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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!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Van the Man (at 75) and Paul Moran

Late Sunday evening two BBC 4 programmes about Van Morrison caught the eye. The first, - Van Morrison: Up on Cypress Avenue  - was a repeat showing of an in concert performance in 2015 to celebrate Van's 70th birthday. It was a sunny August day in Van's home town of Belfast as he played to a sell out crowd on Cypress Avenue, a location made famous thanks to the Irishman's album Astral Weeks

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Dean Stockdale Trio @ St James' & St Basil's - August 30

Dean Stockdale (piano); Mick Shoulder (double bass); Russ Morgan (drums)

Another in St James' and St Basil's regular Sunday afternoon concert series, today featuring the Dean Stockdale Trio. Against expectations the sun shone. The forecast suggested a maximum temperature of 14° but on the day it was comfortably above that figure. The spacious church grounds in Fenham, Newcastle, were well populated with socially distanced supporters there to enjoy a swinging set of jazz.

Mingus' Nostalgia in Times Square opened the programme. The number can be found on pianist Dean Stockdale's Origin album from 2016 and it was good to hear it performed once more in a live setting. Rodgers and Hart's My Romance illustrated Stockdale's invention, playing chorus after chorus with bassist Mick Shoulder and drummer Russ Morgan cruising alongside.

Album review: Sabretooth Swing - Songs of Future Past.

Dan Ruch (trumpet/vocals); Alex Canales (sax/clarinet); Chris Butcher (trombone); Romain Beauxis (guitar); Spike Perkins (bass); Robert Montgomery (drums); Seth Ballin (tenor sax - tk 1); Ryan Hanseler (piano - tk 3).

The seeds for this album were planted when the New Orleans band found themselves playing a dance in a local juke joint. It was a late sweaty night and the band, who had changed their set to suit the gig, knew by the end of the session that they had to put this down for posterity.

And why not? It's a great set that brings to mind juke joints down in Louisiana or maybe a trad pub somewhere in England (I wish!)

Album Review: South Florida Jazz Orchestra - Cheap Thrills: The Music of Rick Margitza

There was a time when a band like the South Florida Jazz Orchestra would, perhaps, have been described as a 'territory' band. And that's what it is, based in the Miami area of the Sunshine State. Bands such as the SFJO perhaps don't travel as much as in the past but that's down to the economics of keeping a large ensemble on the road and its personnel holding down day jobs (often teaching jazz to the next generation).  

Album Review: Dave Stryker with Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band - Blue Soul

Guitarist Dave Stryker joined fellow American Bob Mintzer to play a varied selection of charts alongide Germany's world class WDR Big Band. The result - Blue Soul - is an enjoyable groove-laden take on familiar jazz/pop/soul standards with three Styrker originals and a Mintzer composition making the final cut of nine tracks. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

J to Z: Bird at 100

The entire ninety minutes of today's edition of BBC Radio 3's J to Z were dedicated to Charlie Parker. The programme opened not with the usual welcome from its host but rather a recording of Bird at the Royal Roost. Lo-fi sound certainly, but no question that the music was of the highest standard. Presenter Julian Joseph did a great job in placing Bird in context: swing era Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter, generations later, post-Bird, the likes of Joe Henderson, Emily Remler and Jaco Pastorius, all inevitably influenced by one of the towering figures of the music.

Album review: Champian Fulton - Birdsong

Champian Fulton (piano/voice); Scott Hamilton (tenor sax); Stephen Fulton (flugel); Hide Tanaka (bass); Fukushi Tainaka (drums).

Well, this one arrived right on the money. As did our singer - before she even left the maternal womb!

Daddy Fulton, who blows flugel on this album, wanted his daughter to come into the world accompanied by "the most beautiful music there ever was." For Stephen Fulton that was the album Bird With Strings. Now if this all sounds a little bit sick-making it obviously worked judging by this splendid album.

Mark Toomey Quartet live streaming from St Peter's Church, Stockton - Charlie Parker 100 Day (August 29)

Mark Toomey (alto sax); Jeremy McMurray (piano); Peter Ayton (double bass); Paul Smith (drums)

Alto saxophonist and Charlie Parker disciple Mark Toomey decided to plunge into the hitherto mysterious world of live streaming to capture for posterity his quartet's concert commemorating, exactly one hundred years to the day, the birth of Charlie Parker. Teesside based Toomey made no bones about it, live streaming on Facebook - and possibly YouTube - would be a new challenge...

