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Bebop Spoken There

Terri Lyne Carrington: "We will continue to educate with gender justice and racial justice as guiding principles." - (DownBeat August, 2020)

Teddy Wilson: "Mildred Bailey was a much better singer than Billie [Holiday]." - (DownBeat August, 2020)

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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

11,733 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 873 of them this year alone and, so far, 10 this month (August 3).

Coming soon ...

August

?????


Monday, August 03, 2020

Recreating the Jazz Couriers - Livestream. Auugust 3

Simon Spillett/Pete Long (tenor sax); James Pearson (piano); Tim Thornton (bass); Ed Richardson (drums).

This looked to be the best stream so far in a year that has seen music transcending time zones and delivering live sessions that may never be heard again. Imagine John Hammond, back in the 1930's, listening on his car radio to a remote broadcast from a club in Kansas City by the fledgling Basie Band. The reception wouldn't have been good but good enough for Hammond to recognise what he was hearing.

Tonight, I was listening to the above musicians paying tribute to The Jazz Couriers and they blew up a storm at Ronnie's just as the originals did in the old days back at the Flamingo Club.

Album review: Pepa Niebla – Renaissance

Pepa Niebla (vocals, compositions); Toni Mora (guitar, compositions); Maxime Moyaerts ( piano); Alex Gilson (double bass); Daniel Jonkers (drums)

An enjoyable CD that 'reflects a New York contemporary jazz influence' (I quote from the notes) which I wish I had the technical know-how to explain better. It sounds like someone walking along a street in NYC, an apparently simple tune on voice, guitar and piano, with unobtrusive backing from the rest, lots of singing with the main melody notes accompanied, and a definite forward thrust to the sound, much repetition of phrases, and a generally very rich, satisfying feel.

I knew a programme when a programme was a programme

The nearest I got to seeing Frank Sinatra - apart from in movies and on TV - was when W.H.Smith relocated from Eldon Square to Northumberland St, both in Newcastle. To make the move easier they had a massive sale that seemingly went on forever and I bought many books and records at knockdown prices. One of the items I purchased (for £1.95) was a programme from Sinatra's 1980 concerts at the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.

Just when you thought it was safe to go into a jazz club...

...you find it isn't!

The long awaited reopening of Ronnie Scott's had been scheduled to be reopened to the socially distanced public this past weekend with some eye-catching concerts but alas, like most venues worldwide, The powers that be decreed otherwise. Better to be safe than to be sorry seems to be the motto and who  are we to argue?

One of the events that wouldn't have needed the chuckers out chucking them in was scheduled for tonight in the form of a tribute to what many consider to have been the UK's greatest ever modern jazz group - The Jazz Couriers.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Album Review: Bob Dylan - Rough and Rowdy Ways

Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar); Charlie Sexton (guitar); Bob Britt (guitar); Donnie Herron (steel guitar, violin, accordion); Tony Garnier (bass); Matt Chamberlain (drums).

When a 19-year old Bob Dylan arrived in New York in the freezing January of 1961, he headed straight for the coffee houses in Greenwich Village where anyone could play some songs and collect a few dollars by passing a hat around at the end of their set.  However, he quickly graduated to the more organised folk clubs like The Gaslight and Gerde's Folk City as performers were booked in advance and paid a fee.

At the time Greenwich Village was awash with clubs of all kinds, some specialising in folk or blues or jazz but many happy to present all kinds of music, as well as poetry and comedy entertainers. As Dylan was leading a somewhat bohemian life at the time, crashing on the floors of patient friends' apartments, he spent the days and nights visiting most of these clubs at one time or another and immersing himself in all kinds of music. 

Farewell my Lovely - R.I.P Jeanie Lambe

1979, I'd met this girl at a party, she claimed to like jazz. I mentioned that I was going to a gig at the Corner House the following night and did she fancy going? She did.

It was Jeanie Lambe, singing and looking beautiful alongside husband Danny Moss blowing tenor who my friend also thought looked beautiful - well maybe handsome! When we kissed goodnight, I guess we weren't kissing each other!

