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Bebop Spoken There

Adam O'Farrill: "Right now in my life, I don't see music as the be-all and end-all." - (DownBeat 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

12,176 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1315 of them this year alone and, so far, 18 this month (Dec. 5).

Remembering ...

Roland Kirk died on Dec. 5, 1977.

Monday, November 30, 2020

James Pearson Presents a Portrait of Dudley Moore: Live stream from Ronnie Scott's - Nov. 30

James Pearson (piano/voice); Sam Burgess (bass); Matt Skelton (drums)

(Screenshots courtesy of Ken Drew).

An absolute delight! An insight into what a great pianist Dudley Moore was and what a great pianist James Pearson is!

Ronnie's house pianist took us on an enjoyable voyage through the late multi-talented pianist's career which ranged from Magdalen College, Oxford, to Hollywood studios via various TV shows.

It was an illustrious career which, at the same time, tended to overshadow his standing in the jazz world - at least with the general public.  Pearson's playing and his narrative helped to even the balance.

Jazz Time on Aycliffe Radio

Sunday evenings from 6:00 - 7:30 on Aycliffe Radio Mike Dixon presents a selection of jazz records old and new spread over the various jazz genres. 

The tracks are usually chosen by himself, his guest(s), and his listeners.

To listen click here    or here.

To request a track email: 

dixon4474@gmail.com or info@ayclifferadio.co.uk.

Lance

Happiness and Heartbreak livestreamed from The Globe: - Nov. 29

Debra Milne (vocals); Stu Collingwood (keys); Steve Summers (soprano sax, tenor sax, shakers)

It Don't Mean A Thing … sang Debra, and it didn't, because the screen froze, music ceased, all dead for a few minutes, then all came alive again and the show continued in fine form. The performers are to be congratulated for not being thrown at all by the hazards of technology. Such is life, and all aspects of love and romantic life were then explored via the GASbook.

Cannonball @ Cambridge

We didn't make it to Cambridge Jazz Festival this year but our ace camera man, Ken Drew, was there with his Brownie if not his Biro and sent us these screenshots of the presentation of A Portrait of Cannonball featuring Tony Kofi. The Cannonball being, of course, the legendary Julian "Cannonball" Adderley.

Preview: Soul Music - So What (Dec. 1)

First broadcast in 2008, this edition of Soul Music is given another airing tomorrow evening (Tuesday) on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 6:30. The half hour programme focuses upon the opening track of Miles Davis' 1959 best selling album Kind of Blue. Contributors include Ashley Khan, author of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece

Russell

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Album review: Marty Elkins & Mike Richmond - 'Tis Autumn

Marty Elkins (vocals); Mike Richmond (bass/cello)

A couple of weeks back at The Globe, the Jazz Co-op's Newcastle HQ, I was mesmerised by Lindsay Hannon singing 'Tis Autumn and the tune has been in my head ever since - it's that kind of tune.

So when an album arrived using that very same song as its title my appetite was whetted. 

Elkins has been around for a while going back to when she sang with Max Kaminsky's Band at Jimmy Ryan's back in 1980. Since then there have been five albums and many appearances at some of NYC's hippest clubs such as Mezzrow and 55 Bar.

Sunday Jazz @ The Globe - Live Streams In December

(Press release)

The Globe is the Jazz Co-op's community-owned, multi-genre music venue in Newcastle, and its live music programme has extended throughout 2020 lockdowns thanks to  innovative live streams, three days a week, spanning folk, Americana, rock, blues, jazz and classical music.  The Sunday night Jazz sessions have been a particular success, and the December line up is the strongest yet, featuring  a string of award winning, up and coming, jazz musicians from across the UK. 

Strictly Smokin' live stream lockdown #4. Prohibition Bar - Nov. 29

Graham Don (keyboards); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums).

(Photo courtesy of Michael Lamb)

The fourth and supposedly final Strictly Smokin' live stream in this short lockdown series from Mitch's gaff on Pink Line gave the boys in the engine room an opportunity to show what they could do away from the band's all-star horns.* Graham, Pav, Michael and Guy, observing social distancing guidelines, scribbled out a set list of some of their favourite tunes and played them. A simple format and it worked. 