What's in a name?

Listening to the Jazz at Massey Hall concert for, possibly only the billionth time, and refreshing my memories by delving into Geoffrey Haydon's book, The Quintet of the Year, for, maybe, only the millionth time, a few thoughts crossed my mind.

That this concert lived up to its billing - Yes!
That the Marciano v Walcott fight lived up to its billing - No!
That Bird and Diz were at their finest - Yes!

Charlie Parker - Live Bird by Lewis Watson

I have two older brothers and the music we listened to at home was, like that of many other white working class households of the 1960’s, the Blues and the great Soul singers of the time. So one minute I was listening to Howlin’ Wolf the next Otis Redding. We also listened to British bands such as John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, in all of its various line ups. As well as this our Mother was a big Ray Charles fan so, all in all, I had early exposure to some great music.

So how did my exposure to jazz come about? I was around eleven years old when my brother Gerry, then fifteen, came home one day with three LP’s; Charles Mingus’ - Mingus Presents Mingus, Archie Shepp’s - The Magic of Ju-Ju and John Coltrane’s - Live at the Village Vanguard. Again, explosive music! I was hooked, it had an impact on me that is difficult to explain. It wasn’t just the sound, there was a physical impact. If you haven’t heard those particular records, treat yourself. The Mingus, is for me, one of those essential recordings that should be in the collection of any serious Jazz fan.

Friday, August 28, 2020

SSTBB Live Stream - August 28

Alice Grace (vocal); Michael Lamb (trumpet); Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Kieran Parnaby (trombone); Michael Bowman (keys); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums).

The Strictly Smokin' Tiny Big Band provided an enjoyable 45 minutes built around mum to be Alice who sang a choice(ish) selection of standards.

The horns had their moments with Parnaby's solo on Sunny maybe just getting the nod in a photo finish.

Needless to say that Alice, seated throughout, was in good voice and I enjoyed Get Happy; Well Alright, Okay, You Win; Wonderwall; Never Gonna Give you Up; All the Things you Are; Sunny; Straighten up and Fly Right; Let's Do It and, oh yes, Summertime and Fever.

Emma Fisk & Dave Harris: Live in the GCT Garden - August 28

Emma Fisk (violin); Dave Harris (guitar)

It's a bank holiday weekend so no prizes for guessing what the weather was like...a mere 12° with a chilly breeze. In these Covid-secure times the Gosforth Civic Theatre management decided the Emma Fisk-Dave Harris gig should take place in the venue's outdoor, roadside garden. The one set, one hour, socially-distanced, free admission performance required advance booking. Unsurprisingly, the event sold out in double quick time. In fact, all seats were gone within sixty seconds of going on sale!

Diana Krall - I Wished On The Moon (Audio)


One of my dream couplings is having Diana Krall singing I Wished on the Moon whilst I relaxed with a wee dram of Scotland's finest - straight no chaser. Well, although the glass has been empty since yon Hogmanay, Diana came up with the goods on her latest album - This Dream of You
Listen and enjoy. The complete album will be up soon.
Lance

Bird and Benny

I got to thinking, you know, just thinkin' as one does about Charlie Parker. The man was such a genius I often wondered where he came from and where he would have gone if he'd lived.

I know he came from Kansas City (tell me who didn't know that! on a blues night anywhere in the world everyone is going to KC) but I've spent a lot of years wondering about where he came from musically.

Bird himself has always quoted fellow Kansas City musician Buster Smith  as his mentor and Buster, nicknamed The Professor, was undoubtedly a prime influence. Maybe Fess Williams too but whatever/whoever Buster Smith seems to have been the one. 

Album Review: Schapiro 17 - New Shoes: Kind of Blue at 60

This one has class written all over it. Jon Shapiro formed the Schapiro 17 in 2012 and, as a member of the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop (established in the 1980s by Bob Brookmeyer and Manny Albam alongside author Burt Korall) and a long-time professor at Yeshiva University, NYC, the band leader knows what he's about and this debut album is a gem. 

