performance.  RJ has played with many soul and blues artists including Jennifer Hudson, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy and has recently toured with Boys II Men.

Hybrid Harmony is RJ’s fourth album as leader and is an accessible hybrid mix of jazz and r &b with a soulful slant and a dash of gospel for good measure.  RJ, who looks like a youthful Nile Rogers, wrote and composed seven of the ten tracks on the album which is a mixture of vocal and instrumental tracks and I was particularly drawn to the vocal efforts.

CD Review: Clairdee - A Love Letter to Lena

(Review by Lance)

Although a new name to me, Clairdee has three previous albums to her credit and, on the strength of this tribute to Lena Horne, I guess I'll be checking them out.

When we think of jazz singers, Ella, Billie, Sarah, Anita automatically come to mind. We may pause for a while before we add Lena to the list although she deservedly belongs in that exclusive group. However, she also had pop hits (Love me or Leave me, A New Fangled Tango etc.) as well a Hollywood career and, later, success as a cabaret artist and a TV personality all of which may have served to distance her from the jazz audience if not the performers.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Bombay Jazz

First broadcast on Radio 4 in 2014, Bombay Jazz is a fascinating half hour documentary about the jazz scene in Bombay, India spanning the 1930s through to the post-WWII years. Sarfraz Manzoor travels to India to meet some of those closely associated with the story. Tune to Radio 4 Extra tonight (Monday) at 8:30. 
Russell

The search goes on...

I posted the following item on March 30, 2008 - Hey what do you know? We're now 12 years old!
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A couple of guys have recently told me about a Roland Kirk tape that once was circulating locally. Recorded surreptitiously at a Newcastle Jazz Festival concert back in the 1970s*, because of its elusiveness, it has now taken on a significance similar to that of the legendary Buddy Bolden cylinder. Does anyone know of its continued existence?
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As I say, that was 12 years ago and the tape - if it's still around - would now be 44 years old. Nobody ever owned up to its possession so maybe we should all look in the attic.
Lance
*1976.

Zoë Gilby & Andy Champion Living Room Gig - Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover)

CD Review: Chris Mapp - Stillefelt

Chris Mapp (bass/electronics); Percy Pursglove (trumpet); Thomas Seminar Ford (guitar/ electronics).
(Review  by Richard Waddington).

Chris Mapp has named this band Stillefelt, meaning 'Quiet Field' in Norwegian, to distinguish it from his apparently far more raucous band Gonimoblast.

While it may initially seem like ideal background music, it actually bears concentrated listening and is appropriately short to maintain interest throughout.

Jazzwise have described the band as 'ambient experimentation' and it's only the presence of the trumpet and the pedigree of the three band members which signpost it as jazz, together with a preponderance for free improvisation.

CD Review: George Colligan Trio - Live in Arklow

George Colligan (piano); Darren Beckett (drums); David Redmond (bass).
(Review by Lance)

Jazz piano is in good hands, if you'll pardon the pun, with George Colligan. The 2015 DownBeat Critics Poll winner can evoke the spirit of Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson whilst at the same time not be averse to the influence of contemporary players such as Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner

Recorded live in the Arklow Methodist Church as part of the 2015 Bray Jazz Festival, the one hour set of six tracks includes three Colligan originals, Freddie Hubbard's Up Jumped Spring, Carlos Lyra's The Influence of Jazz and Cole Porter's What is This Thing Called Love?

Sunday, March 29, 2020

CD Review: Al Gold – Al Gold’s Paradise

(Review by John Charles)

New Jersey- based bluesman, Al Gold has brought together an impressive ensemble of musicians all based or connected to New Jersey starting with long-term collaborators: drummer Jerry Cordasco, guitarist Tim Rice and bass player Terry Hemmer from his band The Suburban Rhythm Kings.

New Jersey blues is a new one on me although in truth the album leans heavily towards its Chicago cousin with a large dollop of Americana added for good measure.

Al Gold wrote all the songs citing inspiration from the likes of Otis Span, Big Bill Broonzy, Dave Bartholomew and Buddy Guy.

Helping our Bands and Musicians

(Press release from Northern Jazz Promoters)

During these challenging times, northern jazz bands and musicians  are invited to email Northern Jazz Promoters at: 
rich@northernjazzpromoters.org or rich@norvoljazz.org with the following details, to help with generating an additional income stream. Please restrict your information as requested, as there’s only one person putting it all together:
  1. Name of artist/band.
  2. A link to your main website or Facebook page.
  3. A link to a purchase page or a CD you have for sale.
  4. A link to single track purchases.
  5. A YouTube share link (if no video link, we will accept one photo)
Suggestion: You may like to include a link whereby a person could buy just one track to download (as well as the option to buy a whole album). 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The LOCKDOWN Sessions #1 - Route 66


We're not the type of band where everyone has fancy recording facilities at home, so this is recorded and shot entirely on mobile phones!
Michael Lamb.

