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Bebop Spoken There

Ethan Iverson: "I asked Bertha [Hope] if she ever used the word "contrafact" to describe the process of writing new tunes over old changes, and she replied, "Of course not. The only people who used that word went to a university to learn about jazz."" - (Jazz Times March 2020).

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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".

COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

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 17, 2020

Bus Tour to Hell @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - Mar 12

(By Russell)

Bix Fest's Phil Pospychala comes into his own on Bus Tour to Hell day. The maverick octogenarian does it his way and it's best to go along with him or you'll literally be left behind! This year's day trip - the sites of interest were to be a surprise - came up trumps again with a visit to a strange but magical mansion and the final resting place of...read on...

Ten in the morning, all aboard the school bus! A boneshaker of fifties' vintage, supplies of beer and munchies loaded, we were off on a Bixian Magical Mystery Tour! The late, great Alan Plater would have struggled to do justice to the day's events, your BSH correspondent will merely pen a few observations.  

An hour or so into Illinois, the Bus Tour to Hell from Racine, Wisconsin, wound its way to the middle of nowhere. 'Nowhere' being Barrington, Illinois, a nondescript rural landscape, the bus turned into the drive of a private residence. A house, make that a mansion, standing in squillions of acres, stood ahead of us. What lay behind its facade could never have been imagined. The Sanfilippo Collection is like no other. Business tycoon Jacob Sanfilippo first made his fortune designing a pecan nut-shelling machine, later branching out into packaging, making another fortune, the bottom line being the recently deceased Mr Sanfilippo considered a million bucks loose change. 

Sanfilippo's obsession was the nickelodeon and the orchestrion. At the turn of the last century a nickel in the slot of these ingenious machines entertained the masses, they were the forerunners of the jukebox and wireless radio. The cabinets in which the engineering wizardry is housed are, in themselves, works of art. The collection is vast with each exhibit in immaculate condition and full working order. In this 'Place du la Musique' these wonders of fine engineering share the limelight with the largest theatre organ ever built (almost a third bigger than the instrument at Radio City Music Hall in NYC). At the end of our tour we would take a seat in a 350-seat theatre (it's a large house!) to hear the 8000 pipes full throttle - quite some experience! 

In another building on the Sanfilippo estate there is another wondrous exhibit. The Eden Palace, built in 1890, is the most complete example of a European salon carousel in existence with a facade 89' wide and 42' tall. The Bus Tour to Hell's crazy jazz cats clambered aboard, mounting horses and riding in chariots and gondolas as the carousel picked up speed - round and round and round we went. Absolutely bizarre, a dream world, the vision of a driven, self-made man. What's this got to do with jazz, you ask? Well, nuttin' other than to allow the imagination to run wild, to experience something of what it must have been like during the Roaring Twenties, the Jazz Age of F Scott Fitzgerald, Capone and the Ordinary Joe.

From Barrington to the outskirts of Downtown Chicago. Back on board the Bus Tour to Hell the booze flowed as the music of Bix filled the air. Mr Pospychala held court for those who wanted to hear stories about, fanciful or not, the Chicago jazz scene. Turning off the freeway at Forest Park we arrived at our second and final destination of the day. Forest Home Cemetery looks like any other cemetery except for Bixians the place holds special significance. It was late afternoon as our bus pulled into the last resting place of one of the legendary figures of the music. As Bixians tumbled off the charabanc we were to follow our leader, Phil Pospychala, to the grave of...but wait, having had a few en route, PP ran off, taking cover behind a large gravestone to, well, water the daisies! You've heard the expression 'I wouldn't p*** on his grave', well, our Phil would, and did! Moving swiftly on...

Our Phil is a character, garrulous, rambling, a true Bixian. As we reached our final destination Phil waited for the stragglers to catch up. We were in Forest Home Cemetery (incidentally, the final resting place of Ernest Hemingway's parents) to pay our respects to Dave Tough, drummer with many star names including Bud Freeman and Eddie Condon. 

We filed out, boarded the school bus (in itself bizarre) and headed north into Wisconsin. Our return to Bix Fest HQ in Racine would include a stop-off at an all American, cheap 'n' cheerful diner. Who knows, perhaps Dave Tough and co stopped-off, late night, at the very same establishment on the way home from a gig?!  
Russell

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Russell from Ann Alex, I've loved reading about your trip, just what we need to cheer us up! I think you should go in for travel writing. Hope you have no trouble getting back in the present circumstances.

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