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Bebop Spoken There

Neil Hopper, House of the Black Gardenia: "We had the idea when we first started that we would be like Tuba Skinny or something, but that didn't really suit us." - (NARC November 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".

Postage

12,000 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1140 of them this year alone and, so far, 87 this month (Oct. 27).

Coming soon ...

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

OCTOBER

FRIDAY 30

Neil William & Ben Holland - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. Free (donations). Limited capacity. Jazz standards from the 1920s & 30s.

SATURDAY 31

Alice Grace & Pawel Jedrzejewski - Prohibition Bar, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm-10:00pm. £10.00. Online booking (to book a table). Limited capacity. Alice & Pav join a multi-bill of entertainers (magician etc) to celebrate Prohibition Bar’s fifth anniversary. SOLD OUT!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

International Jazz Day - a virtual triumph

With such an array of talent from 190 countries I found it impossible to do more than offer an overview of this magnificent event or to note all of the names - some of which I couldn't even spell - such is the internationalism of this event!

But this wasn't about individuals it was about the global jazz community and the annual celebration of the music we all love. That the general media seems to have ignored it just brings us closer together and, to be fair, they have a lot of other issues to keep them occupied with!

Tonight's Blue Note: Larry Young - Unity

Woody Shaw (trumpet); Joe Henderson (tenor sax); Larry Young (organ); Elvin Jones (drums).

Larry Young comes across as a fairly straight ahead player whereas Shaw and Henderson who, in the past had also been relatively conventional players, appear to have been listening to Ornette and Trane resulting in some dissonant moments making for an interesting contrast.

This is mean't as a criticism, all four are at the top their game, Young is particularly outstanding on Monk's Dream where the two horns take time out. His dexterity on the B3 pedal board is something else! 

Shaw is outstanding with a technique comparable with most of his contemporaries. I recalling seeing him at the North Sea Festival  nearly 20 years after this 1965 session and he was tremendous. It was a only a few years later that he died age 44. A great loss.

Shaw, incidentally, composed 3 of the 6 tunes.

That Henderson was to become one of the more influential tenor players is evident from his solo on Softly As In a Morning Sunrise - and it is little wonder that the Sigmund Romberg tune has since become a staple part of many tenor players' repertoire.

Needless to say, Elvin Jones is a powerhouse!
Lance

Beyond All Limits.

IJD 2019

In anticipation of tonight's virtual concert celebrating International Jazz Day I logged on last year's live event held in Melbourne - or was it Adelaide? and it was a humdinger of a gig!

Introduced, of course, by Herbie Hancock it featured a host of artists some of whom I knew and some of whom I didn't. Irrespective of that, they were all excellent.

International Jazz Day Question

Have there been any articles re IJD spotted in the traditional media i.e. newspapers, radio or TV?
Lance

CD Review: Linda Purl – Taking a Chance on Love

Linda Purl (vocals); David Finck (bass); Tedd Firth (Piano); Ray Marchica (drums); Nelson Rangell (reeds)

Yet another superb woman singer who is also an experienced actor, which shows in her skilled interpretation of lyrics, and not a note of scat in sight, (or rather hearing). Ms Purl has performed at Lincoln Center Jazz, Birdland as well as other USA venues and also in Naples, Paris, Tokyo and London (Crazy Coqs). She has sung with many jazz orchestras including Glenn Miller's. As an actor she has been in 45 USA television films and has performed in theatre in the USA, Monaco and Tokyo.

Shaping the future of The Jazz.Coop and The Globe

Today (30 April) is International Jazz Day. It is also exactly six years since The Globe was bought by a cooperative dedicated to jazz.

Normally Jazz.Coop would be holding a party to celebrate but these are not normal times. The Globe is closed and we have no idea when, or even if, it might reopen.

The pandemic has changed everything. The Globe will have to adapt if it is to survive and flourish in the new post-pandemic world.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Review: Midweek Mini Edis - April 29

After six weeks of YouTube Fridays pianist Paul Edis picked up the remote and switched channels to see what Facebook had to offer by way of live stream gigs. Wednesdays at six o'clock seemed as good a time as any to present a short (twenty minutes or so) online gig. 

Tonight's Blue Note: Horace Silver - The Jody Grind

Woody Shaw (trumpet); James Spaulding (alto sax/flute); Tyrone Washington (tenor sax); Horace Silver (piano); Ben Riley (bass); Roger Humphries (drums).