Multi-platform jazz

(By Russell)

Today (Saturday 28) J to Z (Radio 3, 5:00pm) presents Kenny Barron in session and at midnight Corey Mwamba's Freeness features music from Byron Wallen's new album Portrait. Over on Radio 4 Yazz Ahmed is a guest on Loose Ends (6:15pm). And a special treat awaits at seven o'clock when trumpeter Enrico Tomasso streams a second Facebook live performance - Friday evening's live stream focussed on Louis Armstrong, this evening's subject is sure to be one of the great names - don't miss it!  

A Stream of Thought

(By Lance)

We know the world has gone mad and that the insanity will increase before it reaches a plateau. In the years following the two world wars society changed and I am sure, it will change again after this current situation resolves.

On the plus side of the present predicament is the solidarity that, however temporary, has brought us all together - within government guidelines - which is in itself a miracle.

Friday, March 27, 2020

The Stream's becoming a river - Enrico Tomasso on Louis Armstrong.

Enrico Tomasso (trumpet).
(By Lance/photo from  Whitley Bay 2015)

A delightful 20 minutes with one of the UK's top hot trumpet players whereby Rico chats about Louis Armstrong and gives some credible interpretations of the great man's classic solos. 

There was a comfortable, homely feel about it and no second takes or digital editing which made this the real deal - warts and all. Not that there were many musical warts. a strangulated high note at the end of a cadenza on Stardust being the most glaring one which Rico laughed off as "That's what happens when you haven't blown for a week!"

Paul Edis: Lockdown Live! - March 27

Paul Edis (piano, vocals)
(By Russell)

The second in an ongoing series of who-knows-how-many Friday lunchtime live stream concerts from Paul Edis' London home proved to be another success - musically of course, but also technically with Edis' (non-existent) backroom team ensuring things ran smoothly during the one hour performance.

Today's concert featured a world premiere, several standards and a few requests from 'back home'...Hi Chris, Jerry, George! Picture quality good, sound equally so, Edis began with Rome Wasn't Built in a Day (including a vocal). The studio director (aka P. Edis) had carefully positioned a tripod to ensure pianist and keyboard were in shot throughout. John Taylor's Consolation (for Chris K), the first of two Monk numbers ('Round Midnight), Edis' Nostaloptimist (for Jerry E), it was almost like being at Newcastle's Lit & Phil or the Gala Theatre, Durham!

Boo! Beware the Jazz Man!

Mitch, streetwise proprietor of Newcastle's Prohibition Bar on Pink Lane, summoned the ghost of the late Keith Crombie to warn off any dodgy characters thinking of getting up to no good in these strange old times. 
Russell

RIP Bill Smith (1926 - 2020)

Bill Smith passed away on February 29 at the ripe old age of 93. One of that rare breed of jazz clarinetists  who blew bebop as opposed to the New Orleans or swing era alternatives adhered to by most  clarinet players of the time.

Smith first came to prominence with the Dave Brubeck Octet, a band that attempted to fuse jazz and classically structured music. It was an interesting conception that didn't quite come off when compared with the later works by Gil Evans, George Russell and John Lewis. Nevertheless, Smith's contribution as an instrumentalist couldn't be faulted and, over the years, he had sporadic reunions with Brubeck.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Paul Edis online

After last Friday's one hour set from his cold water flat - well it was cold water last week, let's hope the boiler has been repaired - Paul Edis steps forth to stream another performance today (March 27) at 1:00pm GMT.

Here's the link which is already counting down.
Lance

Alice Sings, James Swings Honeysuckle Rose - duo performance @ Dorman's Club

Alice Grace (vocals); James Harrison (keys); Russ Morgan (drums, well sort of)
(By Ann Alex/photo courtesy of Ron Hampton)

In these weird times you could do a lot worse than go to Lance's Jazz Indoors or click directly on to the link to Jim Nesbitt's Music On Teesside. On my computer, at any rate, you can get a clip of Alice Grace singing Honeysuckle Rose, and what a superb performance! The introduction from James is full of fancy trills, then Alice sets to work in her honeyed, well-dictioned voice, full of feeling, much pointing to our pianist as he plays in the spaces ('Not Bad' she says), then she gives a welcome to the latecomers, all without missing a beat.