Adrian Cox's Sunday Service: The Music of Don Ewell & Darnell Howard - Nov. 29

Adrian Cox (clarinet); Joe Webb (piano)

A dispute over the price of a bottle of Golden Champion Ale at my local off-licence caused me to be late for the Sunday Service. Will three "Hail Mary Lou Williams" grant me absolution?

What I did hear was well worth foregoing the Golden Champion Ale! That master of multi-piano styles Joe Webb was at the piano and clarinetist Cox (and occasional singer) was in the pulpit.

Today's sermon was based around the clarinet/piano recordings of Don Ewell and Darnell Howard and they did those two legends proud.

Preview: In Tune with Lewis Wright - BBC Radio 3 (Nov. 30)

Monday's edition of In Tune (5:00pm, Radio 3) includes a set by Lewis Wright. A founding member of APPJAG award-winning quartet Empirical, Wright recently released a new trio album - The Colour of Intention - featuring Matt Brewer and Marcus Gilmore. An appearance on the Beeb in these lockdown times will help promote the album which has already yielded two singles.    

Russell   

Preview: Frank Sinatra: in Concert at the Royal Festival Hall - Sky Arts (Nov. 30)

This 1970 CBS television special is the one in which Grace Kelly, Ol' Blues Eyes' co-star in High Society, introduces the man from Hoboken, New Jersey, to an adoring London audience. Sinatra's long-time MD Bill Miller directs the orchestra. 

Tune in at 11:00pm.

Russell   

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Kansas Smitty's: Live streaming from Kansas Smitty's - Nov. 28

Giacomo Smith (alto sax); Dylan Jones (trumpet); Deschanel Gordon (piano); Ferg Ireland (double bass); Jas Kayser (drums).
(Photo courtesy of Ken Drew) 

Manteca for starters. Band leader Giacomo Smith didn't require much in the way of a warm up, straight in with some searing Bird-like alto saxophone, trumpeter Dylan Jones likewise, Dizzy-esque, the horns supported by BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year Deschanel Gordon. Pianist Gordon too went for it, confident, not in the least intimidated. Ferg Ireland introduced himself to a vast online audience, as did Berklee graduate drummer Jas Kayser. All round excellence! 

Album review: Sarah Moule, Esther Bennett, Daniela Clynes - The Songs of Duncan Lamont

It seems a lifetime ago since I first heard Duncan Lamont's Young Person's Guide to the Jazz Orchestra on my car radio. It has remained in my memory ever since as one of the finest extended suites in jazz. 

In the years that followed I became very much aware that the man was a master of his craft whether it be as a composer, arranger or tenor saxophone player although, in the latter category, I sometimes found myself confusing father and son, both of them having the same name and playing the same instrument.

Sadly, it took his death in 2019 for me to fully comprehend the quantity and the quality of his songwriting. He said he tried to write one song per day which, by my reckoning means he must have started when he was three years old!

Alec Harper Quintet: Playback Herbie Hancock "Takin' Off". Live stream from Kansas Smitty's - Nov. 27

Alec Harper (tenor sax); Dylan Jones (trumpet); Will Barry (piano); Ferg Ireland (bass); Will Cleasby (drums).

(Screenshot courtesy of Ken Drew)

I got into Herbie Hancock via his second Blue Note album My Point of View which so impressed me I immediately "headhunted" his first album, Takin' Off, which was the subject of last night's playback session at Smitty's.

I wasn't disappointed the first time around and nor was I last night.

As was frequently pointed out during the session there were some mighty big shoes to fill - Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon, Herbie, Butch Warren and Billy Higgins - Dylan, Alec, Ferg and the two Wills didn't need a shoe horn, the shoes fitted like a glove (perhaps I should rephrase that!)

