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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.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Josh talks and plays Louie - April 18/19

Six o'clock Saturday evening in Davenport, Iowa, midnight Saturday here in Newcastle. Josh Duffee in his home town of Davenport, your reviewer at home in Newcastle. Drummer Josh was about to conduct a seminar on his chosen subject for this week's live stream event, one Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni. Luigi who? you ask. Try Louie Bellson.

Josh Duffee is known to Tyneside jazz fans thanks largely to his annual pilgrimage to the Village Hotel on North Tyneside to participate in the Classic Jazz Party. The event's primary focus is on the 'classic jazz' era which some would refer to as the 'Jazz Age' (essentially 1920s' jazz), its practitioners and the hotspots - New Orleans, Chicago, St Louis, New York and beyond. Last week Josh went in search of Bix Beiderbecke, a key figure during the period. This week Louie Bellson took centre stage. From Josh's home our live stream host would tell the story of one of his drum heroes. 

As with Bix last week, Josh's enthusiasm for his subject shone through. The two-bass drum kit sitting on the floor once belonged to Louie Bellson, now, thanks to his friendship with the legendary musician (Bellson died in 2009), Josh is the proud owner of this priceless artifact - bass drums, toms, snare, cymbals, drum stool, sticks, brushes, the lot! Our host explained that Bellson asked him to safeguard his legacy - a man who worked with Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and others - and to make full use of the kit. Josh (as usual, dressed for the occasion replete with one of Louie Bellson's ties - that's a 'necktie' over in Iowa), was about to do just that.

Part drum clinic, part history lesson, Josh got behind the traps to show, in close-up, Bellson's double bass drum set-up, his array of cymbals, the works. Lovingly, excitedly, Josh drooled over 18" and 24" cymbals, ride cymbals this, hi-hat that, this was a kid in a sweet shop (candy store if you're in America). Come to think of it, this wasn't the kid in the candy store, this was the candy store owner in their shop! 

Josh demonstrated Bellson's style and various techniques by playing along to some of the great drummer's recordings. AmorosoCaxton Hall Swing (Josh revealed that not only did Bellson write the number to mark his wedding to Pearl Bailey in London, but he, Josh, some sixty years later, visited the site with a fellow jazz percussion nut, Mr Nick Ball!) and a Bellson side with none other than James Brown doing his thing on For Once in My Life.
                      
In addition to practical demos, Josh proudly showed off his collection of Bellson albums, books and memorabilia, including a treasured possesion - a signed photograph of Bellson dedicated to Josh. More drum talk - Papa Jo Jones, Big Sid Catlett, Bellson's 'jingle sticks', brush technique then into Brush Taps. To conclude his look at the life and work of Louis Bellson our genial host sat at the kit one more time to play an improvised solo, in the style, of course. Five plus minutes later Josh Duffee was done. 

Josh Duffee's Bix tour and this survey of the music of Louis Bellson share at least two things in common - our host's unbridled enthusiasm for his subject and attention to detail with regard to the presentation of his live stream event. Next Saturday (April 25), 6:00pm Iowa time, midnight our time, Josh Duffee presents 1920s' Percussion

In common with other musicians around the world Josh has lost income due to all gigs being cancelled until further notice. For those who wish to donate a sum however great or small Josh's PayPal account is: Paypal.me/joshuaduffee1. 
Russell

PS: Hopefully this link to the live stream works. If not go into Facebook and search Josh Duffee.

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