When Silver left the Jazz Messengers to form his own quintet/sextet it might have been expected that the formula would remain the same and, in a sense, it did. However, without the drive of Blakey it took on a not quite so hard bop feel.

Silver's groups tended to be a little more subtle and, dare I say it?, didn't quite match the excitement of the Blakey team irrespective of who was in the drummer's ever changing ensemble.

CD Review: Troy Roberts - Stuff I Heard

Troy Roberts (soprano/alto/tenor sax/ double bass/ electric bass); Jimmy Macbride (drums)
(Review by Chris K)

The twelfth release from this multi-instrumentalist and composer as a leader. Roberts was new to me, my first impressions were of a modern “American” sound (he is a US based Australian) – muscular but smooth.

I’ll own up to a certain suspicion of the undoubtedly gifted sax player taking on bass duties, with multi-tracking of (sometimes all three) sax voices.  In pre-Covid days, why multi-track one player when you can have a real live band?!  I did find the bass on the first track, Little Room, a bit plodding, but the rest of the album proves him a fluent and versatile bass player too!  I have warmed to the album on repeated listening, as any feel lost in the studio construction is compensated by the clever composition and arrangement, and the sparkle put back in by the excellent and agile drumming of Macbride,  a young NYC based sideman deluxe.    

International Jazz Day

(Press release)
Hosted by Herbie Hancock, this year's International Jazz Day will take place online. The day’s centerpiece will be a virtual Global Concert featuring artists from across the globe, streamed live on jazzday.com. The concert will begin at 3pm (US Eastern Time) and feature performances by Marcus Miller, Lang Lang, Charlie Puth, Cécile McLorin Salvant, John McLaughlin, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sibongile Khumalo, Alune Wade, John Beasley, Ben Williams, Lizz Wright, John Scofield, Igor Butman, Evgeny Pobozhiy, Youn Sun Nah, A Bu, Jane Monheit, and Joey DeFrancesco, among others.

International Jazz day in Leeds - Jazz UNLOCKED

(Press release - Image Info: William Ellis)

Thursday 30 April 9pm, 94.6m on FM, and online on www.chapelfm.co.uk 
Fed up with all this lockdown? Let’s unlock some jazz music instead – a new radio show all about jazz in Leeds, Leeds clubs, musicians and jazz fans. Welcome to Jazz UNLOCKED on Chapel FM.  

Steve Crocker from Jazz Leeds and James Fernie from Chapel FM Radio will be keeping you in touch with the jazz scene in Leeds with this regular programme during the lockdown. We’ll have a broad definition of jazz so we’ll be including blues, big bands, jazz poetry and more. Jazz Unlocked will feature 45 minutes of interviews, album recordings, and specially recorded performances
Leeds is a great place to play and listen to jazz – before the lockdown there were more than twenty venues where you could hear regular live sessions and the city has some of the finest jazz musicians in the UK too and we’ll be hearing from some of those people in the coming weeks.  

Jazz North’s Northern Online Broadcasts for The Body and Soul

(Press release)
Jazz North’s Northern Online Broadcasts festival is back for its 4th year, and this time there will be a more holistic approach to help those in lockdown as it follows the theme ‘Body and Soul’. From Wednesday 6th to Saturday 9th May Jazz North will re-stream performances from its northern line showcase from Lancaster Jazz Festival in September 2019 and, in between performances, viewers can also do some yoga, cook a meal and drop-in to a social gathering, all online.

Broadcast from Jazz North’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, there will be performances from Jazz North northern line artists Beyond Albedofreese trioJohn Pope QuintetNishla Smith QuinetNot Now CharlieRafe's Dilemma and SogoRock. Before each midday performance will be yoga with Jason Scott and before each 8pm performance will be a practical cooking demonstration by four experienced northern jazz chefs.

Preview: Midweek Mini Edis - April 29

This evening (Wednesday 29) Paul Edis will present a mini live stream Facebook set from his London home. In recent times many jazz fans have made a regular Friday lunchtime YouTube appointment with pianist Edis. Tonight, over on Facebook, our north east of England ex-pat will play a short set (20 mins or so) starting at six o'clock. At this rate Edis will soon have a full 'gig' diary!  
Russell

Just Like Bob Dylan the jazz fan....