Several Geordies in Spain

Further to the previous post, Cormac Loane confirms that the doorstep photo was taken outside of Andy Hudson’s house. It was taken in July 1975, a few days before they all set off for the San Sebastian Jazz Festival: Last Exit (augmented by Nigel Stanger and Cormack), the Phoenix Jazz Band and Dave Wood - probably as sound technician. (See  programme notes from the festival.)

Lance

Two Geordies in New York (Sky Arts)

The Bowery is where it all started. CBGB's at no. 315 to be precise. The Police set out to conquer America and the New York City club is where it all began. Gigging relentlessly on the east coast saw the band break through; chart success, Roxanne, the Copelands (Stuart and Miles), stadium gigs, the rest is history.   

Brian Johnson's A Life on the Road brought together two Geordies - Johnson, in his early days fronting the rock band Geordie, later to find fame and fortune with AC/DC, and Gordon Sumner, school teacher turned copper, fronting the biggest band on the planet.

Album review: David Sills Double Guitar Quintet - Natural Lines

David Sills (tenor sax/alto flute); Larry Koonse, Mike Scott (guitar); Blake White (bass); Tim Pleasant (drums).

This one's been hanging around for a couple of months. Every time it gets close to the top of my to play list something sneaks in from left field and pushes it down the pecking order. This may not be so sad an event as the pandemic or the outgoing President's antics but it runs them close - I've ordered my sack cloth and ashes from Amazon (special Black Friday discount).

However, now's the time to make amends for the error of my ways ...

An absolute cracker! The blurb describes Sills as a meeting of Stan Getz and Joe Henderson  which is just about right. Getz's cool detached sound and Henderson's gritty attack merge as one.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Alice Grace Quartet - Live stream from Gosforth Civic Theatre - Nov. 27


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

(Screenshot by Brian Ebbatson)

I lost a bit of time faffing around between F/b, YT & GCT before I eventually got logged in - it was so much simpler when you simply plonked down your money at the door or picked up the bass drum and walked in with the band hoping you looked liked a roadie!

Alas, those days are gone but, fortunately, the music like the melody lingers on. However, because of these hiccups I missed the first ten minutes or so which mean't that when I turned up Alice was just finishing what sounded like a fine version of On the Street Where You Live.

Rico's Popup Louis - Nov. 27

Rico Tomasso (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals); Craig Milverton (piano)

Walking My Baby Back Home opened this evening's Popup Louis. It took three attempts to get it off the starting grid, a computer glitch the culprit. Rico Tomasso's remote cyberspace co-star, Craig Milverton (see pictured in a relaxed pose), added a touch of Oscar P to the proceedings. Rico's muted trumpet work on Topsy won appreciative online comment  and Rico duly thanked Craig for his equally good contribution.

Film preview: High Society - BBC 2 (Nov. 28)

CK Dexter-Haven faces a race against time to try to win back his ex-wife, Tracy Samantha Lord, before she marries again. A light-weight, typically preposterous Hollywood musical plot, made all the more preposterous by the (mis?) casting of the film's undoubted stars. Bing Crosby was some twenty six years older than his co-star Grace Kelly. Would Kelly have fallen for Crosby in the first place? Unlikely, all the more unlikely with Frank Sinatra, playing Mike Connor, looking a better bet, sharing the on-screen musical action with Crosby and Kelly. 

Book review: The Art of Jazz: A Visual History

Album covers, concert posters, paintings, photographs, every jazz fan will have their favourites. Turning the pages (all 256 of them) of Alyn Shipton's new book, it is likely that some, perhaps all of them, will be represented across its eleven chapters. From its nineteenth century roots to the present day, The Art of Jazz: A Visual History is a beautifully illustrated chronological survey of the music. 

Furloughed on Radio 3

Prior to the current situation I'd only associated the word furlough with wartime G.I.s - over here we called it leave. However, like other Americanisms such as take a rain-check or a ballpark figure, both baseball related expressions, furlough is now a well and truly established buzzword in our UK vocabulary.

Brian Ebbatson tells me that Radio 3, this morning, played a couple of tracks with furlough in the title.

One was A Fellow on a Furlough by Glenn Miller and the Army Air Force band and the second was Furlough Blues by an Earl Hines Big Band in 1945.

Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival

(Press release)

On Saturday 28th November at 6:00pm, the 2020 Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival unveils three sets of new music, celebrating its 22nd edition.

Join us on FacebookOr on YouTube.

Featuring the world premiere of a brand new sextet co-led by trumpeter Colin Steele and pianist Fergus McCreadie and also featuring saxophonists Konrad Wiszniewski and Norman Willmore, Islay stalwart Mario Caribé on bass and Stephen Henderson on drums. 

Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra live streaming from Frith Street - Nov. 26

A second superb big band in four days live streaming from Ronnie's. Monday evening it was Matt Roberts' BigISH Band, this evening the 'house orchestra' showed what it could do, then some! Directed by wise-cracking MD Pete Long, the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra blazed a trail - excellent ensemble work with killer solo contributions from across all sections. 

Wave Magnetik (take two), Newcastle University - Nov. 26

Wave Magnetik (trumpet, dj, vocals)

Earlier in the day, at precisely 1:15pm, Newcastle University's lunchtime live stream concert wasn't readily accessible. A 'sign in' instruction wasn't quite what was expected. Your reviewer logged-off, did others do the same? At some point during the afternoon the on-screen 'sign in' instruction disappeared, replaced by a more inviting NO THANKS click option which made the YouTube content instantly accessible.* 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Joe Webb Trio: Playback Art Tatum Trio 1944. Live stream from Kansas Smitty's - Nov. 26

Joe Webb (piano); Will Sach (bass); Dave Archer (guitar).

Playing Art Tatum? - no pressure then! The pressure's always there even if you're a hardened practitioner. Suffice to say these guys are used to pressure but still, Art Tatum of whom Fats Waller is reputed to have said upon Tatum's entrance into a club: "Ladies and gentlemen, God is in the house"...  

Album review; Katherine Windfeld Big Band - Orca

I could write this review in one sentence - "Simply the best contemporary big band I've heard this year."

I can feel the quizzical eyebrows being raised, the sceptical glances being exchanged, the shaking of heads and fingers being tapped against the side of those same heads when they've stopped shaking.

However, the doubters will no longer be doubting once they've listened - it really is that good.

Preview: Brian Johnson's A Life on the Road - Sky Arts (Nov.27)

Tomorrow (Friday) on Sky Arts (9:00pm) in Brian Johnson's A Life on the Road Geordie Brian Johnson meets Geordie Gordon Sumner in New York to talk about the early days of The Police. As they're two Geordie lads perhaps they'll reminisce about 'the good old days' before they hit the big time - Brian playing the clubs, Sting lording it with Last Exit. 

Russell

Wave Magnetik - LIVE Concert at Home, Newcastle University - Nov. 26

Wave Magnetik (trumpet, dj, vocals) 

Electronic Dance and JazzPlease note that this video contains flashing and strobe effects. So said the blurb. 

Private video...Sign in if you've been granted access to this video. So said the blurb. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Album review: Seth MacFarlane - Great Songs of Stage and Screen

Seth MacFarlane (vocals); Chuck Berghofer (bass), Peter Erskine (drums), Larry Koonse (guitar), Dan Higgins (alto sax) and Tom Ranier (piano) + members of the John Wilson Orchestra.

MacFarlane's sixth album, an enjoyable collection of tender ballads and uptempo tunes, is well worth checking out by those who like a good song well executed. 

Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, the singer/actor deftly weaves songs of theatrical and filmic origins into a collection that harkens back to Hollywood’s Golden Age. 

CD Review: Everybody Knows – The Brianna Thomas Band

Brianna Thomas (voice); Connun Pappas (piano, Rhodes); Ryan Berg (bass); Kyle Poole (drums); Marvin Sewell (guitars); Fernando Saci (percussion)

Here we have yet another skilled woman singer with a stellar band, giving us nine standard jazz and contemporary songs and two from Thomas herself. The album is enjoyable generally but I found some of the interpretations too dramatic for my taste. Other listeners may of course relish a bit of drama. I liked best the blues numbers, a wonderfully raunchy My Stove's In Good Condition, lively guitar and piano to words such as 'If you don't like my peaches, why do you shake my tree?' (Ahem!) Then there is Ellington's Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues, sung slowly to guitar and piano.