Reworking Miles Davis' classic material isn't a new idea and this one, taking its inspiration from Kind of Blue, prompted the thought: Go on then, impress me. That was before listening to the first of the two discs on this Summit Records' double CD. 

BBC announces The Radio 3 Lateness Stage at Newcastle’s virtual Tusk Festival 2020

(Press release)

This September, BBC Radio 3’s flagship adventurous music programmes, Late Junction and Freeness, team up to curate a virtual stage at Tusk Festival 2020 - an innovative digital-first version of Tyneside’s most forward-thinking music festival.
In partnership with Tusk, three ensembles from the North East, representing the best of the region’s experimental and improvised music communities, will record exclusive sessions for BBC Radio 3 at Blank Studios in Newcastle. Performances from The Radio 3 Lateness Stage will be broadcast on Late Junction on 3 and 9 October and on Freeness on 4 and 10 October. Video highlights from the stage will be streamed on the Tusk Festival website.

Full details.

Hal Singer (1919 - 2020)

Tenor saxist Hal Singer died on August 18 - he was 100 years old. Back in June this year I posted an item about Hal Singer after Brian Ebbatson had drawn my attention to an article in the Washington Post which can be read again here. It's a harrowing story and I marvel that Hal Singer reached the age of 3 let alone 100.

May he rest in peace - he certainly deserves to.
Lance

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Livestream @ Ronnie Scott's: Gilad Atzmon Quartet w. Sigamos String Quartet - Tribute to Charlie Parker

Gilad Atzmon (alto sax); Ross Stanley (piano); Yaron Stavi (bass); Chris Higginbottom (drums) + Sigamos String Quartet 

Not surprising that this was a tribute to Charlie Parker and, I guess, Gilad was as good a choice as any. The emphasis was on the Bird with Strings albums and the string quartet did add some additional colour to the proceedings.

Atzmon whizzed around the alto with the speed and eloquence of a swallow particularly on the quartet numbers such as Scrapple From the Apple and a number which may or may not have been My Little Suede Shoes. This latter tune had a sort of mystic, eastern feel to it and featured Chris on drums. Somewhere along the way we had a blast of Nature Boy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Record Shop Days

No, this has nothing to do with the animated comments that followed the Bacon Butty post. In fact, at the time I'm writing about, vinyl was but a gleam in the record companies' eyes.

No, here I'm reminiscing about Gordon Eades Ltd. I don't know who Gordon Eades was or if there ever was such a person but, his name was the name over the door of a record shop on Fawcett St., in Sunderland and, as is relevant to this post, a shop in Jarrow which is now, after several other changes of direction - including another record shop - a Turkish barbers. 

Charli Persip (1929 - 2020)

Another jazz legend has gone. Drummer Charli(e) Persip left us on August 23.

A longtime associate of Dizzy Gillespie,  Charli, who dropped the e from his name in the 1980s was equally at home driving big bands as contrasting as the ensembles of Dizzy, Lionel Hampton and Harry James, as he was in a small group of which there were too many to list.

My own particular memory was of a rather obscure album he made with Cecil Payne - The Connection. The Freddie Redd album on Blue Note of music from the same play may be better known but Payne's and Kenny Drew's originals  for this version don't lose by comparision, helped along as they are by Payne's baritone, Clark Terry, Bennie Green (trombone), Duke Jordan, Ron Carter and, of course, Persip's drumming. I loaned it out many years ago and, well you can guess the rest ...

Jazz Showcase founder Joe Segal dies: Chicago’s longest-running jazz impresario presented Charlie Parker and other greats

Read the Chicago Tribune obituary of Joe Segal a legendary jazz promoter in that city.

You want dedication to the music? You've got it!

Joe Segal died on August 10 aged 94. May he Rest In Peace.
Lance

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A couple of Facebook faces - Scott Black & Simon Spillett

Not everyone is on Facebook. To not be part of the global monster is like having a black and white tele or even having no tele at all. However, despite all the vitriol, the fake news, the "If I was in charge ..." outpourings of tortured souls and lunatics there are also sensible and perceptive posts.

Scott Black's tales of life in Hong Kong as an expatriate American cornet player are like an updated, relocated, version of Eddie Condon's "We Called it Music" - the first great jazz autobiography. Many of Scott's tales have been Kindled - I look forward to the paperback version (Luddite that I am).