Bob Dylan - Murder Most Foul

Posts regarding Mr Dylan on this blog have had a mixed reception over the years, however most reasonable music fans will recognise that he has a deep knowledge of musical styles which have influenced his approach to song-writing and performing. As we approach his 79th birthday (24th May, if you want to send a card) it is worth noting that he has released two new songs which are his first original compositions since the album Tempest in 2012. The first, 'Murder Most Foul', is a 17 minute epic using the assassination of President Kennedy as a jumping off point for a reflection on the social and cultural changes brought about by the 1960s.; and the second, 'I Contain Multitudes', which name checks a small Irish village, Anne Frank, The Rolling Stones, Indiana Jones, Edgar Alan Poe, Beethoven and Chopin.

Preview: International Jazz Day

Tomorrow (Thursday 30) is International Jazz Day. In November 2011 UNESCO designated April 30 as an annual day of celebration of jazz as an art form and in recognition of its role in the world of diplomacy. It was Herbie Hancock who first proposed the idea of a day-long series of concerts around the world and since 2012 the pianist, who recently turned 80, together with other stellar figures, has been at the forefront of the event.

CD/ DVD Review - Jazz Sabbath.

According to the legend, heavy metal behemoths Black Sabbath stole some of their earliest songs from a mythical jazz group called Jazz Sabbath, whose album was pulled when the bandleader was hospitalised on the eve of its release.    
 
Black Sabbath were the first band I saw live, aged - using the vernacular of the time - nearly ten and a half. At the time they were one of the big rock bands alongside Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple only - to continue with the vernacular - heavier.

Since all of those bands emerged in the wake of Cream and Hendrix, I've never doubted rock music came from jazz, in coalition with the blues; an argument promulgated further when you consider early American rockers with strong jazz credentials: Zappa, Beefheart and Santana.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

JAZZ FM Awards 2020

The Jazz FM Awards, due to take place next month at Shoreditch Town Hall, have now been rescheduled to take place in the autumn at the same venue. BSH have oft been in attendance. I was there last year and Steve T the year before - if you ever need a pair of freeloaders you can tell 'em we'll be there! 

Thinking about last year, it's a funny thing that, when you're in London, nobody can give you directions because they either don't live there, they only work there, they think you are a terrorist (these days, probably a carrier) or "Whyza he aska me? Why donna hea usa de mobile phone map?"  - I was within 50 yards of the imposing building at the time!

Tonight's Blue Note: Freddie Hubbard - Ready For Freddie

Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); Wayne Shorter (tenor sax); Bernard McKinney (euphonium); McCoy Tyner (piano); Art Davis (bass); Elvin Jones (drums).

In my vast collection of albums, this is the only one where I can recall the presence of a euphonium - at least not one where it takes its place as a front line instrument. McKinney, later to be known as Kiane Zawadi recorded with a host of name musicians but, probably mainly as a trombonist, I don't know. What I do know is that he gets a good sound out of the instrument - as good as a valve trombone and probably better than a French horn - and it makes me wonder why it hasn't featured more frequently in jazz circles.

International Jazz Day 'Live' Stream

Hosted by saxophonist, vocalist and composer Kim Cypher and her drummer husband Mike, their daily 'live' coffee & chat session on Facebook will be dedicated to celebrating International Jazz Day on Thursday 30th April.


All the usual chat, fun and community spirit will be combined with some 'live' music, some Jazz themed discussion and special phone guests:

Al Grey and Buddy Tate @ The Corner House - 1987

In the various lists that we've been kicking around over the past week or so the inevitable, why didn't I think of that one?, crosses my mind. Lying in bed last night one glaring omission sprung to mind. The legendary JNE sessions at The Corner House in Heaton by Al Grey with either Jimmy Forrest or Buddy Tate and backed by the  Malcolm Saul or Bill Harper Trio. The photo, incidentally, is from an earlier session with Malcolm Saul - you can just see his head in the bottom corner - Bill Harper was the pianist on this particular night.

This Sunday (May 3) Noemi Nuti & Andrew McCormack @ The Virtual Globe

(Press release)
We can’t run gigs at The Globe currently but this WON’T STOP US bringing you the very best new music!