Zoë and Andy update

Andy and I are still doing voice and double bass gigs.

Living Room Gigs on Patreon.

We are trying to keep ourselves financially and creatively solvent in these difficult times, whilst providing our lovely audiences with regular live music. This is how it works:

* One gig (creation) per week in our living room
* Audience (patrons) choose to pay £5 or £3 or £1 per gig. Maximum once per week
* Safe PayPal set up (one payment per month on 1st month)
* Song requests
* Patrons can cancel anytime and set their own financial cap
* Unlimited viewing. Once Patrons have paid for that gig (creation) They can enjoy it again and again. I won’t take them down
* Discounted merchandise

Sign up here and become a Patron
Zoë
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Lance: Photo (courtesy of Ken Drew) was not taken in the couple's living room).

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Jazzlines Free Gigs: Xhosa Cole Quintet Watch Party

Xhosa Cole (tenor/soprano sax); Francis Tulip (guitar); Will Markham (piano); James Owston (bass); Nathan England Jones (drums).
(By Lance)

Cormac Loane kindly brought this upcoming event to my attention. An event that's saved me the train fare to Birmingham! It's a Watch Party - now that's a new one on me!*

This particular hoolie was scheduled to take place at Birmingham's Town Hall Symphony Hall on April 10 but circumstances have put the mockers on that so instead you can watch it live and for free!

One dissatisfied Novocastrian

Colin Aitchison, that well-known jazz historian, bon vivant trumpet/trombone player and broadcaster currently resident "somewhere east of Suez" - Ned Kelly's Last Stand in Kowloon, Hong Kong to be exact - uncovered this amazing letter from Radio Review, July, 1936.

It's a hoot!
Lance

The Dean Stockdale Trio @ The Fox Inn, Hexham - March 17

Dean Stockdale (piano); Paul Grainger (double bass); Abbie Finn (drums)
(Review by Russell)

The world as we knew it was closing down around us but Hexham Jazz Club was determined to go out on a high. The Fox Inn on West End Terrace is a friendly, one room community pub with a supportive landlord. Jazz once a month is fine by Mine Host. He'll stand at the bar listening not saying much and there's nowt wrong with that. Of course the show couldn't have happened without musicians and three of the region's finest offered to play the gig...

Jo & Jamie are Weathering the Storm

(Press release)

Lateralize Records is proud to announce the release of I Fall In Love Too Easily, the first single from Weathering The Storm, the much-anticipated debut album from Jo Harrop and Jamie McCredie.

Having cut their teeth working with an eclectic array of stars including Jools Holland, Melody Gardot, Emeli Sandé and Robbie Williams, Harrop and McCredie took a leap of faith and started working together on what would eventually become their debut album for London-based jazz label, Lateralize Records.

RIP Manu Dibango

Following on from Mike Longo who died on March 21, Covid-19 has claimed another jazz musician, Paris based, Cameroonian saxophonist, Manu Dibango who succumbed to the deadly virus yesterday (March 24).

Best known for his 1972 hit Soul Makossa, later the subject of a lawsuit against Michael Jackson, Dibango was active up until recently being seen and heard on video in February this year.

Manu Dibango was 86.
Sadly missed.
Lance.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Cellar Boys + Miss Jubilee & Her Yas Yas Boys + Ethan Leinwand + Paradise Harmonians Dance Orchestra + Galaxie Girls + Dani Webber @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - March 15

(Review by Russell)

Early Sunday morning - eight o'clock or thereabouts, that's early at a jazz festival - the Bix Fest hotel was fast approaching lockdown. The restaurant, bar and pool were closing, room service was being withdrawnit was so very quiet. Across the highway the local DQ remained open, needs must, a burger and fries the order of the day. On an unseasonably mild mid-March Wisconsin day it could be expected that families by the score would be up with the lark eager to consume another order of four (Ma, Pa, Chuck and Tammi) triple cheese burgers (with fries) for breakfast but not today. Clearly Trump's unrivalled oratorical skills were getting the message across to Ma and Pa. 

Remembering Susannah McCorkle

Love this 1977 version of Skylark by Susannah McCorkle. Recorded in London it also features Digby Fairweather (trumpet); Duncan Lamont (flute); Keith Ingham (piano). Ron Rubin (bass) & Derek Hogg (drums).