Sunday Service: Adrian Cox & Simon Picton - New Orleans Tradition - August 2

Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals); Simon Picton (banjo, guitar, vocals)

A Sunday Service with a difference. This week Adrian Cox went over to Twickenham to meet up with Simon Picton to play a duo set focussing on some of the great exponents of New Orleans' clarinet. As usual Adrian attracted a sizeable online audience and before the off comments scrolled up the screen at a rate of knots.

George Lewis, Emile Barnes and Raymond Burke were but three of Cox's subjects and Simon Picton expressed admiration for Danny Barker. Banjoist/guitarist Picton noted that Barker recorded with both Jelly Roll Morton and Charlie Parker, the only musician to do so. 

Preview: Sinatra @ Sage Gateshead

Tonight at Sage Gateshead there will be a rare, indeed unexpected, appearance by none other than the Chairman of the Board, Mr Francis Albert Sinatra. Well, not quite, but go with it...It was back in 2015 that the BBC Big Band took to the stage in Sage One, Sage Gateshead's world class 1700 seater concert hall to perform a centenary tribute to the man, Frank Sinatra. 

Abbie Finn Trio: Jazz on a Summer's Day @ The Hammer & Pincers - August 1

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

Lockdown eased, lockdown not eased, the government's shambolic handling of the ongoing pandemic continues apace. Between times a couple of tremendous gigs by the Abbie Finn Trio have drawn large crowds in Newcastle and Preston le Skerne, one in the manicured grounds of a church, the other in the unlikely setting of a tipi. Drummer Abbie is from around these here parts and many of her Durham Music Service friends turned up to show their support.

Album review: Louis Armstrong - Live in Europe

We don't get many albums by jazz's first great figure so when one arrived featuring a couple of early editions of the All-Stars it was a moment to savour as well as one to ponder upon.

In a sense it was, to use that hackneyed old cliché, a game of two halves. On paper, the personnel  for the 1948 Paris concerts looked to be the stronger. Teagarden, Bigard, Hines and Big Sid + Pops out front, was surely one of Armstrong's strongest line-ups - wasn't it? 

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Remembering Carmen McRae

DownBeat's 68th Annual Critic's Poll, where the wise and the wonderful throw hats and toupees into the ring and vote for their favourites. As with all polls - jazz or otherwise - some you go along with and some you gasp at with amazement.

However, few would kick at the choice of Carmen McRae's entry into the hallowed portals of The Hall of Fame - albeit via the Veterans Committee Poll which, to me, seems a little bit like getting in by the back door. Les Paul, Machito and Mario Bauza ended up in the pack although Mildred Bailey,  also deservedly, made the cut.

Album (LP) review; Wolfgang Lackerschmid & Chet Baker - ballads for two

Chet Baker (trumpet); Wolfgang Lackerschmid (vibes).

Without being drawn into the merits of vinyl over CD (and vice versa) I always feel there is something special about a vinyl album, especially the present day output such as this one by Dot Time Records and mastered by Gearbox Records, UK.

Of course, the artwork, the sleeve notes, and the production come to naught if the artists don't deliver.

Chet and Wolfgang deliver!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Hexham Thursday Sessions FINALE : Elder People

Ferg on flugel for a premiere of his new piece "Elder People"
(named after the local sign attached).

We grew to quartet with Noah Lawson, a friend of Dom's on keys. 
We're taking a break, who knows what's next?
Chris K

SSBB Livestream w. Mike Lovatt - July 31


Check out trumpet ace Mike Lovatt blowing the St Louis Blues with the mighty Strictly Smokin' Big Band. F/book link.
Russell 
Strictly Smokin' Big Band: Michael Lamb (MD); Pete Tanton; Gordon Marshall; Dick Stacey (trumpets); Kieran Parnaby; Chris Kurgi-Smith; Chris Gray: John Flood (trombones); Jamie Toms; Dave Kerridge: Steve Summers: Keith Robinson; Laurie Rangecroft (reeds); Pawel Jedrzejewski (guitar); Graham Don (keyboards); Michael Whent (bass guitar); Guy Swinton (drums) with special guest Mike Lovatt (trumpet)

Paul Edis Livestream #20 - July 31

Paul Edis (piano).

