Total Pageviews

Bebop Spoken There

Peter Ind: "Rightly or wrongly, I didn't value his [Miles Davis] contribution that much." - (Jazzwise October 2020).

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

11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

Coming soon ...

SEPTEMBER

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

THURSDAY 24

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Abbie Finn Trio - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regent Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 284 3700. 7:30pm. Donations on the night. To book a table (max four people from one household/support bubble) visit: www.gosforthcivictheatre.co.uk.

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

FRIDAY 25

SouLutions Sistas - Hoochie Coochie, Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. 8:30pm (7:00pm doors). £10.00. SOLD OUT!

SATURDAY 26

Boys of Brass - Tyne Bank Brewery, Walker Road, Newcastle NE6 2AB. Tel: 0191 265 2828. 7:00pm. £10.00. + £1.37 bf for table for two. Other packages available. See www.tynebankbrewery.co.uk.

SUNDAY 27

Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. Tel: 0191 691 7090. Free.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

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. 

Tzur has a sound somewhat reminiscent of early Andy Sheppard but without the latter's purity of tone and fluidity. His solos seemed to me to be unfocused. Hershkovits' piano is often what my wife calls "plinky-plonky music" (you've guessed, she's not a jazz fan). The bass and drum parts are largely unobtrusive, which in my book is usually a compliment for rhythm sections. However, some of the bass solos were so quiet that, listening in the car, which I appreciate is not a particularly complimentary environment for music, there were times when I couldn't be sure if the track had finished. My biggest gripe with this album, though, is that most of the tracks are played at a stultifying slow tempo. 

At the first listening, I thought that maybe this album had promise. By the time I got to the end of the fourth track, I wasn't just bored, I was starting to get a bit irritated. 

My criterion for judging an album by a band I haven't heard before is "Would I go to watch them live?" In this case, only if I hadn't slept for 3 nights.
Martin.

Here Be Dragons is currently available on ECM 2020.

1 comment :

Chris Kilsby said...

Aha! Another example of the wonderful differences between listeners in their response to new music.

I was keen to read Martin's review, having listened to the album a couple of times after reading Jazzwise's 4* review - awarded Editor's Choice, and lauded as "having classic written all over". The rest of the jazz establishment are also falling over themselves praising Oded Tzur and his quartet for "A beautiful musical concept perfectly realised" (London Jazz News). Martin is clearly not so easily impressed!

I have to say I also began as a sceptic with Tzur, and my first forays listening to this and previous albums left me largely unmoved. His music is "high chamber jazz" and meditative in the extreme. He is a storyteller, not a headline grabber; his music is tender poetry, not slogans. A whole album played "As If Every Note Was A Choice Of Life" is bound to be hard going!

His tone on tenor is also an acquired taste. Tzur has followed a very deliberate path to developing a smooth, sliding and (very) distinctive tone, apparently influenced by the Indian bansuri (flute).

Forewarned by this knowledge, listening to this stuff in the car is not the best strategy! As Martin acknowledged and found, this is bound to lead to frustration. Recent listening in the peace and quiet of home (one benefit of these Covid times) revealed a lot more to the music (to my ear at least!) - lyrical intensity and subtlety.

Not just from Tzur (love or hate his tone) - this is a top notch band too. I'm a fan of Hershkowits (though not so much as my son, who spent months transcribing one of his rhythmically baffling solos - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcRRAZ9rMq8). I find Hershkovits' playing here a very engaging part of the album - not "plinky plonky" at all!

Anyway, each to his own as they say. While I'm not convinced this is a classic album yet, there is remarkable beauty here. I'll listen again, when in the right frame of mind with time to relax, and I'd certainly go to see them play (whenever that might start up again.....).

Chris K

Blog Archive