Gus Haenschen & Colin Hancock

You've picked up - and possibly put back - that Brunswick Records' 78 at your local flea market or second hand record store. Next time, consider making that purchase! It's unlikely that Walter Gustave Haenschen ever visited Whitley Bay but, in a roundabout way, it could be said that Mr Haenschen has exerted considerable influence on the region's jazz scene. 

From 1919 through to 1927 Gus Haenschen directed the studio bands at Brunswick Records. Haenschen adopted the more user-friendly name 'Carl Fenton' and his successor, Rudy Greenberg (Gennett Records), actually changed his name to Carl Fenton.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Everything's up to date in Kansas Smitty's - Live stream - Nov. 24

Giacomo Smith (alto sax); Kit Downes (piano); Ferg Ireland (bass); Jas Kayser (drums). (Screenshot by Ken Drew)

I was late getting to the party so that when I got there it was in full swing in fact it was Bouncing With Bud. Fortunately, Giacomo informed us of what had gone before so I was up to date on the titles if not the actual content.

It didn't matter, what I heard spoke for itself. Giacomo blew alto like I'd never heard him blow before - he was having what seemed to be a "once in a lifetime moment" although, in truth, it's probably an "every night moment" for GS! He soared like an eagle or maybe just a Bird - just!

2021 Grammy Nominations (Jazz)

For full list of jazz nominations go to Jazz FM site here

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

  • Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah – Guinevere
  • Regina Carter – Pachamama
  • Gerald Clayton – Celia
  • Chick Corea – All Blues
  • Joshua Redman – Moe Honk

Best Jazz Vocal Album

  • Thana Alexa – Ona
  • Kurt Elling feat. Danilo Pérez – Secrets Are the Best Stories
  • Carmen Lundy – Modern Ancestors
  • Somi with Frankfurt Radio Big Band – Holy Room: Live at Alte Oper
  • Kenny Washington – What’s the Hurry

Album review: The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Outtakes

Dave Brubeck (piano); Paul Desmond (alto sax); Eugene Wright (bass); Joe Morello (drums).

It's been quite a while since I last listened to the 1959 album Time Out so in a sense I'm almost hearing it for the first time which isn't a bad thing. Possibly later I'll dig out the original for comparision's sake as I'm not a great fan of alternative takes but, in the meantime, this will do nicely thank you very much.

Orchestra to live-stream special anniversary concert

(Press release/Photos courtesy of Derek Clark) 

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary with a specially curated concert, live-streamed from Perth Concert Hall, on Saturday 5th December.

Founded by saxophonist and musical director Tommy Smith OBE, the orchestra has collaborated with a who’s who of jazz, from British luminaries Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth to American stars Peter Erskine, Gary Burton, John Scofield and Joe Lovano. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Matt Roberts BigISH Band performs Freddie Hubbard's Red Clay & more, live streaming from Ronnie Scott's - Nov. 23

Even though the EFG is ended the music lingers on and this big band set from Ronnie's indicates that it will long continue. Music and jazz have been around longer than Covid-19 and, if we can outlive The Bay City Rollers, we can outlive this!

It was phenomenal! A tribute to Freddie Hubbard's seminal album from 1974, Red Clay, transcribed for a larger ensemble by Matt Roberts (I'm not sure what the BigISH name is all about!) and expertly executed.

Album review: Wolfgang Lackerschmid/Chet Baker - Quintet Sessions 1979.

Chet Baker (trumpet/vocal); Wolfgang Lackerschmid (vibes); Larry Coryell (guitar); Buster Williams (bass); Tony Williams (drums).

At this stage in his career Baker was probably known for all the wrong reasons rather than for his lyrical trumpet playing of some years previous. In 1979, when this album was recorded, that lyricism was still there albeit more sparse in its format. It's as if every note was carefully thought out a few bars ahead. This is minimalism at its extreme and, let me add, none the worse for that. This is what jazz is all about. Play as few or as many notes as you like as long as they're the right notes for the moment.