The twentieth and final - for the time being - Paul Edis Friday lunchtime set began with When Your Lover Has Gone which perhaps may have been more appropriate for the closer as, of course, we all do love these sessions madly.

A trip to Brazil for Summer Samba tied in nicely with the weather outside maybe summer is icumen in!

Breathing, a delightful waltz from Paul's  book of original compositions (published today - see earlier post) that more or less validates the praise I gave in my review.

I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling - Liza Pulman


(Press release)

The Summer is here and singer and comedienne, Liza Pulman has released another joyous new  song, I’ve Got A Feeling I'm Falling.

The song comes from her recently released EP, The Heart Of It and is written by the great Fats Waller. The wonderful orchestrations are by Joe Atkins and blowing his horn and making us smile is the one and only Steve Walker. As ever she is joined by her usual band of Tom Mark on bass, Danny Cummings on drums, Richard Pardy on sax and Andy Taylor-Vebel on guitar all, once again, brought together under the watchful ear of producer, Chris Porter and recorded at Real World Studios.

The "Real" Paul Edis - Songs and Tunes

When a performer says those party-pooping words: "This next number is one I wrote..." the audience sighs, if not audibly, at least inwardly. Not all great musicians are great composers and vice versa. Irving Berlin was a great songwriter yet, I'm told he could only play in one key. 

One of the problems with jazz musicians writing originals is that you hear them once and maybe won't hear the tune again until their next gig. Whereas pop tunes get played and plugged and covered by other performers so that in no time they're as familiar to younger fans as White Christmas is to an older generation, jazz musicians tend not to share their music around.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Album review : Misha Mullov-Abbado - DREAM CIRCUS

Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass), James Davison (trumpet, flugelhorn), Matthew Herd (alto),  Sam Rapley (tenor), Liam Dunachie (piano, Hammond organ), Scott Chapman (drums)

My album of the year so far. Cleverly written and played, but also beautiful, musical and although “classically” inflected in places, definitely jazz:  distinctly modern but with mainstream and lyrical roots.  This third outing by London based double bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado confirms a new and substantial British ensemble composing voice, joining the tradition of Kenny Wheeler, Mike Gibbs and Issie Barratt.  

Move over Hollywood - make room for Jarrow!

Over the years, Jarrow has had many characters who've enhanced (or otherwise) the town's image. I was born there so, I admit, I'm biased!

Ellen Wilkinson, the town's greatest MP, Steve Cram, Alan Price, John Miles just a few of those Jarrow (Jarra?) lads who moved on to greater things.

There were others. Jarrow Elvis didn't quite make the big time - some might say he didn't even make the small time. The Jarra Lads were a popular duo in the days when CIU clubs thrived - what went wrong there?

Genmaicha | Patchwork Jazz Orchestra (in isolation)


(Press release)
Patchwork Jazz Orchestra – The Light That Shines
SPARK 009
https://sparklabel.bandcamp.com/album/the-light-that-shines

As a result of Covid-19 lockdown measures, lives, places of work and entire industries have dramatically changed all over the world. Things that were once deemed unachievable are being proven to be possible - in this case recording a big band record entirely remotely, with every musician in their own separate home. Patchwork Jazz Orchestra has brought together our musicians from all over the UK to remotely record "The Light that Shines" - an EP dedicated to everyone battling this virus on the frontline.

A not so brave new world - Latest comments

Jazzwise has an article this month (August) that is deeply disturbing although, well done to Maria Schneider for saying what many must be thinking. That the music industry is in a dire state is an indisputable fact but, although Covid-19 put the boot in that was merely the 9 count.