Celebrating Charlie Parker

Events worldwide marking the centenary of the birth of Charlie Parker (August 29, 1920) have been scaled back to due to the ongoing pandemic. Concerts with socially distanced audiences, behind-closed-doors live streams and radio and television programmes will commemorate the occasion. One way or another it shouldn't be too difficult to catch something over the next few days.

Thursday (Aug 27) at Ronnie Scott's could prove to be a highlight among highlights. The latest in the Frith Street, Soho club's Return Sessions features Gilad Atzmon with a string quartet live streaming from 7:00pm. When it comes to playing the music of Charlie Parker, alto saxophonist Atzmon is arguably as good as anyone on the planet. Joining Atzmon will be the ace rhythm section of Ross Stanley, piano, Dave Whitfield, bass, Chris Higginbottom, drums and the Sigamos String Quartet (Ros Stephen, violin, Marianne Haynes, violin, Felix Tanner, viola and Laura Anstee, cello). 

Bacon Butty Saturday!

The pandemic put paid to April's Record Store Day. The annual event sees large numbers of music lovers scrambling to get their hands on sought after items (limited edition albums, completist 'must-haves', signed merchandise etc). As lockdown measures began to ease this year's promotion was rescheduled to August 29. That's this Saturday and it is likely to prove as popular as ever. 

JG Windows in Newcastle is offering a free hot drink and bacon butty to the first twenty customers through the door. Set your alarm, the queue is likely to form long before the shop in Central Arcade opens at 8:00am!  
Russell

Monday, August 24, 2020

Pete King (1940 - 2020)

Just heard via Facebook that Pete King has died. Sad, but not unexpected if it is true. Seeking out an obituary via more reliable sources on Google has so far proved fruitless. However, as the F/b announcement was by no less than Bruce Adams I'm inclined to fear the worst ...

It's true, Peter passed away on Sunday a couple of weeks after his 80th birthday. What a sad day for British jazz, no, delete the word British. Whenever his name came up and we decided we weren't talking about the former co-owner of Ronnie Scott's, the inevitable phrase was added - WORLD CLASS, and I use capital letters deliberately, it would be an insult to his memory to use small case. He could lock horns with the best.

Live stream @ Ronnie Scott's - Polly Gibbons w. James Pearson Trio - August 24

Polly Gibbons (vocal); James Pearson (piano); Tom Mason (bass); Saleem Ramon (drums).

Remembering Polly's knockout gig with SSBB at Hoochie back in 2018, I looked forward to her live stream at Ronnie's. I checked in at Facebook - briefly - before, along with other disgruntled punters, we made our way to the warm, inviting arms of YouTube.

Polly was on stage, exquisitely gowned and trainered, singing Don't Be on the Outside. I remembered this as a bonus track from her album Is It Me? - It was her alright and, once I'd wiped the traces of F/b off my shoes I settled back to enjoy a splendid session. I sighed when the camera angled to shoot from James Pearson's left hand. In the distance you could see the very bar stool where I'd sat so many times - I wanted to be sitting there tonight.

Livestream From The Globe: The Alice Grace Quartet/Quintet - August 22

Alice Grace (vocals); Mark Williams (guitar); Paul Grainger (bass); Russ Morgan (drums)

'Full of elegance, melody, and wonderful singing and playing'

This remark in the comments box sums up this performance better than any reviewer can do. 'An hour of sheer jazz delights' I could have added to the comments. The band was well on form, the consistent yet adventurous bass, the skilled guitar, the drummer as great as we've come to expect, and our singer, classy, elegant, an example for other singers to follow.

So who is the fifth member of the quintet? That is Alice's unborn son, making his presence felt by kicking. Research shows that unborn babies respond to music, so tonight we met a future jazzer! He first heard Weaver of Dreams, with gentle scat and wordless vocalisation, then a beautiful version of Skylark, and a quick camera shot of the birds on our drummer's tee shirt!

A Celebration of Charlie Parker’s Centenary with The Mark Toomey Quartet

(Text by Mark Toomey/Photo courtesy of Ron Hampton)

Sometime last year I started planning a concert to celebrate Charlie Parker’s centenary. The idea was to have a concert similar to the one that I had back in 2015 for my  fiftieth birthday at the Saltburn Jazz Club.