Kansas Smitty's live streaming from the EFG LJF 2020

The last leg, the final night of this year's EFG London Jazz Festival. A Kansas Smitty's special with the house band (a septet) in situ. An original to start, written by bassist Ferg Ireland, titled Impulses. Another new one with an Afrobeat feel maintained the momentum. Alec Harper's Two Dancers evoked the tango, slow, real slow. From the louche to Ornette territory. Was it Ornette? The Main Man, Giacomo Smith, somewhat inconsiderately failed to mention the title, no matter. Probably 'after O. Coleman'. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Abbie Finn Trio: Live stream from the Globe - Nov. 22

Abbie Finn (drums); Harry Keeble (tenor sax); Paul Grainger (bass).

Over on BBC 4 it was the final of the Young Jazz Musician of the Year where five future stars strutted their stuff. Up here in Newcastle, the Jazz Co-op Sunday night series continued with a live stream by the Abbie Finn Trio causing me to wonder why Harry and Abbie weren't down at Cadogan - Paul's grey beard rendered him ineligible. Still, their loss, our gain.

And the winner is...

On the last night of this year's EFG London Jazz Festival the focus of attention turned to the future. The final of the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2020 took place at London's Cadogan Hall. Due to the ongoing pandemic the event was a 'behind-closed-doors' affair. Five young musicians - saxophonists Alex Clarke and Matt Carmichael, bassist Kielan Sheard, pianist Deschanel Gordon and guitarist Ralph Porrett - performed brilliantly in the hope of landing the coveted title, but, as is the way, there could be only one winner. 

Binker Golding: Livestreamed from Kings Place, EFG London Jazz Festival – Nov. 21

(Review/screenshots by Amy Sibley-Allen)

Tenor saxophonist - composer Binker Golding, of Mobo award-winning duo Binker & Moses, brings together bassist Olie Brice (the original advertised line up included bassist John Edwards) and drummer Steve Noble, for just under an hour of astonishing non-stop wild and free jazz improvisation at Kings Place. 

Besides Golding’s success with Moses Boyd he has collaborated with the likes of Zara McFarlane and Ashley Henry. Following the 2018 release of Ex Nihlo, his experimental project with the brilliant composer and pianist Elliot Galvin, he released his own album, Abstractions of Reality Past and Incredible Feathers, to critical acclaim. The album was nominated for Best Jazz Album at the 2020 Jazz FM awards, and whilst he didn’t win that accolade Golding did take home Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year.

Strictly Smokin' live stream lockdown #3 - Nov. 22

Jamie Toms (tenor sax); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Michael Whent (bass guitar).

The music was superb. It was as cool as cool was when it was cool to say cool. Laid back, lyrical, melodic and, what's the word I'm looking for?, ah yes - musical!

Toms on tenor was in Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Hank Mobley mode and it was the latter's signature dish - This I Dig of You - that got the music going. I keep stressing the word music as it was less than a visual happening with my picture freezing for minutes on end. Fortunately, the music kept playing and, in that respect, no complaints.

The Sunday Service with Adrian Cox & Joe Webb live streaming from Toulouse Lautrec - Nov. 21

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals); Joe Webb (piano)

Adrian Cox decided to abandon Facebook in favour of YouTube. Oh, dear! exclaimed Cox upon realising the camera set-up was not as intended, we were seeing Adrian and buddy Joe Webb at an angle of 180°! The one o'clock start came and went as Cox went off-camera to attend to technical matters. Meanwhile, pianist Joe played some 'incidental music' to entertain the waiting masses. Some time later, 1:32pm to be precise, our duo made a start.

Movie Preview - The Rat Race

Based on a play by Garson Kanin, The Rat Race is a comedy featuring Tony Curtis and Debbie Reynolds. Curtis, a naive young sax player, leaves Milwaukee hoping to make it in New York. Reynolds is a taxi-dancer in a ten cents a dance joint. Needless to say, Curtis finds New York different to Milwaukee.