The internet is now such a part of our everyday lives that the monsters that are Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify and goodness knows how many others have not only decimated the High St. but also the way we listen to music - and for free thus doing away with the need to buy records. It doesn't have to be music, you could substitute just about anything that once you would buy from that shop where the friendly (sometimes!) assistant would help and advise you to make the best choice.

Album Review: Diane Schuur – Running On Faith

Diane Schuur (vocals, piano); Ernie Watts (tenor and sop sax); Kye Palmer (trumpet, flugelhorn); Thom Rotella (guitar); Bruce Lett (bass); Kendall Kay (drums)

I don't ever remember reviewing a CD where the singer's personality came across so well. Ms Schuur sings as if she really means it, occasionally speaking lines, adding a chuckle here and there, and indulging in short fun scats and wordless singing. The notes tell us that she has been blind from birth and the track There Is Always One More Time refers to blindness, with lyrics saying that it's better to be blind than not to use your eyes to see the good parts of life. I guess that she has learned her craft by ear and memory, but I did get to wonder if the real books are printed in Braille*. But I digress.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Neil Swainson - 49th Parallel Mini Documentary


This is a brief peek at a forthcoming gem. Gem is hardly strong enough to describe a band with Joe Henderson and Woody Shaw in the front line backed up by Neil Swainson and his two fellow Canadians - Gary Williamson on piano and Jerry Fuller, drums but, for the moment it will have to do.

Ballads Before Bed VII - July 28

Paul Edis (piano)

The seventh in Paul Edis' series of late night live stream sessions will be the last one for a while. Pianist Edis has decided to take a break and will return in a few weeks. The fortnightly online balladry has proved particularly successful; a simple format, a brief introduction, half a dozen numbers played without further commentary, concluding with a 'good night' nod. 

Six compositions, a varied choice, each one given a thoughtful treatment, the melodies slowly revealing themselves as familiar friends. Old Folks (Robison/Hill) to Nancy with the Laughing Face (Van Heusen-Silvers), our late night live-streamer performed to an attentive audience. Attentive? Yes, 'attentive', you don't logon at ten o'clock to sit and chatter, do you?! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Preview: Van the Man, socially distanced - September 3

Describing itself as the UK's 'first socially distanced music venue', the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle will present several concerts in the grounds of Gosforth Park, including an appearance by Van Morrison which could be of interest to some BSH readers. 

Thursday 3 September is the date, eight o'clock start (doors 6:30pm) with a support act prior to Van the Man taking to the stage. Tickets (£47.50 + £20.00 bf) go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday 29). Due to the ongoing pandemic many conditions of entry will apply. It is, therefore, advisable to read in full the terms and conditions of entry on the venue's website: 
Russell

Monday, July 27, 2020

LIVING IN SHADOWS TO RELEASE FOR THE DAY, FIRST TRACK FROM UPCOMING ALBUM

(Press release)

For The Day is the first track from the upcoming Living in Shadows project, a body of work that will be the first full album release by musicians Zoë Gilby and Andy Champion in over seven years.

The single, to be released on July 31 across all digital platforms, makes a surprisingly, but welcomed, move away from their usual jazz forte, landing with a beautifully flighty appeal.

“We picked this song as our first release from the album because it has a sense of a new beginning,” began the award-winning vocalist, Zoë Gilby.
“It encapsulates a great deal of what the (upcoming) album is about. It feels like it is a spring board that personifies the concept of that body of work.”

Livestream: Ronnie Scott's Club Quintet - July 27

James Pearson (piano); Freddie Gavita (trumpet); Alex Garnett (tenor sax); Sam Burgess (bass); Chris Higginbottom (drums).

This, the seventh and possibly last, livestream from Ronnie's had the house band in good fettle literally Blowin' the Blues Away. Yes it was a tribute to Horace Silver's famed album although not all the tunes were covered plus a couple of ringers were slipped in.

It didn't matter, the feeling was as much there tonight in Ronnie's as it was when Horace took his boys into the Blue Note studios back on August 1, 1959. Sixty one years to the day before the Ronnie Scott Club reopens its doors to the public.

