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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).


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".


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.


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 03, 2020

Great North Big Band Jazz Festival 2020: Schools Section (Day 3) - Mar 1

(Review by Russell)

For some, day three at this year's Great North Big Band Jazz Festival dawned early. A workshop session for aspiring musicians made full use of the generous stage at Park View Community Centre and that was long before the competitive action got under way at eleven o'clock. Sunday is all about young musicians being part of a large ensemble, reading charts and, in some cases, taking a deep breath before standing up in front of a crowd of big band fans to take a solo. It promised to be quite a day!

At the appointed hour (11:00am) the splendidly named Haberdashers' Abraham Darby Senior Jazz Band (Conductor Tom Gledhill) took to the stage ready to begin the Schools Section. It's quite a commitment to make rehearsal sessions year round, it's a bigger commitment still to then travel a distance to compete at a festival in Chester le Street, County Durham, especially when you're based in Telford, Shropshire. Win, lose or draw, that's some effort! Kris Berg bases himself in Texas, leads bands (at the Montreux Jazz Festival and elsewhere) and writes charts for luminaries such as Kurt Elling, Wayne Bergeron and Delfeayo Marsalis. How fantastic that Berg's Fowl Play opened Abraham Darby's programme (featuring soloist Alyssa Lowe, tenor saxophone, one of ten females in an eleven-strong saxophone section)! Dave Volpe's arrangement of Body and Soul (Catherine Vellacott's alto sax solo) and the ubiquitous Gordon Gordon Goodwin (Crunchy Frog) rounded off a fine ensemble performance.  

Egglescliffe School Big Band (Conductor Matthew Haworth) travelled a considerably shorter distance given that the school is located in the Stockton on Tees area. One or two of Jambone's number and a current NYJO student trumpeter were in the line-up to perform a Hefti/Nestico set - Strike up the BandJumpin' at the WoodsideCuteSplanky and Sweet Georgia Brown. Egglescliffe is known for developing young musicians and on this evidence the 2020 cohort is shaping up nicely. 

It had been some years since St Aidan's Swing Band (MD Vicki Elliott) last competed at the GNBBJF. On one of those previous visits the Harrogate school band walked away with the silverware - from memory an amazing performance of a (Wynton?) Marsalis chart belied their years. Would today's orchestra have anything as good in its locker? A knockout trumpet section, a programme including It Don't Mean a Thing and an unlikely Frankenstein (Edgar Broughton's big chart hit!) featuring a tremendous duel between drummers Ollie Anslow and Oscar Gray brought the house down!

Darlington's Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College Big Band (Director Steve McGarvie) presented an eclectic yet familiar programme ranging from St Louis Blues to Freddie Freeloader to that man again, Gordon Goodwin (Count Bubba) and a sparkling finale featuring guitarist Archie Kidd's razor-sharp fusion solo on Jeff Jarvis' Critical Mass. A good set.

Last but by no means least, Dave Hignett's young charges rattled through half a dozen pieces. Tyne Valley Jazz Ensemble (Conductor Dave Hignett) performed with energy and commitment. A fun finale - Tequila - required audience participation with MD Hignett explaining that members of the ensemble didn't know anything about it...Tequila, that is! All together now... Tequila!

And so to the results. The stage rearranged, adjudicators Mick Donnelly and Marcus Brown took up their places alongside Kenneth Howe (Durham Bede Rotary Club) ready to be photographed with the lucky winners. Festival Director Bil Watson announced the results. The long journey had been worthwhile, the winning band, all the way from Shropshire...Haberdashers' Abraham Darby Senior Jazz Band!
GNBBJF 2020 - Schools Section:

Best Band: Haberdashers' Abraham Darby Senior Jazz Band

Best Soloist: Archie Kidd, guitar (Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College Big Band)

Best Section: Trumpets (St Aidan's Swing Band)

Adjudicators' Award: William Woods, drums (Haberdashers' Abraham Darby Senior Jazz Band)

Adjudicators' Award: Ollie Anslow, drums & Oscar Gray, drums (St Aidan's Swing Band) see photo.


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