Album review: Amber Weekes – The Gathering

Well here it is, the first of the Christmas CDs. I approached it with some trepidation, would it be the usual sentimental offering that singers seem to feel obliged to issue at this time of year? No problem, this CD is just that bit different from the rest, no doubt helped by the loveliness of Ms Weekes' voice, which has a beautiful warm and tender tone. We get nine standards, including one I'd never heard before, plus the final track, The Gathering, an original with lyrics by our singer.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Will Barry & Joe Webb: Live stream @ Kansas Smitty's - Nov. 21

Will Barry, Joe Webb (pianos).

Piano duo gigs either work or they don't! The players have to be on similar wavelengths but far enough apart to avoid a car crash. Barry and Webb met the criteria.

The opening All the Things You was an absolute delight. Close your eyes and this was Johnny S. Bach hitting the Kronenbourg and letting the contrapuntal lines flow! Imagine the MJQ playing in jeans and sweatshirts and you've got it!

Francis Tulip Quintet featuring Xhosa Cole coming to the Globe on Dec. 13

(Press release)

North East born guitarist Francis Tulip, a recent graduate of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire jazz course and recipient of the college jazz performance prize, brings a quintet featuring a stellar line-up of Birmingham and London based musicians. 

The group features BBC Young Jazz Musician of The Year 2018 Xhosa Cole who needs no introduction. Joining the line-up is London born pianist Tuoyo Awala, who has performed at Birmingham Symphony Hall as part of Lekan Babalola’s African series, and with Xhosa Cole on Dr Nick Pillai’s jazz 1080 show; emerging bassist Louis Stringer who has supported artists such as Peter Bernstein and Drew Gress; and Matt Holmes on drums, who has played with Alan Barnes, Ian Shaw and NYJO under the direction of Orphy Robinson. Expect a showcase of music routed firmly in the jazz tradition with a modern approach, and original repertoire.

Paul Edis: Time & Place LJF live stream - Nov. 20

Paul Edis (piano); Jo Harrop (vocals); Tony Kofi (tenor sax); Adam King (double bass); Pete Adam Hill (drums) 

(Screenshots courtesy of Jerry)

BSH planned to attend this Hampstead Jazz Club performance only to be thwarted by Lockdown 2.0. Fortunately this year's EFG London Jazz Festival was able to deploy its not inconsiderable resources to make most, if not all, events available online. Paul Edis regularly works with singer Jo Harrop and now that our exiled Geordie pianist is based in London he was able to extend an invitation to his friend, and occasional musical collaborator, Tony Kofi to join him and Jo in revisiting Time and Place

Multi-instrumentalist & Coltrane scholar Andrew White dies at 78

Andrew White's career spanned the jazz spectrum and the world of classical music. A respected saxophonist, White recorded and released numerous albums and worked as a sideman with many household names including McCoy Tyner, Kenny Clarke, Otis Redding and Weather Report. On the latter's I Sing the Body Electric, White played cor anglais and on Sweetnighter cor anglais and electric bass. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Album Playback: Sonny Side Up @ Kansas Smitty's - Nov. 20

Alex Ridout (trumpet); Alec Harper (tenor sax), Xhosa Cole (tenor sax/vocal); Will Barry (piano); Will Sach (bass); Will Cleasby (drums).

Tonight's playback was based around the Dizzy Gillespie/Sonny Stitt/Sonny Rollins album Sonny Side Up so it wasn't surprising that the first number was On the Sunny Side of the Street. What was surprising was Xhosa taking the vocal in typical Dizzy fashion!

This was looking good. Harper introduced Eternal Triangle saying that although on the album there was intense rivalry between the two Sonny's (reportedly stirred up by Dizzy himself) he assured us that we do things different over here.

Album review: Benjamin Fitzgerald - The Cottage

(Press release)

Brandishing a rare style of composition incorporating an eclectic mix of modern jazz, surrealism through to electronica, multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Fitzgerald delivers a boldness and an intensity in his latest release ‘The Cottage’, out on all digital platforms on November 26th.  

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