McCorkle was, in my opinion, one of America's finest vocalists who, sadly never received the wider acceptance she deserved which may have ultimately led to her suicide in 2001.

I consider myself privileged to have heard her at the People's Theatre in Newcastle with a band led by Dick Sudhalter.

Her tragic end is documented in this New Yorker obituary.
Susannah McCorkle was 55.
Lance

Monday, March 23, 2020

CD Review: Julian Costello - Connections without borders


Julian Costello (saxophones), Maciek Pysz (guitar), Adam Teixeira (drums), Jakub Cywinski, (double bass)
(Review by Chris K)

Simultaneously a joy and a loss - this great band were due to play at the Jazz Coop, Newcastle, and Zeff's in Ambleside in April, where I was looking forward to hearing the 3D realisation of the recorded version.  At least due to Covid-19 I've had more time to listen to this delightful slice of musical magic.  

The multi-national band recorded the album in Norway with the aim of promoting and celebrating multicultural collaborations. Costello's works were new to me and so it's tempting to make comparisons with other sax-led bands in similar spaces, e.g. Oded Tzur's album recently reviewed here on BSH as well as Trish Clowes and Tori Freestone's bands.  

The Cellar Boys + Miss Jubilee & Her Yas Yas Boys + Andy Schumm's Adhocs + The Chicago Swell Sisters + Dani Webber @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - March 14

(Review by Russell)

The rumours were, in part, of some substance with the Shake 'Em Up Jazz Band choosing to stay home. The fabulous, all-female band from New Orleans continues to be a big hit at festivals all over the world including recent acclaimed appearances at Durham Brass and  Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Fortunately, St Louis' Miss Jubilee & Her Yas Yas Boys made the five and a half hours' road trip to Racine which would, by happenstance, result in a marvellous, unscheduled solo set on Sunday morning by the band's pianist Ethan Leinwand. 

CD Review: Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow - Life Goes On

Carla Bley (piano); Andy Sheppard (soprano/tenor saxes);  Steve Swallow (bass guitar).
(Review by Martin)

There was minimal chance that this would be an impartial review as I have been a fan of AS since his early days as a live performer and I have seen him play many times. 

A particularly memorable gig, a walk-around solo concert in Lanercost Priory in 2019, was reviewed on BSH at the time by David Gosling, who concluded, "audience members who were there principally because it was a fundraiser for the Priory were largely won over to "jazz" by  his extraordinary talent."  

RIP Mike Longo (1939 - 2020)

To the best of my knowledge, Covid-19 has claimed its first jazz victim. Pianist/composer/arranger/educator/author Mike Longo  died two days after his 81st birthday on March 21, Cause of death was given as complications arising from the virus.

Longo had an illustrious career, apart from leading his own trio, he also played with Red Allen at the Metropole in NYC where he was first heard by Dizzy Gillespie, played with Roy Eldridge at Embers West from whence he joined Dizzy's quintet, and later his Reunion Band.

His association with Dizzy lasted for the trumpet player's lifetime and he read a eulogy at his funeral.

Regretably, although I saw Dizzy many times I never heard him when Mike Longo was with him.

Sadly missed.
Lance

CD Review: Keith Oxman - Two Cigarettes in the Dark

Keith Oxman, Houston Person (tenor sax); Jeff Jenkins (piano); Ken Walker (bass); Paul Romaine (drums); Annette Murrell (vocal on 2 tracks).
(Review by Lance).

What a gem this is! Admittedly I'm a sucker for two tenor front-line outfits and this one compares with the best of them. However, unlike most pairings, it's not a joust or a cutting contest. The two horns' contrasting tones complement each other. Oxman, the suave sophisticate, Houston, the super soulful saxist. Together they weave a magical tapestry that ranges from balladry to bop (the hard version). The opener, Frank Loesser's I've Never Been in Love Before fits comfortable between the two extremes.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

RIP Jon Christensen (1943 - 2020)

Somewhat belatedly, we received the sad news that Norwegian avant -garde drummer Jon Christensen passed away on February 18.

I never actually heard him live although Russell recalls hearing him  at Newcastle's Corner House. The Heaton pub was the epicentre of Jazz North East gigs at the time and Christensen  appeared as part of Arild Andersen's Masquelero in 1986 and 1987 each time being well-received.