This Sunday 3 May at 8pm we’re delighted to be able to bring you an exclusive and intimate concert by vocalist Noemi Nuti and pianist Andrew McCormack, which we will stream live to you through Facebook.

The live #stayathome performance will feature Nuti's most recent album 'Venus Eye', released in March 2020. Venus Eye is a celebration of the modern-day female perspective through the medium of the traditional acoustic jazz quartet, the art of song form and some Latin touches.

CD Review: Lauren Henderson – The Songbook Session

Lauren Henderson (vocals); Sullivan Fortner (piano); Eric Wheeler (bass); Allan Mednard (drums, percussion)

We never sleep at BSH, not even during a pandemic, so I now find myself reviewing from a digital download. A hazard of this is that the tracks aren't quite the same as stated in the publicity sheet, so there are a couple of extra tracks here for good measure. I'm not complaining as these standards are imaginatively interpreted, with superb musicianship from the instrumentalists, who are given lots of space to display their work, with some tracks rounded off instrumentally, rather than the more usual habit of ending with a second vocal chorus.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Tonight's Blue Note: Freddie Redd Quartet - The Connection.

Jackie McLean (alto sax); Freddie Redd (piano); Mike Mattos (bass); Larry Riley (drums).

The Connection, Jack Gelber's 1959 play about drug addicts awaiting the arrival of The Dealer used musicians as part of the cast including pianist Redd, who composed the music, and McLean, whose searing alto perfectly captured the scene - and so it should - he'd been there, got the needle tracks and knew the score (and how to score)!

Intoxication Blues with Lindsay Hannon - April 27

Lindsay Hannon's weekly Monday night live stream session got off to a good start. For starters our vocalist was more or less on time (7:15). What's more the audio-visual was more or less in sync. No, truthfully, it wasn't so good. Then, as is Facebook's wont, the screen froze with Lindsay rendered motionless and mute. 

Much clicking, rebooting or whatever the tech geek term is, then, success! Back to the start, this time half an hour or so without too many glitches. Where were we? Ah, yes, Lindsay drinking, talking about intoxication (blues). Vera Hall's I Been Drinkin' (she sure had!) was all about drinkin' and drinkin'. Your reviewer had just opened a first bottle of Fuller's ESB. Cheers, Lindsay! 

JAZZ AHEAD!

(By Russell)

AS AT APRIL 27 LISTINGS IN RED ARE RECENT ADDITIONS / AMENDMENTS / CANCELLATIONS / POSTPONEMENTS / RESCHEDULED EVENTS

The following selective gig list is somewhat speculative but, sooner or later, gig-going will resume. Fingers crossed that some/most/all of the gigs listed will go ahead. Contact the venue to confirm the gig is on! 

CD Review: Curtis Stigers - Gentleman

Curtis Stigers (vocal/tenor sax); Larry Golding (organ/piano); David Piltch (bass); Austin Beede (drums); John 'Scrapper Sneider' (trumpet); Doug Yowell (percussion); Jody Ferber (cello).

Stigers’ new album offers a wry yet elegant reassessment of the modern male. Along with his own lyrical observations, penned in collaboration with longtime partners Larry Goldings and David Poe, Stigers also calls on the help of top songwriters Nick Lowe, Tom T. Hall and John Fulbright, and a stellar line up of musicians comprised of organist Larry Goldings (James Taylor), bassist David Piltch (k.d. lang), drummer Austin Beede (Alastair Greene Band), trumpeter John “Scrapper” Sneider (Madeleine Peyroux), percussionist Doug Yowell (Duncan Sheik) and cellist Jody Ferber (Esperanza Spalding).  Stigers and Goldings share the producer credit. 

Some Good Things Going on Over at WBGO

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Tonight's Blue Note: Johnny Griffin Quartet - The Congregation

Johnny Griffin (tenor sax); Sonny Clark (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Kenny Dennis (drums).

It was JC who brought my attention to The Congregation, a Blue Note that had somehow slipped off my radar which is inexcusable as it is deserved of being included in anyone's 'best of' lists. I don't think Griffin made many recordings for the label but the two that I have, this one and Introducing Johnny Griffin  (Wynton Kelly, Curley Russell, Max Roach) are absolute crackers and Griffin more than holds his own compared to the label's big hitting tenor players such as Dexter, Hank, Joe Henderson and co.