For that occasion I transcribed some of the classic quintet arrangements and I played some Charlie Parker with Strings arrangements with a full line up, it was a very enjoyable evening.
I decided to have the concert on the actual day of the centenary, Saturday August 29 at St. Peter’s Church, Stockton where my daughter is a chorister.

So I booked the church, started booking the musicians then lockdown came, so everything was on hold and eventually, I had to sadly cancel the concert.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Geordie Hour to Jazz Time to Alice Grace - August 23

A busy day: first Adrian Cox's Sunday Service live stream (excellent, as always) followed by a movie theater (US spelling!) date with Sam Spade in Prohibition Bar, the dialogue as sharp as a modernist's zoot suite. Then, home in time to catch the final twenty minutes or so of Gary Hogg's unique programme on Radio Tyneside. 

After all these years the Maltese Falcon finally turns up in Newcastle...

Sam Spade: Is that Russell? 
RussellYeah, speaking.
Sam Spade: Listen, I know it's raining but I need to see you. I'll be at Prohibition Bar. Meet me at three o'clock.
Russell: Okay, but what's it about?
Sam Spade: I can't tell you now, but Gutman will be there and Cairo. Oh, yeah, Miss O'Shaughnessy will meet us there.
Russell: Okay, three o'clock.

Newcastle's Prohibition Bar opened its doors on Sunday afternoon and who should be there but Sam Spade with a bunch of shady looking characters. Sam's an old hand at this game so there were no worries that he could look after himself. 

More Bird ...


I’ve never been to college although I've studied Anthropology and Ornithology - I gained my degree and information from listening to 78rpm records.

I Remember You, it was A Night in Tunisia – or was it April in Paris? I Love Paris. I was drinking Swedish Schnapps and eating Peanuts, Salted of course, when you came along from Out of Nowhere.

We touched glasses and you said, “Cheers, Lover Man
I said, “Laura, we’re Just Friends.” 

Charlie Parker – The Golden Era Bebop Five.


On May 7, 1949, Charlie Parker and his Quintet flew to France to take part in that year’s Paris International Jazz Festival together with a star-studded line-up of American jazz stars of the era including Sidney Bechet, Hot Lips Page, Miles Davis, Big Chief Russell Moore, Pete Johnson, and Tadd Dameron among others. On May 5, Bird and his group were in the studio taping tracks for Norman Granz’ Mercury label.

A musically successful session, but the results were never released in any logical format until decades later. As a result, the tracks have been overlooked by many reviewers, discographers and commentators down the years owing to the chaotic, error-strewn, piece-meal naming and releasing of the songs and by the incompetence of the various music organisations, mainly Granz, involved.

Sarah Ellen Hughes Update

In the early days of BSH one of the names that frequently popped up was Sarah Ellen Hughes. We heard her a couple of times at the Cherry Tree in Jesmond, the Customs House in South Shields (see photo), Scarborough Jazz Festival as well as on her home turf at the Spice of Life in Soho and then, this NYJO graduate disappeared off our radar. Goodbye jazz, hello teaching was the last we heard.

Until Friday night ...

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Album review: Tigran Hamasyan - The Call Within

Tigran Hamasyan (piano/keys/vocal); Evan Marien (bass); Arthur Hnatek (drums) 

The eagerly awaited fourth album on Nonesuch records from the 33-year old Armenian piano messiah Tigran, appearing here with a trio as for Mockroot  (2015), rather than solo as for his other Nonesuch albums For Gyumri (2018) and An Ancient Observer (2017), and on his date at Sage Two last year    

Tigran’s music is as genre-defying as you could ask for, and while he has a distinct voice and is instantly recognisable, many readers here will instantly recognise it as “other” than their familiar blues/bebop jazz tradition – indeed Tigran himself refers to it as “electro-acoustic Armenian rock”!  However, mainstream jazz luminaries are falling over themselves to laud his genius and fearless forging of his won distinct path. When Herbie Hancock says, “Now, Tigran, you are my teacher” that’s good enough for me to give him a serious listen 

We didn't exactly believe your story, Miss O'Shaughnessy, we believed your two hundred dollars...