CD Review: David Berger & The Sultans of Swing - Marlowe

(Review by Frank Griffith)

As one will notice at the foot of the page, Marlowe was released  in 2004 and is dedicated to continuing the legacy of Ellington's and Strayhorn's music.  A New York City based big band, The Sultans of Swing is led by composer/arranger, David Berger and this album consists of two suites, Windows on the World and  Marlowe, both of which demonstrate  Ellingtonian touches without being imitative in any way.  Berger's hues and colours are exemplified in his imaginative  voicings for the top flight reed section (including clarinets) as well as plunger mutes for the brass. His painterly use of melodic backings for solos (without getting in the way) are another one of the key influences of Duke and Billy.

Jazz Indoors

Check out Joe Stilgoe's Saturday Night Special on YouTube.
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Catch up on John Nesbitt's Live Music on Teesside here.
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Tony Kofi - streaming live on F/b 19:00 hrs March 22.

CD Review: Byron Wallen - Portrait

Byron Wallen (trumpet, flugelhorn, shells, piano, percussion); Rob Luft (guitar); Paul Michael (bass guitar); Rod Youngs (drums); Richard 'Olatunde' Baker (congas, talking drums - tracks 2, 4, 10); Plumcroft Primary School Class 3G & 3H (vocals - tracks 8, 9, 11)
(Review by Russell)

Portrait is Byron Wallen 'meditating on identity, culture amd what it means to belong.' Inspired by the sights, sounds and peoples of Woolwich, London, Wallen's trumpet and mellow flugelhorn suggest his compositions - twelve in total - were created over time, perhaps revisiting sites over and over again, at least in his mind if not the actual locations. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Book Review: Francis Davis - In the Moment, Jazz in the 1980s

(Review by Steve T)

I got interested in this because I wanted to see how it would deal with jazz-funk and smooth jazz. I liked the former, though I think it's as relevant to soul music as jazz, but abandoned it as it descended into the latter.

Unsurprisingly, it's all but ignored but, on the odd occasion it gets a mention, it suffers the derision. The following is typical: "(violinist John) Blake served as MD for pop-jazz saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. for five years in the mid seventies, a lucrative gig".

CD Review: Oded Tzur - Here Be Dragons

Oded Tzur (tenor sax); Nitai Hershkovits (piano); Petros Klampanis (double bass); Jonathan Blake (drums).
(Review by Martin P)

These musicians were unknown to me, apart from Jonathan Blake who I recall seeing with the Mingus Big Band at Brecon, I think. 

According to the ECM website, Oded Tzur is from Tel Aviv but is now based in NYC. This is a style of jazz that I used to listen to a lot in the '80s and '90s, much of it on ECM. Artists like Terje Rypdal, Tomasz Stanko, Charles Lloyd and Nils Petter Molvaer. I'm not saying necessarily that they are musically similar, just that there's a certain "sound". I started to get a bit tired of the style and this album reminded me why. 

A Friday Cornucopia @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - March 13

(Review by Russell)

An overnight addition to the hotel lobby...a hand sanitizer (that's sanitizer with a zee, after all, this is the US of A). Things were becoming serious. As Bix Fest's record fayre opened for business at 9:00am it was eerily quiet. 

Dealers had travelled a distance - hundreds, thousands of miles, it's a big country. Every 78 you could ever want to add to your collection was here, every 78 you don't ever want in your collection was here. New-fangled LPs by the pickup truck load, even newer new-fangled CDs by the pickup truck load, reams of sheet music, books, magazines, t-shirts, ephemera, anything and everything broadly covering late nineteenth century popular song through to thirties' swing material was here and, what's more, most items were available for just a few dollars. 

Pudgy's @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - March 12

(Review by Russell)

It's a shack set back off the highway. It's the kinda place where you park the pickup, adjust your baseball cap, wander in, grab a bar stool and order a cold beer. Mid West America, Dullsville, Nowheresville, little happens here, you could be made to feel like Spencer Tracy in Bad Day at Black Rock except on this occasion it would prove to be a Good Night at Pudgy's

Friday, March 20, 2020

Summertime (Black and) Blues

(By Lance)

Perhaps I should expand on my views regarding Gershwin's Summertime. Don't get me wrong, it's a great song that I loved hearing the first thousand or so times around but it has been covered that many times by that many great musicians and singers that you wonder why it is still being flogged to death.

Billie, Ella and other singers did it justice - they had an inkling of what they were singing about whereas young singers today, fresh out of college, haven't a clue about jumpin' fish or high cotton. Porgy and Bess produced some great songs - including the aforementioned - but, at the end of the day, these were two Jewish guys writing about black slaves. 

Paul Edis on YouTube - March 20.

Paul Edis (solo piano).
(Review by Lance/Photo courtesy of Malcolm Sinclair).