Evan Christopher & David Torkanowski Livestream

What is it with these Facebook posts? I love them, I'm watching, then they go crazy and Cofid ain't responsive for this - I hope!.

Tonight I'm watching a duo performance streamed by Lena McLorin Salvant. Is Lena actually Cecile or her mother, sister, daughter or second cousin?

Evan Christopher on clarinet and David Torkanowski on piano played a delightful duo set under the auspices of the above lady and it was just so so listenable. Ellington numbers like Satin Doll, A Flower is a Lonesome Thing and Come Sunday, alongside those good old New Orleans' belters, I've Found a New Baby and That's a Plenty made the music 10 star... However, like all these pro/am sessions it rarely works to perfection - I mean you ain't gonna have the equivalent of the late Rudy Van Gelder in your living room are you? - and tonight the words were caught up in a delay setting that downsized the otherwise excellent music.

CD Review: The Coachella Valley Trio - Mid Century Modern

Doug MacDonald (guitar); Larry Holloway (bass); Tim Pleasant (drums) + Big Black (djembe - tracks 3,6,7,8,9,10)
(Review by JC)

From the first notes of the first track on this album the listener knows they are in the hands of a highly proficient and experienced guitarist. The warm tone and gentle insistence of the music sends out a nice relaxing vibe that continues throughout the eleven tracks.

The guitarist, Doug MacDonald, has made numerous albums over the years in a variety of big and small group ensembles and played with a wide range of fine musicians. Here he is in a trio format and with a guest player Big Black on djembe (a type of skin-covered drum played with the hands, originally from West Africa - if you're wondering) on selected tracks. Four of the pieces are composed by MacDonald, two in samba/bossa nova style that maintain the laid-back feel of the playing. The other seven are standards some of which give MacDonald the opportunity to stretch out and play with a more attacking style.

Today! Zoë Gilby makes Jazz Record Requests!

Tyneside's APPJAG award-winning vocalist Zoë Gilby can be heard on this afternoon's edition of Jazz Record Requests. Tune to Radio 3 at 4:00pm to hear Alyn Shipton introduce a listener's request (are you the requester?) for a track featuring Zoë and her A-list band. The track? Well, that would be telling, suffice to say it's from Zoë's Twelve Stories album! 
Russell

Josh talks and plays 1920s' percussion - April 25/26

Midnight Saturday in the BSH Tyneside heartland, 18:00 CDT in Iowa, USA. Drummer Josh Duffee was in lockdown, just like the rest of us, as he extended an invitation to join him, virtually, of course,  at his Davenport home. This evening Josh was to present 1920s' Percussion - The Hot Orchestral Instruments.

To call our host an 'enthusiast' and an 'authority' doesn't tell half the story. A collector of vintage percussion instruments, historian, researcher, tutor, performer (small jazz combo to symphony orchestra engagements and everything in between), Duffee lives and breathes percussion. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Tonight's Blue Note: Grant Green - Idle Moments

Joe Henderson (tenor sax); Bobby Hutcherson (vibes ); Grant Green (guitar); Duke Pearson (piano); Bob Cranshaw (bass); Al Harewood (drums).

The title track is aptly named - Idle Moments - it's so laid back you could almost fall asleep but, if you did, you'd miss some really sensitive playing. You've never heard Joe Henderson blowing like this - he makes Lester Young sound like John Coltrane.  Hutcherson brings the warmth to his vibes that Milt Jackson just misses, brilliant though Milt is. Grant, naturally, is outstanding.

Rico's Pop-up Louis

Enrico Tomasso (trumpet/pocket trumpet/flugel/bugle/vocal/Fullers' ESB); 
Luca Filastro (piano).

There was trumpet royalty in the house tonight in the form of Bruce Adams, Noel Langley and Mike Lovatt - maybe a few others. Ray Gelato requested Sweethearts on Parade - "for old times sake" he said. No dice, at least not this week.

Lovatt was more successful with his request for I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling from the Satch Plays Fats LP

RIP Michael Cogswell

Michael Cogswell, executive director of The Louis Armstrong House Museum in the New York borough of Queens died on Monday (April 20).

Cogswell transformed the house where Satchmo actually lived into a museum jam-packed with the trumpet player's memorabilia which he'd amassed over a lifetime of playing, recording and touring.