Tomorrow at three o'clock make a date with Bogie at Prohibition Bar. A rare screening of John Huston's Maltese Falcon is the perfect way to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon. Bogart is on top form as private eye Sam Spade. The dialogue crackles from beginning to end as our laconic hero charts a way through Dashiell Hammett's labyrinthine plot. Sydney Greenstreet gives an Academy Award nominated debut film performance as Kasper Gutman alongside Peter Lorre's slimeball Joel Cairo as Mary Astor ill-advisedly toys with our man Bogie. 3:00pm, free admission. Please keep the bar ticking over (Prohibtion 33 Pale Ale recommended) and you're welcome to take along your own nibbles. 

Lindsay Hannon sings the blues @ Prohibition Bar - August 21

Lindsay Hannon (vocals, ukulele, shakers)

Chaplin had the run of the place. First in, dodging the track and trace formalities at the door, Lindsay Hannon's canine companion staked out his territiory. Later he would be joined by his four-legged friend Elvin and his well-behaved master (a drummer of renown on his adoptive Tyneside). Proprietor Mitch had thought it through, unobtrusive Covid-secure measures were in place, this was as relaxed an environment as one could expect given the on-going pandemic.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Rico Tomasso & Nick Dawson streaming live - August 21

Enrico Tomasso (trumpet/flugel/vocal); Nick Dawson (piano/vocal)

I hadn't checked out Rico for awhile leaving it up to Russell to do the honours. However, Russell was doing the honours elsewhere tonight so the ball was in my court and, to tell you the truth - I had a ball!

When he announced the first number as Moon Song my heart leapt. I've loved that song ever since I heard Sinatra sing it on the wonderfully titled Moonlight Sinatra. Sinatra may be the better singer but Rico blows better trumpet.

Moon River didn't do much for me although the arrangement was clever mixing 3/4 6/8 & 4/4. 

Maine St. Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club - August 20

Herbie Hudson (trombone, harmonica, vocals); Ray Harley (trumpet); Jim McBriarty (clarinet, alto sax, vocals); Jimmy Cassidy (piano); John Hedley (bass guitar); Ian Hetherington (drums)

it was like old times - two gigs in a day! A lunchtime session with the Vieux Carré down at Holystone then this evening over in Sunniside the Maine Street Jazzmen were back in business. Encouragingly, at least as many, if not more, of the Maine Street's regular following turned out to hear the band for the first time in five months. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

First the gigs, now the festivals - have we turned the corner?

Whilst there may be some confusion as to the first and last live pre/post lockdown gigs, the first post lockdown live jazz festival appears, unquestionably to be, God and Boris permitting, the Flying High Jazz & Blues Festival scheduled to be held Sept. 2 - 6 at the well known Seven Arts Centre and the Gledhow sports field - both in Leeds. Full details here.

It looks good.
Lance

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone - August 20

Jim McBriarty (clarinet, soprano sax, vocals); Lawrence McBriarty (trombone); Brian Bennett (banjo, guitar); Bill Colledge (bass guitar); Fred Thompson (drums, vocals) + John Broddle (vocals)

No Ray Harley this week so the McBriartys stepped up supported by MC Brian Bennett, banjo, guitar, Bill Colledge, bass guitar and sweet singing drummer Fred Thompson. The Vieux Carré Jazzmen's weekly residency is well and truly up and running (week three) and with the weather set fair it was nice to have the option to play indoors or out. Outdoors it was with straw boaters, porkpies and other head gear in evidence.

Book review: Saxophone Colossus - A Portrait of Sonny Rollins

A bit late to review a book that was published in 2009 and which I picked up from one of those bargain bookshops (now probably long gone) near King's Cross a few years later. 

To say that this is the best ever photo-biography of a jazz giant is putting it mildly. The photos by John Abbott are stunning and the text by John Blumenthal is as perceptive as anything I've read about Rollins.

Album review: Redman, Mehldau, McBride, Blade - RoundAgain

Joshua Redman (soprano/tenor sax); Brad Mehldau (piano)] Christian McBride (bass); Brian Blade (drums). 