Is the way to go for the foreseeable future? If so then, after this performance by Paul Edis, I for one won't be complaining. A solid sixty minutes of some of the best piano to have emerged from the northeast although actually streamed live from his flat in London where he has recently taken up residence.

If Paul sounded a bit hesitant with his announcements it was probably because he was also listening for the doorbell to herald the arrival of a plumber to repair the boiler - how is he going to wash his hands without hot water?

Paul Edis - Live in London

Don't forget that at precisely - well maybe not precisely - 1:00pm today  (March 20) Paul Edis will be giving a one hour solo piano recital on YouTube. This could be the first of many such gigs to appear over the next few days/weeks/months by top musicians. However, one thing is sure, there won't be many, if any, better ones.
Lance (Photo courtesy of Malcolm Sinclair).
PS: Any one else with jazz to stream or offering online tuition please send me the link and it will be posted subject to suitability.

More thoughts

(By Nathan Allonby)

The Coronavirus has closed all venues, and could continue indefinitely. Not only that, most music pupils have cancelled their lessons, again, indefinitely - thus closing musicians' other alternative stream of income.


That's not all: -

  • venues could close, never to reopen
    • when the crisis ends, there may be far fewer venues left to employ musicians -
    • the combined potential income of all musicians is roughly in proportion to the number of venues
  • the public could "lose the habit" of going to live gigs
Something has to be done. We cannot expect anyone to do anything other than ourselves.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Plague

(By Lance)

This dreadful situation that we're in - apart from the loss of income to just about everyone involved in music and the arts in general - has opened up a scenario far beyond what was envisaged when the internet first crept into our lives.

Clubs, bars, theatres, festivals are closing with the chances being that some of the smaller venues may never open again. I'm not going to offer suggestions as to how this can be tackled. Obviously (hopefully?) the NHS will be given the resources that this, and previous governments, should have given - an argument to be debated outside of this apolitical site - but, will there be support further on down the line in other fields? Music, grass-level sport, theatre, the support chain, are going to need assistance. The Premier League will survive and, no doubt the Royal Opera House, probably Ronnie Scott's. Will your non-league team, your amateur dramatic group, your local jazz club? 

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director, Sage Gateshead tells us her thoughts on the past week...

“This will only exist in the moment…” 

These were the last words spoken in Sage One before we closed to the public for the foreseeable future, in response to government advice and for the safety of our audiences, our team and our musicians. The words were spoken by the wonderful Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero, who always finishes her concerts with an improvisation. Improvisation is the purest form of ‘only existing in this moment’ – not written down, not thought about in advance, always in response to a musical idea which she asks an audience member to suggest.  

She gave this last concert on the back of a rollercoaster 48 hours in which she thought she had Coronavirus, self-isolated, then tested negative, missing her first concert scheduled at Sage Gateshead, then played her second with us as her country’s borders were closing and the number of flights to get her back home to Spain was decreasing by the minute. In the end, this last concert (which we all knew in our hearts it was) was exceptional and very moving. 

Roly on Steve Winwood

Trawling around YouTube, I got drawn into the many uploads of Steve Winwood's music from down the years. It brought back some great memories. I often went to the Club Agogo on Percy Street and my favourite band was the Spencer Davis Group with the remarkable Steve Winwood who was only around 17 or 18 at the time.  

I was just getting into jazz (New Orleans Club etc.) but I remember Winwood's jazzy piano, good R&B guitar and Ray Charles' style singing which made a big impression.  I've often thought back to those times and, you know, you wonder if maybe you are looking back through rose tinted glasses. Well I found some old black and white broadcasts which I think show just how good he was.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Customs House Big Band @ Dormans Jazz Club Middlesbrough - March 12

(Review/photo by Ron H)

The first big band gig of this year played to a large and enthusiastic audience and, ably directed by MD Peter Morgan, made for a great night of jazz.

Gerry Mulligan's Young Blood  showed why the band has such a fine reputation, with solos from Ian Robinson  trumpet, Jim McBriarty tenor sax, Alan Marshall  alto sax and, with the band playing so well together, gave the evening an excellent start.

Sonny Rollins' Doxy gave Neville Hartley the opportunity to display his talents with a fine trombone solo. The band then moved on to a tune that I think should be heard more often - Canadian Sunset - with nice solos from Dave Brocklesby trombone and Gary Hadfield  keys. Stolen Moments followed with the soloists having excellent backing from Paul Smith on drums and Alan Smith on bass.

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