It was more than a job for the former saxophonist, it became a lifelong passion.

I never managed to visit the museum but I treasure a Christmas card from the Louis Armstrong Collection that Daryl Sherman sent me a few years back.

Although Michael Cogswell retired through ill-health in 2018 he will be forever associated with the Museum and all things Armstrong.

He was 66. May he Rest In Peace.

For a fuller obituary check out the NY Times link here.
Lance

CD Review: Bruno Heinen Trio - Out of Doors

Bruno Heinen (piano/Fender Rhodes); Andrea Di Biase (bass); 
Gene Calderazzo  (drums) 
(Review by Chris K)  

Make no mistake, some clever and significant stuff here from the Professor of Jazz Piano at Trinity Laban.  Heinen’s erudition is well established: his parents worked with Stockhausen in the 1970s, and a previous album saw his sextet work over Stockhausen’s Tierkreis (12 Signs of the Zodiac). With the pianist’s roots in impressionist classical music, this album is a suite using the same eight Hungarian folk melodies used by Bartók for his 1920 Op. 20, 8 Improvisations.   

So, you might imagine my trepidation listening to this new CD, and new trio, for the first time – thanks Lance!  

Friday, April 24, 2020

Streaming Rico 'n' Luca - April 24

If it's Friday it must be Rico Tomasso and it was! Enrico Tomasso was feeling mighty proud of himself having mastered the new-fangled live streaming lark...or so he thought! A great start, split screen, no less - to Rico's right (our left), an image of Italian pianist Luca Filastro with our host occupying the right hand side of the screen as we looked. 

Tonight's Blue Note: Lee Morgan - The Sidewinder

Lee Morgan (trumpet); Joe Henderson (tenor); Barry Harris (piano); Bob Cranshaw (bass); Billy Higgins (drums).

Reputed to be the best selling Blue Note album up to 1964 and, for all we know, it possibly still is. The title track also charted as a single the funky groove a natural for the jukebox/disco market and tailor made for shaking your nether regions about. The solos are pretty good too.

An All Time Favourite

In these lockdown times you've played albums that haven't seen the light of day for years and you're reminded of just how good some tracks are. You think to yourself...That's an all time favourite! So, with brevity the watchword, list three (yes, just three!) favourite tracks. Of course tomorrow you could come up with another three, but that's for tomorrow. 

The reason for liking the track(s) could be the melody, a killer solo, a phrase, whatever. By all means tell us why, but, again, keep it brief...

For starters...

Hexham Clap Sessions No. 2

More from Dom and Ferg plus Chris.

Paul Edis: Lockdown Live! - April 24

Week six. It's your Friday date with Lunchtime Jazz - Paul Edis Solo live from our pianist's London home. Tea for Two opened the show with Edis commenting that to attempt to impersonate Art Tatum would be futile, adding Oscar P and Phineas Newborn Jr could, perhaps, get somewhere near to emulating the great Tatum.

Edis suggested a link between George Gershwin's Our Love is Here to Stay and St George's Day (yesterday, Thursday) - the two Georges, hmm, tenuous at best! Facebook comments came thick and fast; David from the Gt Lumley branch of the PEAS*, Jerry from out East, Brian E from Chester le Street, Lance from BSH HQ - all loving it, discussing numbers, versions, influences etc. Jerry imagined Bach, Lance suggested the MJQ, your scribe in line with Jerry's thinking (Bach, the MJQ, same bag). 

Abbie Finn to top the bill at Billy's!

In compiling a preview of this year's Newcastle Jazz Festival (Aug 13-16) a top-of-the-bill gig featuring the Abbie Finn Trio somehow or other failed to get a mention. This could be due to the writer's incompetence or incompetence fuelled by several bottles of McEwan's Champion Ale (7.3% ABV, Your Honour). 

In an attempt to make amends for this omission, please make a note of the date, time and venue...Sunday 16 August, four o'clock at Billy Bootlegger's, Nelson St, Newcastle. It's a free admission gig (as are all gigs at Billy's), it's a one hour special featuring the fabulous Abbie Finn Trio (Abbie, drums, Harry Keeble, tenor sax, Paul Grainger, bass) which will give you an hour or so to amble round to the Tyneside Cinema to watch Geordie Jazz Man at six o'clock.    
Russell

CD Review: Gabriele Heller – Nightshifts


Gabriele Heller (vocals, live sound mixes, percussion); Steve Glendinning (guitar, percussion); Wolfgang Weileder (guitar on 3 tracks).