A rare eventfour superstars who first lit up the sky together 26 years ago and went on to individuapre-eminence, now re-uniting as a collective constellationA challenge to music industry normsand also to Heraclitus: No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”    Blade sees it differently: “This band is like a turntable where the stylus was lifted but the turntable is still spinning. We just had to drop the needle...”

Michael Lamb on Lockdown videos, Live Streaming & Crowd funders & Big Bands in Covid

Originally posted at www.strictly-smokin.co.uk

I'm not particularly prone to to writing articles - in fact, since this new section of our web site was started this is the first actual blog that's been written - all other posts are reviews and photographs (excellent reviews though - many from the super Bebop Spoken Here).


We're lucky.


Unlike many other bands and venues the dosh earned at Strictly Smokin' doesn't directly pay the bills for the musicians who play in it.  It certainly contributes to many, but it's nobody's base income.  That means after our gig at Flat Caps Coffee on Friday 13th(!) March (which we suspect was one of the final live gigs in Newcastle) we were able to shut down and wait it out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

SSBB Crowdfunder launch to raise funds for three new albums!

(Press release)

The most asked question at our shows by audience members is: "do you have any CDs?"

With this crowdfunder we want to make some new recordings that will be a great addition to your music listening. So, we're aiming to produce three brand new CDs across the next 18 months... each with its own distinct flavour.

In the pipeline already was a “Strictly Smokin’  sings Ella Fitzgerald with Alice Grace” however Covid-19 has meant we’ve had to cancel our studio dates meaning it’s top of our list to get into the studio.

This album will be ten tracks that paint a broad picture of Ella’s career — we’re working with an exquisite string section to make sure this recording is as lush as we can possibly make it.

Album Review: Ashley Locheed & Chris Rottmayer – So in Love


Ashley Locheed (voice); Chris Rottmayer (piano); Chuck Archard (electric bass) Keith Wilson (drums)

(Recorded in 2011, So in Love is dedicated to the band's drummer Keith Wilson who died in 2014 aged 55.)

Ashley Locheed, vocalist and bandleader, performs internationally with her quartet, tours regularly with Michael Bolton and has worked with Engelbert Humperdinck as well as playing with artists such as Richard Drexler and Allan Vaché.

Chris Rottmayer, a pianist for Walt Disney World since 1999, is at present a jazz piano instructor at the University of South Florida. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

SSBB Crowdfunder

Help Strictly Smokin' Big Band record 3 new albums and get rewarded for doing so!

Details here.

Charlie Parker Centennial approaches

The day approaches - only eleven more days until we celebrate the Charlie Parker centennial. August 29 is the date and, although we have to wait a week longer (Sept. 6) for the online celebration by the Jazz Coop at the Globe with Jordan Alfonso and the Alan Law Trio to play their own tribute we, at BSH, as befits the blog name, intend to ensure that the name of Charlie Parker is at the forefront.

Steve Grossman (1951 - 2020)

Ex Miles Davis tenor/soprano saxist Steve Grossman died on August 13. Damon Brown has paid a loving tribute on LJN and Damon was on the two gigs where I heard Steve.

In February 2009, the duo fronted a quintet with Robin Aspland (piano); Mark Hodgson (bass) and Sebastiaan de Krom (drums). It wasn't Steve's best night as he'd damaged his vertebrae and had to sit down for most of the evening. However, when he did stand up to blow it soon became evident as to why Miles had had him on the team.

St.James' & St.Basil's update

(Press release)
Here are the details of jazz that we are organising in the gardens of St.James' & St.Basil's Church in Fenham.
Sunday 30th August  3pm: The Dean Stockdale Trio with Mick Shoulder & Russ Morgan.
Sunday 13th September  3pm: Zoë Gilby with Andy Champion & Mark Williams.
Both gigs will be dependent on the weather and could be cancelled at short notice.
No entrance charge but donations welcome.
Wine & soft drinks available.

Album review: Maria Schneider Orchestra - Data Lords

Maria Schneider's new album is a majestic work spanning some ninety five minutes across two discs. The Artists Share funding platform made it possible to record Data Lords over four days in autumn 2019 and produce physical CD copies of the album. 

Schneider's A-list eighteen piece band is more than up to the mark in realising the composer's vision. The main theme is Schneider's concern with 'the great impact the data-hungry digital world has had on our lives'. 

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