Despite the omnipresent f/ups of which Facebook is renowned for, tonight was a cracker and even the unexpected stop choruses did little more than act as a mild irritant to what was happening either side of them.

A Trombone is a Useful Thing

Came across this beer mat from the late 1970's. It's not by Bill Shaw but it does look as if it could have been!
Lance

Monk album release delayed until further notice

I've just received the news that the Thelonious Monk Palo Alto release is being postponed, due to circumstances beyond the label’s control. I will let you know if a new release date is scheduled.

The BSH review has been removed pending further guidance.
Lance 

Livestream @ the Globe: Archipelago - July 26

Faye MacCalman (tenor sax, clarinet, synths, voice); John Pope (bass guitar, effects); Christian Alderson (drums, percussion)

This was a fine and exciting set of music. I don't say tunes, as that would be giving a very limited impression of what this sort of gig is all about. The influences quoted by the band are jazz, alt rock, blues and folk but the sum of all these parts, and some parts I couldn't define, is greater than the whole. Forget the standard jazz tune, solos, then back to the tune. You get all-sorts with this band, clapping, singing which is sometimes wordless, fragmented snatches of tune, repeated riffs, effects giving the sound of about 6 musicians instead of just 3, and sometimes a calm steady tune and sometimes lively bebop. The band somehow contrive to get cohesion into all of these pieces which are all originals.

Q & A w. Charles McPherson

Legendary saxophonist and composer Charles McPherson recently took part in a question and answer session with BSH's correspondent Russell with some interesting and informative answers. Charles McPherson's new album Jazz Dance Suites will be reviewed on BSH shortly. Our thanks to Lydia Liebman of Lydia Liebman Promotions for setting this interview up.

Photo (left) is courtesy of © Antonio Porcar.

Photo of Camille and Charles McPherson (below) is courtesy of © Tariq Johnson.
----- 

Bebop Spoken Here (BSH): Hello Charles. Thank you for taking the time to talk to Bebop Spoken Here. It's good to know that a jazz blog here in Britain is able to connect with a musician based in San Diego! First of all, how are you in these strange times?

Charles:  Missing traveling to Britain, for one thing!  Thank you Bebop Spoken Here for the interest!  Really missing a lot of what my “concert season” was going to be.  It’s hard to see everyone out there not working; concerts just ending.  The news in the U.S. and how our leaders are handling things is deeply troubling, but I’m hanging in there. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Abbie Finn Trio: Jazz on a Summer's Day @ St. James' & St. Basil's Church, Newcastle.

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

Well it's Sunday so you have two options. You can either go to church  or go down to the pub. I opted to kill two birds with one stone. 

Abbie Finn, a drummer whom we have raved over ever since she first showed at the local jam sessions, and her two associates had the honour of playing the first ever open air jazz gig since Lockdown - and in the grounds of a church, whose green and pastured lands saw a hundred, maybe more, worshipping the drumlady. and, of course, her fellow disciples.

Norrie's Jazz Hour: episode 4 Goin' Home - July 26

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival is, like many other events, an online festival this year. Over four days there has been a wide variety of concerts, talks and quizzes to enjoy. Today's fourth episode of Norrie's
Jazz Hour 
once again featured conversation between Norrie Thomson (a big supporter of the Classic Jazz Party on North Tyneside) and the Tenement Jazz Band's Paddy Darley.

Norrie has heard just about any of the Scottish jazz outfits worth hearing over the last fifty years otr so. The hour long show featured music, some of it rare in concert recordings or tracks from collectible vinyl records accompanied by many black and white and colour photographs taken at gigs in Edinburgh and elsewhere in Scotland as far north as Inverness.

Album Review: Suzanna Ross – is Bewitched – Not Bothered, Not Bewildered

Suzanna Ross (Vocals); Gregory Toroian (piano, arrangements); Skip Ward (bass); David Silliman (drums)

Suzanna Ross sings in New York City at jazz and cabaret venues, such as the Metropolitan Room and TOMI Jazz as well as performing at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. Growing up hearing all kinds of music, her repertoire is wide, including jazz, French chansons, pop, bossa nova and songs from films. This is her debut album.

