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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.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Yazz Ahmed: Polyhymnia live streaming from Sage Gateshead - Nov. 14

We were due to attend Yazz Ahmed's concert at Sage Gateshead - socially distanced, of course - only for Lockdown 2.0 to intervene. The music world's recently adopted default position, the live stream, once again stepped into the breach. It isn't ideal, but needs must. 

Sage One's large stage comfortably accommodated Ahmed's twelve-strong ensemble, set-up to perform in-the-round. Polyhymnia formed the basis of the one hour set. Ahmed's work, funded by Art Council England and Help Musicians UK, formed part of Sage Gateshead's 'Live 2020' concert series. Ahmed's project sought to celebrate the achievements of significant female figures. 

The suffragettes inspired tonight's opening number, Deeds Not Words. As multiple camera angles came into play a host of familiar figures on the British jazz scene came into view: alto sax ace Mr Nat Facey, on tenor and bass clarinet, Mr George Crowley, in the two-man trumpet section, Mr Noel Langley (pictured alongside Miguel Gorodi), vibes demon Mr Ralph Wyld, the in-demand Dudley Phillips on bass, and drummer Ms Sophie Alloway laying down an impeccable groove. 

Ms Ahmed (trumpet and flugelhorn) directed the ensemble with the minimum of fuss, content to let the experienced heads help realise her creation. Ruby Bridges saluted the American civil rights activist with Sophie Alloway (pictured) leading off on an apposite New Orleans' shuffle. An Arabic feel signalled Lahan al-Mansour, Ahmed's recognition of Saudi Arabia's first female feature film director Haifaa al-Mansour, a woman who, unsurprisingly, has endured varying degrees of hostility from regressive forces. The Polyhymnia ensemble, essentially an expanded version of Ahmed's Hafla septet, clearly enjoyed the occasion with many smiles and nods of appreciation for the soloists across the evening. 

Dudley Phillips' effects-laden bass playing on One Girl Among Many pointed to the courage of Malala Yousafzai in standing up to the brutality of a bunch of hoodlums with the ensemble, as one, reciting the words of Yousafzai. More inspirational women stepped up. 2857 referenced Rosa Parks' pivotal role in the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott (2857 being the number of the infamous bus service) with George Crowley in suitably belligerent, explosive form. And to close,  Barbara, in homage to pioneering British modern jazz/fusion reeds virtuoso Barbara Thompson.  

Russell  

Yazz Ahmed (trumpet, flugelhorn); Nat Facey (alto sax); George Crowley (tenor sax, bass clarinet); Kate Ingram (baritone sax); Miguel Gorodi (trumpet); Noel Langley (trumpet); Owen Dawson (trombone); Ralph Wyld (vibes); Naadia Sheriff (piano, keyboards); Dudley Phillips (bass); Elizabeth Nott (percussion); Sophie Alloway (drums).

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