This is such a good CD that I felt compelled to play it twice before writing the review and I enjoyed it even more the second time. The songs are a heady mix of cabaret tinged songs and jazz which are intriguing, disturbing, compassionate and even amusing by turns and always interesting. Steve as always does a grand job of appropriate accompaniment and Gabi, an experienced improvising actor, writer and teacher, interprets the lyrics with feeling and skill.

10 Women in Jazz Who Never Got Their Due

Sheila Herrick kindly sent me this link to an interesting article in the New York Times.

The ten women are: Lovie Austin; Lil Hardin Armstrong; Valaida Snow; Peggy Gilbert; Una Mae Carlisle; Ginger Smock; Dorothy Donegan; Jutta Hipp; Clora Bryant; Bertha Hope Booker.

The article gives a potted biography and a recorded example of each of the subjects.

Here's another five that could have been added: Mary Osborne (guitar - Coleman Hawkins); Margie Hyams (vibes - Woody Herman, George Shearing); Dardanelle Breckenbridge (piano - Lionel Hampton); Billie Rogers (trumpet - Woody Herman); Melba Liston (trombone - Quincy Jones).
Lance

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Tonight's Blue Note: Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris

Dexter Gordon (tenor sax); Bud Powell (piano); Pierre Michelot (bass); Kenny Clarke (drums).

When you're feeling down, pick up a Dexter Gordon Blue Note. It mightn't cure the Lockdown Blues but it certainly helps. This is Dexter in 1963 with last night's subject, Bud Powell, on piano and once again the pianist proves his detractors wrong with some fine playing. The ever dependable Frenchman Pierre Michelot is on bass and another American expat, Kenny Clarke, is on drums. It was almost as if they'd moved 52nd St to the 19th Arrondissement.

Preview: Newcastle Jazz Festival 2020 (Aug 13-16)

This year's Newcastle Jazz Festival is scheduled to take place over four days in August (13-16). It could be Britain will still be in lockdown but positive thinking never did anyone any harm so here's hoping the second annual event goes ahead! Festival organisers have released details of musicians and venues and it has all the makings of a memorable few days. 

CD Review: Henry Robinett Quartet - Jazz Standards Volume 1

Henry Robinett (guitar); Joe Gilman (piano); Chris Symer (bass); Michael Stephans (drums).

The Henry Robinett Quartet recorded these 10 tracks 20 years ago and they then lay dormant for 19 years. The guitarist has no recollection of why they stayed on the shelf for almost a couple of decades but, when he eventually got around to listening to them again he was pleasantly surprised at how good they sounded.  This wasn't a statement made with a lack of modesty - he was merely quoting a fact, a fact that I wholeheartedly concur with.

Zoë talks, Logan listens

Colin Muirhead's Jazz on the Tyne online radio programme features music by - and conversation with - musicians based in the region. A recent edition focussed on APPJAG award-winner Zoë Gilby. In these lockdown times vocalist/composer/lyricist Zoë wasn't able to meet up with Colin at the station's Perth Green base, opting instead to chat over the telephone. 

Zoë singing No More Blues set the ball rolling and with Logan listening intently (Logan is the family pet lurcher) topics of conversation ranged from the strange times in which we currently live (and the potential online performance opportunities arising) to Aurora (a forthcoming Tom Harrell-inspired project), Zoë's voice and bass duo with Andy Champion and a whole lot more. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Tonight's Blue Note: Bud Powell - The Scene Changes


Bud Powell (piano); Paul Chambers (bass); Art Taylor (drums).

One of Powell's lesser known recordings which has, by some, been compared unfavourably with his earlier recordings which, given his mental problems at the time (1959) would be understandable - if it were true!

Fortunately it isn't and, for most of the time, it bears comparison with his greatest work. Admittedly there are moments when he occasionally is a little stilted in his playing but they are few and far between and don't detract from this album of originals. They just prove he is human. Paradoxically there are times when he actually seems to surpass himself - Crossin' the Channel is one such track, the title track another as well as the short  Borderick where he bursts into a stride chorus.

April Olatunji: Live Jam - April 19

April Olatunji (piano/vocals); David ? (drums).