Mainly Two - World Tour

While 'real-life' performances are cancelled, we're taking Mainly Two on a world tour! There's so much incredible music out there and we're relishing making our way around the globe. The tour begins in Scandinavia and features music from Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Finland.
Pay what you want here: paypal.me/turquoisecoconut
The video will stay online after the premiere, so even if you can't watch the stream with us, you won't be missing out.
Join us on each Sunday at 3pm BST for the rest of the tour: https://www.facebook.com/tours/330903424747139.
John Paul Garner

Album review: Madre Vaca - Winterreise

Juan Rollan (sax); Steve Strawley (trumpet); Lance Reed (trombone); Jonah Pierre (piano); Jarrett Carter (guitar); Mike Perez (bass); Benjamin Shorstein (drums); Milan Algood (perc.) + Rebecca Shorstein (vocal on 1 tk.)

A lot of jazz musicians have, over the years, had a crack at the works of the great classical composers. From Bach to Bartok, few have escaped being "jazzed". The Schubert folio may have been less plundered than some of the others although he was far from immune.

This isn't surprising as, of all the great classical composers, Franz Schubert was perhaps the most melodic and one whose lyricism so easily lends itself to improvisation.

Winterreise (Winter Journey) was written near the end of the composer's short life (he died aged 31) and was conceived as a song cycle based on the poems of one Wilhelm Muller that dealt with the story of a dejected man who left his home and his beloved in the middle of the night. Did Schubert, who also had a troubled life despite the joyfulness of much of his work relate to this saga? Almost 200 years on we will probably never know...

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Peter Green dies at 73

The efforts of Chris Barber, Alexis Korner and others paved the way for American blues greats to visit Britain and Peter Greenbaum, from Bethnal Green, like many others of the post war 'baby boom' generation, developed an interest in the blues. Eric Clapton left the Bluesbreakers and John Mayall offered the job to Greenbaum, or rather, Peter Green.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Kai Hoffman: Kai' Friday Night Show - The Great American Songbook. July 24

Kai Hoffman (vocal); Roger Lewyn (piano).

A solid selection of gassers by Kai and Roger. The Great American Songbook is in good hands.

Kai's bubbly personality and Roger's perfect backing made this an enjoyable evening. They don't climb any mountains or dig any holes, they just let the songs speak for themselves, albeit with the occasional appearance by Lulu, Kai's lucky black cat. How's she lucky? Well she's sharing a household with Kai and can hear her singing every day - maybe she (Lulu) even does some backing miaows.
Lance

Album review: Jazz Plus Ensemble - Collective

Jazz Plus Productions is/are Chris Jones and Charles Price. Followers of the award-winning Durham University Big Band will know their names from a couple of years ago. Since graduating from the Land of the Prince Bishops the boys have been busy making a name for themselves in the music business. The 'Collective' is aptly named as several members of the eighteen piece band just happen to be Durham University alumni. 

Seven tracks spanning approximately forty one minutes were recorded some twelve months ago in what seems like far off pre-Covid times. The audio quality is excellent, the musicianship (ensemble and solo) is of the highest order. Chris Jones composed and/or arranged all of the tracks and the solo contributions come from all sections of the band. 

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club to Reopen August 1

(Press release)

Ronnie Scott’s throws open its doors for the first time in 137 days having been closed due the global Corona Virus pandemic.  Embracing the recent government announcement that indoor live music venues can reopen from August 1, the world-famous jazz venue announces its first schedule of artists.

The Soho-based club will open with a reduced capacity of 50% and with strict social distancing measures in place.  Modelled on the heady jazz joints of yesteryear and blessed with a warm, intimate setting and a unique seating layout, Ronnie Scott’s is able to observe distancing guidelines without losing any of its cosy atmosphere.

Hexham Thursday Sessions #15 : Song for Bilbao (and All Blues)

Paul Edis: Live stream #19 - July 24

Paul Edis (piano, vocals)

If it's Friday and it's one o'clock that can mean only one thing...Paul Edis live streaming from his London home. Pianist Edis has been entertaining his online audience for, wait for it...eighteen weeks! Today's edition, #19, would be the penultimate stream, next week (July 31) being the last one before our host takes a short break.

Book review: Andrew Willox & Eileen Mann - "I Think We Have a Find".

Roy Willox was a gentleman. Even though I never met him other than by listening to his music I knew that he was, without doubt, a gentleman as the many testimonies to him in this beautifully laid out biography confirm.

Within its glossy pages, 84 in all, are photographs and newspaper cuttings documenting a career that began when he took his first saxophone lesson from the legendary Harry Hayes. Hearing the youngster at that first lesson, Hayes marvelled at the boy's ability to identify notes with his back to the piano. "I think we have a find" said Hayes little realising that 76 years later those words would become the title of Roy Willox's biography!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Ian Shaw & Claire Martin live streaming from Ronnie's - July 23

Ian Shaw (piano, vocals); Claire Martin (vocals)

Friends of thirty years, one suspects Ian Shaw and Claire Martin could walk onto stage and do it off the top of their heads. On the other hand, the professionalism of this latest installment of The Return Sessions from Frith Street suggests the duo had worked on the set which ran for for something like seventy five minutes. 

Tom Seals @ Blenheim Palace’s ‘Picnic at the Palace’ - July 22

Although the toll that the pandemic has taken on performing musicians is considerable and devastating, it is heartening to note the extent to which so many have adapted to our strange new world of virtual communication, reaching new audiences and forming connections with fellow musicians in a way that would have been more logistically demanding in less technologically-reliant times. 

The young Cheshire-based singer and pianist Tom Seals, protégé of Jools Holland, is a case in point. He has been busier than ever, launching ‘The Tom Seals Show’ online featuring interviews with international music stars, and even collaborating with comedian Matt Lucas on the viral Baked Potato Song (which raised over a million pounds for the NHS). 

Book review: Brian Gruber - Six Days at Ronnie Scott's, Billy Cobham on jazz fusion and the act of creation.

This is one of those books that you can't put down although, initially I thought I'd struggle to get beyond the first page, not being a big fan of fusion and it's practitioners.

That was then! Now, after devouring every word like someone coming off a hunger strike, I find myself listening to Bitches Brew and, if I had any any Mahavishnu albums I'd be listening to them too! Whilst I'd hardly describe myself as a convert, such is the impact of the writing, both by Gruber and Cobham, that you are drawn into the music without even hearing it!

#EJBF Online starts today! (July 23)



4 days featuring 28 bands; 21 concerts; 5 talks; 2 films; 1 jazz quiz. Link.

Roly Veitch - Time In (part 1 of 4)

Album Review: Ant Law - The Sleeper Wakes

Ant Law (guitar); Michael Chillingworth (alto sax, bass clarinet); Ivo Neame (piano); Tom Farmer (acoustic bass); James Maddren (drums) + Tim Garland (tenor sax), Adam Kovacs (percussion).

I've had the pleasure of seeing this terrific guitarist as leader and with Tim Garland, who makes a guest appearance here. On both occasions I found myself chatting with him and he's amiable, charismatic and humble, even as he emerges as one of the front-line of British Jazz guitarists.

He's joined here by fellow leading British jazz musicians, who gel seamlessly and I found myself making comparisons with Weather Report, and I can pay no higher tribute than that. But the music, while grounded by conventional sounds from primarily acoustic instruments besides his guitar is nevertheless, thoroughly contemporary.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Dankworth Seven at the Palladium - July 26

For several months Talking Pictures TV has been screening repeats of the long-running variety show Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but one word sums up most of them...tripe! However, as with Sarah Vaughan's appearance a few weeks ago, there is an occasional gem and this Sunday's programme (9:00pm) looks like being another. 