These lockdown live sessions really throw up the unexpected. Like this one. April Olatunji was a name I'd heard  but a voice I hadn't. 

However, when I checked out her stream - in retrospect - and noted that her fans included Anna Reay,  Carly McKee and Jordan Alfonso, I figured that this one, streamed on Sunday, was going to be worth a punt. 


A good call. Great singer, with a soulful voice that didn't attempt to be a sister, which made for good listening. 

David, never did catch his second name, played brushes and sticks on snares and congas and the whole shebang was great. 


Remember her name - it's dead easy - April Olatunji - catch her at Hoochie when the world is free. In the meantime, it's all here.
Lance.

Black Music In Europe: A Hidden History: BBC Radio 4 - April 21


The last programme in the series concerned black music influences mainly in Spain, the Netherlands and Britain during the 1970's. Franco died in 1975 and flamenco music had been encouraged as part of Spanish heritage, though actually this music was from diverse roots, having Jewish, African and other elements. Franco's death brought new freedoms in music.

Portugal's dictator was toppled in 1974 and the colonies such as Mozambique and Cape Verde became independent and repression was lifted. Cape Verdeans arrived in Portugal to find that they had access to modern instruments such as synthesisers and drum machines which had been unavailable back home. They embraced this wider musical world, especially by holding dances.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tonight's Blue Note: Freddie Hubbard - The Night of the Cookers

Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard (trumpets); James Spaulding (alto sax/flute); Harold Mabern Jr. (piano); Larry Ridley (bass); Pete La Roca (drums); Big Black (congas).

Four sides recorded live in Brooklyn at the Club La Marchal in 1965 and issued on two LPs, sees the label's top two trumpet players of the day tearing it up much to the delight of the crowd. Unfortunately, like so many live sessions, the atmosphere doesn't quite come across so well in the living room.

RIP Ian Whitcomb.

I've just received a link to the latest edition of The Syncopated Times which includes an obituary of Ian Whitcomb, a pop star of the 1960s who later played ragtime. I'll be honest and admit I know very little about him although, some years ago, I did read a book that he'd written - After The Ball.

So, rather than muddle through I'll link you directly to The Syncopated Times which includes several other obituaries including San Francisco trombonist Bob Meilke.
Ian Whitcomb died on April 19 aged 78.
Bob Meikle died on April 17 aged 94.
Lance

BENOIT VIELLEFON'S NEWS

We are all bored now...

Good morning everybody.
I am finally getting in touch after a very spectacular start of the year. I've been in bed with the flu for 3 weeks, then caught the Corona Virus. All the venues have closed and most of them have not paid for the gigs played in 2020. In the meantime I've paid all the musicians so I'm many thousands of £ down.

But I can't complain, as some people are dying, and suffering more than me.

For us musicians it looks really bleak. We don't expect to be able to perform live for the rest of 2020, and probably later in 2021. So I am now unemployed and have applied for Universal credits. I've always wanted to be signed to Universal, but I sign on Universal Credits instead.
I wonder now that we can't perform anymore if people would support us a little bit by listening to our music and spreading the word, sharing it.
There are a few things you can do, mostly free, since we are all bored now.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Tonight's Blue Note: Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers and RIP Jymie Merritt.

Lee Morgan (trumpet); Benny Golson (tenor sax); Bobby Timmons (piano); Jymie Merritt (bass); Art Blakey (drums).

This just isn't "Tonight's Blue Note" it's also a tribute to Jymie Merritt who died on April 10 - age 93. It's not attributed to the virus.

Two of Blakey's most famous numbers are on the album - Moanin' and Blues March - and Jymie Merritt solos on both. Possibly one of the most underrated bassists of the era and probably the only one who lived to such a ripe old age although Benny Golson is coming up on the rails.

R.I.P Henry Grimes (1936 - 2020)

The virus knows no sense of responsibility, like a terrorist with a knife or a shooter or a stolen car, it strikes indiscriminately. A nurse, a carer, a doctor or any person doing their job - anyone.

Over the past few weeks many jazz musicians have succumbed - Henry Grimes being the latest.

Grimes worked with Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus, Cecil Taylor, Gerry Mulligan, Albert Ayler, McCoy TynerLee Konitz, Sonny Rollins and Pharoah Sanders, among others.

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