Annie's song - The Long (but not long enough) Goodbye

I came into jazz around about the time when Django, Bird and the Dorsey brothers died. As a youngster, reading my first Melody Makers, I figured that they must be something special - it didn't take me long to discover just how special they were.

Over the years, one by one the greats vanished, leaving behind cherished memories of concerts and albums. I was becoming blasé.

Everyone was dying but me and a select, albeit diminishing few. Well that few has become even more diminished - Annie Ross.

JATP @ Newcastle 1958 - 1962

I was weaned on Norman Granz's jazz circus - Jazz At The Philharmonic - JATP. It was a while before I discovered what the initials stood for! I knew the records before I'd even heard them. I'd read about then in Dave Carey and Albert J. McCarthy's Jazz Directory (Volume 5. J - Kirk) and drooled over the titles and the personnel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Live Stream @ Ronnie's: Kansas Smitty's - July 20

Giacomo Smith (alto sax); Alec Harper (tenor sax); Joe Webb (piano); Ferg Ireland (double bass); Will Cleasby (drums)

Kansas Smitty's is a band, Kansas Smitty's is a venue. Last night at Ronnie Scott's, Kansas Smitty's the band live streamed to more than 700 YouTube/Facebook listeners/viewers. Led by Giacomo Smith with a new album to promote, the band's tour schedule was scuppered by the ongoing pandemic so the opportunity to connect with fans worldwide from a world famous venue, albeit online, couldn't have come at a better time.

Andrew Oliver's Bridgetown Sextet - July 19

Andrew Oliver (piano, cornet); David Evans (tenor sax, clarinet); John Moak (trombone); Doug Sammons (guitar, banjo); Eric Gruber (double bass); Tyson Stubelek (drums)

Pianist Andrew Oliver recently returned home to Portland, Oregon after working on the London jazz scene for some seven years. Covid-19 is every bit as much an issue out on the Pacific west coast as it is in London yet it hasn't taken the brilliant young pianist long to reconnect with his old buddies. Leading the Bridgetown Sextet is one of Oliver's many projects and on Sunday evening (BST) the band played a one hour live stream gig from his backyard.

Jazz 'n' Blues Radio Stars - July 19

Radio Tyneside's weekly Geordie Hour programme focussing on everyone and everything on the local 'Geordie' music scene will occasionally include a jazz track from a well-known musician/band. On Sunday (July 19) presenter Gary Hogg devoted an hour of music performed by female musicians and, sure enough, several of the names were indeed familiar to a jazz (and blues) audience. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Album review: the TNEK Jazz Quintet - plays the music of Sam Jones

Kent Miller (bass); Darius Scott (piano); Greg Holloway (drums); Antonio Parker (alto sax); Benny Russell (tenor/soprano sax).

Sam Jones was one of the great jazz bassists. With the trios of Peterson and Evans he stood tall but it was his work with the Cannonball Adderley Quintet that most jazz-heads remember him by. Justifiably so but, as this album proves, as a composer his compositions were equally as good as - if not better - than most of the originals his contemporaries were putting down. 

Lockdown Lindsay - July 20

I love Lindsay Hannon, and her Monday night blues stream has been one of the moments that have kept me sane during the darkest days of lockdown.

Tonight was the last one and I looked forward - even to the extent of putting in a request for Staggerlee which Lindsay sang before things began to go pear-shaped.

Abbie confirms gig no. 2 (August 1)!

The Hammer and Pincers in Preston le Skerne near Newton Aycliffe has reopened for business and the pub's commitment to live music remains undiminished. A week on Saturday (August 1) local hero Abbie Finn returns to her old stomping ground to play a trio gig with Harry Keeble and Paul Grainger. 

NEWS FLASH!

(Press release)

The Vieux Carré Jazzmen will resume their weekly afternoon session at The Holystone Pub & Restaurant commencing 1.00pm on THURSDAY 6 AUGUST. Practical guidelines and criteria will apply, but a step in right direction at last! The Holystone Pub & Restaurant, Whitley Road, Holystone, Newcastle upon Tyne NE27 0DA. 

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